Sometimes I sign into social media and am flooded with “shoulds”. I should make time for that upcoming event. I should set up some park dates. I should take time for self-care. I should be practicing exercises with my child. I should research summer camps. I should, I should, I should.
Sometimes I sign into social media and I see what I can’t or won’t. I see what other people are doing and it just reminds me what I can’t do as a parent, or what my child can’t do as a child. I see what we won’t experience as a family or what my child won’t experience in his future.
But those are the bad days.
It’s ok to have those days.
Because sometimes it all feels like too much. Sometimes I just want to turn off the world and be with my family. I want to forget about therapies and IEPs and playdates. I don’t want to think about how much screen time is too much screen time. I don’t want to measure calories for my child (or myself!) or be sure everyone has enough water. I don’t want to remember to register for adaptive swimming for next season; I want to be in this season, in this moment, on my couch with my child, and I don’t want to care about piles of laundry waiting for me to fold. I think we all need these moments and I encourage you to take them for your and your family. These moments give us time and space. They help us step back and remember that we are so much more than should or can’t or won’t. Our lives are rich, even if the pictures aren’t always pretty. Stepping back allows us to remember to take the advice that we so willingly give to our children:
Tomorrow is a new day.
Tomorrow I will sign onto social media again but this time, I don’t see the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. I see the mom that needs a note of encouragement because she’s having a bad day. I send it. I see a dad celebrating a moment with his child that they’ve worked toward. I celebrate it.
Yes, sometimes I hate social media. But most times I feel filled with love and gratitude to have found community and connection with people walking this path with me. I have found answers and support online. I have learned from adults who bravely share their experiences growing up with a disability. This knowledge is eye-opening and invaluable. It makes me a better parent, spouse and person. And when the negative creeps in, as it inevitably does, I take it as a sign to reconnect with myself and with my family, in our home and in our relationships.