After Thanksgiving Goodies

This is a good month- I love Thanksgiving. I am so happy to see Demi Lovato, one of my sobriety role models, out of rehab. Enjoy the posts and leftovers!

The Road to Authenticity

5 Ways to Conquer Self-Kindness

Healing Through Creativity: Art and Hippo Therapy

Broken Wings Part 5: What I Wish My Spouse Knew

Song Lyric Saturday with Britney Spears

Broken Wings Part 5: What I Wish My Spouse Knew

What I Wish My Spouse Knew About Our Child With Special Needs

This series was inspired by a Facebook post I read six weeks ago. A member posted this question “Does having a special needs child affect your marriage?” Post after post, people shared examples of how their marriage was tested. Some made it, others did not. I always wanted to create a platform where people could talk and share their experiences, the good and the bad. I cannot thank my collaborator Wrae Meredith Sanders enough for her open and honest contributions. Whatever your decision is, I hope you know you’re not alone and you will make it.

This is the last part of this series. Please feel free to like, comment, and share.

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There are many things that I can look back on now and wish that I could change. I’m unable to change the damage that was done to our marriage- both of us did things that we regret but we have been able to move forward together.

If I’d known that we would disagree so much and loudly, I would have shut the door a little more. I would have stopped and asked for a break–this would have helped more than we realized at the time. I would have asked why we had to be right all the time instead of coming up with a compromise.

Julian Needed Us to Come Together, Not Fall Apart

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If I’d known then that I’d spend many nights crying myself to sleep for so many reasons, I would hit the rewind button. I would figure out each separate reason instead of letting it all become a big ball of depression.

I thought I was doing the right thing–fighting you for Julian’s needs. This turned out to be two evaluations, a diagnosis of ADHD (combined), traits of Asperger’s (later amended to High Functioning Autism) and medications. He also needed group therapy.

Moms are supposed to do what it takes for their kids, right? The only thing is, I did it alone. I didn’t listen to you. You didn’t want any of these things to happen because you were in denial. If I had known what to say and not be confrontational, I would have done it. But I didn’t. That’s where I went wrong.

I tried explaining, even in a way you could understand but that didn’t do it. In your family, disabilities aren’t real unless you see it. Julian has the kind you can’t see. You couldn’t see it, so it didn’t exist. This even applied when Julian almost broke my nose and I had to get X-Rays.

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I sought out ways to deal with the loneliness. When your husband is in denial and emotionally bashes you daily, you have to find a way to cope. I drank. That was not productive at all.

I went out a lot with people who turned out to not be good for me, you even tried to tell me, but I didn’t trust you enough to care. I worked out in the gym obsessively and lost 60 lbs. Even my doctor was concerned. I barely ate for days on end. This didn’t help my decision making.

What I Know Now

We worked hard to put this family back together. I still have problems opening up to you this day. I finished therapy two months ago. You were there from day one to the last and cheered me on the whole time.

During that time, Julian has grown, and he has done well. He finished group therapy and dealt well with a change in providers. He is going into the seventh grade after a few bumps adjusting to middle school.

You’ve become so supportive of Julian and I. When he has a bad day, I know I can tell you about it. You’re happy when he does well. Raising kids isn’t easy and we have three. Having a kid with special needs makes things a bit more interesting and sometimes difficult. I’m glad that both of us decided to make this work.

Thanks. I know Julian wouldn’t say it but I’m sure he likes his mom and dad being together.

Love always…

Wrae

What I Wish My Husband Knew About Being A Special Needs Mom

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Dear Husband,

Never at the age of forty did I dream I would marry, then become pregnant a few months later. It took us both by surprise yet we agreed to go on this wild journey called parenting. I had a little more experience with raising a child as my daughter was fourteen when we tied the knot.

I was fat, tired, and cranky–everything a pregnant woman is and probably will be as long as little humans continue to beautifully invade our personal space. There were precautions because of my age and health, but I was sure I would go full term.

But I didn’t. He came nearly three months early. After a long stay at the hospitals, oxygen tanks, and therapy, our baby boy could live a normal life.

There’s Something About Keith

We both noticed how energetic he was, how once he started talking he couldn’t stop, and how sleep evaded him. No worries though, I sleep trained him. Plus, kids are naturally talkative and hyper, right?

But he never slowed down. After being kicked out of two daycares, we had him evaluated. I already knew, but I wanted to hear the doctor say it. He had ADHD.

Now here’s where the story starts to fall apart

I ran straight towards the ADHD armed with books, natural medicine because our pediatrician refused to help him, and age-appropriate behavioral techniques. You ran in the other direction, straight to the door of denial.

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Days grew into weeks, months, and even years. Six years isn’t much time to some, but when a person feels like they’re carrying the load alone, it can seem like a millennium.

The feeling is familiar because I went through the same thing raising my daughter alone. I felt overwhelmed all the time. I feel that way now.

As the primary caregiver, I stay on top of his meds, homeschool him, and take him to the doctor’s appointments.

I know you can argue that since I don’t have a nine to five, I should be doing this anyway. I remember carrying the same load as a full-time working mom too.

And when you did participate…

Yes, you went to the doctor with us sometimes. You ‘yessed’ your way through the appointments, but the heavy part of the load rests on my shoulders.

When he’s having a bad day, I try to redirect. You punish him by sending him to bed.

If he talks back, I remind him that his behavior is inappropriate, you yell at him and say things he will repeat later when he’s frustrated.

Even when you excuse yourself from spending time with him, he loves you anyway.

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If I thought you would really listen to what I have to say, I’d tell you that you are creating an insecure man who will be afraid to share his feelings, think he isn’t good enough and may do inappropriate things to get attention.

But I’m not brave enough. What I am is strong. I’m strong enough to walk away and do it on my own.

I don’t want to, but his well being comes first. The only reason I haven’t walked away now is that much like a little girl, I have hope.

You’re not a bad person. That’s why I haven’t left yet.

Until then, I pray we can fix these broken wings.

Love,

Bonnie

Comments? Leave them below.

Thank you so much for reading this series! We appreciate your support during this month. If you missed any of the previous parts, you can catch up here:

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Broken Wings Part 4: The New Normal

It’s so important that children maintain a routine as much as possible, even during a family separation. Kids need stability to feel safe and comforted.

How Your Kids Can Help You Navigate ‘The New Normal’

Get your child’s input

Try to let them choose things for the new home- bed sheets, wall art, even kitchen utensils. Kids like to feel included in big events in life, moving to or going back and forth to a new place is one of them.

Maintain discipline

Some kids may try to bend the rules a bit in the midst of a divorce. They know they their parents are distracted by a lot of events and thoughts. They need to know that no matter which home they are in, all former rules apply.

Create a calendar for both homes

This calendar can include which days the child is with each parent and can be a great visual reminder. It can also include school, sport and other events so that nothing is forgotten and everyone is informed.

Packing isn’t always a breeze but it can be made easier. Both parents should keep necessities- pajamas, toothbrushes, etc. Make a plan for what happens when your child forgets something.

Make both homes familiar

This may mean having two of a few things but it may be worth it, at least in the beginning. Are their things that can be split between two homes?

This information can be found in Parents Magazine

Dating after Divorce

Dating is hard in today’s world, but after divorce, it can be even harder to want to try to find love again. You may want to take a break to work on certain areas of your life. You may be ready to start dating as soon as your divorce is final- everyone is different.

6 Rules for Dating after Divorce

  • Wait until you feel the relationship is serious before introducing your child to the person.
  • Remind your child that no matter who you date, you will always be there for and care for them. They need the reassurance that they come first.
  • Listen to your child’s feelings about the person but don’t let them run your dating life.
  • Don’t date because you’re lonely.
  • Jumping in a relationship too soon teaches your child how to avoid pain and wind up in unhealthy relationships.
  • Sleepovers? That is up to every couple and situation. It may be better and less confusing if those occur when the child is with the other parent.

Information found on Divorce Magazine and Metro Parent

These tips are meant to help and encourage through a very rocky part of life. With a lot of support and understanding, kids can adjust well to life after divorce.

On the journey to your new normal

If you find yourself saying things like “when we were a family” it may be time to make some new memories. Creating a new normal may seem hard at first, however, it can be done.

This isn’t to say old traditions aren’t important. You should encourage your kids to remember the good things when you were together, by the same token, teaching them to move forward helps them to deal with change.

Your new “normal” can be anything you want. More importantly, the fun doesn’t have to stop. And what’s even more satisfying, you can invite your ex IF you two are in a good place.

Word to the wise, if you or your children haven’t made peace, you may want to hold off on invites to your family’s new traditions.

New traditions

Cooking

For the love of food. Food, depending on how it’s consumed, can help heal. If you don’t believe me, get a copy of the movie Soul Food, a film about how a working-class family uses Sunday dinner to come together during the ups and downs of life.

Family meals still should be a priority after the divorce. The meal doesn’t have to be fancy either. Use your divorce to teach children this important life skill.

There are cooking kits for children you can order. If your divorce left you strapped for cash, there are cooking videos for children on YouTube for kids with special needs. Get your ingredients and get cooking!

Volunteer Time

Caring for others is a great way to teach your children compassion. Take your children to an animal shelter to volunteer once a month. Dogs and cats make great companions especially for children with special needs.

There are hundreds of opportunity to get involved in your community. Google volunteer opportunities in your hometown or download handy apps like meetup.com to find family projects in your area. Charities like Homes for Habitat welcome all kinds of helpers and can find something for your special needs child to do.

New Anniversary for your New Normal

The first holiday without your spouse is hard for everyone. It’s especially hard if there are custody issues that haven’t been worked out. Your special needs children are extra sensitive this time; you may feel the need to walk on eggshells.

Old traditions may have included trips to the in-law’s house. If the two of you are not in a good space right now, what do you do?

In special circumstances like these, put your differences aside, and put your kids first. Generally speaking, when there’s a will, there’s a way. Taking a chapter from a television favorite “This Is Us” create new traditions. Remember the first Thanksgiving episode?

This Is Us

Rebecca got into a heated argument with her mother. Jack’s tire blew out on a dusty road. Instead of begging her judgemental mom to pick them up, they spent Thanksgiving in a cabin with Pilgrim Rick, eating Cheese Wiz, hot dogs, and saltines.

In other words, they made lemonade out of the lemons! Provided if there is enough time, ask your former in-laws if everyone would meet on neutral ground. Restaurants like Shoney’s, IHOP and dozens of others open on major holidays.

Your kids still get to see their grandparents and you get to go home to a clean house! Win-Win!

Should there be a clause in your divorce decree where the two of you split the holidays; use your alone time to start a tradition for yourself. Visit a friend you haven’t see in years, go see your family by yourself, or have your first bachelor/bachelorette get together.

Conclusion

Mulling over what used to be doesn’t do you or your children any favors. Instead of living in the past, use this time to plan your future. Help your special needs children become self-sufficient.

The only way to accomplish this is to show them how strong and compassionate you are. There will be rough days. There will be days they will miss the other parent, but show them their family is still whole.

Encourage them to find peace in broken pieces.

Comments

What about you? Did you create new traditions after your divorce? We’d love to hear about them, please share your comments below.

If you missed any of the previous parts of the series, you can find them: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

bonnie@adhdhomeschooled.com

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