For those of you who are regulars around here, you may remember me posting about my three year-old daughter’s speech problems. On her 3rd birthday, she was able to say less than 20 ‘words’ including names. At 3 years and 7 months the doctors are saying that she has only 20 spontaneous words not including names. They are still not recognizable to most people unless they are paying close attention to her. I have returned with all four of my children to the United States to begin taking her to specialists. We will be seeing a minimum of 9 different specialists in the next 4 months. This point in my life has become all about balancing family needs and doctor visits.
My daughter’s doctors are 1 1/2 hours away from where we are staying when traffic is good. Because I’m living in Washington D.C. and the doctors are at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, I have two sets of rush hour traffic to deal with. My drive home a couple days ago was 2 1/2 hours.
That means I’m exhausted.
In addition to all that driving, my daughter is having significant problems with insomnia and since my husband is an ocean away, I’m the only one to take care of all those night time needs.
Which means I’m even more exhausted.
If you are managing multiple doctor’s appointments, a family and a special needs child, I know that you know what I’m feeling.
The coffee maker has become an even closer friend than it was before. (I wasn’t sure that was even possible.)
There have been a few days this week where I felt like I was drowning in the mess of it all and I wasn’t sure if I was going to surface. That’s transparency.
To add a big wrench to all of that I hadn’t done any homeschool planning because of our international move and I’ve had to start the school year right in the middle of all of this. And go through culture shock. (Because returning to the U.S. is hard. )
What’s a girl to do?
I’ve said it lots. And I’m not shying away from saying it again.
Take a while to assess what is truly essential for your family. Then work at that bare minimum until you are able to handle more.
For example: I absolutely love cooking meals from scratch with whole foods.
That takes a lot of time. Time that I don’t have right now.
So in preparation for this week, I took my four girls to the grocery store. We picked out frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets and waffle fries, and a few stress-relieving junky treats. Now, I did attempt to pick out the most healthful versions of those things because that’s important to me. But the point is, I know that I won’t have time to be cooking gourmet meals from scratch this week.
This week I just needed to survive.
Eating frozen food for a couple meals is not going to kill us. We supplement with lots of fresh fruits & veggies. We’ll be okay.
For me, making sure my kids aren’t starving, that they are continually working on some kind of school, that they are adjusting well to the “new” country, and making sure that we get to all the doctor’s appointments on time are my daily priorities. Everything else may just need to take a backseat for a while.
And that’s okay.
Balancing Family Needs and Doctor Visits
Here are some things that I’m doing to purposefully, lighten the load.
- Preparing and freezing several mornings worth of breakfasts, for easy bake & eat in the morning.
- Making a big pot of soup to eat for lunches throughout the weeks.
- Doubling up regular meals, so that I can either put them in the fridge for lunches or in the freezer for a no-prep meal.
- I’m hoping to do a ‘once-a-month’ cooking session this week to stock up the freezer, so that my older kids can make meals if I need them to.
- I purchased an actual curriculum for my two oldest girls. Of course, we plan on supplementing heavily, but we needed something we could rely on to get the basics covered without me having to prep every day.
- I started putting my youngest daughter to bed earlier than I normally would. It’s in the testing phases of whether or not it’s helpful for her, but it’s helpful for me right now so that I can get to sleep before midnight since I’m limited to blogging after she’s asleep.
- I’m working fun activities into our schedule even more than I normally would. We’re all stressed out and it’s not healthy for us as a family. Picking educational, but fun activities can bring the stress levels down and having fun always gives me more energy.
- We’re taking regular walks together. It hasn’t been everyday, but almost. Another stress reducer.
- I do not work during nap time. Of course, my older girls are still awake, but they have mandatory quiet time for two hours while Shiloh sleeps. (Or they play outside.) I totally waste that time. At least part of it. I drink a good cup of coffee too.
Those are things that I’m doing to balance family needs and doctor visits. I would LOVE to hear your ideas for making it through stressful times.