Balancing Journey vs. Destination Mindset With Our Kids — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Balancing Journey vs. Destination Mindset With Our Kids

by Laurie


“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end.” – Ursula K LeGuin

I think we as parents of special needs understand this more than any other parents in the world. And even still, I fight this truth so much. As someone who’s good at getting things done, organizing time, and facilitating groups and projects, the journey mindset nearly drives me crazy. I’m the mom who, on a long car drive, says “no, we’re not stopping to go to the bathroom again. We’ve got to GET to grandma’s house!”

We all do this at times. We have to. It’s not like our kids can get to school whenever they feel like it each day. Or like dishes can be put off forever.

Things have to get done. Ends must be pursued… as long as they’re healthy, life-giving ends.

For me, during the holidays that will look like:

  • Cooking fewer finicky recipes like toffee so the kids can make more messes be involved more
  • Letting the kids help me wrap presents instead of wanting everything to look perfect
  • Making time to enjoy holiday music with the family instead of having it as background music for overcommitted chaos
  • Cutting half the events I’d usually like to do, so we can enjoy the ones we attend
  • Taking in the pure joy on my kids’ faces as they discover lit-up homes in the neighborhood
  • Letting myself cry when I miss my 8 year old who’s still in the RTC
  • Deciding to stop making excuses for why we do Christmas differently
  • Letting go of my need for extended family to understand us
  • Reading more together
  • Laughing more
  • Living… in the journey towards the destination I hope for in our home: JOY.

What about you? What journey are you on this holiday?





Email Author    |    Website About Laurie

I'm a wife and mom of four girls - two with bipolar, ADHD and developmental delays. It's a daily journey to live this life well and help my girls do the same. As a speaker and life coach, I'm committed to helping other parents thrive in this wild ride too!

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1 Jo November 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Thanks for this Laurie. It is good to hear from others who do Christmas a bit differently..
For us it is the no big Christmas dinner. The kids won’t eat it and why upset it all. So we let them enjoy the day. Eat little and often as the normally do. Let them enjoy the magic of their day. anticipation , and the fun of opening presents.. Then after when they are asleep my husband and I have something nice and a bottle of wine.

We are enjoying the magic while they are still young enough to believe.
we are enjoying the run up to it all with lots of activiites at school. This is true especially for the five year old as this is his first full year in school and all that involves. The Christmas play is tomorrow.
we kept low key so the sensory overload doesn’t over ride it all.
Thanks for the quote I like it.

2 S Kelly November 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Just read your ideas for the holidays and thought, wow, how great to be able to look at things like that and just make life so much easier, calmer and less stressful by making a few simple changes or putting a little thought into things beforehand. I am going to put a few of your ideas into practice, thank you.

3 Diane Bailey November 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I love What you are doing…or not doing! Don’t worry about family, you have your focus in the correct place.

I have had to go on without my family many times, becasue they were uncomfortable with my family. It can hurt, but we move forward.

4 Laurie December 6, 2011 at 4:03 am

Sorry Diane, I just saw this comment! What did it look like for you to “move forward”? I’d love to hear your ideas.

5 Karla November 30, 2011 at 2:26 am

The journey of continuing to create memories and meaningful traditions my children will remember for the rest of their life and treasure so much they would want to pass it on.
Decorating the house for Christmas together
Listening and singing Christmas songs together
Baking cookies together
Placing the nativity scene in the main room of the house
Celebrating Jesus and the gift of life he gives us
Letting go of my need to have all my blood relatives near.
Enjoying my relatives in Christ
Recharging my trust and faith in our savior Jesus.

6 Laurie December 6, 2011 at 4:06 am

Love this, Karla!

7 Bea December 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm

This is hard for me too. Since I’m a therapist, I feel like I’m supposed to treat my son all the time. I get so focused on the goals, that sometimes I forget to just enjoy each other.

I keep fighting with my guilt and the realization that he’s my son first, not my patient.

8 Laurie December 6, 2011 at 4:05 am

I know what you mean. I’m not a therapist and I do the same thing…. all that trying to parent my girls in ways that bring mental health! Here’s to hoping we’ll have a restful time this holiday, complete with lots of off-duty moments :).

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