taking care of caregiver — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

taking care of caregiver


My girls are suddenly into having pretty fingernails. They want me to use nail polish and make their fingers “fancy.” The four year old is particularly hooked on anything fancy and, in spite of her tomboy spirit the eight year old wants anything her sister gets – especially Mom’s undivided attention as I apply the polish.

Now when was the last time I took the time to make myself fancy? Let’s see…

  • I haven’t had a haircut in over a year.
  • Showers are still a rare and special treat.
  • Last time I had a real pedicure was almost two years ago.
  • The other day when I was folding laundry I realized I was folding a shirt that I bought when I was in high school – and yes I did wear it out in public.
  • I did manage to get an annual physical the other day, and only 7 months late.

There just always seems to be too many other more important things to do. Our time and money are both limited right now, so if the kids need something, it comes first. But does this mean I should neglect myself completely? I think not, and I got the lesson in a strange way.

thumbnail with nail polish flower

A little self care goes a long way

I had just finished the girls’ nails the other morning and thought I should make my own nails fancy, too…but we were running late. So I just dabbed some polish on my thumbnail in the shape of a flower, and ran out the door – trying carefully not to smudge it as I grabbed my purse. It’s kind of silly, and done totally on a whim, but it’s amazing how much that little flower has boosted my spirits in the last couple of weeks.

  • It has lasted far longer than I expected it to. The photo above was just taken this morning. It’s still in fine shape.
  • It makes me think a little harder about which clothes I’m putting on – “Hey! This matches my flower…that will be pretty.”
  • I catch sight of it as I go about taking care of my family, and working, and writing, and I smile and remember that taking care of myself is important, too…even just a little bit.

So what will you do to take care of yourself today?

I know it is hard. Just take a moment. Do something little. If you’re like me even the little thing can seem pretty big.


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This Year’s Medical Goodie Bag

  • Alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen every two hours
  • Alternate daytime / nighttime cold / cough remedy OR
  • Allergy antihistamine – whatever seems to work well or that particular kiddo
  • Vicks Vapor Rub (aka Mentholatum for other ‘old school peeps’ like me) on the chest and slathered about the feet at night with socks
  • Warm mist humidifier
  • Cold damp cloth on the forehead
  • Albuterol breathing “treatments” as needed for wheezing
  • Antibiotics when they’re finally granted

Medical Goodie BagThis is my new routine – my sick routine of the last month or more. It started with J’s strep which was quickly and painfully eradicated with a bicillan injection.

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The Hardest Word I’ve Ever Said

Seven years. Over a thousand hours at hospitals and specialist appointments. Countless interventions at home. And it turns out the most important word to help my daughter’s treatment is this:


No… we’re not doing a nineteenth round of medication adjustments. It’s time for hospitalization.

No… I won’t take her home from the hospital and keep doing the things that haven’t worked in the past.

No… I won’t take her home, period. She needs more help than we can give her. It’s time for residential placement.

No… We’re not going to let her case be assigned to an intern at your teaching facility.

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Waiting…. Waiting…. Waiting….

I don’t like waiting. Which is kind of ironic because I’m a mom, and a mom of multiple developmentally delayed kids.

For years we’ve been waiting with one of our daughters – waiting for meds to kick in, for her moods to stabilize, for her mind to find balance. At our meeting with the counselor at her residential facility today, we all saw her treatment there is only scratching the surface so far. These mood swings, PTSD behaviors from foster care, and internal walls will be there for a while. So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how not to get stuck in life’s waiting seasons.

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Food is so frustrating! {with Made to Crave book giveaway}

As special needs parents, we give up a lot. Our time. Our energy. Some of our relationships. Our vision of what might have been our lives as a family. With all the things we give up, it would be really darned nice if we didn’t fall under the same rules of slowing middle-aged metabolism, so at least we could eat what we want to!

“Worries go down better with soup.”  ~Jewish Proverb

Well, at first they do. Then you might as well staple that soup to your rear end, because if you find yourself in middle age (even slightly so, as I am) that’s where it’s headed anyway.

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4 Reasons to ask for help, even though it’s a pain in the neck

Okay, I’ve got high needs kids. But I’ve got my own problems too, and I’m really good at ignoring them. Which becomes impossible every once in a while, especially if I’ve been ignoring the scoliosis and arthritis in my back. Recently I messed up my neck and back (again) and went in for a massage with my therapist. She wasn’t working that day, but I felt adventurous (and in pain), so I was happy to work with the new therapist.

Until I met her.

She was bossy and curt and as soon as we got to the room, she sat me down and challenged me: “How long has it been since someone worked on your back?”

Too long, I thought.

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