The Interviews: Working Moms With Special Needs Children

Please note… Christina is no longer blogging. Her interview was so supportive and helpful for moms with special needs children that it will remain published for others to see.

Original interview from March 2011:

This month’s interview is with an unbelievably hard working mom named, Christina. You can find her at We 5 Kings.

The saying “It Takes a Village” comes to mind with her approach to family time, housework and the daily schedule. In addition to managing the home and work, she cares for her son Joshua who has made wonderful strides in the healing process of his condition. With a positive outlook and a lot of organization, Christina is accomplishing it all with her family by her side. Enjoy the interview!

How do you manage a full-time position and caring for your family?
Managing my full time job and caring for my family seems overwhelming sometimes. I feel like I am always on the go. I stay very busy all the time. I have a 12 year old in middle school, a 6 year old in Kindergarten and a 3 year old in daycare. I work 40 + hours every week. I manage to cook a pretty good dinner almost every night, care for my children and keep up with household duties. Honestly I couldn’t do it without the help of my husband. He is a partner in every sense of the word. He works and cares for the kids almost as much as I do. I leave home at 6:00 am every morning with Joshua in tow, headed to work.

My husband is still at home getting the two older boys dressed, fed and ready for school. He drops off the 6 year old at my parents’ house so my dad can take him to school. He then takes the 12 year old to school, and goes to work himself. I leave work at about 2:30pm, go pick up both older boys from their schools, head home, help with homework, and get started on dinner After dinner it’s bath time for all the boys, then we watch some TV, snuggle and read some books, then it’s bedtime.

Can you tell us about Joshua’s medical condition?
Joshua’s condition is called Bilateral Hydronephrosis. Basically that means that both of his kidneys hold an excessive amount of fluid. In normal kidneys the fluid drains right into the bladder, but With Joshua’s kidneys, the fluid doesn’t drain until there is an exceptional amount to force open the ureter, and even then the kidneys still hold onto most of the fluid. In July of 2009, Joshua underwent a surgical procedure called Left Pyeloplasty, which removed a section of kinked ureter.

A blockage that had formed on the left side was also removed during the operation. It has taken a while for us to see any difference in Joshua’s Hydronephrosis but in November 2010, Joshua had a pretty extensive check up. I am so glad to say that he is finally starting to show some improvements. We are finally seeing some benefits from the surgery. Both kidneys have deflated some, so we are all hopeful that Joshua is on his way to better health.

How does your employer accommodate time away from work to care for Joshua?
I am very blessed to have the job that I do. I am the Director for the Weekday Early Education Program at my church. We offer full day preschool, after school care and daycare for children ages 6 weeks to 8 years old. The WEE Board is very accommodating to help me work the schedule that best suits my family.

The 6:30am ““ 2:30pm schedule works out great for us, so that I can pick the boys up from school and be with them in the afternoons. The Board is very understanding about Joshua’s condition, and I am able to take him to Dr. Appointments, or be with him whenever I need to be. I’ve never had any problems, when asking for time off. When necessary, I work evenings to get my job done, to meet with parents or Board Members.

What tips would you offer to moms who manage a full-time job,  home and special needs children?

Working outside the home is a LOT of work. Here are just a few things that I do to make this HARD job a little easier.

Make a weekly menu for every meal.

This helps my husband know what to prepare the kids for breakfast and what frozen meat I may need to pull out of the freezer for dinner. It makes a big difference when it comes to dinner. I’m not scrambling around trying to decide on what to fix everyday. I know what I’ve planned and have done my grocery shopping based on my menus. I make my menus and grocery shop every two weeks.

Housework and keeping our home clutter free.  

Getting rid of all the clutter has been major. Now, if we don’t use it, I toss it! I don’t keep unnecessary items lying around anymore. As far as the housework, what has helped me most is to divide my cleaning chores up over a couple of days during the week. I don’t try to do everything in one day. I clean countertops and bathrooms on Wednesday. I also clean blinds and Windex windows, mirrors and pictures.   I sweep the front porch, vacuum, sweep inside and mop on Thursday. The children also have chores that are age appropriate so they can help out.

My 12 year old takes out the trash, gets the mail and dusts. My 6 year old makes sure that toys, books and games are all put away every night before he goes to bed. My 3 year old loves to sweep, so he has a small hand held broom and dust pan and his job is to sweep under the table after every meal. We are all to be responsible for ourselves and our belongings.

My philosophy is “If you make a mess, Clean it up.” I no longer allow the kids to leave their belongings strewn about. Everything has a place and that’s where it belongs. My boys know and understand this rule.   If toys are left out where they don’t belong, I will, and have thrown them away! My husband does his share of housework by doing all the laundry.

Do as much as you can at night to prepare for the following day.

Lay out clothes, shoes, hats, gloves and coats, so you’re not searching through the coat closet when you are rushing out the door. Do this not only for your kids, but for yourself too. Set the table with cereal bowls and napkins for breakfast the next morning. I fix myself a protein shake for breakfast every morning, so I set my cup and straw on the counter and put my protein powder in the blender so in the morning I just add a few blocks of ice and my juice.

Lighten Up!
Don’t stress if all of the housework didn’t get done this week. Did you spend as much time with your family as you could? Did you make memories with your children? Those are the important things in life!

Have a good support system.
Align yourself with other women who are facing the same challenges that you are. It helps me tremendously to have other working moms to talk to. They know what I go through on a day to day basis and appreciate the effort that it takes to work outside the home while raising small children.

How do you get me time to rejuvenate?

I spend my drive to work every morning talking to God. My faith is an important part of my life and it really is what gets me through each day. My “me time” generally comes after the kids are in bed.

My husband and I can spend a little quiet time together, watching our favorite DVR’d shows and talking about our days. I do some Facebooking, and read some blogs to relax. I really enjoy reading, so sometimes I try to read a few chapters of a good book too.

Just this week I started Weight Watchers, so Thursday nights are going to be about me. Everyone needs to focus on themselves and be all that they can be.

3 thoughts on “The Interviews: Working Moms With Special Needs Children

  1. Suzanne says:

    I just posted today about working with special needs children. I can’t imagine the amount of love (and endurance) one would have to have 24/7! My heart goes out to them!

    Like

    • Stephanie says:

      My feeling exactly. I connected with Christina regarding a different topic and read about her son at her site. I found her and her family to be inspirational. Moms with special needs children work so hard to give so, so much to their babies and families. Thank you for the comment Suzanne… heading over to read your post. 🙂

      Like

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