To special needs moms on Mother’s Day: You are more mom than ever
Dear Mom (that would be you),
I know that you had plenty on your hands before this pandemic started, and that you were already working mom overtime. An analysis of all the jobs that we do—from patient advocate to speech therapist assistant—determined that we deserve a salary of $828,836 a year, although really everything that we do is priceless.
I know that even though you were already at max capacity before the pandemic, somehow you are managing to do even more. You are overseeing your children's schooling at home, from printing out pages to sitting with them through virtual lessons. You are trying to make do with some virtual therapy sessions and also doing your best to fill the void created by the lack of visiting PTs, OTs, speech therapists, ABA specialists, and more.
You are doing the best to fill all the free time your child with disabilities has while juggling your other kids, a household even messier than usual because everyone is home all the time, more laundry, more meals, more everything. All the while you and/or your husband are juggling your jobs. All the while as you struggle with your own anxiety about coronavirus and the unique dangers it can pose to your children, and how you'll possibly be able to send them back to school.
I know that you probably have always had guilt that you are never doing enough for your child and now, you may feel that you are failing your child. You can't do all the therapeutic exercises, or you can't even get to any of them. Your child is having too much screen time. You're not fully prepared for class. You're not able to get to the homework. Maybe you feel that you aren't giving your child enough attention. (See: TOO MUCH TO DO.)
Maybe your patience is running a little bit thin, or more than a little bit thin. Maybe you've cried in front of your child. Maybe you've totally lost it. Maybe there are days when you'd like to hide under the covers all day long. Maybe that's every single day.
I know, friend, because I am you. And however much you are struggling or feel like you are failing your child, you have to remember the code by which we special needs moms live by:
YOU ARE DOING THE BEST THAT YOU CAN.
And your best truly is good enough—anytime but especially now, when so much is pummeling your your stamina, your spirit and your very soul.
Your child benefits from therapy and therapeutic exercises, for sure, but he will continue to do so in the months and years to come. And you already know this but it can't be said enough: Therapy isn't just exercises the therapists give you to do. Narrating your actions as you make breakfast, lunch or dinner is therapy. Or walking your little one around the house as he perches on your feet. Or playing pat-a-cake. Or getting a teen to articulate thoughts about a video they're watching. Or playing a board game as you hold your hand over theirs to grasp the pieces. Therapy is any number of everyday things. (Except maybe when you all screech at each other over the lost remote control.)
You know that your child feels your love—that's never in short supply. And feeling cherished gives children the confidence and encouragement to keep on progressing. Those kisses and hugs are therapeutic.
This Mother's Day, you deserve to be celebrated more than ever. I am sending you hugs and sunshine and unicorns and strength and virtual chocolate of your choice.
You are as mom as you ever were—and more mom than ever.
A fellow mom who knows