Cover art for podcast Thriving in the Midst of Chaos: Parenting With Special Needs Kids

Thriving in the Midst of Chaos: Parenting With Special Needs Kids

100 EpisodesProduced by Jessica and Lewis TempleWebsite

Welcome to Thriving in the Midst of Chaos! This show is about surviving parenthood while having a child with special needs, while attempting to keep your self and your sanity intact. We share our experiences and discuss how we survived, what worked for us, and what didn’t work for us. This is a nonj… read more


Managing Overwhelm In Parenthood With Guest Laura Hernandez

Episode 44: Managing Overwhelm In Parenthood With Guest Laura Hernandez

In this episode, we discuss managing overwhelm in parenthood and putting systems in place to make special needs parenting more manageable. Guest Laura Hernandez has 10 children who live at home, and she homeschools many of her children. Three of her children have special needs. She needed to put systems in place for herself and her family, in order to make life so much more manageable. After helping some friends do the same, she chose to create her own home management company, Mama Systems. A home management coach sees where the stress points are in a parent's life and comes up with ways to manage those things. She finds aspects of their lives to delegate and finds ways spouses and children can help. She also helps parents find time for themselves and time to engage in self-care.

Paperwork is very overwhelming and is never-ending in the special needs world. For health, education, and everything specific to that child, Laura recommends that everything should be kept in one binder. Keeping paper copies is helpful, even if you can access the records online. In this binder, there should be sections for health, school, and evaluations. There should be a separate binder for therapies and evaluations completed through therapy. The binder should be split up into each service. It can be helpful to also have a section for pre-filled out time sheets. This last part saves a ton of time and chaos.

Getting prescription medications delivered and automatically refilled saves Laura a ton of time. Hiring someone or using a grandparent if possible, to take the children to therapies can save gobs of time.

Navigating paperwork related to grants is crazy making. Making a google spreadsheet about all the grants is helpful. Make columns for the date you applied, when you got the grant, and when you can apply again. Keep a copy of the actual paperwork. Highlight it in red if you are completely denied for the grant. You should keep a separate binder just for grants.

Laura became overwhelmed by the quantity of paperwork related to IEPs. Her special education teach said that it is only important to keep FIEs, the IEP only for that year, and any updates during the year.

Regarding home life and mentally managing life, first, sit down and take note of what you want and what you don't want. Make a plan for your ideal day and week, what you would want to happen, and who you would want to make each item happen. Then, see how much you can make happen. Batching work-days is also helpful (like wednesday laundry day). When you have young children, you can make life smoother by using lots of charts and structure, to give them expectations. Set consequences if the rules are not followed, and make sure you follow through each time.
To better delegate, make a list of everything you are doing during the day and everything you want to be doing during the day, pay attention to your daily experiences, figure out what brings you life and what doesn't, and delegate the things that anger you. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Think about what you would like to do and prioritize to make it happen. See which things are nonnegotiable, and what you can move around so that you have more time to yourself.


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Show Music:
Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (
Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (
Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple

Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.

Copyright 2020 Jessica and Lewis Temple

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