As some of you know, I have had the pleasure of training to become a life coach with Martha Beck over the last five months. After nine years of informally coaching parents and six months of coaching practice as part of my training, this month I officially started coaching parents who volunteered from my website. What an awakening! There is a tremendous amount of fear and pain. It was very rewarding to work with these women and help them to put some of their issues into perspective. I really enjoy connecting with people but I know there are many others out there who need help—especially those whose children were recently diagnosed.
So I’d like to share a few tips that will head you in the right direction.
1. FAAP Food Allergy Action Plan. Google it and find one you like. Then have your doctor fill it out. You will not feel safe until you know how to treat your child’s symptoms. This is not for you to decide. Let the medical professionals decide based on your child’s history. Get it done. Copy it several times. Put it with the Epi-Pens. And use it to train caregivers. Speaking of which…
2. Get Out Now! Out of the house that is. I had many moms tell me this week (expecting me to agree) how they “can’t” go out with their girlfriends or their husbands. Baloney! Find a way and get out of that house. Train grandma, your husband, your sister, your neighbor. There is someone in your life who can be trained to care for your child. You can start small if you want but do it!
3. Get Your Girly On I know this might sound very unusual as an allergy tip but I’ve heard too often from moms who haven’t had their hair cut or colored or who haven’t gone shopping or done anything for themselves since their child was diagnosed. I realize this advice isn’t for all of us but for many females, it feels good to be feminine. If that appeals to you then do something this week, that allows you to get in touch with that side of yourself. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It could be just blow drying your hair or buying a new pair of yoga pants or a journal. So dust off your girly side and see if it makes you feel better.
4. Let them see you sweat! One of the hardest things about having a child with food allergies is the lack of emotional support. Some of the people who we felt we could count on just don’t seem to “get it” or if they get it on a practical level, they don’t get it on an emotional level. But think about it. Sometimes we are so busy being competent moms-of-the-year, that we don’t realize that we’ve never really let our sisters, or our girlfriends or even our mothers see our real feelings. Any type of disability in a child is a loss. Of course you’ll feel sad, or mad, or scared. Why haven’t you shared your real feelings? What are friends for if not to share in the real ups and downs of life?
5. See the hero. Along the same lines, share these feeling with your spouse or partner. It’s wonderful to be held and cared for by the man (or woman) that you love. Maybe your partner is not adept at talking about feelings. Okay, so how can he help you? He wants to. Tell him. Do you need a hug? Do you need to go for a run? Do you need him to hold down the fort so you can get your hair cut in peace? This goes double for you super-competent, type A personalities. I’m on to you! I’m one of you and I can tell you that you need support or you’ll burn out. Let him take care of you…just a little.
You will get through this! You can turn a corner and start feeling better today. It starts with taking care of you. I know it’s often the last thing you think you can do or should do but remember our children will do what we do not what we say. Would you ever want your daughter to take care of herself they way you are taking care of yourself? And last but not least remember, you cannot give to your children what you do not have. Put yourself on the list. Do it today!
Published On: July 19, 2010