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Friday, November 21, 2008

Never Say No Again

How often do we say the word "no" as a parent? Do we ever really stop to think about it before we say that word, or is it a simple reaction that we use whenever we feel the urge?

Well, there are a few instances when we - as parents - should avoid saying "no". I'm sure this has you wondering exactly what I'm talking about, so I'll explain. (Yeah - you knew I would...)

First, when you are getting ready to leave the hospital or doctor's office with your child and the doctor offers to give you a prescription for certain medications that you may need - say YES. Even if you know that you know that you know that you already have that exact same medication sitting on the kitchen counter at home from the previous time that you needed it - say YES. Even if you have absolutely no intention of filling said prescription - say YES.

Why? Because as sure as you say NO...you'll get home and the medication that you left sitting on the kitchen counter will be somewhere else. Your child will suddenly absolutely NEED that medication (particularly if it is a pain medication) and you won't be able to find it. Not only will you be unable to locate your medicine that you just knew you already had sitting on the kitchen counter at home (I swear I left it on the counter and there was more than half a bottle left...) - now you can't even rush out to the store to get those prescriptions filled because you refused the offer of a new prescription. Of course, this will all happen at a time when it is too late to even call the doctor and have the prescription called in for you. So really - just take the darn prescription with you when they first offer it. Your life will be easier. Of course, since you took the prescription - you'll get home and that bottle will be right where you left it.

Second, when somebody asks if they can help or if you need anything - say YES. Be as specific as possible and tell them what they can do to help you out. This is particularly true when you are dealing with some situation that puts your life in a tailspin. If you are unsure at the moment what that person can contribute, tell them you will call them and let them know - or just suggest they cook something...trust me, having food provided for you when your life is in chaos is a huge huge huge help.

Why? Because you really can not do it all on your own. When your children are sick or hurt, your time is spent focusing on them. You don't have the time and energy to cook, clean, or do even the basics to take care of yourself. If somebody offers to help out, even just having them sit with your child while you shower will make your life easier. If they are closer to you, or willing to do more, let them cook or clean for you. Cooking is a wonderful way to help. (Big thanks to my Mom for cooking for us while Kira was in the hospital. Having enough food to last for those two weeks after we came home made my life so much easier. Thank you thank you thank you.)

Third, when somebody offers to give you some time off from your responsibilities - say YES. Even if the person can only give you 20 minutes of alone time - say YES. Don't feel guilty about taking a bit of time to be away from your child when your child is sick. You can not be the pillar of strength for great lengths of time without having a bit of down time to decompress your own emotions. It just isn't possible.

Why? Because it just isn't advisable to be the constant caregiver of somebody who needs constant care without taking some time to care for yourself. You don't have to do anything special or spend money, just take some time to be somewhere else. I advise actually leaving the house if at all possible because if you aren't in the house then you aren't tempted to intervene when your child needs something. (Be sure whomever is helping can do everything that might be required.) Taking an hour or so, several times a week, to be somewhere other than the same place as my child has been a sanity saver for me. I love my children. I adore them completely and will sacrifice for them whenever necessary. But when I am stuck with an older child that can do very little for herself and has very limited mobility - a child who relies on me for every single thing she wants or needs - then I have found that I absolutely NEED to be away from her for a span of time so that I can hear something other that "Mommy - I want" or "Mommy - I need". I need that time to regroup and think, so that I can come back to her and continue doing things for her when she wants or needs me. (I'm very blessed to have a wonderful support system that allows me this freedom. If you have no family or friends to help you, look into hiring a sitter with nursing experience.)


**I bet when you read the title you were expecting a discussion about discipline. I bet you expected me to tell you to change your "no" statements into "yes" statements to elicit better compliance from your children. I just have to say that in my house, the word "no" is a meaningless word. Just ask Marisa - she'll tell you that "no" is a useless word unless she is the person who is saying it. (and for somebody who ignores that word so very well, she sure does use it an awful lot....)

2 comments:

Liss said...

You are right, I didn’t expect this post to take the direction it did. I hope you can get some medication for her.
It’s hard work caring for some one full time that can not dress, or go to the toilet or in Kira’s case even move. I know how frequent children’s request can be, you do something only to sit down and the call of mum comes again. I get 6 hours of respite care a fortnight from the local government for a subsidised rate. It allows me to get out and go to my camera club meetings. I never stay home as I know my kids would still call on me and I would feel guilty not attending to them. So you advise to get out of the house and do anything or nothing is excellent as it allows you to relax and regroup and feel a little normal even if for a shot time.

Mom said...

Yes, we had some medications at home for her - just not the stronger stuff. I was able to get through that time, but filed away the information so I could write about it when the chance arose.

I also took a chance yesterday at the park. It was the first time we'd really been out in a while and there was a woman there with a child who had Down's Syndrome. I remembered what you said, Liss, about people not talking to you so I went and sat with her for a bit to chat. It was nice. I might not have been brave enough to do that before. I tend to be a bit shy around people I don't know. But all I could think about was what we had discussed about the parents with disabled children and how others seem to never know what to say. What a learning experience this has been.