The Special Needs, Battle-Worn Parent

Confession: This post may seem like a rant.  But it’s my heart’s goal that through THIS momma’s rant, you can be just slightly more aware (if you aren’t already) of what it’s like to walk a mile in these shoes.

Being the mom of a special needs child is hard.  I know MANY moms in different battles and my heart just goes out for them, because though I have it much easier than some… It’s still exhausting.

boys reading

I’m sure we all have moments where we yell at others but only inside our heads, because we’re still trying to keep what little appearance of sanity we have.  But it may sound something like this:

“Well your child is constantly interrupting others and can’t wait his turn to talk, but I don’t think that’s an ADHD symptom at all…”

So you’re assuming he’s just rude and sabotaging his friends on purpose?  This is TEXTBOOK impulsivity in a social setting, classic symptom of ADHD – and I know, because I read the books.  Would you like one?

“Your child’s behavior is not the greatest, so although the rest of his peers are advancing, I don’t think he is taking this as seriously as his classmates and we won’t be advancing him.”

He fractured his hand at the growth plate of his middle trying to impress you with the skill he was trying to accomplish because it mattered to him THAT much to earn your approval though… Just sayin’.

chess

“I would never try medication with MY kids! We’ve been able to manage little Tommy’s behavior just fine by cutting out his sugar and red dye number 40.  I’ve also read that more protein helps little boys with the same issues you struggle with.”

Would you tell a diabetic that he just needs to get his fat self to exercise and eat healthy and he wouldn’t need his insulin any more?!?  And would you not think that I have tried everything before this point?

“I just don’t see the big deal with behavioral issues.  After all, boys will be boys.”

I don’t think boys are supposed to struggle with insomnia, bed wetting, and poor appetites either.  And him talking out of turn in a class is not nearly as concerning to me as the migraines he gets two to four times a week from constantly trying to focus around non-stop distractions.  But I’m glad you feel he’s manageable.

swimming

“My mom just whooped me when I didn’t focus.”

Yeah, my mom whooped me too.  We now have lived 6000 miles apart for the past 8 years.  You were sayin’?

“Have you considered that maybe you just shouldn’t homeschool him?  At some point you need to see you may be doing things wrong and you should leave him to an expert.”

I don’t even want to dignify this with an answer.

Anakin and friends

I could keep going. But I can also go in the other direction; I have friends who have just loved on us and never said a word – which is helpful.  But if there’s one thing I’d like for all these people to know is that they are the icing on the chocolate cake of my problems and my battle as a parent of this child.  Which is why many, many moms in my situation just walk away and don’t bother saying a word.

We don’t want to begin to tell you how much we have to wrestle with our spouses over this.  Many spouses are in a sort of tug-o-war over their hopes for their special needs children and how to address it, and while we’re walking that tight rope we’re still fussing with the child (usually over the SAME thing, over, and over again… It’s like beating a dead horse until you get it to the edge of the water and then making it take a drink!).  And we still have to research for outside sources of help for our child.  While managing the rest of the family and other “normal” kids and not so “normal” kids.  And let’s not forget any semblance of self care…

family pic

So from all moms like me, I kindly ask moms like you: When you see us in the struggle at the school line or the grocery store, don’t be THAT mom – the judgy mom, the mom with all the answers (the one I used to be, when everything seemed in control).  Instead, be the mom that brings an extra cup of coffee or sends a funny meme.  Be the mom that teaches their kids about differently-abled brains and how to be friends with kids who process life differently than yours.  Be the mom that “moves towards the mess.” If you don’t know what to do, just lift three fingers and whistle the “Hunger Games” tune.  We get it.

put your love glasses on

17 thoughts on “The Special Needs, Battle-Worn Parent

  1. You gotta’ KNOW I love this one! More than a few of my articles attempt to counter idiot comments like the ones you are able to quietly absorb (so far). Been there done that – for 30 years now – and the pressure in my cooker continues to rise.

    Use the search box at the top right of my site for “Top 10 Things NOT to Say (if you want to stay alive)” – written and posted on a day when I had had ENOUGH! You will no doubt relate and may even find a few of them funny.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I see a mom struggling I try to offer a smile, an encouraging comment if possible, and a prayer for her and her child. There is so much ugly in this world, even a small gesture of support stands out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My kiddo is impulsive and interrupts and can’t sit still. I spend all day everyday trying to teach her to find strategies to control herself. She is the odd duck among other kids because of her intellectual maturity and her also extreme impulsivity. It is hard for people to understand that we’ve tried everything – while someone might have a great tip that we’ve never heard, it’s pretty unlikely. What we most need to hear is “You’re doing a good job, momma. S/he is going to be okay.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right! I kind of wish the first assumption wasn’t that we’re just sitting around unphased by it. But you also don’t want to say, “this is the seventh time today I’ve corrected her on this.” All I want to hear is “Don’t give up! Things will turn out ok!”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. this is such a struggle for moms of kids without physical disabilities! Any kind of “invisible” disability leads to so many battles! I know its exhausting but keep up the fabulous work momma!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes. Thank you. I had a conversation with our kid neighbor today who spent half an hour telling me that his whole family talks about how hyper my kids are and how lucky they are that they’re not wild like us. Omg!!! I just stood there speechless because I know 90% of this came out of his mother’s mouth. And this kid’s behavior is nothing to write home about; he’s just not as physically active as my boys are. But still, we preach kindness in our house and welcome him and his brothers even when they annoy us beyond words. When my kids have guests over and said neighbor comes over I make sure that everyone is being kind because this child shares with me that he has few friends at school and he is a bit socially awkward (just as one of my kids is.) But I was floored and hurt and had to contain myself. I mean, my kids ARE hyper and both have ADHD and we are exhausted ALL the time, but we work SO hard with our kids. Between dr’s appointments and school conferences and making sure they get enough sleep and LOADS of physical activity, we are doing everything we can to help them. I’d like to tell her where she can stick it. Sorry for the rant, but your post resonated greatly with me today and I appreciate you writing it! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries! Thank you for stopping by! And I’m so sorry that this happened. It breaks our hearts. But it’s only the cherry on the top of our day to day problems, so there’s no sense “majoring in the minors.” Breathe! Say a prayer for them! And just continue doing your best. 💕

      Like

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