Last year at this time I was a wreck. Sure, I’m still totally disgusted with the current state of affairs and our country’s leadership. But, so far, not too much long term damage has been done. The tax bill, that’s going to hurt in a few years. I’m confident it will be turned over before that happens. I wonder if our legislators make New Year’s resolutions the way IEP moms do? Or anyone?
Anyway, for 2017, it seemed my MO was call, write, visit, email, call again, tweet and then call some more. Throw in a few meetings, protests…it feels like all I did this past year was try to save my son’s health care. And my own personal health rights.
Like many others, I took a break for the holidays. Now, I’m looking at this year a bit differently. Mentally, I just cannot keep up the frantic pace of being alarmed at every little thing that happens. I’m still going to call and write, and maybe visit. But it will be more strategic, better prioritized and my main goal this year………peace. And zen. (which are kinda the same anyway) I just cannot spend another year with the constant hand-wringing, but I cannot just walk away either. It’s our duty to stay involved for our families.
Here are some things I will be doing to stay involved in advocacy and not lose my sh!t. And find peace.
New Year’s Resolutions for IEP Moms
- Keep my IEP paperwork organized. I invented the IEP organizer in 2015. And in 2015 and 2016, I really used it, and it worked well. Last year, I fell off the wagon and my paperwork is a mess. Now I’m staring down an IEP meeting in 2 months and I feel totally frazzled. I’m printing off another one and that will be my project as soon as the kids go back to school. (PS-I plan to update it this year, but if you buy it now, I will give you the new one, free!)
- Take time for me. We cannot be constant caregivers and case managers if we do not take care of ourselves. You cannot fill others’ cups if your own pitcher is empty. I signed up for a Healthy Lifestyle Challenge at our health club and I am going to make it a priority. No more “Well, I really don’t have time….” I also intend to use the three, yes 3, unused gift cards that I have for massages.
- Let go of the guilt. This is related to above. I don’t do things for me because there is almost always something I could be doing for someone else. Usually my kids. My to-do list for my household and family is never going to be complete, and it’s ok to take a break. For me.
- Ignore the noise. I get better at this every year, as time goes on. I still have room for improvement.
- No drinking wine. I’ve been doing this since August, with about 90% consistency. I want 2018 to be completely alcohol free. Just putting it here to stay accountable.
Here are some other things you may want to resolve to do this year if you’re an IEP mom:
- Organize your IEP paperwork. It will make life less stressful. I promise.
- Read the procedural safeguards. Yes, read them. All of them. I’m going to re-read mine this year because I always find several useful pieces of information that I forgot about.
- Remember that I am not alone. There are literally millions of kids with IEPs. Sure, the kids are individual. But so many of the situations are similar. Join our Facebook group.
- Learn. Take a workshop, go to a conference, do a webinar. Something to help increase your confidence as you navigate the IEP process. (Hint, stay tuned here, I’m going to offering some free ones!)
- Help another mom. Reach out. Just one person helping one person. Imagine the impact if we all did this!