I remember being in college and hanging out with friends all the time. You had your education friends, the friends you made during Freshman orientation. If someone was walking down the hall talking about Skyline Chili or LaRosa’s Pizza you’d hop in the car with them and go. Those were the good old days. The fun days. Then you get married and have kids and all of sudden your life is so unrecognizable and somehow during labor you forget how to make friends. It becomes this awkward thing. Where you standing on the playground and all of sudden you realize you’re not as cool as you ever thought you were. You’re awkwardly smiling trying to get up the nerve to walk up to the group of mom’s. You notice that you to have the same stroller as you so you use that as your welcome.
You walk up you say oh hey you use Uppa Baby?! I too use Uppa Baby and have a created a tiny human. Friendship post kids is a lot like dating you have to test the waters to see if this person can be apart of your tribe. I see why there are so many categories of moms. From Granola Mom’s to Helicopter Mom’s you have to find your place.
What’s the category for the Mom who forgot to register her son for Kindergarten, likes leggings, prefers Whiskey over Wine, and needs a sarcastic comment or joke way more than she prefers uptight advice. Those are my people. Trying to find a mom friend with a child sans disabilities is hard. Trying to find a mom friend after you get a life altering diagnosis for your kid is impossible.
You find a friend you realize that their child is differently abled like yours. After hanging out a few times you realize that this friend sees you as competition. If you’re talking to the teacher than their child isn’t getting the attention they feel their child deserves. If you receive a specific grant then they don’t get the grant. You just constantly feel at odds and it shouldn’t be like that.
We should be cheering each other on and being grateful that someone you know got the grant that places like the United Way saw that their need was greater. Knowing that you’ll hopefully get the next grant. We need to the support and to see the glass as half full. Which I know is hard but it’s better than trying to get through this life alone.
As a special needs mom you need a tribe of other special needs mom, therapists, family, and doctors who have your back. If your child is sick they’re there. We’re in a 1 in 19 boat we need to support each other. Special needs mom’s are in a hole of grief, depression, and anxiety. We are forced to be happy go lucky parents with hope. Which we have. But we also have a heavy load that we have to figure out. We have questions like How do I handle the lack of sleep?! What am I going to do when he’s an adult?!
We as special needs mom’s are required to work, take care of the kids, and be the Shamwow sponge for everyone and soak up everything to help make your family’s life better. We have to be everyone’s cheerleader, an advocate, and still find time to keep ourselves healthy which is nearly impossible. Mom’s need friends who get it.
Depression and mental health concerns in special needs moms are on the rise especially in a pandemic. Our self care is non existent. Judgement and vocalized opinions in society are at an all time high. We are almost silenced in our struggle. We need a friend telling us that our feelings are valid and parenting special needs pandemic or not is so hard.
Special needs is lonely. I’ve been in this journey by myself. I’ve been in the pit of despair with people telling me how I should be raising my son with special needs while never once offering to actually help. Society piles on special needs parents with non special needs parents telling us what they’d do. Thanks for the advice Judy. I just saw your son lick dog poop at least mine is sitting quietly in the sandbox.
I have sat in a therapy room. I have sat on the floor for hours working with Whitman in hopes that that would jumpstart something. I’ve spent many nights in the hospital hoping for answers.
I was depressed but no one really cared. They had their stuff, which was worst than having a son with a disability. I got the at least he’s alive why are you complaining?! I wasn’t even complaining it was more matter of factly stating what is going on in our life and the person who said had never lost a child. I always think yeah they’re alive but it doesn’t mean his life isn’t hard. Can you imagine not being able to talk or communicate in the way you need to to get what you want?! Can you imagine at age six planning for your son’s group home instead of your son’s college?! Special needs parents need each other to have these hard talks with.
You need to find your tribe. It’s hard. I found mine online. Which sounds so unreal to me. Like I have this chance of being Catfished. But they’re real. Meeting them was a game changer for me. I came out of the pit. I’ve cheered my tribe on. I’ve held their virtual hands during their hard and visa versa. The Pandemic changed the way we make friends and find support since we are all stuck at home. My mental health has changed I’m excited about things again instead of dreading what could happen.
I say it all the time that you need to find your tribe. Love them hard. Take care of them. And when you need it they’ll take care of you. To survive the expectations you need support. It’s so hard. I’ve wanted to start a special needs mom site like match.com so you can find your people. If you’re struggling and feel alone I’m so sorry. I’m here if you need someone to talk to you. This life is lonely and you can’t do it alone. Find your tribe to survive.