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6 Mother's Day Gifts Moms of Kids With Disabilities Really Want

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Editor's Note

Hi there, this is just a quick note to let you know that you’ve reached one of our older stories here on The Mighty, and it contains some outdated language. We’ve updated our editorial guidelines, and no longer use “special needs” to refer to children or adults with disabilities. “Disabled” is not a bad word, and children with disabilities have human needs, not special needs. You can learn more about the reasons for this change here. We’ve updated our vocabulary, and we hope you will, too.

I wonder how many mothers will wake up Sunday morning to breakfast in bed, homemade cards, hugs and kisses, and eating out so they don’t have to cook. And a special gift, you know, like a new appliance or a piece of jewelry.

As a special needs mom, sometimes my life is a little different, and while I appreciate the “traditional” way of celebrating moms on Mother’s Day, the reality is my family is not traditional, we are impacted by disability, and that makes me appreciate other types of gifts.

When it comes to gifts, I might appreciate one of these more than a new vacuum or a diamond ring.


Moms function with little sleep, but eventually kids grow up and moms can get some more rest. However, for some special needs moms, lack of sleep is a lifestyle. So on Mother’s Day, let Mom sleep in… for as long as she wants! Don’t wake her up with songs and cards and breakfast in bed. You can do all of that after she wakes up.


Someone else can deal with poop on Mother’s Day.


Marriage is hard work. Add in children with special needs and there are a few extra challenges as well. So while it sounds contradictory not to spend the day with the kids (you know, since it’s Mother’s Day) why not spend time – alone – with the guy who helped make the children? After all, that is how things got started.


Life is messy, and busy, and there is so much to do and so little time. But what if we had permission to have a day for ourselves, with no responsibilities, just to do whatever we want to do? Read that book, take a few naps, watch “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix. Just a day to rest and relax.


And let’s just make it clear that someone else is the one cleaning the house, not Mom.


Eating out on one of the busiest restaurant days of the year is insanity, especially when you have kids with special needs and sensory issues (or mobility issues). Order out. Mom gets to choose. Someone else feed the kids!

I want to pause here and acknowledge the single moms raising kids with disabilities, because I recognize that doing anything for yourself is hard when you have to do it on your own, especially if you do not have family or friends that can step in. This is your day, too. I see you.

And for all the special needs moms out there who will not have a typical Mother’s Day, remember that this day is about you, too. Because your dedication and sacrifice to your child does not go unnoticed. You matter.

So if you wake up at the same time as usual, if there are no signed cards or breakfast in bed, if there is no voice to say “Happy Mother’s Day,” then from across the screen I want to reach out to you and wish you a Mother’s Day full of peace beyond understanding. A day you can see all the good you do for your child. Perhaps a day you recognize the hard, yet focus on the good in the journey.

And if you ever feel like you are failing, remember that I believe God has His stamp of approval on you, and you are enough.

Happy Mother’s Day!

This post originally appeared on Ellen Stumbo’s site.

The Mighty wants to read more about relationships and special needs parenting. Can you share a moment on your special needs journey that strengthened your relationship? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

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Originally published: May 9, 2015
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