Do you feel overwhelmed or confused about the best path for you and your family?
I speak with many families navigating the health and community systems in support of a child with a disability or other health or medical conditions. Feeling daunted and exhausted by all the system jargon, 10 billion appointments, problem focussed conversation and differing opinions is a common experience. If you relate to this, I want to reassure you that it is possible to find relief.
The most common feedback I receive when I speak with parents in my ‘relief sessions’ is “I liked the questions you asked, I don’t remember being asked questions like this before”.
It breaks my heart a little each time I hear this because I believe that in order for kids and families to thrive, these are the kinds of questions that health and community professionals can be routinely asking to help parents feel clear about the kinds of support that might best be suited to their family. AND, so that the needs of the WHOLE family are on the map.
With this in mind, I’ve picked out 3 questions (among many others) that I invite parents and caregivers to explore, to help align them with respectful and affirming support. I invite you to gently check in about whether these are questions you’ve been asked, or have asked yourself already - and if not, to spend some time with each of them and reflect on whether things might shift for you and your family if you had the answers to these 3 questions.
1. What is most meaningful and important to you and your family?
We are all made of the same stuff but the way it expresses itself is different for each of us, so what might be right for us, is likely to be different too.
Knowing what is meaningful and important to you can help steer you in the direction of values aligned support. It can help you set the priorities and the pace that are right for you and your family and guide both the smaller everyday actions as well as the bigger picture. This can support the whole family to avoid burnout and feel more confident in the decisions you are making.
As one of the magnificent Mums in my coaching programs told me “once I was clear that my family deserved to feel safe and be treated with respect, it was so much easier for me to make sense of what we needed”. She was able to connect with what safety and respect looked like in everyday ways, as well as help her find her voice in advocating for the right supports.
2. Is this plan sustainable for your current resources?
I see you Mamas and Papas with your big committed hearts, trying to do ALL THE THINGS to make sure that your child has what they need to thrive. And I also see the stress, overwhelm, exhaustion, burnout and confusion for both kids and parents alike, that can arise when support plans aren’t created with the family resources in mind.
With your values as an anchor, being real about your current resources and capacity can help you set the priorities and pace that is right for you and your family so that you don’t burn out. When I chat to families about the pace that is right for them, more often than not, families recognise that they are trying to do too much at once.
As a wonderful parent shared with me “slowing down and not doing everything, has been the gift we all needed. We’ve had more time for just ‘being’ and for connecting”.
3. What support and resources do you need for your own wellbeing?
Gentle reminder: You are not a robot with infinite mental, emotional and physical capacity.
I believe that thriving is a right not a luxury and that everyone in your family deserves to thrive. This means putting the needs of the WHOLE family on the map.
So often the needs of parents and caregivers are overlooked in the busyness of our health and community systems. Yet families are a system and if parents aren’t okay, kids won’t be okay. Research into the health and wellbeing impacts of people in a caring role is alarming, with carers being more likely to experience high psychological distress and at least 2 x more likely to experience poor wellbeing (source Carers Australia 2021 carer wellbeing survey report). In my humble opinion these stats are a result of stress and exhaustion from the constant advocacy, negotiating and justifying that many carers face in order to have their families basic rights to safety and support upheld.
You deserve support and your health and wellbeing is a gift to your whole family. As a beautiful sole Mama in one of my programs shared “having my own support saved me so much energy and time…it has left me feeling more energised with more to give…and opened space in my head and heart that I had no idea I was capable of”.
I encourage you to come back to these 3 questions as many times as you need. Knowing what is most meaningful and important to you and connecting with respectful and affirming support, can help guide you towards a sustainable path so that you can navigate challenges with more ease and have more of the happiness, connection and wellbeing that your whole family deserves.
And if you're feeling lost and don't know where to start, feel free to contact me. I love connecting parents with practical and simple strategies that respect the demands they face and align with their values and preferences so that families can find relief from stress, exhaustion and overwhelm, have more ease and connection and feel confident that the whole family can thrive. You can read more about the supports that Create Vitality offers here or feel free to jump straight into a parent relief session.