When you realise something has to change in the New Year...

My sister took my 8 year old daughter out just before Christmas to buy me a few stocking fillers as she was so desperate for her mummy to have a Christmas stocking. One of the items they chose for me was a set of juggling balls. My sister shared with my daughter how I used to be so good at juggling when I was younger and maybe I would still be good at it now. My daughter was desperate for me to have a go. I was pleased I still had some skill, albeit rather rusty after many years of lack of practice, it just wasn’t quite enough to impress my daughter.

Which really kind of sums up 2016 for me I tried to juggle too many things as a special needs mum, more often than I wanted to I dropped the ball and got frustrated. How do you balance two children with high support needs, a husband, hospital appointments, therapy, homework, school runs, paperwork and meetings without letting something go?

I struggled through last year, just as I struggled to actually juggle for my daughter. I let down friends, I missed appointments, my house was often a total disgrace and I allowed far too many agencies to let my children down.

I plan to change some of that this coming year. I want to get priorities back on track and get the balance right, which includes taking care of myself too. I have to remember something very important in order to balance things better: I am one person and there is only so much I can do.

So to get the balance better in 2017 I plan on saying 'no' more often and to the right people.

There may be the odd occasion when I have to say no to friends or family but I plan on making that much less often this year. They are the very people who support me and who love us, so even if my child has had a bad day, my laundry and paperwork are both piled high, I plan to say yes when my mum invites us to visit or my sister is over for a scarce visits from America. Seeing people who love us is a vital part of getting the balance right for any family, even more so when my children have high support needs.

When therapists suggest something for one child which is detrimental for the other I plan on saying no sometimes too. I owe it to BOTH my children to do what is right for them and I don't want either child to grow up feeling their needs and wants were neglected in favour of the other. Making tough decisions is vital to prevent us all from becoming overloaded.

When doctors and specialists see my children this year I plan on pushing for what I feel they need more. Last year my children missed out on vital services like speech and language therapy because I never managed to balance everything and dropped the ball too often. When they say 'lack of funds' or 'let's wait' or anything similar I plan to practice 'no' again and push them to refer and help more. I owe it to my children to fight for what they need. Without professional support I end up becoming overwhelmed and even more things fall away.

I won't always get the balance right. There will still be many days when things get on top of me and I feel like a failure. But I need to start somewhere.

When I picked up those juggling balls I started with just two. Once I was familiar and confident I added a third and finally a fourth. My daughter suggested she buy me more and asked me if I thought I could manage five ... 'No' I replied, rather quickly! I know my limits.

That is the key to 2017: know your limits. Fight for your children, nurse them, teach them, look after them… but ask for help and say no sometimes too!

Something needs to change next year, and that something is me!

To read more of Miriam's blogs go to www.faithmummy.wordpress.com