Saturday, March 12, 2011

Time to use my support system

For the past 3 years we have been running from appointment to appointment without much of a break.  We were muddling through the days as a family but really wanted more time for spur of the moment activities.  Our schedule took a turn for the better when we made a family decision to slow down over the holidays and carried that decision into this year.  Recently, though, I've just sort of lost my knack for remembering things.   

Oh, it's not that I don't remember that we have appointments - they are clearly marked on the kitchen calendar.  It's more that I don't remember the day of the week or the date of the month each morning when I wake up.  Lately I have been relying on and am extremely thankful for my support group of family and friends that remind me of upcoming events because without those reminders I sometimes wind up missing them despite my best of intentions.  (A special thank you to Heather for reminding me that today is in fact the 12th of the month and not the 10th like I thought!)

I've been thinking back to the initial appointments to get Emma's medical diagnosis and that the one thing we heard over and over again is do you have a strong support system in place.  Are family and friends near by to help you out?  I now know why that question was brought up so frequently.  

Raising children requires a lot of love, hard work and dedication.  Raising a child with special needs requires all of this plus an extra-large dose of stamina.  I didn't fully realize how much we would need our support system until rather recently and it has me thinking that perhaps I need to do some work building up our supports.  I think I need to reach out more and ask for help.  Just this week a mother pushing a stroller asked me to go a tad bit out of my way and open a door and of course I willingly obliged.  It occured to that her request was so simple and, yet, I have very infrequently asked something this simple of others - even when I am pushing a wheelchair, rolling a gait trainer behind me and managing the two girls it doesn't usually occur to me to ask others for a bit of help.  And now I'm thinking it's very silly of me, indeed, not to ask for a bit of help when I need it!

My fiercely independent streak does not always work in my favor.  We, as humans, are interdependent on each other and I am going to make it my goal to begin to ask for help when I clearly need it.  I believe taking this first step will not only solidify my existing support network but also broaden it.  

While I'm working on asking for more help, I'd love to hear tidbits of wisdom from those of you who have mastered the fine art of calling in the troops for support.  Feel free to share them in the comments section.  Thanks!


  1. I'm notoriously bad at asking for help, but I've taken a couple of important steps lately. The most important thing I've done for myself this year is find a therapist. I've only had a few sessions, but I can already tell that it's going to help provide that perspective that I've been needing. I also found an ABA consultant to hire to come to our home a couple of times a month. She's helping us in so many ways and I wish I'd done this so much sooner. I also finally started exercising and the energy it gives me in fantastic. If I get my walk/run in, then I find I don't require that afternoon cup of coffee every day.

  2. My mom and I were just talking about this yesterday. My son and I flew alone last week--which we've done before. But this time I actually let two men in the security line help me try to maneuver everything through security. All I had was a carry on tote, his adaptive stroller with tray, and his big "bumbo" seat. But, by the time you take the laptop out of the bag, take tray off stroller, take him out of stroller, take shoes off, etc. you just don't have enough hands. BUT Supermom can do it!!! I'm exhausted from being Supermom! So, two men helped me out. It was nice. I don't know why I have such a problem accepting help. I just don't want to be a burden I guess. So, I've made a vow to let others hold the door for me or pick up something when I drop it instead of saying, "That's okay. I can get it." I've also realized people LIKE to help. It makes them feel good too.

  3. cararussel23@gmail.comMarch 14, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    I definitely agree with you - parents shouldn't be afraid to ask for help when they need it - even for something as simple as opening a door. We have a Maclaren Techno XT stroller, and while it isn't even close to being the biggest or bulkiest stroller on the market, it can be difficult to maneuver it through doors (especially heavy ones like at our local Barnes & Noble.) I normally feel bad asking people for any kind of help, but your post made me realize it's not a bad thing - thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Our schedule took a turn for the better when we made a family decision to slow down over the holidays and carried that decision into this year. Recently, though, I've just sort of lost my knack for remembering things.