Kai and I had school at Perkins again today. It was a small group this week only four of us moms but one I hadn’t met before. We had a great talk and the kids had a special guest, Nova a guide dog!
Kai’s teacher told me that Kai and Nova had a special bond, like they knew each other for years. I told them how Kai has a very special dog of his own at home and how he really does respond so well to animals. They showed me a picture of Kai laying on Nova and they told me that even when Nova was spending time with the other kids she always kept an eye on Kai. I can not tell you how amazing it is to watch him connect on some level with animals. It is so hard for him to express emotion, joy, happiness, connection but he really does perk right up when an animal is around. Our dog, Boston still gets the biggest laughs out of Kai in our household!
I am so thankful for our wonderful dog and so thankful Kai had that amazing experience today.
And I am thankful for the support of the moms I was able to talk to today.
I came across an article this evening and thought it was so fitting for how I felt today, I thought I’d share.
Special Needs Motherhood: Are You Mom Enough?
Last week I decided not to write about the Time magazine cover after I saw the controversial images online. Why? I didn’t want to publicize a piece perpetuating The Mommy Wars (or help TIMEsell more issues). But as the days passed and the posts (and parodies) piled up, I couldn’t ignore one question that consumed me — where does the special needs parenting community fit into The Mommy Wars?
The answer: We don’t.
Regardless of a child’s diagnosis, special needs mothers aren’t in a civil war with other special needs mothers.
As any parent of a special needs child will confirm, we desperately need one another: We cling to the fact that we are part of the same team, we want to support each other and we couldn’t survive without our like-minded community. Sure, we may practice attachment parenting (or not), we may chose the bottle over the breast and we may stay-at-home instead of work, but regardless of perceived (or very real) differences, we are all bound by the universal fact that we never, ever feel like we can do enough for our special needs child(ren). Speaking from experience, it is humanly impossible for one person to meet all the needs of a child with a disability, but that doesn’t stop us from trying every single day or from cheering loudly for one another all the time.
The judgment-free acceptance that defines the special needs motherhood community has strengthened my confidence, my resolve and most of all my commitment to stand alongside my sister-moms as they battle the real Mommy Wars — fighting for the best interests, the rights and the best practices for their children.
Since I’ve learned almost as much from other special needs mothers as I have from actually parenting my son (and his twin sister), I humbly submit my special needs mommy manifesto in hopes that it stops even one battle.
The Special Needs Mommy Manifesto
We really are all In this together.
Yes, I’ve been there, too.
A smile is worth a thousand words — a supportive grin, a meaningful gesture or a quick wink can change an entire day.
Things can always be worse.
Our mothers were right: Don’t ever judge a book by it’s cover, even if my child is having a meltdown at your feet or isn’t using his fork.
If you haven’t walked in my shoes/sneakers/flip-flops/Uggs, please don’t offer unsolicited advice.
Deal with real issues — don’t waste precious time on the meaningless.
If you don’t have something nice to say, please choose silence — we’ll both feel better.
Collective finger crossing, hugs and hand-holding are some of our most powerful weapons as moms.
Every day I am doing my very best, just like you.
Say thank you often — and loudly — to other mothers.
Almost everything I ever really needed to know about motherhood I learned from other moms.
Mom-ness can’t be measured — 50 Shades of Motherhood is a fantasy.