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Today we are happy to share Cathy’s thoughts on parenthood and leaving your special needs child alone with his Dad! Cathy is a homemaker/wife and a mother to a 10-year old son with Autism and ADHD, an 18-year old daughter who is a college freshman and a stepson who is 30. Originally from Maryland, she has lived in the Midwest for 13 years.

Cathy guest blogger

“I recently returned this past Monday from being out of town for five days. The hubby was left in “charge” of Dominic.  I have had to leave my family before, but Lauren has always been here to “assist.” Since she is 90 miles away at college, that really wasn’t an option for her to come back and help her dad (though my sweet girl did offer). Being the ultra-detailed person that I am, I left an itinerary for the hubby to adhere to in my absence.  I showed Dominic on the calendar when I was leaving and when I was returning. His teacher and the bus driver were both made aware too. I wanted to make it as little as a disruption as possible for Dominic. The only area where the hubby saw a possible “issue” was in the bathing department. Due to Dominic’s sensory issues, he still takes a bath and I assist him about 99.9% of the time. The hubby is “banned” from bath time because about five years ago, when he tried to assist Dominic, he got a massive amount of water in Dominic’s eyes. The night before I was due to fly out, I had the hubby “sit in” and observe how I helped him to bathe. Dominic kept looking at my husband and saying, “daddy leave, daddy leave.” My husband was telling him, “well, I’m going to be helping you when mommy is gone.” As it turned out, while I was gone for those five days, the hubby helped bathe him without too much fuss. I checked in with the hubby and Dominic every day that I was gone.  Monday night, when I was coming down the escalator at the airport, I saw the hubby and Dominic before they saw me. I gave them both hugs and then we tracked down my baggage. I noticed that Dominic was wearing a shirt that looked about a size too small. Before I could comment, my husband said, “Dominic is pretty much out of clean shirts!” Okay, well I DID show the hubby how to operate the washing machine before I left 🙂 As we drove home from the airport in a blinding snowstorm, my husband told me he would get us take-out pizza for dinner. The roads were really bad, so I told him that I could make us spaghetti instead. I think about the relationship between the hubby and Dominic. My husband gets a kick out of telling people that he has a 10-year old. Most men in their early sixties, like my husband, have grandchildren that age. It warms my heart when I hear Dominic say, “daddy, blow a kiss!”  I am so glad that my “boys” did well in my absence, though I think the hubby is glad I am back in “charge” of the laundry and the bathing of Dominic!!”

Cathy B.

http://bountifulplate.blogspot.com/

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As a mother caring for a special needs child, your responsibilities are never-ending. You may always feel like you could do more, right? But you need to take a break from this pressure, once in a while. Because you deserve it and because your family will be happy to have a fresh, rested Mom coming back to help. You may want a night out with the girls or a day at the spa. Maybe a romantic evening with your significant other or just some quiet time alone. Whatever it is that makes you happy, or energizes your spirit, just take some time for yourself. This does not always need to be a big event either. You should always take a few minutes everyday to meditate, enjoy a cup of coffee, or just be.

Although this may all sound interesting you are probably wondering “how do I do this?” We acknowledge that taking a personal break is not always that simple for the parent of a child with special needs. Maybe you feel only you know your child by heart when giving care. This may be true, but someone else can manage the job if you provide them with the proper information. The key to being able to take care of yourself is being able to ask for help. Don’t consider this as taking a break from your child but rather taking a break for yourself. There is no reason for you to feel guilty. Remember, you must take care of yourself first if you ever expect to take care of someone else.

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