Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Mama Conference & Retreat [guest post by Kay Marner]

Take Care of Yourself in a Big Way at the Happy Mama Conference & Retreat: A weekend getaway for moms of kids with ADHD, ASD, FASD, and other brain-based disabilities

by Kay Marner
This mama ain’t been very happy lately. In fact, my never-ending worries about my 11 year old daughter, Natalie, who has ADHD, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, and is on the fetal alcohol spectrum, have put me in a real funk. Most days, my bed starts calling my name by mid-afternoon. I’ve had zero motivation to work or do most anything else. I’ve felt like avoiding any and all social interactions. This funk has been severe enough, and lasted long enough, that I decided I had to make a conscious effort to do something about it—to take better care of myself. So, I made a few small changes in my daily routine. I started going for a short walk several days each week. I pulled my vitamin and mineral supplements out of the cupboard and recommitted to taking them daily. I gave myself permission to spend more time reading for pleasure. I’ve been scheduling a few lunches out with friends.
I firmly believe that when you’re living with the stress of raising a child with special needs, you have to make a conscious effort to take care of yourself. After all, as the saying goes, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Even small investments in your own well-being, like those I listed above, can make a difference in how well you cope with day-to-day challenges.
Yes, small is good. But big is even better! So, I’ve also pledged to do something significant. I’ve registered to attend the Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a two day getaway especially for moms of kids with special needs.
The Happy Mama Conference & Retreat will take place July 28–29, 2012, at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa, in Conover, North Carolina. Here’s what the retreat is all about, as described on the Happy Mama website, www.if-mama-aint-happy.com :

What: A CONFERENCE that focuses on your needs as the mom to a child with a very real, but invisible, brain-based disability, like ADHD, ADD, OCD, ODD, FASD, PBD, SPD, PDD, or one of the many other overlapping conditions that make parenting your child an extra challenging situation, and a RETREAT, where we’ll provide you with wonderful food, spa opportunities, fun activities, and camaraderie with other moms who know exactly where you’re coming from.

Why: Because parenting children with invisible disabilities is an extremely stressful, isolating, and emotional job and one which can impact your health and well-being in a negative way.

The retreat, hosted by DRT Press (publisher of the book I co-edited, Easy to Love but Hard to Raise) and the website {a mom’s view of ADHD} (founded and edited by Penny Williams) and supported by a growing list of sponsors, including CHADD and the Catawba Valley Medical Center, will offer the perfect blend of education, support, and pampering.

Saturday’s speakers will cover: “Parenthood, Stress, Health, and Resiliency,” “Advocating for Your Child in School,” and “How to Be Happy: Calming Techniques for You and Your Child.” Sunday will be devoted to fun and pampering, which may include spa treatments, relaxing by the pool, gem mining, hiking, yoga, horseback riding, or kayaking.
Doesn’t that sound fabulous? I can hardly wait! 
By interacting with other parents of kids with special needs via the Web, I’ve learned that support from others in my situation is the best support there is. My ADDitudeMag.com blog, “My Picture-Perfect Family,” is one avenue for those interactions. To celebrate the 4th anniversary of that blog, and in honor of the support and community we parents of kids with special needs offer to each other, I’m running a contest. I will sponsor one lucky mom’s registration, travel and lodging expenses (not to exceed $1000, some meals included, some meals, activities and miscellaneous costs at winner’s expense) to attend the Happy Mama Conference & Retreat. For more information, and to enter the contest, click here. The contest ends at 5:00 pm EST on May 30. 
If you are interested in attending whether you win this contest or not, please don’t hesitate to register now. Registration is just $129 until July 1. If you are “in the business” of ADHD, FASD, ASD, or other brain-based disorders and wish to become a retreat sponsor, email happymamaretreat@gmail.com for their sponsorship package.
In the meantime, take a few steps, big or small, to take better care of yourself. You work so hard to bring happiness to your special child. You deserve to be happy too.
Kay Marner, a freelance writer and editor, is the co-editor of Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories (DRT Press, 2012). Marner contributes regularly to ADDitude magazine, and her ADHD parenting blog, “My Picture-Perfect Family,” appears on ADDitudeMag.com. You can reach her at kay@kaymarner.com.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a great idea! Wish I lived closer to NC...


AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.