So here’s the deal. You don’t get to be offended by this. You don’t get to feel bad if you’ve said these things. You don’t get to read this and ignore it either. You do get to learn and hopefully “know better, do better”.
I mean this to have a little humor and a lot of truth. Feel free to discuss in the comments.
Seven things we, as parents of kiddos with special needs, don’t really want to hear, but are not throat punch worthy either. I think some parents get a little over sensitive and just go around wanting to throat punch everyone who misses the mark on what is, more often than not, a well meaning comment or question. If we go around angry at everyone for what they say or ask, when will we ever have the opportunity to educate? On that note, here is my lighthearted effort to educate…
1. “This too shall pass”
Riiiight. We’ve been stuck in the terrible twos and it’s biggest rival, the threes for about a decade now. The threes are so tough they have no special name. When a mom says their kiddo is three, you just know she needs prayer.
The Drooling stage; didn’t pass for 14 years.
The messy eater stage; still in it.
Diaper stage; yep. still.
The not talking stage; does having a vocabulary of about 50 words count? Didn’t think so.
The “I can do it” but they really can’t stage; her clothes are on backwards or inside out almost daily.
So please, when a mom is expressing how hard stages of parenting are, let her vent. Let her be annoyed. Let her wine a bit. Things don’t always pass and that statement is an obnoxious, often untrue platitude.
2. “Just treat her like any other child and she’ll learn”
Can someone explain this logic to me? She can’t learn to say her name, write, read, spell, use the toilet, wash her own hair… but somehow if I treat her like any other kid, she’ll learn to understand all the things and her behavior will be great, her frustration level will be zilch and all things will be…. normal? hm. I’ve got nuthin’.
3. “Oh, I’m sure she’ll catch up, give her time”
For reals? No. Just no. This is not a fairy tale and we don’t all get to live happily ever after. Most of us moms of unique kids have long since given up on “catching up”. We’ve embraced the truth that our normal will not look like yours. We’ve also realized that there are bigger fish to fry and things like reading at the same level as her peers is not longer as important as knowing she is accepted as she is.
4. “Must be nice to have that handicap spot”
Say it again and I’ll be sure you get one too… ok that’s a bit harsh lol. But please, people. We pay dearly for that spot. I will never forget how we got it, signing a paper for it while still in the hospital and seeing that little box checked… [x] permanent. I felt sucker punched, and I’ll write about that in another post. It’s a whopper of a story of how I expected the temporary box to be checked and the awkward moments with a nurse knowing something I didn’t yet know.
Now, to be fair… there are times we tease about the “luxury” spot. We’ll say things like “Thanks Stacey for saving us the long walk in this heat” Or if she’s not with us, we might tease that we should have brought her so we could park closer. But you guys, we have never felt “lucky” for having that spot. Thankful for it and the needs it meets, but never lucky.
5. “At least she’s cute”
uhm…. no. If this is about to come out of your mouth…invest in super glue.
6. “I wish I could sit all day”
I’m pretty sure the person in the wheelchair would prefer to have the option to stand all day. Keyword being option.
7. “It must be so easy to not have to worry about her running all over the place”
See previous… I’m certain the mom having to lift her full grown child and lug around all the gear to support her would prefer to have to keep an eye on an active child. Stacey was in a wheelchair for 5 years and believe me, I would have traded it in for an active toddler in a heartbeat.
and a freebie for ya, you know, if you read this far, you get a prize 😉
“I could never do what you do.” Really?? Are you sure?? Picture your children, or any loved one… If tomorrow they were in an accident or had an illness that took away their abilities, could you not love them the same? Could you not advocate for them and educate yourself on their needs? I love her because she’s my daughter, not because I have some super power. You could if you needed to. Meanwhile keep learning how to walk alongside those who are on a bumpier road than you… there is always someone. :)