When most parents think of the juggling act involved in raising a family, they think of coordinating soccer games with ballet practice and grocery shopping.
But if you’re a parent of a child who is sick or has special needs, your schedule likely involves doctor’s visits, therapy sessions, and waiting for doctors and insurance companies to return your phone calls. And then there’s the exhaustion and endless worry.
What you need is help. But how can you get it? Here are six suggestions for making your life a little less complicated.
If you feel exhausted and angry and have accepted that you need help, asking for it is the next step. Turning to others isn’t a sign of a weakness but rather one of strength. Recharging your batteries once in a while can help you be a better parent, partner, and person.
Do you need help picking up your other kids from school? Ask a neighbor who is already picking up his or her own kids. Ask grandparents and siblings to do things they enjoy, whether it’s watching your child give you a break or cooking freezer-ready meals.
In this day and age, social media can ease the burden of asking. Post your needs on your personal social media page or register on one of the many caregiver websites that allow you to create a list of your needs (for example, dinner twice a week, the lawn mowed weekly, a companion for hospital visits) so friends can sign up for duties that best fit their skills and schedules.
To ensure the person helping you is up to the task, consider caregiver training. Many hospitals and state social service agencies provide classes for siblings, parents, grandparents, teachers, and babysitters.
The burden shouldn’t be on you to make it easier for someone to help you. You have enough on your plate. Besides, most people want to help. If you let your friends or family know what you need, they will know how to help you and feel less burdened — and that’s not just good for you, but for your whole family.