Special needs moms have been given extra challenges in their lives and have risen to that challenge. Special needs moms are just as exhausted and just as frustrated as the average parent; however, add to that judgments their children have to endure, the extra care their kids need, the guilt that they feel and all of the other difficulties that they face, and it’s safe to say that the challenges that these moms face are a bit more than the challenges that the moms of average children face. If you have a special needs mom in your life take the time to encourage her this Mother’s Day in the following ways.
- Express that you care – that you care about her as a person who is just like you. That you care about her child and the special needs that her child has. Ask her regularly how she is doing, and in a way that she knows that you really mean it. Listen and let her know that it’s okay for her to vent, even if you don’t fully understand what she is going through.
- Don’t forget that she’s a mom and a woman. While she may sound like she’s speaking an alien language sometimes and spend her days running between doctor’s offices and therapy appointments, she still has the whole struggle of normal motherhood going on – the diapers, the laundry, the grocery shopping, the taking care of her husband. Treat her like a normal mom, not some freak of nature.
- Include her AND her special needs child. Invite them to play dates and birthday parties. Take her out for coffee and invite her to your girls’ outings. Sit with them at church. I know it may be awkward. You might not know what to do or say. Your children may not know how to act around her child. (And her child may not know how to act around yours.) You may have to sit down with your children and talk to them about her child’s special needs. Warn them about potential behaviors that they might expect or might consider to be mean. (Children with autism or sensory disorders may hit or push because they are seeking stimulation, not because they are being mean.)
It is my hope that if you are a parent of a healthy, non-disabled child who is friends with a special needs mom, that you will take the time to better understand their world this Mother’s Day and every day!