The Lessons I’ve Learned This Week That Have Kept Me Sane – by Alison Rhodes, The Safety Mom

By The Safety Mom

It’s Sunday morning and I’m hiding out trying to just start my day as focused as I can.  I know that I need to “walk the walk.”  I preach constantly about how a happy mommy is a happy family and that I really need to take care of myself.  Easier said than done!  When my kids are waking up as early as I am and I’m consumes with soccer games, errands and a client dinner for someone to meet The Safety Mom on a Saturday night, just where does this “me time” come from?

I’ll catch you up on my son’s saga first.  He was prescribed a new drug by the psychiatrist he went to see – Abilify.  It would have been smart for her to give me some forewarning as to how much this drug costs because when I went to fill the prescription and was told it’s $440 for a 30 day supply I almost dropped dead of a heart attack!  How do people who are on multiple drugs do this?  And how do people with severe intellectual disabilities, who might not be able to hold down a job when they get older and afford medical insurance do it?!!? 

Lesson 1: Don’t just accept what you’re told. The old me would have just taken the prescription and complained the entire time.  But fortunately I’m starting to learn to speak up.  I called the doctor, told them that it was outrageous and they would need to find an alternative.  What do you know? They gave me 18 day trial sample for free while they figure it out!  That has definitely been my lesson this past week – in this harsh economic time you don’t just have to accept the first offer or complacently agree to prices.  You need to fight, explain and negotiate.  It works!

Unfortunately Spencer is going into week 4 with no school in sight.  The good news is that the school took the reports very seriously and feel he needs to be in a therapeutic setting that can deal with his psychological needs first.  I only learned about this on Friday morning after the home bound tutor service had called me Thursday and said that the school wasn’t going to proceed forward. 

Lesson 2 (I’m calling it the Brady Bill rule): Don’t react immediately but sit and think. The old me already had the e-mail to the school formed in my head.  Fortunately the two most influential people in my life these days stopped me from hitting the send button and encouraged me to wait until I heard something from the school and talk to my advocate.  Note: For anyone out there dealing with a difficult school system for your special needs child, you must hire an advocate.  These people are worth their weight in gold and can negotiate the system to get you the services you need for your child.  I’m more than happy to help anyone out there find referrals for special needs advocates. 

So, while I’m pleased that the school is finding the proper services for my son, unfortunately the one game in town has a waiting list until May.  I learn about this via a voice mail at 4P on Friday afternoon in which they tell me that they’ll call me on Monday to start figuring out other solutions!  Meanwhile, there’s no solution in sight for Spencer! 

Lesson 3: Distractions help maintain my sanity. I’ve been so consumed this week with what’s going on with Spencer this week that I was falling into a deep depression.  I needed to remember the greatest line from the Bill Murray/Richard Dreyfus movie What About Bob?  – I needed to take a vacation from my problems!  So, Friday night my all-too-grown-up seven year-old daughter had her first dance at school.   In my eyes, she was still my baby.  But listening to her giggle with her girlfriends in the car, watch her having fun at the dance and then coming home and listening to her on the phone for 20 minutes with the friends she just left made me realize she’s not a little girl anymore.  Yesterday she had her first soccer game ever and I was so proud I could have burst – she was great!  One child safety tip I’ll share – they need mouth guards playing soccer as well! Today, Grandma’s taking her to her first Broadway play, Mary Poppins.  This is a tradition she started with Spencer and plans on doing for all three kids.  I’ve given myself permission to think about anything besides Spencer’s school situation and his diagnosis.  He’s going to a Mets Game today and we’re all just going to have fun.  First we’re going to church this morning.  For me, it’s more about the spiritual aspects than the religious ones.  It’s a way for me to rejuvenate my spirit and give me the strength to face a new week head on.  A walk this afternoon and ten minutes by myself with a cup of tea will also help. 

I’m going to say a prayer of thanks for the beautiful children I have, for my health and keep believing that there’s always light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.  Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.

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