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.