My previous blog post I commented on how I try to manage a day at home with no appointments and with my daughter at school. These days are predictable and in that sense are a lot easier. I wanted to also share how I try to manage my appointment days.
Right after we learned of Oscar’s diagnosis our schedule was HECTIC! I didn’t want to say “no” to anything that could help him, so we were really busy (I am sure most of you can relate). Thankfully, things have settled down and now most of our appointment days are “quick” meaning just one local appointment (about an hour long). This may be physiotherapy, occupational or speech therapy, naturopath, resource consultant, managing his hearing aid molds, or a visit to our family doctor.
On these “quick” days I do try to schedule appointments early in the morning (9:00am) whenever possible. This way, if my husband is unable to take Olivia to school, I can drop her off at 8:45am and then go straight to the appointment. Now because of COVID, the majority of our therapy appointments are virtual which means that I just have to get home, turn on the computer and login to our session. If it is a therapy appointment, that will constitute the majority of his therapy time for the day.
I am a physiotherapist and so I do probably bias physiotherapy with my available time. Gross motor development comes before fine motor development, so for that reason as well I have focused more on the gross motor skills (physiotherapy goals) knowing that those will probably be achieved before fine motor skills (occupational and speech therapy goals). Regardless of what appointment it was in the morning, I still focus on getting Oscar weight bearing or walking as much as possible, and I will incorporate our speech and occupational therapies into playtime.
The rest of our day pretty much proceeds as a “typical day”. After the morning appointment, I will go for a run or a walk to get outside and for both of us to get some fresh air and a change of scenery. Some of our appointments are now phone calls (because of COVID) and I will schedule those during nap time. There was a time when we would have several appointments/week (5-7) and I hated that everyday I had somewhere to be at a certain time, so I would book a couple/day just so that I could have a day “off”.
A long appointment day would be if we have to drive 45mins (one way) to his audiologist or if we have to drive 2 hours (one way) to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. On these longer days I prioritize feeding, sleeping and getting Oscar out of the stroller as much as possible. I will definitely pack a “meal I can count on” and several snacks that I know he will readily eat without much encouragement.
The other days that I should mention are weekends when I have both kids to myself because my husband is working. Typically by 9:00am my kids will be dressed, fed and the kitchen cleaned up after breakfast. I will usually throw in a load of laundry too (every Sunday I do all of the sheets and towels). Then we will do Oscar’s therapies until about 10am. After that we all need to get outside and this is when we will go on a bike ride, a long walk or some form of exercise. When the first half of the morning is “Oscar’s time” and the second half of the morning is an activity that Olivia will enjoy it helps to balance my mom guilt. During nap time Olivia and I get some quality time together and we will usually bake, do a craft or she will help me with something around the house.
I can be flexible with my day, but I have found it helpful to have a sort of template for each day type to keep me focused and help me manage my time. Life can’t be all appointments and therapies. It is a challenge to balance everything, and most days my “to-do list” isn’t completed. I have learned that it is equally important for my husband and I to get out together and enjoy where we live.