Do you ever feel like being a parent is like playing that game where you have lots of balloons in the air and you have to keep running around and hitting them back up before they drop to the ground? Sometimes you get so tired from running around that you just want to stop playing the game and let all of them fall.
I’ve definitely felt that way. As a parent of five kids ranging from elementary school to college age, I’ve got so many different balloons in the air, it’s impossible to keep more than a few of them from falling. It’s hard to know which ones are most important and which ones should be dropped… and which ones to pick up quickly and get going again.
One of the balloons that dropped recently was Kaitlyn’s type 1 diabetes management. We’ve been doing so well for so long, it almost felt like we were on autopilot, and that diabetes was something we hardly had to think about. It was a balloon that just seemed to hover almost effortlessly in the air. But then we had a visit with our endocrinologist, and it turned out to be a wake-up call as to how things were really going. Kaitlyn’s numbers were pretty much all over the place. I was expecting our standard glowing report from the doctor, but it was more of a caution, letting us know that her blood sugar management was not where we’d like it to be.
Was I devastated? No. Was it the first time I was reminded that I needed to step up my mom game? Not a chance. The dentist has reminded us to improve our flossing habits or there will be more cavities to fill. Elementary school progress reports have highlighted less-than-stellar efforts. And it’s always a banner day when the school principal has to give you a personal call. Not too fun.
Very few of us enjoy being corrected, especially in our efforts to raise and take care of our children. But it really is how we improve. Feedback is truly a gift, and tomorrow is another day to try. As one of my favorite childhood book heroes, Anne Shirley of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, once said, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.”
Now let’s be real. Life is totally fluid, and it’s worse than a juggling act to decide which balloons we need to drop and which we need to pick up and get going again. But the good news is that we’re allowed to choose! We’re allowed to change and improve, and we’re allowed to make mistakes and try again and again.
We’ve since been able to get back to a good place with Kaitlyn’s diabetes management as well. It took us a couple months to get on track again, but I’m happy to say that Kaitlyn has turned a corner in how she’s taking care of herself. She’s paying more attention, she’s dosing ahead for meals instead of constantly trying to play catch-up with insulin, and she’s calibrating more often. I’ve been much better at helping and reminding and following up with her. In general, we’ve been able to be more proactive and less reactive with her numbers. We’re anticipating where they’re going instead of waiting for them to be out of range and then fixing it. Since this has happened, Kaitlyn seems happier, she feels more confident, and everything else seems to be more easily falling into place.
Good luck to all of you picking up those balloons and keeping them in the air! I know you can do it!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.