Thursday, November 04, 2010

This little light of mine

When you are a parent of a child with extra needs, or just a parent, when you homeschool, or just deal with the homework after school, it is pretty important to also think about where you fit into the equation. Lots of times I sit down at the end of a particularly sucky day and just shake my head and think: "What was going on with him today?" Then, usually a day or two later I feel my mood shifting and realize that I was the one who had been in a funk and that Oliver was, in many ways, responding and reacting to me. Of course he is! But sometimes in the thick of things it is hard to be so full of insight.

I bring this up because mid-October to February is a particularly hard time for me to parent through. I've never been a person who loved the winter months but only after I started my second career as a stay-at-home-work-at-home mom, did my seasonal mood issues become a real issue. It was intense and I just wasn't able to be the kind of mom I wanted to be. Last year I focused on maintaining my diet and exercise regimen but that offered only the slightest relief. This year I bought a light therapy box. And guess what? It is remarkable!

Each morning while waking I turn my head towards the little palm-sized box next to my bed. I wake up feeling rested and full of energy (that is, I don't want to hang myself at the thought of getting out of bed), I have my morning coffee and don't even think of another cup all day, I don't feel like I'm going to die without a nap by late afternoon. And, since I was never able to nap, there was also the binge-eating of high calorie foods: also, not a problem now (Well, mostly, I mean: Halloween didn't help!). 

Last year I thought about getting a light box. I even talked about it with my family doctor. But ultimately I didn't want to spend the money and figured I could tough it out. Again. This year, however, I found an inexpensive travel light and now I can't believe how I ever lived without it. If I had known how amazing it would be I would have gladly paid 5x the amount!

The thing is: we parents are mostly alike in that we'd do just about anything for our kids. We spend all kinds of money on therapies and therapeutic toys and special this and extra that -- you know: having a kid with extra needs is expensive and time-consuming. So I guess what I want to say is: YOU are the most important part of what your kid needs! Don't forget to make time for yourself. Figure out what you need and then find a way to make that happen. Even if you are the sort of person who is never able to make yourself a priority (this is you, right?) -- do it anyway. I promise you won't regret it. And your kids will thank you for it.


  1. Ah, what a relief to have done something good for yourself and something that really works. Good for you my friend. Miss you.

  2. How wonderful that the light is helping so much. I have an aunt who lives in northern Idaho and she battled depression in the winter months and found light therapy very helpful as well.

    This has been on my mind a lot as well - helping myself the way I help the boys. As my load lightens (a bit) with them I need to shift just a little of that focus my way. It really does come back around to helping them anyway. Needed that! Thank you.

  3. Anonymous11:33 PM

    First, I need to tell my sister about the light box. I think she'd love it.

    Second, I often times (a lot) see how my mood is what sets the tone here and how much it affects Charlotte. Sarah, too, but I think moreso with Charlotte.

    Last, for me, I don't know what that *thing* is to do for me. What can I do to help myself? I just don't know...

  4. O.M.G., Christine, you have described my existence to a T! Can you email me (or say on the blog) what the specific product is and where you got it? I think I may need one. Seriously.

  5. The light box! I'm totally going to get one of those as we are planning a move to MN and I have some serious SAD issues already. What one did you get, if you don't mind my asking?

    I'm so glad you feel the difference from it, just the thing I needed to hear as we are heading into the winter months.

  6. Winter is setting in and I am a carb-seeking machine. Lord help me.