Thursday, May 8, 2014

15 superpowers of special needs moms


1. Extreme energy to tend to your child's physical and emotional needs, while mostly ignoring your own. 

2. A sixth sense for knowing when something isn't right with your child. 

3. Able to leap over tall piles of clutter in a single bound. Who has time to organize? 

4. Supreme tenacity for getting your kid the treatments he needs—and deserves—whether it's from the Early Intervention team or the IEP peoples. 

5. Bionic patience for handling your child's obsession with telephone poles/Thomas the Tank/Lighting McQueen/flags/plungers/Xbox/purple/vacuum cleaners/sprinklers/box tops/whatever.

6. Boundless endurance for dealing with insurance company reps. (Press "5" if you spend an ungodly portion of your life chasing down claims.)

7. Super-human flexibility for rethinking plans when your outing to the restaurant, play, bounce house or wherever isn't what your child had in mind or, rather, he hates it. 

8. X-ray vision for peering deep into people's psyches and knowing whether or not they are comfortable around your child—then doing your best to help them see the child behind the disability. 

9. Able to morph into various people at any given time: Therapist! Teacher! Nurse! Cook! Coach! Cheerleader! Secretary! Chauffeur! Personal shopper! Ball buster! Boo-boo kisser! 

10. ESP for knowing exactly what your child is communicating, even if he can't say a word. 

11. Amazing fortitude for putting on your pleasant face at the mall, the park or the party when other kids are doing their typical kids thing and you feel so alone.

12. An uncanny ability to soothe your child when he's having a meltdown in Aisle 8....

13...and strength of steel to deal when your child doesn't respond and it feels like the world is glaring at you. 

14. Force-field generation for blocking out well-meaning but clueless relatives ("Oh, nothing's wrong! You worry too much. She'll be fine!")

15. Awe-inspiring resilience to pick yourself up after you cry in the shower or car/freak out on your husband/go ballistic on the insurance rep/have an OMG-how-am-I-gonna-do-it-all panic attack/join your child's meltdown in Aisle 8—and keep right on doing all that you do.  


Image: Shutterstock

48 comments:

  1. Funny, I never thought of it like that but, I have to agree. I am going to share this link on my blog.

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  2. I love this! Can I have 14 tattooed on my parents' forehead?!!?!?!?!??!!

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  3. I love you, Ellen. You are a SuperHero!

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    1. Aw, shucks. I'll remind my daughter of that the next time she doesn't listen. xo

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  4. Great list, and helpful for a former disabled child / non-parent to read. By my unscientific count, only 7 out of the 15 items ... less than half ... were directly related to your actual child. The rest are either about other people's attitudes, your own well-being, or bureaucracy. In other words, your child's disabilities themselves are only part of the problem, and your job as parent would be less than half as difficult if the rest of the world understood kids with disabilities better.

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    1. i'm also a former disabled child and i was just thinking the same. honestly, if it weren't for other people giving me grief, i'd barely notice my disability.

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    2. Andrew, that is a really perceptive observation. And it is dead on.

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    3. amen to that!!!!

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  5. This is wonderful Ellen!! Thanks for sharing this. I agree with Jeannine - You are a SuperHero!
    xo

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  6. I needed this today! Just contacted our Early Intervention program about getting my daughter enrolled. She's had some health issues already, so I know how to fight insurance companies like a pro, but now we're entering the world of therapy and potentially IEPs down the road. Some of these really struck a chord with me today!

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    1. Good luck! We mostly had a great experience with Early Intervention, especially because of an absolutely wonderful coordinator we started with. I also found it helpful to have Max's doctors write notes about why he needed so much therapy (or, "therapy up the wazoo," the correct medical term, I believe).

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    2. Thank you! Yes, I believe that's what it says on Cora's chart as well. ;) I've been reading your blog since before I was even pregnant, and it's amazing how much of what you've written has stuck with me through all of these new experiences I'm having now!

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  7. Thank you Thank you Ellen wow I feel so overwhelmed @ times but somehow God helps me put my super hero Mommy cape on I just keep going some how ♥

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    1. Hey, I've got that cape too! Is yours also gold lamé and made by Prada? He, he. More power to you, mama!

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  8. I sometimes blow my own mind...

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  9. These are great. Feels great to be able to feel like I am not the only mom who cries.

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    1. You're not. Our local support group threw a "Pamper Mommy" evening tonight and had caregivers available while the Mommies got hair and nails done. I was looking forward to it from the time I was notified about it! Hadn't had a hair cut in six months. I was waiting my turn for the salon chair when my spidey senses started tingling so I thought I'd better go check on my son and sure enough, he was screaming at the top of his lungs and had the social worker and parent adviser both trying to calm him with no success, They hadn't been able to feed him either. So I picked him up and took him home. Got in the door, fed him and sobbed. I know tomorrow will be a better day, but sometimes you just have to let it out!

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    2. I didn't cut my hair for 3 years and was then able to donate it..so maybe you are on to something ;) stay strong..happy mothers day :)

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    3. I didn't cut my hair for 3 years and was then able to donate it..so maybe you are on to something ;) stay strong..happy mothers day :)

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  10. I can't tell you how much I love this. You NAILED it! I love that #5 has "plungers" in it. My son is currently obsessed with Gollum from Lord of the Rings...and THE ONE RING. And, #14? How do you know my mother?!

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    1. Wow. Gollum. And I thought Lightning McQueen was bad. I know your mom because she also happens to be various relatives of mine. :)

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  11. Love, love love- especially #7, #8 and #9. (and I second - or third- that you are a superhero.

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  12. This is wonderful. And guess what? One of my son's obsessions is also telephone poles! Seriously, he draws them over and over, talks about them constantly, etc. Can I just say that number 5 just made me feel less alone? Thank you so much. ��

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  13. 2. A sixth sense for knowing when something isn't right with your child.


    I love that one. xo

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  14. Just when I think nobody could ever truly understand. ;)

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  15. There is truth to all of them. 10, 11, 14 I relate to the most, but all apply. Thank You!

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  16. I relate with 1,7,8,10,11 most

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  17. I wish it was a telephone pole obsession here. Nope I have to be stuck with WWE. Please help!

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  18. Yes, yes, yes, all true. Also, we know almost instantly when we meet a professional the first time if they are a person who can get things done. We don't have time to waste on people who don't, so we reserve it for the ones with the power and the will.

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    1. I am fortunate that all the professionals in our son's 18 month journey with ST and OT have been amazing. His speech therapist at school rocks, big time; so does his current kindergarten teacher, who has known our son all his life. We know his kindergarten teacher next year will rock too, as the school principal, the current teacher, and the speech therapist all independently recommended this teacher for our son. I dread the day we can no longer chose his teachers (since he's considered special needs with his speech, we get currently to).

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  19. Love it described me very well

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  20. I love this so much. I wish I could force certain people (cough *family* cough cough) to read it so they would have a clue what we go through :(

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  21. Spot on, all of it, but these hit me hard:

    #7: today was field trip day at my son's school. Plans were a miniature horse farm then a bounce house place. Thomas was ecstatic about the horses, not so much about the bounce houses. There was a change of plans yesterday to where the horse farm was replaced with an outing to see Rio 2. Oh great. Thomas wasn't as upset as I thought he would be, but while he loves movies (this was his third to see in the cinema since December), he doesn't like the whole experience of getting to his seat and sitting in it. He did, though, surprise me and go in a bounce house. Granted, it was an empty one and he went in it with his teacher, but holy cow, the kid did it! We stopped going to birthday parties because every single one has a bounce house, and instead of playing, Thomas would cling to me like a tick on a dog, which leads to...

    #11. Oh man, this is oh so true. We had an outing at church last Saturday, a small cook-out. I spent the entire time not socializing like I had hoped (being a SAHM, I NEEDED that interaction), but watching Thomas play in a little patch of grass away from the other kids. We have another cook-out/big get together at church tomorrow, complete with, you guessed it, bounce houses. We debated not going, but it's not fair to Thomas' little brother, who has no fear, to miss out. It just sucks, and hits hard, feeling like a wallflower and wishing like hell that once, just once, your kid could be more like other kids. I hope that doesn't make me selfish. :\

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  22. I love this list!! And it's all true. Nobody can understand a special parent like another special parent.
    Hugs to all the superheros out there ((((hugs))))

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  23. You lists are always a fun read. As I was going through this one though, I couldn't help but think that most of these apply to ALL parents, regardless of whether or not their child has a special need. I know many of my friends who in fact have far MORE patience than I do, even though their children are typical. Sometimes I worry that as special needs parents we set ourselves apart too much, when we're really just like everyone else, ya know? We may have different circumstances but we still lose our tempers, we still get flustered, we still snap at our kids sometimes (at least I do!), and we certainly aren't super all the time. At least I'm not! :)

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  24. OMG I'm laughing so hard I were my pants...... in isle 8 : )

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    1. *wet not were - oily!

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  25. As a special ed volunteer and speech therapist in training, I can say with full conviction that mothers of children with special needs are some of the most kick-A women you could ever meet. It takes a heck of a lot to do what they do, but they rise to the occasion splendidly.

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  26. Loved this - shared it on facebook. Thank you for the laugh - all so true! What great a great sisterhood we are as the mothers of special needs kiddos. Just when I feel lonely in my struggles, I find a blogpost like yours. Brightened my day and lit my fire to head into the rest of my day!

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  27. Loved these! Today I really needed to hear them after my son screamed for 30 minutes because I took away the broken glass I mean his toy. I love having SN mommy friends. It's nice having people around who get it!

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  28. hi your all superheros. iam 51 moms 86 she still helps me ,I help her
    I have multiple learning disabilities,adhd, thought disorder bipolar cant hear good,aniety disoders ptsd. im on meds now for 14 years and people are just now helping me plan for the future conventional one, but off grid,eco friendly homestead ,mini technofarm and alternative energy and earthbag cabin,log cabin trailer should work very well
    I will be trying to get my 86 year old mom to meet you all , god bless you all for what you do for your families and each other if your an agsostic etc I respect your belifs .
    it hurts mne to no end that I cannot do more for mom but I try

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  29. Love this list! I have a 9-year old girl with special needs and I consider both of us superheroes! She is the most hard working, tenacious girl ever and being her mother makes me that much stronger as a woman. Yay, I'm a superhero!

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  30. Angela I really don't agree. There is no such thing as a superhero. The idea that a mom of a kid with special needs is a "superhero" is nonsense. In fact I will go one step further and say that is a dangerous thing to believe.

    Dangerous because it tells moms to typical children that we are all "superheroes". Myths like that ignore the moms with kids with special needs who bully them as well. We must not fall into the trap of believing crap like that.

    Just because I have a baby with spastic diplegia does not mean that I'm a "superhero". No I'm just his imperfect but trying my best mom.

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Thanks for sharing!