Doctors’ appointments, therapy sessions, diaper changes, homework help, balanced meals, housework, job, obligations. All these things (and more) were a part of my daily life when my kids were young. Ryan’s physical needs always came first. Sick or not, back spasms, flu, lack of sleep—none of that mattered. We had to be on and ready all the time.
Looking back, I don’t know how I (we) did it. My very involved husband helped me get through those long days and nights to meet our children’s needs. It was hard. It was stressful, and it was our lives.
Moving from Colorado added to my stress. I left behind friends, mentors, babysitters, and support systems. Just 6 weeks after the move, my father died. Then my husband had to leave for a 6-week training course. I was left in a new city.
I didn’t know anyone. I had no one to turn to in an emergency. Grocery shopping and errands became a group event, pushing a wheelchair while pulling a shopping cart with a 3-year-old corralled inside. It was a time when stress was high, and I felt overwhelmed.
The good news was I was forced to find ways to make my life work. I found resources by meeting with The Arc of San Antonio.
That's how I found Respite Care of San Antonio. That non-profit group would become a lifesaver for all of us. Knowing that there was a place my children could access if I ever had an emergency brought my stress level way down. I knew the three of us would survive, but could not wait for my husband to get home.
As soon as things stabilized at home, I really took meeting my needs seriously. I started going to group therapy with three other women. We formed friendships and I met my forever best friend in that group. With Rick home and on child duty, I could join a book club, meet with friends from church, and generally started taking time for myself.
While I didn’t become the healthy eating, daily exercising mom that probably would have helped with stress, I did find ways to complete myself. I eventually realized that one of the greatest stress relievers for me was to help other families find solutions to their problems. It was probably one of my greatest joys. So whatever it takes to “refill your tank”, take the time you need to make it happen.