Harmony vs Balance
Have you ever felt defeated when trying to balance all of the tasks in your life? While we may be amazing and loving caregivers - caregiver is a role - and it usually accompanies other roles in our lives such as being a parent to a neurotypical child, being a partner, friend, employee, etc.
And we are first and foremost ourself. A person with our own needs and desires before we take on any of the roles above.
This is one reason why the discussion around creating balance can feel overwhelming and bring up feelings of cynicism, resentment, anger and defeatism. Personally, I can feel guilt around not giving my son the same amount of time and attention that I give his sister.
Based on that, I wanted to share a recent takeaway from an autism parents discussion.
A Dad brought up the concept of balance - and asked how we create it given our roles as caregivers. In response, a Mom introduced the idea of focusing on harmony in our lives instead of balance.
Rather than worrying about each child getting the same amount of attention, take a moment to consider how much time each child actually needs to have his/her cup filled. Remove the need for equality.
It makes sense that Summer requires more attention, and while I’ve always felt a bit of guilt that Jordan has never received the same amount of attention, I never took the time to ask myself whether he actually needs it.
Thus, I can feel good about the 30-minute walk Jordan and I take every week (where he chats the entire time) and our daily hugs; and not compare it to the hours of daily engagement that his sister receives.
Simply having the discussion and mindset shift feels better - and also gives me reassurance that I can trust myself as a Mom.
Hopefully it can provide some comfort to you all as caregivers as you look at life’s different areas, allowing for harmony based on your week - maybe one week requires more attention at work while the next week requires more attention at home with appointments, paperwork, etc.
Remember - we’re all doing our best. Gift yourself love, grace and compassion.
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I am grateful that I get to spend this time with her and her brother. I will honour this time of a more relaxed schedule.
Whichever route a family chooses, what matters is knowing when to ask for help and how to get the right help to care for any family member that needs an additional helping hand.