5 Things moms of a child with special needs should always do
I love the saying, "If mom is happy, everybody is happy." It's something that I never heard until I came to the U.S. and it is SO true. The mother is the emotional thermometer of the family and it's impossible to give our children the best of ourselves if we are unhappy. We need to nurture ourselves first. According to award-winning journalist Sofía Lachapelle, who is the mother of two kids with autism, this is particularly important when raising children with special needs
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Lachapelle, star reporter of Telemundo's Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste and founder of the organization Un paso a la vez (One Step at the time), for Hispanic families of children with special needs, admits that the road has been difficult, but says that nowadays she sees her children as superheroes with super powers. Well, if her kids are superheroes then she is, without a doubt, a supermom--Lachapelle not only went back to school and has now a master's degree in special education to help her boys Jayson and Maximus, but she is an activist an a advocate for Latino families. She is also the author of the book about autism: Soy un súper héroe con poderes especiales (I'm a super hero with special powers.)
I had the privilege of talking to Lachapelle about her journey and she told me the five things she had learned were essential so a Latina mom of a kid with special needs keeps her life balanced and is able to be the best possible mother she can be.
1. Find time for yourself. It's very hard to carve that half hour to take a walk, meditate, get a manicure or just do nothing, but this time is very important. An exhausted mom is no good to anybody.
2. Stop asking yourself why and concentrate on what's the purpose. To have a child diagnosed as having special needs changes your life in unexpected ways. You have to be ready to enjoy the great parts of the journey. Asking why is paralyzing, but to find your purpose moves you forward.
3. Use the resources around you to help yourself. All the health workers that help your child can give you a hand dealing with other members of the family. Lachapelle got her son's therapist to explain his situation to her mother. It took a big part of the drama and the stress our of the equation.
4. Don't forget about your romantic life. It's normal that the weeks following the diagnosis, the mom wants only to focus on her child, but after a while you need to pay attention to other areas of your life, particularly your significant other. Many marriages break with the stress. Take the time to take care of your relationship.
5. Forget the word handicap. Everybody is capable of doing something constructive. All children have super powers. You have to find your child's and focus on developing it.
Image via Un paso a la vez