Permission to….

Micah Pederson by Micah Pederson Additional Needs

Micah Pederson

Micah Pederson

I am a mom to two children biologically and many children through foster care. My husband and I have been married three years. Our foster home is a...

A few years ago as a college student, I found myself stretched quite thin.

My academics, jobs, and the endless demands around me were overwhelming.  

A tool I began using to cope when I felt I was being pulled in every direction was to write myself permission slips.

I would grab a post-it note and write something like: “I give myself permission to say no to one social event a week” or “I give myself permission to get less than an A on this assignment.”

It was such a simple thing and maybe even silly.

But seeing those permission slips taped to my mirror helped me remember that I cannot be everything to everyone.

I needed permission to lower my standards a tiny bit and it made a world of difference for me.

Six years and seven children under seven years old later, I find myself still writing permission slips.

Sometimes this only takes place in my head, sometimes in conversations with my husband, other times on a physical piece of paper.

Five of our seven children have various medical needs and disabilities and the act of writing these little permission slips has often saved my sanity when life feels overwhelming.

Somehow, taking a moment to literally give myself permission to do what my family and I need—even when people may disagree—is empowering and freeing.

Today, I want to give YOU—as a caregiver of a person or people with disabilities yourself—some permission:

-You have permission to shut off social media when the comparisons to other families, children, and caregivers hurts.

-You have permission to turn down answering invasive questions about your child’s disabilities.

-You have permission to stop putting forth the effort in relationships with people who choose not to support your unique family.

-You have permission to cry.

-You have permission to talk about the wonderful aspects as well as the heartbreaking aspects of your journey.

-You have permission to turn down the family gatherings your child cannot handle well guilt-free.

-You have permission to choose not to explain.

-You have permission to speak up when you are in need of socialization, support, and encouragement.

-You have permission to shout your child’s accomplishments from the rooftop or to keep them tucked safely inside.

-You have permission to never fit in and no longer attempt to.

-You have permission to be angry. To grieve. To scream. To punch pillows. To crumble.

-You have permission to be you, your child has permission to be themselves, and your family has permission to be different and unique and beautiful. No excuses. No apologies.

What would you add to this list? What do you need permission to do or not do?

When you find yourself pulled in too many directions or struggling with guilt, weariness, or anxiety, take the time to ask yourself what you need to give yourself permission for.

Write it down, claim it, and allow yourself to refocus on what really matters in the end. The permission is yours.

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