And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” Mark 6:31
This is one of those things that could get me kicked-out of the Special Needs Mom Club. Could garner some frowns, and some quiet “smh’s”. But I’m admitting it anyways, because you need to do it too. I recently left my special guy. For six days. And went to Paris! (cue gasp)
We special mommas are constantly urged to take care of ourselves. Take some time, do something for “you”. But we don’t. We can’t. Sounds good on paper, but it actually doesn’t work. Well, dear friend, you MUST. And here’s the part you don’t realize, it’s for the benefit of your child. No, not because he’ll have a happier or well-rested momma (of course, that’s a bonus). But because – and I know this is going to be uncomfortable – he NEEDS to experience life without you.
I decided this past Fall to carve out “me time” each week, along with all the chores, errands and cleaning I need to accomplish during the precious few hours that Nick is at school. I’ve committed to lunch or coffee dates with long-lost (and some new) girlfriends at least twice a month. Recently over a delicious plate of hummus and grilled chicken during one of these lunches, my sweet friend invited me along for her upcoming weekend in Paris. I IMMEDIATELY dismissed it and said I could not. Ever. She’s one of my new friends, and perhaps didn’t understand that I really could not leave Nick, like REALLY. She was sure I could. The airfares were unbelievably cheap. She had already paid for the Air B&B, and it would be super fun – Paris!!
Later that evening, I mentioned it to my husband, as a side note to my days events, and he says: “You should definitely go.” Wait, what? No. That doesn’t work. What about Nick? His medicine, his anxiety, picking up from school, homework, bathtime, bed time, etc? Now I must say, I don’t doubt my husband’s ability to care for his son. But dear hubby spends 10 hours a day bringing home the bacon, and adding Nick’s full-time care for six straight days to that seems impossible. (Dad is my MVP pinch-hitter, like for grocery store runs, hair appointments, or girls-night-out).
Well friends, let’s fast forward to this morning: I’ve just returned from 6 chilly days in Paris! I’m sipping my good ‘ol American coffee, writing you this note, and Nick…. is still alive! Are there things that fell through the cracks? Yep! Are there situations that occurred, that I would’ve handled differently, avoided altogether, or rearranged? Of course. Was my Nick sad? Did he miss me? His sweet little face at the airport last night assured me that he did, and that he doesn’t like it when I’m gone.
There is collateral damage from my trip which I’ll share, not as a complaint, but because it will make the special moms giggle: Dad forgot the Probiotics for several days (constipation on it’s way), Nick has a terrible cold (home today with a fever), one day dad sent McDonalds to school for lunch (I’m sure the teachers loved that), the PCP check-up ended with several people sticking his arm to find a vein, but no one finding it (always. use. a Phlebotomist), and I haven’t even asked the teachers how he did at school during my absence.
The real reason I just shared the previous flubs is because: BIG DEAL!!! Seriously. You know what else happened? Dad & Nick went to Disney World for three nights! Nick learned that mom isn’t his only source of comfort and help. He missed me terribly, and then I came back. Nick needs to know that he’s ok without me. That is so important as he gets older, and he won’t learn it unless I leave. I need to teach this lesson consistently for his benefit, and more frequently as the years go by.
Dear sweet momma, if your child cannot function without you, you are failing him. If you believe your child cannot function without you, I say to you: I seriously doubt it. Someone else can take care of him for an hour, a day, a weekend. Will they do it exactly like you? No. Will your child miss you? Yes – that’s ok. Missing our loved ones is a very typical emotion. It’s one most children learn to handle appropriately but one that we often protect our special kids from.
I don’t know your situation, or what keeps you tied to home. But think outside of the box, figure it out. You can and should leave your child for a getaway. I know parents of typical kids that never leave them. How sad for the parents, but more so for the child. Next time I’m taking dad with me! We’ll find a way, and Nick will survive. We all have to learn things the hard way, and there is pain in progress. But only from progress do we attain success. Get away. And don’t you dare feel bad about it! #sorrynotsorry
PS: I had a great time in Paris (but you knew that, I didn’t want to rub it in).