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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Time For Myself

I am one of the lucky ones. Not everybody gets a "stress-break" away from the kids, and that can be hard. Believe me when I say it's even harder for parents of a child with ADHD. Ok, I get a break nowadays, but there was a time when I never got a break so I do know how important it is to make time for yourself as a parent.

See, with our other kids, we're always protective, and we worry about them lots, but with our ADHD children those feelings are intensified. Why? Because of thoughts like this: "Nobody else understands.", "Everybody thinks our child is unruly or naughty.", "My childs brothers and sisters are getting jealous of the amount of time, energy and attention my child needs."

Thoughts like these make it really hard for us to "let go" and let other people help us when we need it most. I was guilty of this for the longest time, until it got to the stage where I was almost totally burnt out.

I decided i HAD to tell friends and family about the way things were, and not gloss over it constantly. If I needed a break, I knew I had to ASK other people to step in, like my mother, or my best friend. People aren't mind-readers, so without letting them know what's going on, they can't possibly know that we need their help.

I still remember the first time I ever mentioned Kyle's problem to my mother. Years ago, long before he ever got diagnosed. She went mad at me. Told me I was imagining the whole thing etc etc etc. She really thought I was just stressed out and blaming it on Kyle. It took a while to get her to see, but with constant communication she DID start to see where I was coming from.

That's when she started taking Kyle off my hands for a week every now and again, and taking all the kids for the Saturday night. Seriously, I don't know how I coped without time for myself before. I suppose I just struggled along and numbed myself as much as I could by ignoring my own feelings.

What I'm saying is, if you have a child with ADHD, he is likely to need a lot more of your energy and attention than you feel you can give at times. Tell your friends and family. Tell them you need a "stress-break", even if it's only for a couple of hours.

Believe me, you'll feel so much better for it and your child will have had the pleasure of some one-on-one time with somebody who cares about him/her.

Take the time to de-stress, go watch a movie, soak in the bath or do some exercise. Spend time with your spouse, or friends. Anything that you find pleasurable. Just go ahead and do it, and don't feel guilty about being away from your kids, they are fine, and probably happy to be out of the "stress-zone" for a couple of hours too ;~)

Anna

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