To the Parents of Kids With Disabilities Struggling Today

Recently I was feeling negative, knocked down and overwhelmed. I was beginning to question my abilities as a mother, wife and even a friend.

This is for parents who have felt like me before:

For all the parents who had to wait longer to hear a first word, who spent more time in doctors’ offices with their child than on play dates, but still turn small moments into big memories.

For all the parents who endure the countless “bad days,” the stares from other people, but continue to wake up each day with a brave face.

For the parents whose child’s first friends were their therapists, and the ones they saw more often than family.

For the parents who feel like they aren’t keeping things fair between siblings, cheating their significant other the attention they need, who get wrapped up in social anxieties so they become home-bodies and disconnected.

For the parents who live life not only worried about financial stability, insurance issues and the school system, but are also stressing between test results and evaluations.

For the parents who parent kids with disabilities… I see you; I applaud you; I understand you!

Let me remind you to not feel guilty if you allow even the smallest amount of time for yourself. Sit down with a book, sleep a little late, meet a friend for coffee or binge watch mindless Netflix television. Shut that voice off in the back of your head that goes into overdrive with the alerts about all the things you should be doing or all the problems you should be worrying about.

That untiring motivation and determination are a large part of your effectiveness as a parent of a child with disabilities, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right or even the responsibility to turn it off every now and then.

We tend to feel defeated at times, either as a parent, spouse or friend — who doesn’t! Just keep in mind your child’s progress might not be easy to see on a day to day basis, but when you reflect back from time to time on how far he or she has come, give yourself some credit! Everything you do for your child, every appointment, every therapy, every intervention, but also every smile, every hug, every conversation makes a difference.

If no one has told you lately, I am here to remind you that you are important, you are changing lives, you are making a difference in this world. If you are currently feeling defeated, overwhelmed and maybe even sad or angry… don’t give up because you had a bad day, there is always tomorrow.

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