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To the 'Spoonie' Parent in the Store Who Feels Like a Failure

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Hello there, fellow spoonie parent! I see you over there across the crowded grocery store. You’ve got an electric scooter cart and your child is helping you get something off the shelf, and you believe people are staring because they’re judging you and you can feel their laser eyes burning holes in your flesh… yes, you.

woman smiling with three kids
Vanessa and her kids

I want you to know I’ve been exactly where you’re sitting, and I know exactly how you’re feeling. You’re feeling like a failure to the core. I can tell you you’re not, but you won’t hear me. I can tell you you’re a champion because you’re out of bed and you’re at the store and you’ve got your list (well, maybe you forgot it, but that’s OK) and you’re shopping! You’re doing things! Go you! But you won’t listen, because you’re too busy comparing yourself to who you used to be, to the person those staring laser eyes want to see. You really should ignore them.

What you don’t know is the need for help you feel so guilty about (that they want you to feel guilty about) is actually going to teach your child more love and compassion than you can measure. The shame you feel that insists you give apologies for apologies and has you speaking a thousand “thank yous” each day will instill a humble gratitude in them that can’t be taught from any book. Confidence is built in the completion of tasks, and the sense of accomplishment you can share with them each time they’ve been such a wonderful helper will carry them to great success in adulthood.

So take a deep breath and hold your head up high, because you’re doing an amazing job! It’s not always easy, but you’re doing it anyway! You’ve come up with creative solutions for your #SpoonieProblems, and while your #SpoonieParenting may not be conventional, it works for you and your family and that’s all that matters! Your kids are loved, they’re cared for and they’re safe. So who cares if you’re not making cookie-cutter sandwiches or whatever this week’s trend is on Pinterest? Your child isn’t going to remember if you made the bread in their PB&J from scratch or if you bought a loaf at the store. They’re going to remember the love and the snuggles and the happy moments you make and cherish. And you’ve always got a spoon for that!

Follow this journey on Parenting Without Spoons.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us one thing your loved ones might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. What would you say to teach them? 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. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: January 28, 2016
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