7 Shortcuts: for parents after a diagnosis. Here you can find seven easy actionable steps to help you along.
After having four children, who each have gotten diagnosed with life altering conditions, I have decided to make a Shortcuts List, to offer support of others going through the same thing. This Short-Cut Sheet is designed to be your ticket to a learning curve. All of these things would have helped me and my kids immensely.
If I had done these things, it may have saved my marriage. Who knows! Ready, Set Go:
- Short-Cut #1 Give yourself TIME! Once a heft diagnosis is laid in the air, let it marinate. There is no reason to schedule a bazillion appointments at that moment. Especially, take time to talk to your significant other about all feelings, expectations, and changes the diagnosis brings to the table.
- Short-Cut #2 Laugh OFTEN! Many of the conditions come with a whole new set of restrictions, diet changes, plans to follow, etc. Please, Dear Caregiver, give yourself the gift of a sense of humor. Case in point: one of my kids loved to eat from the toilet. I would plead with the other children to flush. But for some reason like a stealth bomber, she could sniff out the opportunity, sigh. Instead of crying that my kid had a compulsion to eat pooh, I decided to to turn it into any sick joke I could think of. Thus, I would say, “Really, you love your own chocolate factory?” or “Who forgot to flush their Tootsie Roll?” Point fingers if you must, but making light of the situation, helped me not lose my sanity. Please never lose your laughter.
- Short-Cut #3 Cleave to your significant other! Vocalize that you do NOT expect them to fix the diagnosis. Communicate you just want them to be there. Do THINGS TOGETHER! Do not lose you and the other person. If anything, try to branch out, finding new forms of enjoyment. Book massages together. Exercise with each other. Give each other free time to be away from the stress. Focus on the strategy, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” With children or loved ones that takes more care, team work is essential.
- Short-Cut #4 Focus on the CHILD! There is a war in the heart’s of caregivers. One side wants to fixate on the diagnosis. However, there is another side. This side is a child with two eyes, a big wide mouth, who needs cherished like every other kid. Some of our kids are very difficult to enjoy. Maybe they smell of crap 99% of the day, or they are aggressive, or something else. Try to find the sweet, innocent little one in there. Build on the strengths the child presents. Emphasize any small achievement.
- Short-Cut #5 CELEBRATE the good stuff! One of my kids were pretty much not out of diapers until they were twelve years old. Can you imagine? But, the times when they tried to keep using the bathroom were treated like an Academy Award. We cheered, we called grandparents, and even took pictures of them using the bathroom because it WAS THAT BIG OF A DEAL! Celebrate progress no matter how small.
- Short-Cut #6 Do NOT COMPARE! This is HUGE! It is a factor in why I’m not a fan of support groups. No matter how tempted we are, do not look at what Suzy of the Jones’s is doing! Suzy is NOT our kid. Who cares that she has trophies that could not be contained in a 10,000 square foot house? Our kids are our kids. Embrace them. I make my own crappy rewards for the kids. I have ordered them trophies. I have kept every “Participation,” ribbon because, “gosh darn it!” kids like ours often don’t get a lot of accolades. If your kids are aware, find ways to get them the cool stuff, rewards, trophies, certificates, and all. But, we dare don’t compare ours to our friends. Comparison is the thief of joy and a complete waste of time.
- Short-Cut #7 ABOVE ALL, take care of YOU! NO one understands their kids like us. We are giving our kids for a reason. Consequently, we won’t make it far if we don’t take care of us. See these posts (Seven Super Speedy, Easy Self Care Keepers, and Caring for Caregiver First. ways to care for ourselves. Do things for you, not only because we deserve it, in addition, do it for your kids. Investing in us, is investing in them. Let them see us take breaks, let them know what is healthy. We are enough. It is just fine to say, “no,”thus no explanation is needed. We got this, only if we care for ourselves. No one else can do it for us. We must do it ourselves. Do something for you, Sweet caregiver!
I hope this post leaves you smiling. I hope you feel a bit more in tune with what you are going through. We are stronger together.
What would you add to this list of shortcuts? I’d love hear. Please share in the comments below. Which of the shortcuts do you think is most important? For me, it is the seventh. If we don’t help ourselves, we won’t be around for the rest of the list.
Thank you for stopping by today. Please come again soon, blessings to you and yours today and always,
PS From what I’ve seen there is usually one person in the unit who feels overburdened, like they are doing it alone. Do whatever it takes, to insure you BOTH DO THIS TOGETHER. See a couples counselor. Talk to others in similar positions. When loved ones need extra care, get into Protection Mode, where you are there for your significant other regardless of anything as much as humanly possible. There is a reason the higher divorce rate for families of children who have extra needs. Please do not become a statistic. Guard the “us” in your life as much as you can.
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