6 Secrets of Special Needs Moms

 

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  • Special Needs Moms are lonely. I yearn for more time with friends and family. Authentically, I have a positive attitude and most often you see me smiling. I may even look like I have this SuperMom thing down, am super busy, and have enough help, but I am lonely. Being a Special Needs Mom doesn’t leave me the time to nurture and maintain the relationships I really need.I could get super detailed here about the hands-on caring for my child ( Do you remember when your kids were toddlers? That hovering thing you had to do? It’s that plus some.) The plus-some includes spreading my Mom love around to my other child and my husband, who on a daily basis are put on hold, waiting for my attention.I don’t have much time to call or email my friends and even family...and if they don’t call or email me, well then I feel massive guilt about the time that has passed. More negative stuff that I pile on my shoulders. Getting out is tough. I really miss the day’s when I had playgroups with other Mom’s, open-house style, dropping in and drinking coffee at a friends’  kitchen table with my child playing nearby.  

 

  • Special Needs Moms have to work extra hard to preserve their marriage. This goes with counter-balancing the high stress of special needs parenting and directly combats the sky-high divorce rates for special needs families. I put extra pressure on my husband, he is my best friend and sometimes I expect unrealistic BFF behavior from him at the end of the day( see #1). He is my hero,supportive, patient and loving- and my kids would be totally lost without him. The success of our marriage, will affect the health of our children. My husband and I haven’t spent a night away from our kids for six years, we “ date night” out of the house every few months, for a two-hour sushi date. Our marriage is a priority so we “ steal” our moments when we can.

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Zoe's Magical Birthday Fun Fairy Garden

 

Since Zoe's birthday coincides with the start of summer, I thought I would create a patio garden that was easy to reach and maintain and that would be fun to care for- and from this came the idea for an interactive fairy garden. Flowers still need to be added around the border, but we will do that together next week. For now, check out her fun fairy garden! 

 

As a special needs mom, I am always on the lookout for fun, practical easy to play, DIY patio ideas. See below for tips and hints on how to start your spring off with some simple outdoor fun! 

 

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5 Things High School Freshman Want Their Parents To Understand

  Momo

A few weeks ago, on a recent summer afternoon, my girls and I escaped the heat by heading to our local movie theatre. As we stood waiting in line at the snack counter, my soon to be freshman took hold of her younger sister’s wheelchair, took the movie tickets from my hand, and called over her shoulder “ I got Zoe, Mom, we’ll go grab our seats”

Zoe smiled and waved while I stood stunned, watching my oldest daughter making her way to the theatre, pushing Zoe, weaving through the crowds with confidence. Once she reached our theatre, I could imagine her carefully helping Zoe out of her wheelchair and into her seat. I knew Zoe was thrilled, and I was too-This was my girl, doing what she was supposed to do-growing up and letting me know that she is ready for more.

We spent a lot of time together, sharing this summer of anticipation-that would be forever marked by her transition into high school . These are just some of the things she taught me.

1. I want you to expect more from me, and then remind me I can do it. High school teachers already know this truth, and that is why they come on so strong the first week of school, so parents, be ready. Do our teens get overwhelmed? Sure, especially when everything is new and expectations are higher. Our teens are ready for more, but that doesn’t mean they have the confidence to match. Create opportunities to build confidence, pointing out small successes whenever possible.

2. I need to stay socially connected, so don’t take my phone away. Teens experience a huge social shift as they start high school. Some friendships fade with the transition to a new school, and new classes and clubs that can leave teens feeling vulnerable and disconnected until they settle in. In our home iPhones are placed on the kitchen charger at bedtime, and the rest of the time we all try to follow basic phone use etiquette. It’s tempting to take the phone away as a form of discipline, but that’s how she connects to her peers, and teens have a strong need for connection.

3. There are big things happening in the world, and I still need to talk about them. Most teens today get their news, both current events and pop culture, through the digital stream of Twitter, Instagram and Tumbler. We still watch the news together and share a daily paper, but most breaking news my daughter sees first online and sometimes when she’s alone. It’s important to discuss the big topics-especially the biggest, most violent, sensitive and provocative issues in person,to make sure teens have a true sense of understanding and that you have addressed any concerns that may be troubling to them. ( Think ISIS, Ferguson, Ebola and yes, even 50 Shades of Grey.)

4. I still want to hang out with my family sometimes, even if I don't act like it. Just because your teen looks so comfy just hanging out in her room, doesn’t mean she wants to be alone. In fact, it gets lonely. Our family time isn’t always about going out to dinner or shopping, we do a lot of kitchen table game time, movie time at home or we hangout together in the pool. Once you get past the initial resistance, laughter and good family fun will follow. Eventually, the resistance falls away.

5. Your hugs, your touch can still make me feel better. Let’s face it, life is busy, sometimes family schedules can conflict and so much communication today takes place via technology. Our teens are walking around in these adult bodies and sometimes we forget that they are still forging their way, trying to figure out how to de-stress and carry on conversations IRL and teens are often touch deprived. When was the last time you hugged your teen, snuggled for just a moment together on the couch or even held hands? Begin slowly, reintroducing affection to your daily routine,-it is one of the fastest way to reduce stress and boost both physical and emotional health.

It is late when I enter my daughters room after bedtime. I sit, listening to her talk about her day. Eventually I lay my head onto her extra pillow . It is hesitation I hear at first, and then her voice grows stronger and then smoother. High school is hard, but she is finding her way.

Her hand reaches for mine, and our fingers find their familiar places as they wrap around each other. We lay connected as her breathing slows.

I close my own eyes, remembering my once-little girl, with her copper color curls that would fly as she ran. The way she hid behind my legs, on the school sidewalk at the start of kindergarten.

We do all we can to prepare our kids for adulthood, pushing them out into the world-when really we want to pull them back in , for just a little longer. We prepare them to go out on their own-hoping still- they will keep us close.

Her fingers are still tightly wound around mine, so I don’t move. I I know that years from now, she will be gone, finding her way in the world with her confidence in full bloom, and it will be this moment I will miss- the simple joy of being the lucky one - to hold her hand late into the dark of night.