Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Social Support: Do you get it via drinks or e-mail?

How do you get social support to keep going? How much is from face-to-face lunches,coffee dates or drinks with friends? How much is through blogs such as this, e-mail exchanges and list-servs?

For moms of children with special needs it is often easier to interact through e-mail messages or blog comments than to meet up with people in person. However, I don't think that electronic relationships can match those up close and personal.

When I answered a questionnaire for my recent high school reunion, I was asked to name my favorite activity. Jeez - it was hard to pick one. I responded something to the effect of "There are so many, like hiking with my family, and going to see movies, but having martinis with friends is right there at the top."

What strikes me now is that as I was answering this question it never occurred to me to include "reading and responding to blogs" or "watching You Tube videos e-mailed to me by friends." Now that I am back home, in my telecommuting bubble, there are days when I don't speak to another human for hours on end, or even until Jacob comes home from school. Yet I usually have dozens of e-mail exchanges.

And while Sayer has come a tremendous way in his communication skills, our exchanges are quite limited and often repetitive. We can discuss what he wants in his lunch box and if he liked music in school but our conversations are well, pretty basic.

For those of us who have children with special needs, working at home can't be matched for flexability. It is good for me to be there in the morning to get Sayer off to school , as in "there" and not in a preoccupied hurry. Sayer is more relaxed when I am relaxed. But, I need to find more opportunities for human contact on a daily basis. This probably includes the dreaded activity of networking (why does that term suck the life blood out of social interaction?). Any ideas?


Anonymous said...

I get social support from a combination of areas. I have a variety of friends (some who know Brian, some who have only 'heard' of Brian). I also have 'friends' on an autism support group (if I ran into them, I would never know because I have never 'met' them).

As far as the question, I get it from all over. I tend to drop people if they don't accept my life.


Anonymous said...

P.S.I have become a member of the time waster called "Facebook". Holy cow. Good news is that I can keep in touch with the rellies easier.


ByJane said...

I get mine via the internet. My computes doesn't drink these days!

Carol said...

A computer on the wagon - a new concept!

Pam said...

Hi, I do consulting work in a field not related much to special ed: food service. Recently one of my small contracts bumped up the hours a lot for a project deadline of November 1. I find that I crave conversations that have nothing to do with disability and I can feel myself improving when I have to leave the house: my hair is brushed and once I even put on lipstick. While I know for sure that my son needs me and there is so much advocacy work to be done; I need me, too.

Carol said...

I agree; there is something to be said for work unrelated to parenting.

Anonymous said...

I am posting this anonymously, my first anonymous post anywhere ever. I am sorely lacking in social support:( My child with special needs is almost 12 and she is homeschooled which works very well for her. She is the youngest of my 5 and only one other lives at home and he goes to school and works etc. So, many days we are home alone all day. She has lots of afterschool activities and I have lots of online contacts and support but real support? Nope, nothing, kind of like the services my daughter doesn't get either. I have a great husband and we get through each day but it is tough a lot of the time.
I'll just add that I am not new to homeschooling, have been doing it for 17 years.

babs m said...

This is one of the reasons I'm moving my office home--to be able to be home after school and still get some work done.
As for social interaction, I have two writers groups that serve as companions and folks who are sympatico, and my online friends. Most of the people I deal with day to day are clients who are draining and negative. It's definitely hard to find a balance.

Carol said...


That does sound really tough. Are you able to relate to the other home schooling moms and maybe get together with them once in a while? Or do you feel "different" because your daughter has special needs? Is there a community ed class you might want to take?

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Carol said...


I've thought about joining a writer's group but I think I'm afraid of deadlines and expectations - which of course is what I really DO need!