Comfort Treats for the Special Needs Parent

Claire Smyth by Claire Smyth Additional Needs

Claire Smyth

Claire Smyth

You know the familiar days jammed pack with phone calls, returning emails, running back and forth from therapies, doctors appointments and then realizing you’re out of time to make dinner and you reluctantly head for the nearest drive thru for food.

You’ve lost more battles than you won that day and are feeling defeated.

Your energy feels non-existent.

And let’s not forget the heartbroken factor and that little voice in the back of your mind that says I wish things were easier for my child with special needs. Sometimes we need a comfort treat.

Correction… we deserve a comfort treat.

A comfort treat is going to be different for each special needs parent.

For me it’s a chocolate Pepsi. Which is really a heap of chocolate syrup at the bottom of a glass with Pepsi poured over it with crushed ice. I prefer mine unstirred and you drink it with a straw so you can get to the chocolate at the very end.

I know admittedly, it’s a treat that isn’t good for me. It isn’t organic and it’s full of more sugar than I’m sure my aging metabolism really needs. I suppose that’s why they call it a treat because you aren’t affording yourself the luxury often.

When I have a chocolate Pepsi it reminds me of when times were simple.

My mother would take me to the local Woolworth’s to shop as a child and it had a diner in the store and we would always sit at a booth together she would order me a chocolate Pepsi fountain drink.

It’s that treat that gives me warm fuzzy feelings and memories, a break from my brain over thinking about everything that comes along with special needs parenting.

For other parents a comfort treat could be a hot bath, watching a movie on Netflix without any interruptions while Dad pulls duty, a cup of tea and curling up to read a book for even twenty minutes, or saving up enough money to splurge on a new color of nail polish to make your over-washed and over-sanitized hands feel pretty again.

However, the most rewarding comfort treats typically take you back in time to a really wonderful and beautiful memory. It doesn’t matter what the treat is as long as it is something that brings you a moment of comfort.

Special needs parenting can really beat us up inside and out.

And it’s not at all the fault of our children.

It’s because we can’t just be parents.

We have to be advocates, cheerleaders, believers in possibilities, therapists, nurses, doctors, our child’s secretary, fighters… the list is endless because we can’t just be “mom” or “dad.”

The hats we wear are many and it’s draining physically and emotionally.

If we don’t find just one thing in our day that brings us a breath of peace just for a moment and re-centers the chaos that often surrounds this journey we couldn’t repeat all we must do and rise to the occasion and demands of special needs parenting time and time again.

We owe it to ourselves to find that treat – to reward ourselves for a job well done… even if it’s just a chocolate Pepsi.

“Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.” - Hippocrates

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