Self-Care for Special Needs Moms

EmpowerHer Journey, Guest Posts

Self-Care for Special Needs Moms

guest post by Ray Holmes

Self-care for Special Needs Mom

When someone is depending on you so much for their care, it can be hard to pinpoint when it’s time for your own self-care.

Being the special needs mom of two, it can be a daily struggle for me to make time for myself in the midst of busy therapy schedules, behaviors, meltdowns, routines, mealtimes, playtime, and bedtime.

I get lost in it all. But I have come to realize your body will let you know when it’s had enough.

Just take my visit to the ER at the end of 2018.

Oxygen levels? Great.
Lungs? Great.
Heart? Great.

“Then why can’t I breathe?” I asked the nurse.

“Well sweetheart, do you ever have panic attacks?”, she asked.

I couldn’t believe for the 3rd time (yep you read that right, the 3rd time), I was in the ER because of anxiety induced symptoms.

Thankful that I wasn’t dying, I realized that I needed to get a hold onto my stress-levels or there would probably be a fourth visit.

Self-care for the Special Needs Mom

I’d love to say that I immediately took the time to take care of myself and made sure that I was practicing self-care, but that would be a lie.

Fast forward to this year. Months of anxiety had begun to build up again. A lot of days were filled with rapid breathing and fatigue. I felt anxious and weak. Each day drained more from me than the day before. I felt like I was failing my family.
And like I was begging for a fourth ER visit.

Something had to give.

The only logical thing that I could think of was to take a break from my blog. The thing I had been working so hard on, for so long.

I constantly stressed about it. The logo, the color scheme, the blog posts, the message, and the images. Everything.
I wanted so badly to spread a message of positivity, hope and to give an authentic look into our autism journey. But every time I tried to sit down and write, I would just be staring at a blinking cursor. Which would stress me out even more. And writing “fake posts” for the sake of just having content is not my thing.

So even though I didn’t want to, I decided to take a break for a bit. To gather myself and give myself time to learn more, grow more, relax, and experience life with my family. To let our journey be just that, a journey, not a possible blog post. To take pictures, and not thinking about if they will go up on my blog.

And this was me practicing self-care. Not the spa, not wine, not a vacation (even though I want all those things, and they sound amazing), but by cutting myself some slack. I can’t do it all. I’m not supposed to.

All the things that come with being a special needs mom, have definitely shown me that self-care is important. And sometimes you may have to get a little creative. Me taking this break from blogging will allow me to come back to the blogosphere better than ever, rested, ready and more experienced.

Words of wisdom from Ray: “Dear Autism Mom, you are allowed to feel sad, happy, scared, confused, optimistic, excited, tired, proud, overwhelmed, weak, strong. This is a journey. Take one day at a time.”

Self-Care for Special Needs Moms

Ray is a blogger at Double Dose of Ausome and stay at home mommy to two ausome kiddos, PB & J. She loves binge listening to podcasts and snapping pictures with her canon rebel. You can also find Ray on Instagram @raysymoneholmes
Ray’s favorite quote:
“There is Nothing as Powerful as a Mother’s Love, and Nothing as Healing as a Child’s Soul.”
Self-care for the Special Needs Mom

“I love this quote💙💙💙 My little ones have given me a strength I never knew I had, a sense of purpose I never knew I needed and a love I could never explain.

I want do my part in spreading the message of autism awareness and autism acceptance. Step by step I’m finding my footing, and for them I’ll never stop trying.” -Ray

Ray’s favorite humans are: “my PB & J.”
Self-care for the Special Needs Mom
Something that shocked Ray:
“I mentioned this in one of my blog post recently, but long story short, a parent at my little one’s therapy place asked me if J was low functioning. And I was shcoked because I’ve never heard someone just casually drop that in a conversation. And I was upset. Very, very upset. That word has no place in defining a person, period.”
Ray’s words to live by:
Self-care for the Special Needs Mom | Temple Grandin
Editor’s revision:  Ray has returned from her sabbatical and can be found blogging at DoubleDoseofausome

In her previous note below, Ray shared openly about what lead her to take a sabbatical in the first place, and this is a good reminder to us all that it is A-Okay to take a break, even if it’s from things that we love and actually enjoy doing.

Ray from DoubleDoseofausome here… I’ve been struggling with both my mental and physical health on top of busy schedules and new behaviors. We have been on this journey for just a little bit now, but for whatever reason, everything is feeling really new again.

The confusion
The fear
The pain
It seems so fresh. Like “new diagnosis” fresh.

You know what I mean?

The blog has been full on neglected. I have a hard time finding the words and pushing myself to write right now doesn’t seem very helpful and it heightens my anxiety which I struggle with daily.

I love being a part of the beautiful autism community and learning from so many others who are learning to navigate the same journey and who have been in the very same place as I am right now. I love reading your blog posts and looking at your ig inspo now more than ever. But for my own self-care, I’m going to take a break from writing on DDA.

I’ll definitely go back to blogging one day though.

It’s pretty cool through my blog endeavors I have found a new hobby. Photography. I initially bought a camera to upgrade the images on my site.
I found that taking pictures helps soothe my anxiety and gives me a way to express myself at a time I feel at a loss for words. A picture is like a stop in time. It takes my mind off of the millions of things I need to get done or feel like I need to be doing. Plus, PB&J are two of the cutest subjects.

So there will still be pictures of my ausome babies and lots of other things I find inspiring at the moment. The ig name will change but the heart is the same.
I hope you understand.

Looking to connect with other mamas of children with special needs?
I’d love to invite you to join my private sisterhood on Facebook. We share the good, bad, and the beautifully broken pieces of our lives. I can’t wait for you to join us!
Autism Moms

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  1. Liz says:

    It’s so good to remind yourself that you need me time. All mom’s shouldn’t know this and shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time to themselves.

  2. leya says:

    Thank you for sharing this. This is such an important message!

  3. Karen says:

    Wow, what a moving post. What a hard journey. It is so hard as a mom to realize when we need to step away from caring for our children to caring for ourselves. Best of luck to Ray!

    • Michelle Lach says:

      Thank you so much, Karen! Yes, balancing self-care while raising children is challenging, but taking time to care for ourselves important. <3

  4. Ray says:

    Yes Liz, it is SUPER important for us moms to take time for ourselves to recharge and regroup. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

  5. Ray says:

    Yes Liz, it’s SUPER important for moms to take time to recharge and regroup. You can pour from an empty cup.

  6. Ray says:

    Thank you Liz for reading. Michelle has created an amazing platform for autism moms. I think self care is a really important topic too.

  7. Ray says:

    Thank you so much Karen! It can be tricky to find time for self care but it is definitely necessary..

  8. Ray says:

    Yes Liz, it’s SUPER important for moms to take time to recharge and regroup. You CANT pour from an empty cup.

  9. Ray says:

    Thank you Leya for reading. Michelle has created an amazing platform for autism moms. I think self care is a really important topic too.

  10. shannon says:

    This is a wonderful article! Thank you for sharing this!

    • Michelle Lach says:

      Thanks, Shannon! Ray did a wonderful job writing out her story (and sharing her personal struggle with self-care).

  11. Ray says:

    Thank you so much Shannon for reading.

  12. Shirley says:

    I can very much relate to your story. Most of the time I’m busy doling sth. In the most of the covid pandamic it’s an even bigger challenge. I’m a mom with 4 childeren with special needs. Keep on doing your best, but don’t forget we alsof need time for ourselves.

    • Michelle Lach says:

      Hi, Shirley. I’m glad this post resonated with you. WOW! 4 special little ones– you’re incredible. I hope you’re able to find time to take care of yourselves, especially during this pandemic.