This Journey Our Life

100 Ways You Know You're A {Special Needs} Mom

ASD, autism, Family, motherhood, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, Visual ImpairmentRachel
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This past September, I got a good laugh out of Lisa-Jo Baker's 100 Ways You Know You're A Mom (not to mention I had personally experienced #8, #44, #71, and #80 on her list).

I am blessed with the privilege of being Mommy to three beautiful children, each of whom I love more than words can adequately express. Much of the space on this blog is dedicated to sharing about my journey of raising a child with special needs, my oldest.

Because the day I was ushered into the world of motherhood, it was as a special needs mom.

Inspired by Lisa-Jo's post, I began writing down ways I know I'm a {special needs} mom.  I had come up with a fairly lengthy list on my own, but I wanted to make sure I included other mom's perspectives.

I wondered what being a special needs mom looked like for them.


As it turns out, it looks the same for us all.

Whether you're a special needs mom or someone who'd like a peek into what life is like for those who are, I'd love for you to take the time to read through all 100 Ways You Know You're A {Special Needs} Mom.
  


1.You’re on a first name basis with everyone in your insurance billing department.
2. The pediatrician's office keeps your child's file at the front desk for easy access.
3.You love when people ask you questions.
4.You hate when people ask you questions.
5.Trips to the doctor have become more frequent than trips to the mall.
6.The only thing constant in your life is change.
7. You wish you had the power to read minds, because then you’d read hers.
8.You haven’t had a full night of rest since….
9.(You don’t know because you’re too tired to remember.)
10. Some days you want your mom.
11.Your heart is so filled with love it could burst.
12.You believe strongly that your child has taught you more than you’ve taught them.
13.You’ve created an alter ego for important meetings and appointments.
14. You struggle with feelings of guilt.
15. You’re braver than you ever dreamed possible.
16.  Your eyes still well up with tears when your child gets on the bus
17.  You despise when people call it the short bus, especially because it’s not.
18.  At follow-up visits to the hospital, you have a growing fear your child will be re-admitted to the NICU.
19.  Your life can be categorized into two segments: before your child’s diagnosis and after.
20.  You’ve vowed never to take the ordinary days for granted.
21.  Some days you do.
22.  You launch into detailed explanations of your child’s diagnosis in response to being asked their age.
23. You have personal fans and cheerleaders, otherwise known as family and dear friends.
24. You never underestimate your gut feeling and have come to respect it.
25.  You own at least one mascara-stained pillow case.
26.  You can recite the name, dosage, and frequency of medications in your sleep.
27.  You gauge your child’s moods by their breathing patterns on the trach.
28.  You quote a verse every morning while waiting for the school bus .
29.  The smell of hand sanitizer causes the most vivid flashbacks from your child’s hospital stay.
30. You color code notes based on each individual therapists, doctors, specialists, and appointments.
31. One brief moment of eye contact from your child speaks to you louder than if they’d screamed, and you know they were saying,  "I love you, I trust you, and you’re my best friend”.
32. You notice the panic on the faces of other parents watching your child play at the park.
33. Getting an uninterrupted night of sleep causes you to become alarmingly frantic in the morning!
34. You don't go anywhere without your three ring binder of referrals, records and insurance paperwork.
35. You’ve learned the strongest fighters come in the smallest packages.
36. The therapists and teachers working with your child know more about what’s going on in your life than your friends do.
37. You have panic-driven thoughts of being hit by a bus and immediately go into overdrive to make sure others are competent to care for your child by writing detailed care notebooks.
38.  The phrase “Good job using your words” has become your standard response in conversation with anyone.
39.  You know enough special education laws to pass the bar exam.
40.  You’ve learned to see beauty in the simple.
41.  You realize the danger of comparison.
42.  You’re most embarrassing situation involves over-explaining your child's unique, heightened sense of smell while assuring the person they don’t stink at all.
43.  A thorough search through your purse produces gauze, feeding tube extensions, syringes, medical tape and a host of other medical supplies...but still no keys.
44.  You couldn't be more proud of what he said about his sister.
45.  You try to predict your child’s occupation based upon their current fixation/obsession.
46. You have prayed your child through being able to live, breathe, drink, eat, see, hear, sit, crawl, stand, walk, run, speak... and a million other things!
47. It hurts every time you hear someone complain their child won’t stop talking.
48. You’re fluent in reading acronyms such as OT, PT, SPT, SID, ASD, EOE, CP, PDD, TBI, IEP, O&M, or EA/TEF (just to name a few).
49.  You have a love-hate relationship with Google.
50.  You have the pharmacy number on speed dial.
51.  You pause to watch the sweet young lady with down syndrome who lives in your neighborhood get off the bus, wondering what the future holds for your child.
52.  Somehow you always end up carrying your daughter’s cane more than she does.
53.  Your life revolves around your child’s nap schedule.
54.  Calming your child during their public meltdown in Target while curious onlookers observe, elevates your heart rate and causes you to sweat more than a Zumba workout.
55.  You wonder what your life would be like unaffected by special needs.
56.  Due to an extended period of creatively dealing with your child’s sleep issues, your children now refer to Tums as “sleeping pills”.
57.  Your medical expenses regularly surpass your mortgage.
58.  The movies Temple Grandin, The Brooke Ellison Story, and Autistic-Like inspire you to never give up.
59.  You drive the absolute longest way to church (even if you are late) to avoid a meltdown over a change in routine.
60.  You celebrate your child saying "NO" simply because it means they’ve voiced words.
61. You think your child is braver than you.
62.  You dread homework more than your child does.
63.  Your creativity and adaptability surprises you.
64.  You couldn’t do any of it without his help.
65.  Seasons at your house are: Summer, Fall, Winter and IEP meeting.
66.  You don’t laugh at jokes people tell about Braille being on drive-through ATM’s.
67. You second-guess your decisions
68. You readily admit to using bribes.
69.  You wear the titles of teacher, advocate, mediator, therapist, nurse, and translator.
70.  Mom is your proudest one.
71.  “She loves toys with music and lights” is the one statement you regret saying most.
72.  You buy enough batteries to personally keep Radio Shack in business (see #71).
73.  You are your child’s voice.
74. You’ve been asked countless times by others if you’re a nurse because of your medical knowledge.
75. You take it personally when someone says the "R" word.
76. You notice every time someone stares.
77.  Your biggest fear is double-booking appointments and missing one as a result.
78. You’ve witnessed strength in your own child that is stronger than your own
79.  You dream about the day you’ll be able to return all of the help you’ve been given, already planning what you’d do.
80. This dad’s writing makes you cry.
81. You know more medical terms and jargon than a third-year medical student.
82. You’re convinced that IQ is a meaningless number.
83.Your first thought after hearing a screaming child in a store is, "Maybe they’re autistic?"
84. You feel like a walking medical dictionary.
85. You pray daily hourly for strength.
86. You wouldn’t wish this life on anyone.
87. You wouldn’t trade it for the world.
88. You meet every challenge with firm resolve and determination.
89. You’re elated when your child proves doctors wrong.
90.  You hear Him whisper softly.
91. You glare at the men in the booth at IHOP for making fun of the adults seated in their dining section  who are all residents of a group home for the disabled.
92. You regret not having the courage to say something instead.
93. You celebrate different.
94.  You relish hand-squeezes.
95. You’re thankful that your stubbornness and persistence have finally found a use.
96. You’re guilty of underestimating your child’s capabilities and abilities.
97. You've lost count of the number of x-rays, CT scans and MRI's, each with enough reports to wallpaper your whole house, garage and barn.
98.  You get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when the number of your child’s school flashes across the caller I.D.
99. Today you feel like giving up.
100. Tomorrow you’ll get up and do it all again.

Your JourneySee anything you think should be added to this list?  If so, let me know...I'd love to hear!   







The preceding list includes some of what real-life special needs moms shared with me, in addition to my own thoughts and ideas, all based on actual events. To protect their privacy I'm not sharing any names, but I do appreciate each of the ladies who helped to contribute.  

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