A Day to Pause for Us

Ann Hickman by Ann Hickman Additional Needs

Ann Hickman

Ann Hickman

Mum to three, special educational needs writer and part-time tutor

Did you know that partner and spouses are not the most common recipient of a Valentine’s Day card?

I shouldn’t be surprised – I didn’t get one last year and I didn’t get round to getting one for my other half this year either.

I’ve been too busy.

I feel like I’ve not got an ounce of effort left in me at the moment because of the challenges I’m facing on behalf of my kids.

It’s just about all I talk about.  Except when I’m too stressed to talk about it and then I don’t talk about anything.

I can just about muster a few sentences on what’s for dinner and which programme shall we watch for half an hour before we need to go bed.

I don’t imagine this is anything usual in a family with additional needs kids.

In fact I know it’s not.  The statistics vary but I’ve read that 65% of couples raising a child with ADHD (one of the conditions one of our kids has) have experienced marital problems.

90% of parents with a child with learning difficulties say they don’t get to spend enough time together.

Sometimes it feels like life is a set of tasks to be delegated and split.

I don’t want to make my kids sound like a job or household chores but there’s plenty to do for them.

Only one of my three kids can reliably dress themselves without support - and that’s the youngest one.

Brushing David’s teeth can be a two-person task but in most other things we can spend a lot of time in the same house but not together.

Perhaps the one thing about Valentine’s Day is not the cards (obviously) but the way that it sparks the reminder.

The reminder that our marriage is about more than just parenting our kids.

The reminder that we chose each other before we chose children.

The reminder that we are people and not just parents... partners and not just parents.

And even if the day only brings that thought and I smile a bit more at my other half, it crosses our minds to choose something romantic to watch for that half hour together, or we take two minutes just to actually ‘together’, then that’s got to a good thing.

A simple pause to remember we are with who we chose to be with and that we still do.


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