In my experience, when people look for growth opportunities they usually talk about things like traveling, training, or networking with a specific community of people. I’ve done all of these things, and they certainly do expand your horizons. For me, none of them have done nearly as much to grow me as a person as caring for our son with feeding difficulties.
After talking to other moms, I’ve come to understand it’s different to care for a child without health problems. Then, you’re balancing between how much attention is appropriate to give them versus how much independence you can gain for yourself to accomplish your tasks for that day. The balance is different for us. We know exactly how much attention our son needs, and most of it is spent making sure he’s fed and actively performing his assigned physical therapy exercises. I don’t think of it as less time for him is more time for me to do what I need to do. Less time for him is slower progress toward walking and crawling independently.
The entire experience has been sobering in the sense I’m never choosing between something I need to do and something I want to do. It’s two or more things that need doing, but only having time for one of them. I also frequently have to choose between my needs, his, and my husband’s. I can sacrifice mine and my husbands to an extent, but continuous sacrifice on our part leaves us unable to provide our best care.
There’s also a whole new level of management to the household that didn’t exist prior. He has medical supplies, formula, and medical foods. They need to be tracked to ensure we never run out. It’s about 10 items, so I can go over them quickly, but in essence I’m managing inventory. Laundry has to be done every day, otherwise the house can’t function. The list goes on. The point is, this is more involved and there’s more potential negative consequences to not doing it properly than any job I’ve ever held. Managing a situation with this much risk gives you a whole new perspective.