Guest blog by Ashley Taylor disabledparents.org
Parenting is filled with unexpected challenges. This can be truer when you are a parent with a disability. Thankfully, with the right modifications to your life and home, you can be prepared for whatever parenthood throws at you.
Make Your Home Easily Accessible
Going up and down stairs is difficult enough when you’re laden down with baby bags, strollers, and groceries. Make your life easier by ensuring you have at least one zero-step entrance to get into your house, especially if you have a physical disability. Installing a ramp will help you get in and out of the house faster and safer.
If you use a wheelchair and have narrow doorways, look into expandable door hinges. These are an affordable (and DIY) way to expand the entrance without breaking the bank.
Baby Proof the Home
You probably already know the basics of baby proofing such as locking cabinets and blocking electrical outlets, but there is more you can do to make you and your home safer particularly if you have a mobility issue.
Babies love to be held and carried. It is a good idea to invest in skid-resistant flooring to keep you from slipping. This is important for not only your safety but your child’s too. Likewise, kids will play anywhere and everywhere. To be able to get to them when needed, rearrange furniture ahead of time so that you have enough room to easily maneuver around when necessary.
Do not forget put up baby gates to keep them from accidentally falling down stairs or getting into rooms they shouldn’t be in. Having baby gates up will help give you a piece of mind if you need to take your eye off them for a minute and worry about not being able to reach them in a timely manner.
Search Out Modified Baby Gear
There are many great tools to help parents, and many of them have modifications to help parents with disabilities, such as a wheelchair friendly stroller or baby babble band for the hearing disabled. Disabledparents.org is a great resource for finding modified tech for a range of disabilities.
Look for gear that will work for you. There are a variety of cribs that can fit your needs, from a front open crib to ones that will fit a height that works for you. If you are nervous about being able to hold your child for extended amounts of time, consider a modified sling. Bathtime can also be made easier. There is a large variety of bathtubs designed for parents with disabilities.
Be Open With Your Child
Kids are curious creatures. As your child grows they will probably start to ask a lot of questions about your disability. Be open with them. This will help them understand any limitations you might have or know what may unintentionally cause physical pain. Being honest will also teach them to be more caring and patient with others.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Being a parent can be physically and emotionally draining. Any parent should enlist in family and friends for support. Do not be afraid to ask for help with meals, bathtime, babysitting, or whatever else you need. No one can do it all and no one expects you to.
Be sure to take advantage of babysitting offers to take some time for yourself. Go on a date night with your partner or get out of the house and do something you enjoy. Stepping away will give you a chance to breathe and relieve some of the stress of parenting. You deserve it.
Ups and Downs
Your disability should not prevent you from the joys of parenting. Yes, you will make mistakes and stumble along the way, but so does everyone. And remember, there is no one size fits all for parenting. Do not be afraid to try out different things until you find what best fits your needs.
Written by Ashley Taylor disabledparents.org
Photo courtesy of Pexels.