I have three children and each has a disability. My daughter takes most of my time and attention. She needs 24-hour care. I homeschool all three and to be honest, if I did not, I probably would not have near the time I have with the other two that I do now.
Am I exhausted? Yes, and I am trying to do it all which will probably kill me one day. But for now, I really do try to give them equal time. But it never seems to work the way that each of the other children want it to.
I realize that I get so wrapped up in my daughter’s daily care and needs, I forget about my own needs. What really stops me in my tracks is when my other child says to me “All you do around this house is just take care of her!”
That breaks my heart and makes me feel like a failure. I realize that some of what he is saying is normal sibling rivalry, but I still have a hard time letting it go and not beating myself up. I have to remind myself daily that I am not a failure and that I am doing the best that I can.
It is okay, if not mandatory, that I leave all three children with my husband occasionally to do something just for myself.
Of course, after that, the guilt tries to seep back in to start a vicious cycle all over again. I have to remind myself, “you are only human” and “you are doing the best that you can do.” This helps to keep the guilty feelings at bay, at least until the next time!
It’s very difficult to keep a balance between things that have to be done and need to be done, between spending equal time with each of our children and partner, if we have one, and find time for ourselves. It is something to strive for and hope we achieve at least a few times a week or month.
It’s impossible to do it right all the time. And we have to praise ourselves when we get it right and forgive ourselves when we don’t.
Learn more about siblings and ways to celebrate each child.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.