How do you manage the stress and anxiety of your child’s diabetes management when you aren’t there?
Let’s face it, as much as we would like to be in control 24/7, it is nearly impossible. Even if you are a stay-at-home parent, you still have to send your child to school! It is overwhelming to think about how many adults our children interact with who may need to support them if something were to happen. Teachers, school nurses, school aides, bus drivers, babysitter/daycare provider, coaches/instructors, friend’s parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. The list can probably go on and on.
But there are two keys that have helped me ensure my child is getting the best possible care and helps keep stress and anxiety down.
Key #1: COMMUNICATION
I am in the camp that believes overcommunicating is better than assuming. When Logan was in kindergarten, I wrote down a list of “free” snacks he could have and the serving size. In 1st grade, when his diabetes was progressing out of the “honeymoon” phase, I sat down with his teacher and the school nurse. I explained what his body was going through (the best I could anyway!) And from day one, I have always packed his lunch and sent a “carb sheet” that tells the carbs for everything in his lunch and the total. I try to take the guess work out of it.
I also requested the school nurses email me every day with his blood sugars. It was great for me before he was on his pump to see the numbers each day so I could make adjustments, not just get the records every once in a while.
And you know what I learned from being so open about my communication? I have an ARMY of people who care deeply about my son!
Logan has an infectious smile and he thinks he’s smarter than he is…but these people really do CARE. And I may not have seen that if I was not willing to be proactive and develop these partnerships for his care. We are truly blessed with great people in his life.
Key #2: INCLUDE YOUR CHILD IN THEIR CARE
This may seem like a no-brainer, but as parents we want to do everything we can to protect our children. And sometimes we make their lives harder because of it. But Andrew and I have made a conscious effort to not sugarcoat anything with Logan, because it isn’t helping him in the long run. So when Logan goes to a friend’s house, we go over the expectations of when to check and when to call/Facetime me to check carb counts. He is still only 8, so this is not a fool-proof plan and I still give parents far more information than they would probably like (please refer to key 1, LOL!). But we want him to know now that it is a responsibility to take seriously.
This is probably the thing that makes these steps so much easier to take on. Express your gratitude to that long list of adults for caring so deeply for your child. Express gratitude to your child for paying attention and making healthy food choices or opting out of the popcorn at the movies with Nana because his sugar is already high (a personal grateful moment!)
This disease is not easy. It can be overwhelming. It can be scary. It can be anxiety inducing. But when you recognize some of the small things that you can impact…do them, unapologetically. And never forget the gratitude.