No bones about it, life for a special needs family is hard. The divorce rate for parents of special needs children is sky high. Every part of your family is affected. Everything you do changes, down to even what you drive. To most, there are weekly appointments and, to some, the hospital is a second home. Your world is turned upside down.
While much of this is almost a foreign language to others, many still want to do something to help. I know it’s not always easy to accept help, but allowing someone else to ‘serve’ you is a giving thing to do! Think of how you feel when you help other people? Am I right or am I right? We need it, they need it, and it really can really help to lighten your burden.
So they ask, now what can we have them do? Here are a few easy ideas to consider.
- VacuumYes, seriously. This is a chore that is only a little embarrassing to have people help with right? I mean, it’s not like cleaning the toilets (which they would do, I swear!) or folding your undies. Easy, fast. Dishes is another quick and easy one! Make a list of easy, over-due household chores.
- Watch the other kids for an hourSometime you just need a breather. Why don’t you and the spouse go for a little walk, hand in hand? Remember those days? Take a bath, run an errand, get a pedicure. Shower? Sit alone in a quiet dark room? Just imagine what you can do with a free hour!
- Bring dinnerThe best meals are meals that you don’t have to cook yourself! Brought in dinners tend to range from purchased meals, frozen casseroles, gift cards to home made goods and it’s all fantastic. These days people usually use disposable containers so there is no need to coordinate the return of dishes. Just say yes! (If you are visiting looking for how to help, search online with the terms ‘dinner bring calendar’ because there are websites created to help many hands coordinate. Share it with your friends!)
- Arrange a play date with your other childrenOur typical kids need a little extra love and attention when things get a little crazy and they aren’t in their normal routine (think summer, hospital stays, bad illnesses). Friends can come over for an hour and build Legos or play Barbies. My kids keep asking me if I can call my 40 year old neighbor over for a play date because of how memorable one short play time was.
And a couple of simple things that you can do to help people help you:
- Answer the phone or textPeople are reaching out to tell you that they are here for you, that you are not alone. They want to let you know that if you ever need anything, to let them know, even if you just want to talk. You don’t have to share every detail with everyone, but staying social and talking things through will help you cope.
- Accept monetary giftsIf someone gives you money or gift cards, take it. Speaking from experience on the other side, it generally means that they want to help, but aren’t a sure what to do. While an acquaintance of mine’s husband was getting treatment for cancer, another friend set up a donation page. She told me she felt guilty because they had great insurance, but, having given money myself, I knew that I didn’t really care where it went! Just to be able to lighten a burden somehow was good enough for me.
Jot these ideas down, and add a few that fit your life, then have them ready when someone asks what they can do. Asking for an accepting help is something that I need to work on myself and that I hope to get better at. Do you have a real life example or another way to give or accept help?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles