IEP Season and Your Sanity
As we enter the final stretch of the school year, many of you are feeling the strain of the annual IEP review process. This likely also includes the often stressful task of determining what, if any, programming your child will be offered over the summer. This is a difficult process. I know I dreaded it each year. It is an extremely demanding and emotionally draining process –preparing for the meetings, the often contentious meetings themselves, the follow up afterwards and need for copious note taking and tracking of what was said at the meetings. You are deeply INVESTED in the success of these meetings because it feels like the success of your child is hinging on it.
Yes, the programming, schedule, therapies, teachers, curriculum, social supports, etc., etc., are all very important. But they are not the MOST important. What is most important is that you are acknowledging how stressful the process is, how deeply you want your child to succeed, and the importance of healthy balance and perspective. Are you sharing how challenging this all is with anyone else, or are you emotionally holding it all on your own?
When I reflect back on my mothering while my daughter was in school, I fell victim to the “I’ve got this” syndrome. Thinking I didn’t need to bother anyone else with my challenges and kept it all locked up inside, and not caring for myself.
If this is you, I invite you to find another way. Share deeply with your husband how hard this is for you. Call on a compassionate friend who will support you. And if you don’t want suggestions for how to “fix” it – gently tell them so in advance and say you just need to vent. Write in a journal – and really let it all out. Find a great therapist or coach who will hold sacred space for you to share. Get the 1:1 support you need.
And there’s more you can do to care for yourself – get to bed earlier for a full night’s sleep, choose more fruits and vegies over chocolate, wine or cookies, take a walk outside with a friend, and drink as much water as you can. Of course I’ll add including a yoga practice and some mind calming meditation as additional foundational self loving practices.
You know all this. – I’m just here to remind you. I dare you to make yourself a priority.