Relax. Everything’s going to be fine.

We moms often tend to judge ourselves harshly when we look at the needs of our children with Down syndrome, autism, or more. We want to help our children to the max. No…beyond the max. ‘Way beyond.

What we need to realize is that whatever we are doing and however we are doing it, we are doing our best. And that is more than enough. On a scale of 0 to 10, doing the best we can is a 10. Take that into your heart and let it melt there. It’s the truth.

We choose our battles, met the greatest needs of the moment, and then we trust and let go. It’s vital that we learn to relax and give ourselves the love and help we are striving to give our children.

Our children’s needs will change from week to week, year to year. Whatever needs float to the surface as being the most urgent, those are the ones we meet. We meet those needs and then relax and trust that all will be well. All will be well. We are doing the best we can.

Did we solve all the issues? Of course not. We can never do it all. No human can. We can only do our best in meeting the most important needs.

Thanks, Doc. I needed that.

I will be forever grateful to my son’s first pediatrician. I did not know beforehand that Jonathan had Down syndrome, so after his birth 34 years ago, I scrambled for advice. One awful bit of advice given to me by a well-meaning friend was this: “You’ve got to stimulate your baby around the clock. Wake him up every 2 or 3 hours to nurse and stimulate him, around the clock.”

At Jonathan’s 2-week checkup with the pediatrician, I mentioned our 24/7 “routine.” I will never forget and will always be grateful for that doctor’s response.

“You’re going to kill yourself,” he said calmly, matter-of-factly. “Forget that nonsense and let your baby and yourself sleep through the night.”

Ain’t Mama happy…

You’re probably familiar with the Southern expression, “Ain’t Mama happy, ain’t nobody happy.” We can tweak that to say, “Ain’t Mama relaxed, ain’t nobody relaxed.” Our kids of course pick up on our energy, like it or not. So if we know in our core that we’re doing a good job, we’re doing the best we can, and that all will be well eventually (if it isn’t already), we subtly communicate that to our children and partners. It’s a win-win.

Down Syndrome Parenting 101

Some years ago, Woodbine House published my parenting book, “Down Syndrome Parenting 101: Must-Have Advice for Making Your Life Easier.” (on Amazon and this site). Having walked the walk and done so in the company of many other mothers, in that book I offer you far more than self-care advice and intuitive insight. It covers the years from birth to independent living, with education examined along the way. I hope you dip into its pages, if you haven’t already, and allow it to welcome you, reassure you, and make you laugh. You’re doing a great job.

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  • Mary Williams

    Happy New Year Natalie! My Angel is 25 y.o. He graduated 2016 and didn’t learn how to read and I am still trying to teach him. Any recommendation s? I spoke with you a few years ago about Shaun my son.

    • Natalie Hale

      Recommendations? That’s easy! Start teaching him with my Emergent Reader Bundle (see home page.) It contains everything you need to get him rolling, as well as helping you know how to teach him most effectively. Let me know how it goes! And read the chapter (Whole Child Reading book is included) on “Older non-readers.”