OK, so DS is 7, gifted, and has ADHD. We have been successful without medication so far, but are starting to approach a time where we might need to start medicating him. DD is 4, and had a near-SIDS event at 4 months, she has gross developmental delays, a trach, g-button, and a host of medical problems that require 24-hour a day care. I feel like as a family, we cope very well, and are very aware of everyones limitations. DH and I try to make sure we each get some "me" time, some "us" time, and some one on one time with each of our kids. However, our day to day life is difficult.
Lately, there have been several family members or friends who have taken to complaining to me about how difficult parenting is or how hard their life is, and I want to scream at them. One has a 7 month old who has just started her clingy stage, but sleeps through the night, is a very happy baby, and has no medical problems. I really wanted to tell the mom, "Suck it up! Your life is not that bad and this is not that hard." Obviously I did not say that, but I thought it. Anyone else feel that way sometimes.
Yes, this happens to me. I try to not "one up them" but sometimes it's the only way to put it into perspective (oh you are having trouble potty training your two year old, he/she still occasionally has accidents, so sorry, my 13 year old still wets the bed!). I know they just need to vent but I am really not the one to vent too! When I need to vent I call parents with special needs kids like mine so they can say my kid does that too and I don't feel so alone.
~Patti~ Momma to three girls and three boys , First mother to one girl
Certified, card carrying member of the IEP Binder Club
Ha, I definitely feel that way sometimes. Facebook is the worst place for this - a good friend of our family has a daughter who is just a year old. Their DD is literally the EASIEST baby I've ever seen, she sleeps through the night, eats great, is almost always happy, etc. The mother works 6 hours a week but they have their DD in full time day care (8-5 every day) so what she does all day I have no idea.
But on fb she is constantly posting about how hard mothering is, how she hasn't had a pedicure in like a WHOLE month! Her and her DH just went on a week vacation and left their DD with her family. She is "struggling" because her DS is only saying about 15 words (while our DS is saying about 50 at 4.5 years). Sigh. I eventually had to hide her because it made me feel stabby. Not that I would want to even be that kind of parent, but still, after 4.5 years with a very sick, non-sleeping, almost non-verbal DS I can't imagine what on earth they have to complaign about.
I try to remember that everyone has their own parenting journey but hell yeah it peeves me.
Whew, that vent felt GOOD! lol
I haven't really experienced that from the parents, but sometimes when I am watching the kids and parents in action I'm floored by how easy it is. For example, my friend tells her kid she can't have another whatever-it-is-she-wants treat to eat and the kid is like "aw, moooom!" and that. is. IT.
My kid would have been throwing things around, freaking out, breaking things, etc.
Yeah, those are the times when I think that parenting a "neurotypical" child is a cakewalk. But then, it's only perspective that allows me to feel that way. I'm sure it would be just as hard if I didn't have my perspective to see from.
OTOH, one thing I hate that is related to this is when parents of non-special needs kids suggest that I wouldn't have so much trouble if I just "stay firm" or "just make them eat it", etc....Oh yeah, why didn't I think of that? (eye roll!)
Homeschooling, Homesteading Mama to DD ('02) and DS ('04)
Yes, and this feeling lasts through the teen years, at least! Your child got a C in the honors English class? It took 3 tries for her to pass her driving test? He doesn't want to clean his room? She has a boyfriend at 15? Oh, you poor dear! (dripping sarcasm).
I take it a step farther - I rejoice when we have the "usual" serious teen problems. When YoungSon (ASD) got arrested and brought home by the police for shoplifting, I was secretly proud that he walked to the store by himself. But I tried hard not to show it. When he and his friends were smoking pot, I celebrated that he had friends! OK, I admit I was relieved that the pot stage passed fairly quickly. But these are developmental milestones I thought we would never reach!
Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)
I am an IBCLC/RN. I ran breastfeeding support groups for many years. Through all the crap that went on with my kids for years, I still managed to work a little. I finally stopped doing mom support this year because I didn't care anymore. As harsh as it sounds, at least I recognized that I needed to step down because my empathy for having one or weeks or months of being woke up at night, was gone. Or many other issues new moms have. I haven't slept all night in over 10 years. I currently sleep on the floor of my DS1's room because he is ASD and we have a lot of night time issues. I don't even have a bed to call my own anymore because this is my life. I have almost become a recluse because of my inability to chit chat about normal stuff anymore. I try to fake it but we all know my heart isn't into it.
I have one with severe ADD and one with a chronic illness (JIA) that eats up much of the family budget with medical cost overages. Yeah, I'd love to have had a pair of "normal" kids but I'm a lot better off than some folks, too.
On really bad day, I used to list to myself.. in alphabetical order... all things I DON"T have to deal with from my kids. Usually by the time I got to M.. I'd be feeling a tad better. A... my kids don't have asthma or autism. B.. no brain tumors. C, we don't deal with cancer. I know it sounds ridiculous but I have a very methodical mind and this exercise helped me to put things into perspective.
yeah -- I relate to so much of this. The worst one for me was when a mother who has 3 kids (I only have 2) was going on and on and on about how tough it is. All her kids are neurotypical, bright, healthy, etc., and she said "you have no idea how hard it is."
Anyway, on the teen front, I get so excited about every milestone with both my kids (only one has special needs). I'm truly happy that my NT dd likes to go to midnight movie premiers with a bunch of friends (mostly boys) and ride around in cars with them. Isn't that great? She has friends. She likes pop culture. She and her friends are growing up and becoming more independent. It's wonderful and exactly what our offspring are supposed to do. And I don't know a single parenting IRL who feels the same way -- they are all freaked out and scared all the time.
I think its because they don't actually know what "scared about your child" really means or looks like. Friends and movies are fun, good things.
My DD with autism got her drivers license this year. We hadn't known if she would be capable of driving. It was a lot of work for her to learn, and she had a lot of driving lessons with the best driving school in town, but she is a really great and very safe driver now. This will have such an impact on her ability to have independence (we live in a part of the country without good public transportation). You would not believe how negative most parents are about a teen learning to drive. For us, it was such a huge achievement and celebration, but other parents tend to act like we are now facing something horrific -- having a teen driver in the family.
And yes, all this stuff does impact my ability to be friends with other moms who have only non-special needs kids.
but everything has pros and cons
I have 4 kids, two who are adults and out of the house. Oldest didn't have any special needs, second was ADD but it was easily controlled with Concerta. As babies the oldest was a breeze, the second didn't sleep through the night until well over 18 months, but otherwise was an easy baby. Then I had twins at age 40 and one turned out to be on the spectrum along with ADD and SPD. When the twins were infants they were more work because there were two of them, but they seemed easier than when my singletons were infants. I think it was a combination of me being older and knowing that sleep deprivation doesn't kill you and eventually they do sleep, and having a husband the second time around that was involved.
I have heard various groups of parents (working vs. non-working, multiples vs. singletons, special needs vs. neuro-typical) complain about their journeys and how they may be harder than others in different situations. I've worked and been a SAHM - they both have their curses and blessings and can both be hard to juggle. I've had singletons and multiples and they too can have their own sets of issues and hard times. I am also raising a neuro-typical child along side a special needs child and they both present behaviors that sometimes I feel will surely break me.
I think overall that every parent has their tolerance levels and needs to vent to keep their sanity. They may be having what feels is the worst day of their lives, or have a child that they feel is out of control and driving them crazy. It is their experience and nobody can say how they would handle it because we all are so different. I do feel that parents of special needs children have a slew of issues and pressures that most parents of "normal" children have no idea. But we all deal with stress differently. Most likely if they lived a day or week with your level of stress and issues to deal with, they would walk away thinking their life was indeed a breeze. But I can't hold it against them. They need to vent as well and even if they exaggerate, I just feel thankful that I am strong enough to not only deal with their level of stress, but a lot more on top of that.
It is so nice to know that other people have the same feelings. I was starting to feel very guilty about my lack of sympathy. Most of the time I deal with it very well, but on occasion, it just gets under my skin.
|Special Needs Parenting|