10 special needs moms we all know

10 special needs moms we all know

Special needs moms make up a unique little tribe. We have got each other’s back and give each other the knowing nod in public. But even within our tribe we have our members who, well, stand out.

  1. Therapy mom (Level 1) – Her life is devoted to squeezing every ounce of development out of every moment. She squeezes grocery store runs in between morning PT and afternoon OT, and can be home in time for the speech therapist to arrive. She knows which route to take to hit up the drive thru and the pharmacy on the way to doctor appointments. She’s ordered enough therapy gear online to build a mini-gym in the living room.
  2. Extreme Therapy Mom (Level 2) - She has moved on to the next level. Her schedule is so tightly booked between animal therapy, swim therapy, massage therapy and music therapy that she now eats only while driving and sleeps only in waiting rooms. She has scented candles at strategic locations around the house for aroma therapy. Sensory boxes filled with dried rice and beans are tucked in the back of the pantry. She can’t get rid of them but will never open them again because she is tired of cleaning rice out of toddler crevices. She had to delete her own apps from her phone because it is now completely filled with therapy apps.
  3. Alternative therapy mom (Level 3) – Warning. This mom is not to be trifled with. Do not mention to her that you are thinking of trying a new therapy. You will be captive for hours while she tells you the pros and cons of sacral release, oxygen therapy, laser therapy, Reiki and Anat Baniel. She knows the stats on suspension by cables versus weight bearing. She has contacts for acupuncture and hippotherapy. She racks up frequent flier miles bringing her child cross-country for robotic walker therapy and is considering flying to China for a new method not approved by the FDA because of “Big Pharma”. She has an entire cupboards filled with essential oils and knows what body parts to rub them on for maximum reflexology benefits. She will tell you at length which plant extracts and fish oils your kid should be eating. Don’t even get her started on artificial food dyes.
  4. Research mom – This mom has done enough hours of research to qualify for her PhD. She’s up on the latest studies and interventions and brings folders filled with new research for her child’s doctor to review.
  5. Gratitude mom – This mom is #soblessed for everything – for her child, for the doctors, for the nurses, for the other moms. She posts comforting quotes and articles about finding happiness within. She blogs, recommends podcasts and finds healing through craft projects. She’s the happiest person you know. Most of the time you love her, but on your bad days, you click unfollow before you see one more meme about finding joy.
  6. Social Justice mom – Woe unto you who uses the R word around social justice mom. She will tear you a new one. In fact, hold on, she has an article she’s going to send you. SJ mom posts photos of herself marching on the capitol and knows exactly which issues are pending in the legislature. She gets in trouble for posting political articles in the special needs mom group.
  7. Volunteer mom – This mom has found new purpose in helping others. She is the one who teaches sign language and organizes the meal sign-up sheet for NICU families. She shows up at 7 a.m. with full make-up to run every fundraiser marathon and collects surplus medical supplies to ship overseas. You can always count on volunteer mom to show up with food.
  8. Tequila mom – This mom is the one who visits you at the hospital to bring take-out and smuggles in a mini bottle of wine. She won’t show up for the fundraiser walk at 7 am but you know she’ll be there for Special Needs Mom Happy Hour.
  9. DGAF mom – This mom has battled so many meltdowns and sleepless nights that she has lost all her fucks. She shows up to IEP meetings with a messy bun and yoga pants. She has been judged by people without kids, lectured by therapists and advised by parents of typical kids. She has reached way down deep into her bag of fucks and found it empty. At this point, she won’t even borrow a fuck to give. She will feed her sensory processing kid chicken nuggets and cancel therapy like a boss. Don’t bother to glare at her or tsk. She’s immune to it.
  10. Medical mom - After years of speaking medical lingo, charting bowel movements, giving meds, using medical equipment, and becoming a home therapist, she decided to go professional. These are the been-there, done-that nurses who comfort new-diagnosis moms in the NICU. These warriors administer meds in the ICU then tell a stressed out family about the time their kid had the same procedure. They are the special-needs mom physical therapists who share an eye roll with you when the fresh-out-of-school intern asks if you’ve tried “this new therapy.” She knows that you already have.

Maybe we know these moms, maybe we are these moms. Either way, us special needs mom need to stick together, and all of us together make our tribe complete. Which one are you?

BIO: Annette Fournier is the mother of two children and lives in Singapore. She writes for several websites, including SPECIAL BABY and CANUWRITE

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