In this episode, we are going to be talking about how to let others care for your special needs child. The reason why this is an important topic is because as special needs moms, we wear all the hats. We take care of our children, the house, our marriage, other kids, work, cooking, cleaning, errands, doctor’s appointments, and the list goes on. I understand that not everyone has the means to hire a nanny or babysitter all the time. So, this topic relates to you letting go of full control to let someone else come and help you, whether that’s your mom, sister, a neighbor, or whoever. I want you to get to a place where you can start allowing that to happen.
When Remy was little, I was in a place where I was failing at everything. I wasn’t able to keep our refrigerator stocked. I wasn’t spending time with my boys. I was putting Nora in her playpen a lot and not spending time with my husband. At the end of the day, I felt like I was failing at life. While Remy was getting everything that she needed, nothing else was. That’s when we seriously started thinking about having some help come in and help with Remy and the girls, so I could have room to do other things.
I am going to talk about Hannah, who we hired because we wanted extra support and because I also wanted to start a business, which is a part of this podcast. I knew that there was no way I could do everything.
We have Hannah who has been a godsend to our family. She is a nanny, but I don’t love that word because it portrays them as this “hired hand” or “Employee” but it’s not at all the role that she has. She is like my mommy assistant.
I want to share her responsibilities and what her role is to help you see where you can have something like that in your own life, whether it’s a family member, friend, or babysitter. There is no one size fits all. We have to tailor our life the way it fits. The way Hannah helps isn’t going to be the same way someone else might help you, but it could give you a good idea of what it’s like.
How Hannah Started
A few years ago, we were in a dilemma at our church. We wanted to go to church, but we didn’t have a place to bring Remy because the nursery, toddler room, or youth groups weren’t right for her because she needed a one-on-one person at all times.
We had heard about a program called “the joy program” which is a special needs program at our church. You take your child in, and they pair you up with a buddy. They paired Remy up with three different people who Zach went in and trained what to do. Hannah was one of those girls. When Hannah and Remy were together, they had an instant bond. I had never met her before, but everyone who saw them together would just comment on the bond that they had. When I saw them, I thought that she was everything I could hope for in someone caring for Remy. Hannah began watching the girls during date nights, and eventually when Elizabeth had to leave, Hannah became an obvious choice to take over and become the nanny.
How Do We Trust Her With Remy’s Seizures?
When Elizabeth was with us, I was uncomfortable having her help take care of Remy during seizures because we had always done that, and we just knew it takes an extra level of care when she is in a seizure cluster. But eventually I made the tough decision to ask Elizabeth to help out with seizures. I would be in the next room, but Elizabeth would sit with her. So, when Hannah came, I was already comfortable with someone else helping out with the seizures.
We were also comfortable with Hannah taking care of Remy during seizures because of her disposition during stressful situations. She had mentioned that growing up she would watch friends and family going through crisis moments, and she would help out with that. She said she didn’t have experience with seizures, but she was calm under pressure.
At first, when Remy had a seizure cluster, we had Hannah watch and bring the medicine and oxygen tank. Then it got to a point where she knew the seizure plan, we had talked about it a zillion times, and we felt like she could do it on her own. When we decided that Hannah could handle it, we still would always try to have someone else be there to help her out and make it easier.
We started to get comfortable knowing that Remy was in really good hands. It wasn’t an overnight thing to hand it over to Hannah. It took time and experience. Once she was very comfortable, we knew we could go out till late at night, and eventually do overnight dates. That was something that Zach and I decided was really important for us to do. But it wasn’t quick, it took time.
Why Having Help is Crucial to Your Child’s Future
I know we as special needs moms don’t want to let go of control. But if you have someone in your life that is offering to help you, whether that is a family member or if you hire someone, that can give you and your child the kind of life that you want.
Your child is everything. And you are everything to your child. And I know that your biggest fear is, “What’s going to happen to my child when I am gone?” Or, “Will they learn how to defend themselves?” “Will they be independent?” “Will they find love or friendship?”
If you are not able to let go a little, then you are crippling the chance of your child having that independence.
I have really been able to let go and have Hannah take care of Remy. She has learned how to cook for her, take care of her seizures, and she has been very involved with Remy’s ABA program, to the point that she could be a BCBA with the amount of stuff that she’s learned. She sees the program every day, doing outings with them, and she’s the driving force every day. It has helped Remy, ABA, and also myself.
How This Can Apply to You
We have found someone who is not only willing, but she wants to help. If you feel like no one could handle your child or your family, I just want to tell you that there ARE people. There are people that have a gift for working with children with special needs, and you can help fulfill something in their heart. When I see Hannah with Remy, I can tell you this. I can tell you that Hannah has been everything to Remy. She’s Remy’s best friend. She is someone who cares for her and plays with her.
Remy has developed so fast and flourished so much because her whole day is spent with someone who loves her deeply, and plays with her, and gives her everything she needs. Remy doesn’t need anything. I can see that Remy is filling a place in Hannah’s heart too. It’s not just a job for her, but it’s a way that she can pour out her gifts, her love, and her wonderfulness. I couldn’t think of a better situation.
I want you to imagine a version of this in your own life, because I promise you, if you let go a little bit, and have patience with yourself and with the process, your life will work SO much better and your child will be so much better for it and so will you!
- If you have someone in your life who really wants to help you, try to trust yourself and let go a little. If you get out of your comfort zone, and you start slowly, and you teach, train, and give responsibility gradually, you are empowering the other person and freeing up the stress in your mind so you can do something else besides care for your child.
- Finding help doesn’t always happen overnight and it doesn’t have to be like our situation. You can find someone for just one day a month, or twice a week. Tailor it around what works best for you.
- I know that you have SO many fears surrounding someone else taking care of your child. But ultimately, allowing your child to get used to someone else and not just you will be super beneficial in the long run. If you are not able to let go a little, then you are crippling the chance of your child having that independence.
- If you don’t allow someone to step in and give you a break, you will feel exhausted and tired all the time. You won’t be at your best for your child. And eventually, your child will be at the place where they won’t let you bring in anyone else because they are so used to you.
- Have patience with yourself and with others offering to help. Your life will become so much smoother and more relaxed when you know you have someone else to help ease the load.