Special Needs Parenting: Am I Good Enough?

Rebecca Hill

Special Needs Parenting: Good Enough

“I don’t know how you do it.” “You are so strong.” Of course these comments are totally asinine and eye roll inducing at best, but we are pretty badass, us special needs mommies. We face the insurmountable and the unthinkable has become the new normal. Who would have thought I could become used to starting an IV on my own child? Changing dressings on bedsores?

Enduring tantrums that never end? The paperwork. People don’t understand the paperwork. I have dreams where I am drowning in mounds of paperwork while the phone rings.

As the mother of three boys, two with chronic illness and one with autism and a chronic illness, I felt this way all the time. In my ear. “You’re doing it wrong.” If I couldn’t have the perfect family, I wanted to be the perfect mother. I would tell myself that when these boys were adults, when all was said and done, I would look back and know whether or not I had pulled it off by their level of health and functioning. Therefore I was not allowed to do things like go out with friends or watch TV or go to the dentist. I had to do more. More therapy, more flashcards, more cleaning, more massage. Only my boys didn’t need more massage and more flashcards. They needed a mom. A sane and present mom. I landed in therapy, which was such a very good thing. Best thing the therapist said? “There is such a thing as Good Enough.” I wrote it on a post it. Put it on the bathroom mirror. Good Enough. My kids weren’t broken. I didn’t have to fix them. I just needed to love them.

You are going to screw up. Miss appointments. Have days where you never get out of your pajamas. Where the only thing you managed to do was to sit on the floor and sing to your kid and make sure she was fed and clean and knew you loved her. And you know what? When she is 20, you will look back and know that you did your damnedest, and the magic wasn’t in the kitchen being clean and all the meds being organized in their dosettes perfectly. It was in you being present, with your child, who, after all, is your whole entire world. Not a project. Not your job. Your heart. So take a minute. A deep breath. Love yourself, love your kid, take a break. You are not, in fact, super human. You are just a mom that loves your kid. And that is very much Good Enough.

.columnists, rhillComment