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Challenge: Kids with Special Needs

Don't Call Special Needs Moms Special

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Don’t tell me I’m special.

I know it’s a well intended thing to say—that special needs kids are given to special moms—but it’s also a lie.

I am no more special than you.

I’m just a mother, like any other, who keeps showing up for her kids.

The only difference is that sometimes it’s harder for me to do that in a world not designed for differences.

So no, I don’t need to be called special.

I just need support.

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I need friends who understand weeks may go by before you hear from me. It’s not because I don’t love you or want to be included, it’s because even typing a text requires energy I don’t have. Please keep inviting me and loving me from afar. When I get my footing, I will return.

I need a spouse who understands that sometimes the last thing on my list is intimacy. I’ve been overworked and over touched all day. I’ve battled IEP’s, made meals no one ate, and drafted wills should the worst happen. Sometimes I need space to remember I am a woman and not just a mom who manages it all.

I need an employer who understands that while I value my job, my role as a mother will always be the most important. I need a workplace that understands at any given moment my child may have a breakdown or medical need so severe they’re asked to leave school. I can’t plan for these things, so please don’t fire me for putting my family first.

Jennifer Baumann Photography

I need insurance companies to know that when they hit deny on a piece of paper it affects a person. That unchecking a box is the difference between a child learning to eat, walk, and talk.

I need a church who creates space for families who don’t look like everyone else, and parks that put in ramps, and small businesses that have sensory-sensitive hours.

You see, I don’t need medals or awards or accolades—I’m not doing anything more remarkable than any other mom. Hard work is relative, after all.

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But what I do need is a community. People and places that don’t pat me on the back and send me away, but get on their knees and trudge through special needs parenting right along with me.

Because that kind of support would be something special indeed.

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