5 Things Every Mother of Kids with Special Needs Should Hear
Being the mother of a special needs child can reshape your identity. Much of your life is built around the needs of your child. It is important to remember that being the parent of a child with special needs is an important part of our identity. But it shouldn’t be all of our identity. This mother’s day we’re celebrating you by acknowledging and appreciating your efforts.
So, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
1) You are not alone.
Feeling like you’re alone in your struggles as a mother taking care of a child with special needs can be difficult, but sometimes it helps to be reminded that even though there may not be someone else with the same cluster of symptoms as your child but there are mothers like you out there, facing similar challenges. Find those people, become part of a community of parents with children who have developmental delays and similar conditions, and chances are, you will find a great deal of support within these groups.
2) You too deserve to be cared for.
Mothers of special needs children are placed in a position of caring for others nearly constantly. It is time we acknowledge the kind of mental toll caregiving has on the carer, even when the carer is the mother of the child. You still need and deserve to be cared for. That entails asking close friends or family to help out in any way they can, to support you, maybe bring a meal by every now and then - don’t be hesitant to ask for help! You are allowed to take a much-needed self-care break and spend time doing something you enjoy, which leaves you feeling refreshed. Taking care of yourself will help you take better care of your child as you will not be burned out.
3) You are not perfect—and that’s okay.
You will screw things up sometimes despite having the best intentions. No mother is perfect, and holding yourself to unrealistic standards of perfection can only leave you feeling that you’re not good enough. Finding out what works for you and your child, after taking into consideration familial circumstances., is something that happens with time and you learn with experience. When you do make mistakes, try to shift your thinking and being too hard on yourself or beating yourself.
4) You are a hero.
Being a mother is hard. Being a mother to a child with extra needs can be extra hard. Every day, you manage things that a regular parent would think are impossible. You work with stiff muscles, deal with tantrums and meltdowns. You encourage your child to do things doctors told you they would never do but you never give up hope. You are a therapist, doctor, and friend. You are no regular mother!
5) Make time to enjoy your bond with your child.
As a mother of a child with special needs, your days are likely to be fairly busy and often overscheduled. Make time for laughter! While everything on your calendar is important, it’s also important to make time to play, laugh, be silly, and just enjoy spending quality time with your child. Read to them, snuggle with them, engage with them and talk about what’s important in their worlds. Make memories outside of therapy sessions.