The Practical Special Needs Mom Survival Guide


As special needs moms, we frequently find ourselves frazzled, scattered and well, quite honestly, tired. And when we’re in this scattered, frazzled and tired state, we don’t necessarily make the best decisions.

So pour yourself a cup of coffee and glance over this Lilliputian list. My hope is that maybe, just maybe, it will help some of you get your ducks in a row and stay on track when times get tough, hectic, busy and demanding. And for special needs moms, those times tend to be the hours when you’re awake, and, frequently, the hours when you should be sound asleep.

The following list is intended to be a gentle reminder. Just picture a diminutive little me in a long and flowing frock, sitting on your shoulder and whispering these pearls of wisdom directly into your brain.

1. Haircuts. Don’t.

This is probably the most important thing on the list, and it has taken me years to master this one. At least I think I have.

Don’t cut your hair. Not when it rains, not when you’re mad and especially not right after you have given birth. It will seem like a good idea at the time, but it rarely is.

You will think, “This is just what I need to boost my spirits!”

It’s not.

Throw it in a ponytail and sleep on it. I feel 99.9 percent confident in saying you will feel differently about tomorrow.

2. Chocolate. I don’t care what your budget is, buy it.

You need a stash. Build it, hoard it, hide it. It’s mandatory, essential, necessary and about eight other words I don’t have time to Google.

Trust me, you will not survive without it.

If you encounter people who say they don’t eat it, drink it or use it, they’re lying!

Cultivate your collection. Keep it safe and, above all else, never, ever disclose its location. I don’t care how sad or pitiful or upset the people in your family are or how distressed your best friend is, do not share.

This is your life line to sanity.

3. Coffee. It’s the life’s blood of my people.

It’s the magical, cure-all elixir every traveling snake oil salesman and Side Show Bob wishes they had invented.

It’s essential as the air we breathe. Take it away at your own peril.

If I were one to use this phrase, I would insert a “’nuff said” right here.

4. Alone time. Frequently, you’ll hear this described as “me time” or “time for myself.”

When some tiny woman in head-to-toe coordinated workout wear is trying to convince you hot yoga is all you need to feel good and possess unlimited energy, just smile and nod.

You can make fun of her later while you’re pouring yourself a cup of coffee, eating some chocolate and talking to your best friend on the phone in the bathroom, which is also known as my hiding place.

5. A best friend.

They come in all shapes and sizes. They’re found in all kinds of places. They say cheesy things like, “They’re totally aces!”

For the special needs mom, best friends are lifesavers.

When you have an argument with your husband, they’ll back you up. And they’ll never judge you the next day when you say you can’t imagine being married to anyone else.

They’re the ones who are there with a laugh just when you need it, and they cry with you when your heart is broken. Because that’s what friends are for. (There’s a little Dionne Warwick flashback for you.)

Best friends are hard to find. They’re more valuable than chocolate, coffee and especially hot yoga, whatever that is.

Beth Clay the mighty

Follow this journey on Speaking in Grace.

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