10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RAISING A DIFFERENTLY WIRED CHILD
9: SELF-CARE IS NOT OPTIONAL Transcript
I am not going to bury the lede… I am a big proponent of self-care. I talk about it in my book, I talk about it on my podcast, I talk about it in nearly every interview or talk that I do, and yes, I’m going to talk about it here. I think that the idea of “self-care” is often misunderstood, or it seems like it’s indulgent, or it’s something only certain people have time for or access to.
But I am here to say right here and now, that self care is not indulgent and, in fact, it is 1000% not optional. Self-care, and actually I like to use the phrase conscious maintenance, is one of the most important things you can do in order to support yourself in showing up as a parent with the kind of energy and confidence and clarity that would best serve you, your children, and your family.
Let’s just break down the term self-care: Self, meaning us, and care meaning to tend to. How can we be the parent or caregiver that our child needs, and have the capacity to respond to the demands of raising a neurodivergent child, if we’re not tending to ourselves?
During these past few years of COVID, there have been a flurry of viral articles highlighting the general sense of depletion that we as a society are experiencing…this idea that our emotional reserves are empty. And that’s tough because in my experience, parents of differently wired kids tend to already have low reserves as a baseline because of the demands and stresses that can be part of this journey.
So it really is critical that we take care of ourselves — our emotional lives, our mental state, our physical selves, our spiritual selves. Because if all we’re doing is giving and doing for everyone else in our lives, especially for our kids, we are going to burn out. You may have already burned out.
Not only do we deserve to take care of ourselves, but our kids deserve parents and caregivers who model the message that we matter. We want our kids to see us intentionally supporting our own well-being, so that they grow up understanding that being a human means taking care of oneself.
Again, I talk about self-care a lot on Tilt Parenting, so I’m not going to go into all the things in this video, but I do want to leave you with a few thoughts. First, I wanted to share my definition for self-care: self-care is something that is both intentional and just for you. It’s about intentionally choosing an action or perhaps an inaction with the goal of supporting your mental, emotional, physical, and/or spiritual well being. That’s it. You get to decide what that looks like for you, what actions of self-care meet that criteria. You get to decide how much time you devote to it, where it happens, when it happens.
But I hope that you take intentional time every day for some small act of conscious maintenance, even if it’s just 2 minutes. Some small act to remind your whole being that you matter. To do something to fill up your reserves so you can best show up for whatever happens today, wherever your journey with your child takes you next. In fact, I’m going to end this video with a challenge. As soon as this video ends, which it’s going to in about 20 seconds, write down on a Post-it note or a piece of paper one thing that you commit to doing today that is intentional and it’s just for you and will support your well-being. Okay…go.
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Tilt Parenting, LLC is an educational resource, podcast, consultancy, and community with a focus on positively shifting the way neurodifferences in children are perceived, experienced, and supported, and supporting parents raising differently wired™ kids so these exceptional kids can thrive in their schools, in their families, and in their lives. It was founded by Debbie Reber in 2016.
© 2016 Deborah Reber