To the mom that just received her child’s diagnosis

I’ll never forget the day that we received our daughter’s Down Syndrome diagnosis at just 19 weeks pregnant.  There are so many things that I wish I had known then as we went into emotion overload during the following 3 weeks.  So, I decided to write a letter to the mother that is just receiving her child’s diagnosis in hopes that it will help relieve some of the emotions that I am sure she is feeling.  This is my perspective from when I received Stella’s diagnosis but maybe yours is different.

To the mom that just received her child’s diagnosis, I know that you are heartbroken beyond words.  

You feel like you’ve just received the worst possible news.  You heart breaks as you realize this is not the child that you dreamt about having.  The child that you always planned on having, was going to live a wonderful, happy life full of adventure, playdates, the occasional tantrum, school, dating, marriage and even having a child of their own one day.  You’re heart is breaking as you think of  your child missing out on any one of those things.  You cry because now all you see is your child growing up and being picked on and teased for being different.  You are sick to your stomach as you imagine the therapies and doctors appointments that she will have to endure just to do the basic things that other kids do.  The tears won’t stop  as you grieve the loss of what you thought you were getting.

To the mom that just received your child’s diagnosis, I know you are angry.  

You feel betrayed and you want someone to blame-maybe your husband, maybe the doctors, maybe yourself.  You are angry with God for letting this “happen” to your child.  It’s not fair!  You’ve done everything right!  You are a good person!  Why is this happening to you?!  You want to scream, kick and cry, IT’S NOT FAIR!

To the mom that just received your child’s diagnosis, I know you are scared.  

You have no idea how to raise a child with different needs.  You don’t feel qualified.  You’re not strong enough.  How can you possibly be a mother to this child?  God must have made a mistake, He chose the wrong person!  What if she/he doesn’t walk, talk, make friends… What if people make fun of her?  Can you handle all of that?  There’s no way you are equipped to raise this child!

To the mom that just received your child’s diagnosis, I know you are overwhelmed.  

You are feeling every emotion possible and feel like your heart may explode. I know you want to run away and hide.  Crying one minute and screaming the next, I see you.  You are full of anxiety and worry about your child’s future and your ability to raise her.  The pain and overwhelm is almost too much to bare.  You think, how can I possibly handle all of this?  Please, let this be a dream.  Please, take away this pain.

You’re going to be okay

To the mom that just received your child’s diagnosis, you’re going to be okay.  I know your heart is broken but I promise that soon, your child will fill it with so much joy.  The moment you lay eyes on her, you will know everything is going to be okay.  You will laugh more than you cry.  You will love harder than you ever have.  Your heart will break over and over again but it will also heal over and over again.  This child will show you what unconditional love really looks like. You will learn to be strong because she will teach you.  She will laugh, she will love, make friends, throw tantrums and be happy and so will you.

To the mom that just received your child’s diagnosis, you’re going to be okay.  I know you’re angry but it will subside.  The anger will soon be taken over by overwhelming love and joy.  You will let the blame go and accept that this is God’s plan and He always knows what He’s doing even if you don’t.  The anger may come back at some point, but when it comes it won’t stay long.  You will learn how to let it go and focus on the wonder that is your child.

To the mom that just received your child’s diagnosis, you’re going to be okay.  I know you are scared but you’ve got this!  You are not alone!  There is no greater community of mommas than the mommas of children with special needs.  We’ve got your back!  You will face some scary times but you will overcome them and so will your child. In fact, she will likely teach you how.  No one knows how to raise a child but we all figure it out as we go. This child will be no different, you will learn as you go.  And what a teacher you have!  I know you think you can’t but you can handle this!  And when you feel like giving up, call on your tribe!  We will be there!

To the mom that just received your child’s diagnosis, you’re going to be okay.  I know you’re overwhelmed.  Being a mother is the most overwhelming job in the world but it’s also the most rewarding.  It’s okay to feel this way.  Be sure to take time for yourself on this journey. Rest, get a massage, go out with friends, exercise, take a long bath… take care of you.   You don’t have to be a perfect mother and you won’t be.  Accept that and love yourself anyway.  The joy will always outweigh the pain.

You’re going to be okay!

5 Habits You Should Start Now

With a new year, often comes change- a new routine, stricter diets, more exercise, less clutter, bigger income, raise, etc.  You get the point.  Most people vow to make some type of positive change with the new year.  The best way to do this is starting with your daily morning habits.  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going.”  This could not be more true and I’m proof of it!  There are 5 daily habits that I added to my morning routine 3 years that have had such a huge impact on my life.  I’m going to give you a glimpse into my morning routine and the 5 habits you should start NOW.

Not a morning person!

I’m not nor have I ever been a morning person!  In fact, just the opposite, ask my hubby.  People who know my morning routine and what time I wake up each day, like to assume that I am, in fact a morning person.  But they are wrong.  I’ve just created some habits that have transformed my mornings and make things run so much smoother.

A question I get from my followers all the time is, “How do you stay so motivated to workout and get up so early?”  Here’s the thing, motivation has very little, if anything to do with it.  I have just created these habits which include working out, that have become a part of my daily life.  So for me to sleep in (I do on occasion) or skip a workout (very very rare) feels odd to me because I’m so use to doing these things.  They are habits!

So, how do you create these habits?

First, you need to decide what new habits you want to start and jot them down.  I’ll post a picture of the ones I recommend and you can screenshot them.  Keep that list somewhere that you will see it everyday when you wake up.  Next, you need to create your “why.”  It may sound cheesy but if you don’t know why you want to create these habits, it will make it that much easier for you to just skip them.  Your why needs to be strong, powerful and make you want to jump out of bed.  Write it down and post it with your daily habits.  Read it every morning!  This all sounds easy so far, right?  NOPE!  Of course it’s not easy!  If it were, everyone would do it.  Nothing worth having comes easy.  It takes work and dedication.

Now, it’s time to get your emotions out of the way.  Emotions are great when they are pushing us to do something hard.  But what about the emotions that so often prevent us from reaching our goals?  Those are the ones we have to recognize as emotions and learn to release them.  It’s okay to feel emotions like, “I’m too tired, I don’t want to get up, I don’t feel like working out, I’m too sad to do it today, too stressed, too busy….”  Those are emotions that so many of us let control us and keep us from reaching our full potential.   But it’s time to put your big girl panties on and LET THAT SHIT GO and do the things any way!  It’s time you had some tough love!  Feel it and do it anyway!

We become what we repeatedly do

Read that again!  We become what we repeatedly do!  If you are always making excuses- that is the person you will become.  And no one likes that person, come on!  The good news is that you always have the choice to replace those excuses with new, positive habits that will actually benefit your life.  YOU have that choice!  You choose the kind of person that you become.  Today, decide what kind of person yo want to be and create the habits that will support that!

My morning routine

I’m a huge believer that how you start your morning sets the tone for the day.  That’s why for the last 3 years, I’ve made a conscious effort to wake up each day before my kids for my momma time.  I’ve had a very similar routine that I have been following for these last few years that has been a game changer for me.  As I mentioned before, I’m not a morning person so having this time to myself before having to deal with everyone else’s issues is priceless.

Gone are the days of waking up, rushing around to get 3 kids ready for school and out the door before I even have a chance to breathe or have coffee (I need coffee!). It doesn’t mean that my mornings aren’t very stressful.  I have 3 kids, so of course everything doesn’t always go as planned.  But now, when they wake up, I’m in a peaceful, fully caffeinated state of mind so that I can handle what they throw at me.  I’m telling y’all, major game changer!

I’m going to share with you what my mornings look like.  I highly suggest you read the book My Morning Miracle and really learn how to take back your mornings.  You can thank me later!

5:00- Alarm goes off TIP- Place your alarm (phone) in your bathroom.  It will force you to get up.  Seriously, do it!

5:05- Walk/stumble to the kitchen, start coffee and drink 16 oz water while coffee is brewing.

5:08- Sitting in my favorite chair I meditate for about 10 minutes.  Sometimes I use a guided meditation but not always.  Here are my favorite guided meditations-  Meditation Minis Calm

5:20- Read my daily scripture and spend time with God.  This is the app I use Inspirations

5:30ish- Read person development- You can check out a few of my favorite books here.

5:45- Quickly jot down things that I need to do for the day and list the in order of priority

5:50- Time to get the boys ready for school

6:30- Boys are on bus and now I make my “Momma Crack!”  This is my life line and I can’t workout without it!  Here’s what I use for my pre workout drink, “momma crack.”

6:45- Workout!

After that it’s time for Stella to wake up and be on her way to school and my day really starts!

Take a screenshot of the picture below and make these 5 habits a part of your new routine in 2019.

 

 

 

 

Self-Care as a Special Needs Mom

 Self-Care as a Special Needs Mom

I took a vow in January to devote more time to self-care and I challenged others to do the same. We started off the year pretty strong but I feel like, summer came and my self care habits left.  Anyone else?

This summer was probably my toughest summer yet as a mom of a child with special needs.  Having Stella home all summer long, meant that my attention was spent on her, all summer long!  My old tricks of putting a movie on or giving her her iPad so that I could get something done, didn’t work this summer. She had other plans, and they involved me playing with her constantly or her getting into everything she was not suppose to.  Therefore, my self-care time was extra tough to squeeze in.

What worked for me

One thing that did remain constant for me, at least during the week, was waking up before my kiddos. I’ve stated many times that I am NOT a morning person but I have learned to love that morning time before the kids wake up. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, it’s enough time to enjoy my coffee and focus on just me, before dealing with the chaos that is my life.  If you do nothing else for yourself, I highly encourage you to take this time to start your day off right.  It will completely transform your days!

The second thing that I have continued to do and that I highly recommend to other mommas, is taking time to move your body.  Being a special needs parent can be exhausting both mentally and physically.  It can cause anxiety, stress and overwhelm.  One of the best and healthiest ways to overcome those feelings is with exercise. You don’t need to go out and run a marathon (more power to you if that’s your choice), or spend hours at the gym.  But what you do need, what your body and mind need is some type of exercise.  This could be as simple as going for a walk or doing 20 minutes of yoga.

Exercise is such a great natural way to produce endorphins.  You know those chemicals in the brain that can act like natural pain killers, help with sleep and reduce stress.  Yea, those!  Even a 10 minute brisk walk can help provide a few hours of decreased tension.  And a bonus, is that when we exercise, it actually helps to improve our self esteem.  I’m sure most of us could use that boost.

Finding time

I know, I know!  You’re busy and you don’t have time!  Girl, I get it!  I’m not asking you to spend a ton of time on yourself.  But I’m telling you that it is necessary for you to spend SOME time on yourself.  Self-care will make you a better mother, wife, friend, person.  As a mom of a child with Down Syndrome that requires a lot of my time and attention-even when she’s not with me,  I’m telling you, you NEED this.  So, I’m going to make it easy for you by giving you these 2 very small steps to begin with.

Wake up first

I don’t care what time you have to get up in the morning (I get up at 5:00 and have gotten up as early as 4:00), you must wake up at least a half an hour before your kiddos.  Turn off your Netflix at night and go to bed early.  No one will judge you for leaving dishes in the sink or having a messy house- just go to bed early.

Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT, check your social media first thing in the morning!  That is not how you want to start your day.  Instead, focus solely on you during this time.  Here’s what my routine looks like:

  1. Wake up
  2. Fix coffee
  3. Sit in my chair and meditate for about 10 minutes (I listen to Meditation Minis by Chel Hamilton or the Calm app)
  4. Pray or write in gratitude journal
  5. Read or listen to Personal development

If you do this everyday, I promise you that it will completey transform your days.  Taking this time for you and to count your blessings and just breathe, will be a game changer.  Don’t make me beg you, just please give it a try and see for yourself.

Exercise

I exercise at a minimum of 4 days a week, no matter what!  Sometimes that means that my daughter is on my back while I’m planking.  There are times when my workouts are interrupted so that I can give her another snack or change her movie.  I typically try to get my workout in before she wakes up but that’s just not always the case.

Working out with kiddos

My workouts are typically about 30 minutes and involve cardio and weight training.  Just enough time to get my endorphins moving and burn some calories.  I love weight training because it’s imperative to me to be strong for my daughter-physically and mentally.  My workouts challenge my mind and my body.  If you’ve ever had to hold down a child with low muscle tone, who is strong as an ox and limber as a dishrag, you get the importance of being physically strong.  All my workouts are done from home.

All of us momma’s need to take time for self-care!  As a momma of child with special needs, I’ve come to realize just how important that time is.  We spend so much time and energy focused on our children.  Even when they are not with us, we are worrying, over analyzing, trying to plan their future, stressing, coordinating therapies and doctor’s appointments – constantly.  As busy as we all are, it’s necessary for us to take some time each day, to spend on us so that we can be the best version for them.