Category: Care

January 10, 2022 by clearymf 0 Comments

January Blahs

In the best of times, January was always a challenging
month. It’s time to put away all the decorations and there are few holidays
coming up (although most stores insist on bringing out their Valentine’s Day
stock way too early – and husbands still manage to forget about it until Feb.

During a pandemic, January is especially dreary.
Opportunities to “go out and do something” are limited – first by Omicron and
in many places, by the weather. Here in New Jersey, the temperatures have been
extremely cold and we got enough of a snowstorm to close schools for a day.

It’s Especially Hard for Parents!

For parents, things are also tougher than usual. We can’t
send our younger kids out to play for too long (although they’d probably stay
out in the snow forever!); we want to limit their screen time, so we a day on
social media or watching TV is taboo; exercise is limited so everyone is extra
grumpy, not having a chance to work out our energy during our regular

So here we sit, trying to make the best out of a less than
perfect situation. Even those parents whose children have returned to school
are still navigating remote classes because of infected classmates or teachers.
And the worry, worry, worry that the virus will invade our homes – sometimes just
too much to handle!

What Can We Do?

I wish I had solutions – or at least ones you hadn’t heard
or read about. They all involve “doing something” and that’s one of the biggest
hurdles January serves up – we don’t want to DO anything! It would be nice if
we could watch Hallmark movies or sports or read a novel to pass the time each
day. But we have kids!

The one thought I can offer is this: let’s be kind to
ourselves. Allow our children a little extra time with the computer or TV; look
the other way at the messy house; pick up a book or watch a movie (even half of
one!) and let everything else pass by. Maybe you can find a movie that you AND
your kids will like and just zone out and enjoy.

And don’t feel alone. Parenting is hard – especially in

July 22, 2021 by clearymf 0 Comments

Letting Go

Letting Go – Not So Easy

It’s every parent’s dilemma – when to let go. Is it time to send them to day care or preK or summer camp? How many moms (or dads!) followed the school bus the first day your child rode alone? (Full disclosure – I did!) As your children get older, you’d think it would get easier but it gets worse because now they’re going out with their friends to a mall or concert, driving for the first time, or, one of the toughest, going off to college. The grey hairs on our heads are measured by each small slip of our grasp on our children’s lives.

What if your child has a disability?

For parents of the disabled, these events may be especially difficult. Each of us wishes a full and free life for our child. We dream of a time when they will be able to live and work as independently as possible. However, self-sufficiency requires the ability to be – well – self-sufficient. Many of us spend countless hours teaching our kids to do chores around the house, count money, travel on public transportation. We sign them up for jobs or volunteer work where they will acquire abilities that they wouldn’t have the chance to learn at home. But at what point is it safe to “let go?”

A Different Kind of Question

When parents are deciding about whether or not to send their disabled child off to some kind of independent living situation, there is one question that looms large: “Is it safe?” Of course, every parent worries about safety but normally developing children can be taught about danger in a way they will most often remember. For those with disabilities, it’s not the same; their ability to think critically is often hampered. When my daughter was working, we used to stay on the phone with her when she walked the three busy blocks from her job at Panera’s to her tutoring session, talking her through every street crossing. I remember once I fell down the basement stairs, and when I asked my daughter to call her brother, she just stared at me. Somehow, the shock of seeing me there made her unable to function.  

So How Can They Live On Their Own?

That’s the question we’re facing now – and we’re not alone. As we age, we know we have to plan for our children to live without us. We’ve checked out every option – group homes, supervised apartments, licensed residences, independent housing. We’ve run ourselves ragged visiting almost every model that’s available. Many of them were admirably run but there was always a problem – too far, too institutional, not enough supervision, caregivers would come and go. We found two places that had a wonderful setup but, in each case, the success of the operation depended on one very talented person. Suppose that person was no longer there – then what?

Are We Just Making Excuses?

Since we have a daughter, my husband is being especially protective. He keeps on saying that he understands it’s important for her to learn about living on her own. But it’s going to be especially hard for him to make the leap. However, I believe that if the right opportunity came along, we’d know it and, while biting the bullet, we’d do it. So far, that hasn’t happened and time keeps ticking away. And it’s not going to wait for the perfect moment or situation.

Will We Ever Stop Worrying?

Probably not. We’re parents after all. But for parents of the disabled, the worry is with us daily. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a parent support meeting where someone didn’t cry, because sometimes the questions seem to have no answers. So all we can do is be there for one another, exchange helpful information, rely on those who can help and create as loving an environment as we can for our children. And then we can only trust that we’ve done our best.