If you are a special needs mom, you likely have days when you feel like you have nothing left to give – this post is for you.
There are many unique challenges to raising a special needs child. Often parents of children with disabilities feel chronic stress, worry and overwhelm.
What better way to help a struggling special needs mom than to ask those in the trenches for their best strategies to cope with special needs parenting.
From one special needs mom to another- best tips to deal with the struggles of parenting a child with a disability.
This is a compilation of responses from special needs moms when they were asked for their best coping tips.
Without further ado, some favorite strategies that help special needs moms cope with their stress:
Therapy, depression meds, respite, art class, ballroom dancing lessons for me and hubby, yoga, running, noise canceling headphones, bedroom door lock, gardening, hiking, delivering pizzas. Anything that makes me feel accomplished and more like myself because parenting sucks those two feelings right out of me.
Find just one person that you can say all the awful things to about your kids that you don’t really mean but just need to get off your chest. Special needs moms need help.
Therapy, gardening, exercise, taking responsibilities off of my plate at other places (church or friends for example) when needed to make sure I’m caring for myself.
I took up knitting so I would have something productive and relaxing to do during all the waiting room hours while he’s in various therapies. I also created a mom group with local friends and we commit to one night a month of kid-free socializing
Therapy, depression and anxiety meds, talking to friends, reading all I can, support groups, church, reading for leisure, and trying to find “me” time any chance I get
Exercise of any kind, specifically walking my dogs in the open air. A little sunlight and fresh air go a long way for me. Doesn’t cure anything by any means but boy does it help and I notice a huge difference when I don’t get that time.
Finding time for intimacy with your partner. Not only endorphins for your mind and exercise for your body, but connecting with your companion, which can be very difficult for special needs parents. Helps keep you invested in the partnership that keeps the family going
I get up before everyone else on purpose, no matter how tired I am, so I can tip toe down to the kitchen, sip my tea in peace, and make my list of things to do that day. That little bit of alone time makes all the difference in how I function!
I crochet- haven’t gotten to knitting yet. I find that making something makes me feel productive and it’s also very therapeutic at the same time.
How do others deal with the stress of being a special needs mom?
I go to work to get a break
Exercise, reading, watching a good show, going on a drive, visiting with friends
I smoke medical marijuana, I go to therapy and take it one day at a time
If I keep my emotions inside I’ll end up exploding. So the past two months I’ve started CrossFit at the end of my day which releases so much stress, anger, sadness and whatever I’m feeling that day. I’ve found a group of people who just get it and I talk with them about the struggles and wins that come with this life. I also write/journal, it helps me express my thoughts in a structured way and it helps me look back on the good, bad and ugly days and helps me realize how amazing this life is even through the struggles. When all else fails I lock myself in the bathroom
Exercise, reading, and meditation group
Therapy, antidepressants, CBD oil, exercise, napping, reading, socializing
I keep a journal. It really helps me to process everything to just let all of my thoughts out. I also enjoy going outside for walks.
Antidepressants, therapy when I can, opening up more and asking for help, trying to sneak out at least once a week for me time.. when all else fails and I can’t get away or do anything I turn on some good music and dance with my little ladies
Exercise …cardio and watching/catching up on a show I have no time to watch when I’m home! Or stretching and deep breathing if I can’t get to the YMCA!
I’m on meds. I need to find a local parenting group
I at least have a best friend who also has a HFA daughter
I started taking anti depressants 2 years ago. Also, I find the groups help
I need help as a specials needs mom so I try and do one thing each day that makes me feel good.
I also make myself take time for me. I never used to and I didn’t know how much I needed it.
Also (if the child is old enough/ can comprehend alone time), I let dad take over and I tell the kids it’s my alone time (to take a bath, read, do my nails). It didn’t come easy… but over the years I learned to live and enjoy life and make my life more than just my kids
Friends, my beautiful grandchildren, I’m a Buddhist so chanting, I love fishing and I’ve gotta say it, sitting outside with a nice cold beer.
Taking naps when I can while the kids are at school and going grocery shopping or picking up takeout for my husband and me by myself when I can…we try to have date night in when possible because we have no one to watch 4 kids from ages 5-17. It’s so tiring at times to never get a real break from all of the kids with just me and my husband.
My son goes to an Adult program Monday through Friday – he’s on the bus at 7am and gets home at 3:30pm. This is my “ME TIME” so I can regenerate and I do whatever delights me that day. I do go to the gym and then after I go to Peet’s coffee and get my yummy cappuccino then off to do“whatever” till my son comes home. If I did not have this down time I’d be in the “looney bin” by now. Ha!! Most people do not know how to help special needs moms. So, when you have down time or free time be sure to make YOURSELF a priority otherwise it’s so easy to burn yourself out.