Guest Blogs

Decide What Really Matters

Learn how to deal with stress and conflict by picking your battles and deciding what is really important to you.

Today I have a tip for tired moms of kids with special needs.

While watching Natalie work with her occupational therapist Tuesday morning, I flipped through a copy of Real Simple magazine. I came across an article about coping. Tailor made for me, huh? You know how I’m always complaining about feeling overwhelmed. I skimmed through it to see if I could pick up any new tips. I’m not sure this one is new — but given that I’ve been using it over, and over, and over, and over since I read it, it must be a good one!

Here it is, paraphrased, of course: When you find yourself upset or worried about something — at work, at home, or with your kid — ask yourself these questions:

1. Will this matter 3 days from now?

2. Will this matter 3 years from now?

I tried this first at work, after a contentious meeting, and it helped me come up with a bottom-line measurement for what’s worth fighting for at work — if it affects the customer’s experience, it’s important. It may determine whether or not the customer is still coming back 3 years down the road, whether or not they donate during the next fundraiser, and whether or not they promote our service when they talk to others in the community.

When it comes to parenting a child with ADHD, the bottom line is not always so clear. If I pick my battles — choose not to address every negative behavior (also my favorite excuse when I’m just too tired to react!) — then I’m not being consistent enough. This certainly could affect Natalie’s future behavior.

But some things are no-brainers. If Nat goes to school in an outfit that doesn’t match, it doesn’t matter. If she refuses to wash her hair once in awhile, no damage done. If she forgets her glasses a couple times a week, I’ll go back home for them, and she’ll have them soon enough. I don’t have to beat myself up about every mistake, every imperfection.

Try this for a few days, moms, and let me know what you think!