We live in a time where every minute of our day is scheduled, over-scheduled, and double-booked. Our to-do lists are unending and there really is no “down time.” Even when we are relaxing we are checking our phones, getting facebook notifications, texts, emails, etc…
I struggle with this because sometimes I feel like I am not really “present” in the moment. Maybe I’m playing with my kids, but if I’m never really disconnected from the world outside our home, am I really fully participating? Maybe there’s a lot that I am able to keep tabs on and connected to because of social media, but what am I missing?
Another area of my life where I sometimes struggle with time management is the amount of time my kids spent in school, therapy, appointments, evaluations, etc…Sometimes I worry that they’re aren’t having enough of a carefree childhood, and that they have too many demands on them. As a child I remember playing for hours in my room or at a friend’s house. I worry that my kids don’t have enough free time to just get lost in their imaginations. Both of my boys have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, and with that comes an array of specialists that offer support. I am so blessed to receive all these services and to have these professionals in our lives, I want my feelings on that very clear. But, if my kid is in school for 6-7 hours a day followed by therapy for 2 hours, 5 days a week, is it too much? I know my boys do respond well to highly structured environments, and to routine. Therapy and school offers both of those things. But, how do I know I’m not pushing them too much? How do I know they wouldn’t be making more progress if they didn’t have more time to rest in between school days and therapy sessions?
I guess one answer would be to look at the research. I know behavioral therapy is successful, I’ve seen living proof of that. I know early intervention is key and that it can be a game-changer for a child’s development. My problem is with the guilt I feel when they are crying about going to school or to an appointment because they are tired or just need a break. I wonder if they will have wonderful memories of their childhood filled with hours of play on their own, with my husband and I, or with their therapists. Or will they just remember waiting rooms, car rides, and clinical settings? How do we know how much is too much?
It’s a balancing act every mother and father struggle with, whether their child has special needs or not. We are all trying to get this parenting thing right. To do the best by our kids. To give them every advantage in the world, regardless of any challenges they may face. We want our kids to be happy and joyful. How do we pull it off? I admit, sometimes I go to bed at night with a smile on my face and I feel like I’ve conquered the world. Other times, I feel defeated, and I barely have the strength to cower under the covers.
Anybody else out there feel the same? How do you balance it? How do you conquer the doubt about decisions you are making as a parent? I’m all ears!!!