Moms, a stranger walks among you. We look like regular moms, but we are the hybrid to your standard engine. Our child’s disability altered us, enhanced us. Many words describe us: resilient, creative, protective, emboldened, sympathetic, fierce and determined. We are special needs moms. How do our lives stand apart from your own? Take a look under the hood and see for yourself.
by Dawn Villarreal, One Place for Special Needs, May 2010
Regular moms tell their kids to wake up and get dressed in the morning. And they do it.
Special needs moms put on battle gear to get our kids ready to start their day.
Regular moms ask their kids if they brushed their teeth.
Special needs moms prompt, “Brush your top teeth. Brush your bottom teeth. Did you get the sides? Open your mouth. My God, give me that toothbrush! You’ve left half your meal in there!”
Regular moms wave goodbye as their kids run off to catch the school bus.
Special needs moms get awesome door-to-door bus service for their child.
Regular moms know the names of all their friends.
Special needs moms know most of their friends by their username.
Regular moms judge other moms when kids have tantrums in stores.
Special needs moms say to themselves, “Hmm, I wonder which disability he has?”
Regular moms complain about driving their kids to sports and recreation classes.
Special needs mom grin and bear the weekly trips to tutors, doctors and therapists.
Regular moms’ kids have a teacher.
Special needs moms’ kids have a team.
Regular moms talk about accomplishments.
Special needs moms talk about skills, as in play skills, conversation skills, life skills, social skills and vocational skills.
Regular moms relax with their kids during the summer.
Special needs moms start their second job as home teachers, therapists and skills coaches.
Regular moms think accommodations refer to hotels.
Special needs moms have memorized the top 20 accommodations for their child.
Regular moms hope their child finds a good career.
Special needs moms are hopeful someone gives our child the chance to work.
Regular moms soak in the tub when they want to unwind.
Special needs moms consider a bathroom break a luxury.
Regular moms enjoy reading the latest best selling book.
Special needs moms should receive an honorary degree for all the disability books they’ve read.
Regular moms go out for dinner and a movie with their husbands every month.
Special needs moms have a date night with their husbands every…wait, what decade is this?
Regular moms complain their kids won’t eat their vegetables.
Special needs moms are so desperate we consider chicken nuggets to be a legitimate meat product and throw in ketchup as a vegetable.
Regular moms’ kids go to play groups.
Special needs moms’ kids go to therapy groups.
Regular moms meet for a ladies night out.
Special needs moms get together at support groups and forums.
Regular moms have medical claim forms that fit in one file folder.
Special needs moms will tell you a small forest was cut down so we could receive our claims.
Regular moms think OT means overtime.
Special needs moms know more acronyms than a NASA engineer.
Regular moms have time to cook a full dinner every evening.
Special needs moms will never admit how many times we’ve picked up fast food.
Regular moms complain their husbands sit on the couch while they do all the work.
Special needs moms…well how about that? Some things do stay the same!
Got more? Let’s hear them! Send your “regular moms versus special needs moms” to firstname.lastname@example.org
About the writer
Dawn Villarreal runs One Place for Special Needs, a national disability resource that lets you find local and online resources, events and even other families in your neighborhood. Stay awhile and check out the site. She is also moderator of Autism Community Connection, a Yahoo group for families in Illinois. Dawn has two awesome kids, a supportive husband (honestly!) and strives for a day when communities can effectively reach out to support all special needs. Reprinted with permission from One Place for Special Needs