Thursday, April 28, 2016

Do You Have Any Wiggle Room?

Life can be complicated. This is especially true with parenting a child with learning differences. Is is easy to get involved in lots of great pursuits. It may be church events, school leadership, organizations with a child's activities or an advocacy group for a hard felt cause. But when is enough activity enough! And when is it way too much?

One important lesson I have learned is that I have to have margins. A margin Is a little space, commonly known as wiggle room, to regroup easily if the unexpected occurs. I can't cope well if I have every last second filled with activity. First, I need a little down time figured into my life. Another phrase I use is " I need to catch my breath." This is a phrase that can't be taken literally as some of my friends who are literal concrete thinkers tend to do. It really means do I have a little extra time where I don't have to be "on" with responsibilities. Second, I have learned that it is ok to pick and choose what good activities I will do. There are so many good things to spend my time doing. I know I could do many of them but not well. I have to concentrate on the ones that are best for this time in life.

When my son was first diagnosed many years ago, I cut out most activities outside of my home. I needed to do this so I could get my bearings on our family's "new normal." I made sure I kept our home organized because both my son and I did better. My house was not perfectly manicured. Organization meant clean clothes, dinner on the table at 6 and enough rest for our family to function well. It meant that I bowed out of doing much at church or school for a couple of years. I only went to my other children's sporting events that were in town.

Yes, I gave up some things that the GOOD mother, pastor's wife and friend were SUPPOSE to do and be. What happened? Life became much less crazy. I think all five of us would say the sacrifices were not too overwhelming. In fact, no one even remembers those individual things today. The thing that sticks out is.....life was crazy for a while and then it significantly calmed down.

Wiggle room or margins made a big difference. I was the one who had to lead the way as the primary care giver in our family. It was Sooo worth any sacrifices made!