The Graceful and Not So Graceful Lessons I learned in 2019:

Well adjusted, self sufficient, independent women can completely lose themselves to motherhood. Even ones who appear to have it all together. They can also find themselves again.

Sleep deprivation presents itself as depression. And marriage problems. And weight gain or weight loss. And a whole lotta other tough words. Sleep deprivation is torture. You must find a way to sleep.

Pour your energy into the positive people in your life. Surround yourself with them. Soak up their energy and laughter. Text them. Call them. Invite them into your crazy, weird little world.

Shower. Drink more water. Put on makeup and real clothes. Go for a walk. Laugh. These are the simplest forms of self care. And they work.

Grief is not linear. It’s not logical either. It will come out of nowhere and strike when you least expect it. You can be healed. Fine. Heels planted in acceptance of whatever your grief surrounds and boom. It will hit. Know that you are not weak because of this. You are human.

Don’t let anyone on social media make you think something is wrong with you. Or your family. Or how you choose to parent. Or tell you how to feel.

Never, and I mean never, take criticism from a person who knows nothing about your life. Unless they are in the trenches with you at 3 am on a 72 hour no sleep bender or holding your hand while you advocate for your child, they don’t deserve your time.

If something makes you sad, lean into it. Do not run from it. Learn to acknowledge the hurt, even say it out loud. ‘This hurts me.’ Once you do that, you will start to heal.

This goes for fear too. Say your fears out loud. ‘I am afraid of this.’ You may not have the answers or the solutions, but ignoring them will get you nowhere. I have so many fears about my son’s future. Learning to say them out loud has saved me.

There are things in this world that you simply cannot change. And for me, that is the most out of control, awful feeling. I am a fixer. That is who I am by nature. And accepting that I can’t make my son speak or take away my dad’s grief after losing his wife paralyzes me sometimes. Accepting these things will be your greatest life lesson.

Even the best mother can only do so much. You can be a teacher, doctor, therapist and more, and it still may not change your child’s condition. And this does not diminish your worth. It’s okay to talk to a doctor about medications for your child or even you. Do not feel guilt for that.

The most important gift you can give someone is too listen. And sit with them. If you know someone who is struggling, show up at their house. Just be there. In my darkest days, all I ever wanted was for someone to sit with me. I didn’t need them to worry about saying the right things. I just needed them to be with me.

Wipe the phrase ‘I failed’ from your vocabulary. Instead say, ‘I tried’ or ‘I learned.’

Lastly, it is best to always believe. Believe it will get better. Believe it will improve. Believe in your children and your spouse and your faith. Believe in something. Anything.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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