Previously, I had a rant about the things that really p*ss me off in the world of SEND but today, in order to start the holidays for me with a more positive focus, I am writing about the things I love about life in the SEND Minefield. Yes there are some positives.
What I love about the SEND Minefield:
Other parents of children with SEND
Last time, I talked about the negative impact some parents can have but they are a small number of parents. The majority of parents get it, they know how difficult and tiring this life can be and they are your rocks. You know you can go into a group on Facebook or post on Twitter about having a sh*t experience and you will get support. Other parents helping to hold you up when you need it. Other parents making you laugh when they share their experiences. Other parents sharing their knowledge and experience, at no cost, just to help you out. Other parents pointing you to the right website or the best resource so you don’t have to search for hours. Other parents who know that you are more than just parent/carer of. Other parents who know that some days you just don’t want to be seen as inspirational. Other parents who relate to you and your experiences so you know you’re not alone. Other parents who totally appreciate that somedays PJs will be the uniform of the day.
I have made some amazing friends in this world. Parents who I know I can just say what I mean without worrying about it being seen in a negative way. Parents who are there for me, as a sounding board or to give advice, or just to have a giggle. Parents who share the courses they have taken, their contacts and leave their ego at the door. I am eternally grateful for these people (and so is my poor hubby who has to live with me)!
I am in a group of parents who blog their way through the minefield, partly as therapy but also to raise awareness. An inspiring group of parents. Possibly my favourite group on Facebook.
I follow some amazing parents on social media. Parents who always make me realise I can do this, because let’s be honest, we all have days/weeks/months when we question how we are going to carry on.
All of these parents rock and deserve all the accolades possible.
The Non-parents who give a sh*t
There are some people out there who amaze me at the hours they give up, often unpaid, to help families like ours. People who offer support, advice, information and sometimes an objective insight. Sometimes we need that objectivity, that calm voice of reason that says “perhaps this is not the best course of action – have you really thought this through?”.
There are practitioners working with our children and young people who are as keen for them to do well as we are. They can be teachers, speech therapists, SENCOs, occupational therapists, GPs, Neurologists, Psychologists, Academics, Barristers, even Lawyers (they are not all like Baker Small). Of course, there are bad practitioners out there, but there are bad people in every possible group, that’s real life.
The Sense of Humour
I love the sense of humour in this world. I love how so many families cope by using humour. I love that I spend as much time laughing with other parents as I do crying or ranting.
This doesn’t mean that any of it is a laughing matter but sometimes, the old adage of “if I don’t laugh, I will cry” is very true.
I love how this world helps you to put things into perspective. The things that used to keep me awake at night before I arrived here, don’t even enter on to my radar.
I no longer worry about the trivial, superficial aspects of life.
I no longer worry about being judged on appearance, income or job title. What a huge relief it is to let go of that.
I no longer feel the need to apologise for being me. I am a very chatty, very opinionated, quite amusing, very outspoken Northern bird with a well developed sense of humour.
This poor man deserves a medal. Not only does he get the pleasure of living with me, he also gets the chaos of life in the SEND Minefield every evening after a day at work. He is a hands on Dad who has never once shown the slightest hint of being disappointed or ashamed. He loves us all unconditionally. He supports me when I have one of my “ideas” and decide to get my laptop out at bedtime, he supports me when I decide to step down or move on from a project, he accepts that some evenings dinner may not appear unless he cooks it and he does it all with a look of amused acceptance.
Most importantly – my children
I bloody love my kids. I spend my days hugging my sides from laughing at their antics, crying tears of pleasure over their literal interpretations, crying tears of pride at their achievements and enjoying being mum to three such fantastic children.
Although as I write this, one of them has just come and sat next to me, smirked and then said “sorry, but better out than in”. So yes, sometimes it’s not always a bed of roses.
These three balls of energy have changed my life totally. My life was very different before they arrived but I don’t look back with regrets – wondering what may have been, I look at them and know that they changed me for the better. And if I am honest, as challenging as this role can be, I much prefer it.
My kids totally rock and I am grateful every single day that I am lucky enough to be their mum! As the saying goes “I wouldn’t change my children for the world but I would change the world for my children”
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