One of the questions I’ve asked my parent interviewees* at the end of our conversation is what they envision for the future, for their families and themselves. It’s been a hard question.
Most don’t have a clear answer, and many state honestly that they’re focusing on surviving each day as it comes. Raising children is tough. Add in the uncertainties and intensities that come with neurodiverse families, and life can feel like a child’s well-loved stuffy. It’s not the cute bear anymore: one eyeball is missing, fluff coming out the neck, held together with tenuous threads.
But there’s love there. And love battles through the hard stuff.
My intention in asking that question is not to increase the anxiety of the unknown, but to allow a shift in focus. So often we get stuck in the day-to-day routines, with young kids especially, that there’s no space for looking ahead. When everyday feels like a struggle, it’s difficult for your brain to shift focus.
Looking ahead gives a chance to envision the best case scenario.
For many moms, focusing on the best positive outcome feels irresponsible, dangerous. What if it all goes to sh** and you weren’t prepared? Who’s going to take the blame when stuff doesn’t work out? That’s our default brain looking for the safety zone, but it squeezes us so tight there’s no room for joy. It also places all the responsibility securely on your shoulders, and yours alone.
Parenting is a delicate balance between being prepared and trusting the flow of life.
Unfortunately, balance doesn’t look like an evenly weighted scale. It looks like a crazy dance that always comes back to center. The dance is the fun part if you’re willing to play, and you’ve got the core strength to stay centered. When we give ourselves up in caretaking and service, our core disappears and dancing doesn’t feel safe.
Shifting your focus forward can create a sense of trust, and help your brain get comfortable with the idea that you won’t be in survival mode your entire life. Your child will not be living in your basement when they’re 30, or end up in jail. Whatever you give your attention grows bigger, and seeing a future big picture helps highlight what really matters now. The minutiae usually doesn’t matter, but we get stuck there because it feels like it does.
If your child still can’t tie their shoes, will they ever learn? 😱
Things even out, maturity happens (albeit at frustratingly varying rates), and most adults can tie their shoes. The things that matter? Love, trust, and supporting each other to be the best version of themselves. Our kids, our partners, and ourselves. Building up that core sense of self, the strength to stand up for ourselves and others, to enjoy the dance, is the best focus for moving forward.
What do you see for yourself in the future? What’s your best case scenario?
It’s safe to focus on the good, to want more, and trust that you’ll get there. There’s work involved, but it doesn’t have to feel as hard as it does right now. That’s one of the ways I help clients shift out of survival, focusing on the best case scenario.
There’s so much more joy available.
*I’m interviewing parents of neurodiverse children for my upcoming book with Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Press. If you’d like to take part in the research, you can take the online survey here.
Hi, I'm Cara Maclean, a coach who'd love to see you thrive. I work with rule-following moms who've realized the rules don't work. You're smart (gifted even), maybe with neurodiverse kids, and simply too good at making life work for everyone else. I created the AIR Method to help moms thrive on their own terms. I've also got a book coming Spring 2022, through GHF Press! 🥳
If you're ready thrive on your terms, sign up for a free 30 minute consult call here!