Being a special needs mom has taught me so much in the 5.5 years Addie has been around. I recently asked my Instagram Stories readers what they wanted other moms to know. Your responses tugged at my heartstrings because there are so many secrets special needs moms want others to know, but won’t say, and I completely understand where you all are coming from.
1| We love to be included even if we can’t go. Special needs moms are busy. Between doctor appointments and therapies, there’s a lot going on. It brings us so much joy when you include us for mom nights out, girlfriend getaway vacations, dinner out, or even a simple coffee date. We may not be able to join every time, but trust us, we really want to! Your invitation means the world to us because it shows you haven’t forgotten us amidst our busyness.
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2| We appreciate you asking about our kids, but then we want to move on and talk about non-special needs stuff. Being a special needs mom totally rules our lives. Don’t get us wrong, we love being a special needs mom, but we are also just a girl…sitting in front of a friend…asking them not to talk medical stuff (unless we need to vent.) Even though many days we don’t feel like anyone other than “mom” there is so much more to us and we want to talk about that stuff! So let’s talk about our needs for pedicures, how much we love Mexican food, or the latest episode of The Bachelor, but please let’s not only talk about special needs mom life.
3| At times, we can resent you. That one really hurts to say, but it’s true. When you talk about the next sports activities you’re putting your kids in or the milestones your child is reaching, you’ll probably see us slip out of the conversation or just stand there nodding our heads. We can’t relate and it’s hard on us. It’s not your fault, but it’s just hard sometimes.
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4| We are so thankful for small victories. Many times it takes our kids longer to do things that neurotypical kids do. When our special needs child has a small victory, it feels like we’ve won the lottery. It makes us grateful for every doctor appointment, surgery, therapy session, or medical device. You may find a special needs mom shouting a small victory from the rooftops and we hope you’ll join us in celebrating whatever it is too.
5| Being online helps us. If you see a special needs mom aimlessly scrolling Facebook or checking out “what the cool kids are doing now” on TikTok, chances are we are trying to forget about our hectic lives and are trying to gain some normalcy. Being a special needs mom means there are times we need to forget about hours of therapy, insurance and bills, doctor appointments, diagnoses, and whatever else. Diving into the Internet helps us have some semblance of downtime. In fact, you may see us on social media during intense times in our lives like our children’s surgeries or intense hospitalizations. Our brains literally are trying not to fall apart and being online can be one coping mechanism.
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6| Sometimes we’re bad communicators. A simple text or phone call (let’s be real- just text) can go a long way with us! It’s not that we don’t have time for you or forget you, it’s that we are constantly communicating with medical teams, specialists, insurance companies, durable medical equipment reps, and more, that when we finally have a moment to ourselves, we don’t think to text or call our friends (and sometimes even family.) Please extend us grace and know that any time you reach out it is such a blessing to us, even if you’re the one that always reaches out first. We still love you, promise!
7| We love when you include our kids. We feel like we hit the jackpot when you invite our kids to a birthday party or play date. Better yet, we love when your kids include our kids when they’re invited. 1 in 20 children have a disability of some kind now, and including our child is so special to us. We hope that your child befriending ours will leave a beautiful impact on both sides of the friendship. Who knows, you and your child may grow to become a special needs advocate!
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Moms, thank you for hearing our voices and not judging. Life is so hard for our families already and your kindness and understanding go so very far. We are grateful for our relationships with you and hope this has been a helpful way to begin to understand us as special needs moms.