Sunday, January 24, 2010

Participation guilt...

Confession time: I don't always include Ashlea in family activies.

Sometimes I think it is justified that the other children have 'a turn' at being the centre of attention.  Sometimes I know Ashlea will hate something so I leave her at home.  But sometimes it is just too darn hard.


A couple of examples for you.  We went to the zoo last week.  I could have gotten Ashlea out of the pram at every exhibit to try and show her the animals.  But I didn't have the energy to lift her out just to point out something she probably couldn't see anyway....so I didn't.  She spent most of the time sitting quietly - a miracle surely -  in the pram with the sunshade right down over her so she wouldn't get sunburnt. 

Guilt.

Mind you I should have probably realised that the zoo isn't an ideal outing for the vision impaired!

Another example.  Yesterday we spent the afternoon in the wading pool.  Emma, Audrey and I got in. Ashlea stayed inside watching Night Garden.

Guilt.

In my defense it was too hot to have her outside (and the water was too cold to take her in - she is soft like me and will only get in if the water has been warming in the sun for a few hours first).  Ashlea really doesn't cope well in the heat, so at the moment I can't even take her out into the backyard in her walker or wheelchair as it is just too hot (crazy hot - 43 degrees here yesterday - that's 109 for you folks in the northern hemisphere).

There are many more situations I can think of where I don't go the extra mile to include her fully. 

Guilt.  Guilt.  Guilt.

How far out of your way do you go to make sure your SN child participates in all your family activities???

It is so hard to balance family life so that every child gets a turn!  I feel guilty for not always including Ashlea, but then I also feeling guilty for all the things Emma and Audrey miss out on altogether because it is too hard to manage with Ashlea.

For example - we have NEVER been to the beach as a family (I know...how can I call myself an Australian???).  Ashlea would hate everything about it.  And when she hates something that means that one person has to devote their entire attention to trying to console her.  Which makes the rest of the trip difficult - especially if you need 2 adults to take your other 2 children swimming.  Sometimes we will take an extra adult with us - but it can still be extremely stressful if Ashlea howls the entire time.  Which has happend.  Many times.

Stress and Guilt.

A friend of mine has had respite for her son during the holidays and has used the time to do activities with her other boys.  Even that would make me feel guilty.  Ashlea would be horrified if I left her at home with a carer and went out with her sisters.  And yet she'd be horrified if I took her to some of the places her sisters would like to go - for example the movies.

So, where is the balance.  I feel like I should be striving to include Ashlea all the time, but, like I said, sometimes it is just too hard.

5 comments:

Big brother, Little sister. said...

Hi Alison, I think you need to come down to Melb and come to the beach with us! come on Aussie come on!
I understand the guilt factor but for me it is the opposite child due to age difference. I seem to take the opportunity for Pep to visit Nanny if I want to go with Cooper somewhere as she will get more out of playing than coming to the shops/appointments etc.
we went bowling yesterday for the first time it was great for everyone.
there are lots of times when my kids want to do something different than eachother and I think it's fine for one to be outside and the other inside, we all need time out from eachother/action.I am sure Ashlea would let you know if she wanted to be out in the pool with you! you would hear "poo poo come and get me!" Bron

Lacey said...

Don't feel bad, the other kids do need attention because they get neglected a little. I do include Jax in most things, but sometimes its better to just leave him home!

ferfischer said...

We don't include Cici in a lot of stuff all the time. We split up most the time with the other two kids. Ours are still pretty small too, so I get it. I really do. I feel guilty, but more than that, when we're out without Cici or we've split up, it doesn't feel like we're a family, and that feels worse - i hate it. But, we can only do our best, ya know?

Anna said...

Hard isn't it? I wish I knew the answer. I am so concious of the fact that when I am home with the boys on my own, Braeden is left to his own devices and Ryley demands every ounce of my attention. I avoid going places because I know that I just can't manage the kids.

Don't feel bad about the zoo trip! Ashlea would have got lots out of it! The sounds, the smells, and the sights would have been wonderful for her!
I know that when we go to the zoo, Ryley is far more interested in the people walking past than the animals. But Braeden loves the animals, so neither are missing out (despite my desperate attempts to get Ryley to look at an animals).

The beach is hard! Maybe instead of taking Ashlea to the beach with an extra person, have that extra person stay home and spend special time with her?

I know that we used to feel horrible going to respite and taking Braeden as well. I used to think that Ryley would hate seeing us going out with out him. WRONG! He loved getting all the attention in the world while he was the only one home! He ran amok!

I think guilt is a very normal part of being a mother. Dad's don't seem to feel it as much as us.
You really can only do the best you can do! If Ashlea was happier inside watching TV then that is what is best for her! She would soon let you know if she wanted to be out in the pool or was annoyed with you!!

Territory Mom said...

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