I am a lucky woman. There. I’ve said it. I know I am blessed beyond reason. I not only have a great family, but amazing Mom friends just like me who “get it,” in other words, who get what I am going through. I don’t get a chance to see them in person as much as I like (or they like too). We are all busy with our families, even when things are going well. And when they are not going well, it’s even crazier. We try to get out for Mommy dinners with wine, but it doesn’t always work out. Still, I know I can have the world’s worst Mom day, feel like a total failure and email, text or call them, and be told, “You’re amazing.” Just knowing they are out there brings tears to my eyes. I am not alone, I think! The other day at camp pick up I saw one of these Mom friends. She spontaneously gave me a hug. It meant the world to me on a week where things have been less than perfect at home with Michael. And of course, like every Mom, I am blaming myself. I know as a professional that things are not all my fault. But as a Mom, naturally it is your fault. You are the glue that holds the family together. And when that glue dries up, good night Charlie.
As a parent coach who works with families, I am professional, calm, centered and trust my instincts. As a Mom I am usually that. On my best days. On the other days when my kid throws me new curve balls like he did this week, I am tired and scared. I sometimes question myself. Am I doing this motherhood thing right? Do I really know my kid? Am I missing something major? The answer is usually, No, you are fine by my inner voice, but when that voice is tired, scared and fearful I hear the voice of God and that of my Mom friends. God speaks through them, giving me strength and hope, as well as reminding me I love my child and am doing everything I can to teach him how to handle the new obstacles life has thrown at him. He is a great kid who will get through this challenges as is his Mom.
I think back to all the Mom friends I have met over the years. I have met them at Michael’s schools, support groups, volunteering at his school, and at other online support groups .They make me laugh. They make me remember the joys of being a mother to a specific kind of child with challenges, because no matter what, they all have children with challenges and different brains too. We can commiserate and laugh about the same things. Cry over the struggles. And then celebrate the victories. There are so many more victories than challenges. Another friend talks about our “little village” of Moms who support each other. Just knowing they are there makes all the difference.
It is so important for all exceptional parents to find their village-online, in person, or both. Talk with these parents. Meet with them regularly or as often as you can. You are not alone. You are a woman carrying what so many women carry- love, strength, fear, anger, hope, despair and resilience in the end to see things through for your child to the best of your ability. No matter what, Moms don’t give up, and if you ever feel yourself about to lose it, reach out and connect to another Mom. You will be rewarded with a kind ear, laughter, and understanding. I would not be where I am today (nor would Michael), without the help of my Mom friends who listened to me, gave me the names of therapists, schools, play centers, you name it, to make life less crazy and more manageable and fun. Now, I occasionally find myself returning the favor when a Mom comes to me. I feel privileged to be able to help any Mom by providing information, a kind ear, or a hug (virtual or in person), that she is an incredible Mom and human being. As women, we are too hard on ourselves and we need to stop doing that. We need to let ourselves be loved and know that like our child is enough for us we are enough for ourselves and those around us. At least the ones who matter.
Exceptional Parents, how many of you reach out to your Mom or parent friends when you are down or scared? Remember, your journey is unique, but all Moms have shared your pain of fear for their child and struggle to make things better for them now and in the future. Support each other through the rough times and celebrate the victories together. You will never feel alone again. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com