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Friday, September 28, 2012

"Easy to Love..."

A month or so I was asked to read and review the book "Easy to Love but Hard to Raise."  I thought, How exciting...my first book review and giveaway for the blog! I forgot about the fact that I haven't been able to complete a book this entire year because my life is so hectic between the boys, my husband, my mother, my dog, the blog and my "Confessions" Facebook Community.  So, I read this book in pieces...which is easy to do because of the way the book is written. There are many short essays that tell the tale of a parents experiences in raising challenging kids.  The size of the essays are small enough for a busy mom like me to read before falling asleep, after getting the boys in bed.

Of course...I can relate in some way, shape or form to ALL of the stories, even though the diagnoses varies from ADHD, ODD, Tourettes, PDD and other combinations.  They are are all somehow about me and my experiences with my own children.  The words are all are all thoughts that I've had inside my own head or have even written about at one time or another.  If I had written one of these essays, it would probably be titled, "Easy to Love but Not Always Easy to Like" especially, when they become teenagers (because that's the snarky kind of girl I am).

Seriously, it is so important to our mental health as parents, to have a community to reach out to and be comforted in the fact that we are not alone in this journey.  This book accomplishes this goal phenomenally. I thoroughly enjoyed the essays and the expert advice that follows each.

Let me give you an example of just a few of my favorite quotes:

  • "Why had our parenting seemed so natural and effective with our two older children and yet felt so inadequate with Sarah?" -Rachel Penn Hannah says about her daughter who is diagnosed with ADHD.
For me what worked with my stepson, Slim ...didn't work at all with Red.  Of course, at first we place blame and convince ourselves that their behavior is all our fault.  It must be something we are doing wrong.  I even blamed myself when my boys were both speech delayed.  When the truth is of course, that these kids are just different.  Therefore, so must be our approach to parenting them.

  • "There is something inherently wrong with the system when, in order to receive a correct diagnosis and effective treatment, a parent must know more than the doctors." -Robbi Nester says in one of my favorite essays, "The Virtual Village". 
In my own paranoia, I always think that my friends and family wonder, "What the hell does she do all day? The kids are in school now.  Why doesn't she go back to work?"  They have no idea how much time I spend, reading and researching medications, their side-affects, treatments and therapies, much less carting them around to all of these appointments.

How many average parents have to go into doctors offices and tell them, although they have years of schooling and experience,  that you do indeed know more about your child than they do?  "No, I do not want to try this medication. I've read how this combination works better."  I research medication classifications, because I know based on experience how my boys will react to certain medicines.  I should be awarded an honorary Pharmaceutical and Nursing degree!

Not to mention having to know more than the teachers, administrators and special-education professionals, about the Individual Education Plan for my children, because the will often do the bare minimum or not even tell you what programs and modifications are available.

Another of my favorite parts of the book is the Q&A with Jean Winegardener, a.k.a. Stimey author of Stimeyland.com about the role of social media as a support system to parents of special needs children.

Jean says, and I will paraphrase here...

  • "Having a child with special needs can be extremely isolating. Friends who don't understand what you're going through as a parent...may fall away.  Some days it's just too hard to face the stares and judgments...so parents end up staying at home. When there is no one in your life to turn to in the middle of the day, Twitter is there. When you want to know what others' experiences', blogs are there. When you just need some adult contact to take your mind off of all that is so difficult, Facebook steps up."
My blog, Confessions Facebook Page and virtual Autism community have been my saving grace.  I have felt so much less alone since becoming involved with other parents who "get it."  Not only do they love, support and understand me...I get so much more from giving and sharing information with them.  Sometimes, I just give them something to laugh about in an otherwise funky day and they do the same for me.  Nothing makes my day more than some one thanking me for helping them feel a little less alone and crazy in this journey.

Here's the fun part..

Comment below leaving your name.  You have to put in an e-mail address to leave a comment.  I will draw a name next week to give away a copy of the book "Easy to Love by Hard to Raise"! 

You have until Friday, October 5th to enter.  Good luck!
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If you just can't wait for my give away.  You can purchase the book here on Amazon it even comes in Kindle format and I get a little Amazon associate credit to help fund the blog and help with my kids therapies!

~Love, Karen