Sometimes the world feels too heavy. In our individual lives we feel this in different ways. We all have our unique challenges and stresses, and we have varying levels of support to deal with them. At Exceptional Lives, we often talk about our experiences as parents of children with special needs, or exceptionalities. We recognize that we often have shared experiences, such as navigating access to services or working with the school to set up an IEP. But we also recognize that we are not only parents. We are also contributing members of our communities: our workforce, our schools, our social clubs, our neighborhood.
It is easy to commiserate on the daily challenges.
We need to know we are not alone when we need to leave work on the drop of a dime to deal with something that’s come up at our child’s school. We are not the only ones confused by how funding works for certain services. We are not the only parent saying, despite good intentions, “it just isn’t all getting done”. It is hard work, and we need to acknowledge and listen to one another so we don’t feel trapped or alone.
Now, what if we shifted to focus on what’s working?
I recently shared a plane ride with a mom traveling with two young children. That mom was ON. We all know how that feels; the energy it takes to occupy attention, soothe, distract, cuddle, feed, juggle. As we were preparing to get off the plane, I told her that when I travelled with my babies, I felt like there should be a parade at the end of the flight. I understood that deep sigh of relief for having made it combined with the recognition of emotional work. This is not specific to a flight, but could be a trip to the grocery store, a meeting at school or a phone call with an intake worker to tell your ‘story’ yet again. These are wins. And if we look closely, we’ll find them in daily life.
These wins are emotional wins, and they’re hidden.
Expended emotional energy is often invisible and unnoticed. Keeping ourselves regulated, attentive and available for our children can be exhausting. (For more on self-regulation, see our past blog post here.) So let’s shine a light and notice it! Let’s celebrate our daily wins! Maybe it is getting through an appointment with children in tow, making a dinner that everyone eats, finally getting around to making that call for an appointment, taking the time to get outside or exercise, leaving your phone in the kitchen while you play with your child in the living room, meeting a deadline at work, successfully navigating a behavior as described so beautifully here, or supporting your child’s social-emotional development like described in our recent post; How to Win When You Play to Lose.
We are asking you to celebrate yourself and celebrate each other. Find those moments and share them, no matter how big or small. Whether you are at home, at work or in between, we are in this together and together we will raise each other up! How will you celebrate your win today?
Share your wins with us on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget the hashtag #CelebrateTheWins!