Undoubtedly, parenting can be a tricky and difficult job for all, regardless of physical ability. As a disabled parent, you may face even more challenges, from learning how to take care of your children and meeting their basic needs to managing an entire household. Fortunately for Ellen Ladau, a mother with Larsen’s Syndrome (LS), she has picked up a few nifty tricks, or life hacks, to make parenting a much easier task, and has helpfully shared her tips in hopes that other parents can find their own life hacks.
Ellen gave birth to her daughter, Emily, in 1991. Emily, like Ellen, has LS, too.
“The fact that Emily too inherited LS was an emotional minefield that added to my postpartum adjustment."
There were other things that Ellen had to learn besides routine child care, such as cast care. Ellen also figured out how to transfer Emily primarily using her arm strength – she placed Emily down in a safe spot before pushing herself up with her arms to stand.
Ellen underwent hip replacement surgeries that further affected her physical capabilities when Emily was 12 years old. But she continues to make it work. “You know the saying: necessity is the mother of invention,” she says.
Over the years, they made renovations to their house to make it more wheelchair-friendly, as they initially had an entry to the house with steps when Emily was first born.
“Even if your physical environment is not ideal for your disability, there are many simple and inexpensive ways to make life easier."
As Emily grew up, she became more active in helping her mother out around the house as well. Together, they look at each task in a fresh and creative perspective to see if there are more convenient ways of accomplishing them.
Some hacks that work for their family
Keeping the floor de-cluttered. It's extremely useful for efficient house cleaning and minimizing fall hazards.
Kitchen organization is key. Ellen strategically positions common equipment and ingredients at places that allow for quick and easy finding, transfers and clean-ups.
Kitchen tongs are clutch. A pair can be found in almost every room. The tongs are useful is helping her reach her feet to place a silicone toe separator, or picking up different items.
Reaching sticks are multi-purpose. In addition to reaching, they're used for cleaning when paper towels or dishcloths are attached to them.
These life hacks have certainly made housekeeping, and ultimately, parenting, a much simpler job for Ellen. Working through these challenges as a family have made parenting a joy for Ellen.
“I can truly say that parenting [Emily] has been the greatest joy to my husband and me."
What are some of your life hacks to make parenting an easier process? Share them with us and you might be featured on AbleThrive!