Friendship and Special Needs Parenthood

weed your friends listAs special needs parents, isolation is part of the package. This may not be a problem for an introvert but as an extrovert, who is quite energized by people, it is! In fact, I need friends all the more on this journey.

Before I had kids, I possessed that “friends” experience; I had my own Ross, Monica, and Rachel and we would sit on couches, in each other’s homes, and talk about anything. I loved that! But now that I have two special needs kids, it has become a lot harder to have that group interaction experience and spontaneous outings have to be super planned. Our family dynamic is very different from families with typical kids. I envy parents that go everywhere with their kids. We simply cannot do this, Dan’s need for structure and his sensory sensitivities require meticulous attention to detail, and we usually need an exit plan during holidays or other family outings.

For this reason, the people in our circle have to add to our lives and not detract from it. Sometimes we hold onto friendships because of nostalgia, or routine, or sheer desperation. We may be so lonely that we settle for a person that is nearby or in your circle by default. But as I get older and realize my power, the need to stay in friendships that don’t work has lost its grip. I have also realized that there are certain things that I require in a friendship.  To be my friend, you have to match my level of vulnerability. If you are armored, keep walking. I just do not have the energy to chip away at your wall.

To be my friend, you have to match my level of vulnerability. If you are armored, keep walking. I just do not have the energy to chip away at your wall. 

 

I also don’t want to chase you. My role in friendships, pre-kids, was “scheduler.” I brought all my friends together, I am a planner that way. I suppose I still do this to an extent. But now, my special needs kids require over-the-top planning. I have to plan IEP meetings, therapy schedules, school visits, case worker appointments, doctor visits, outings, dentist visits, follow up calls, etc. You get the point. The last thing I want to do is have to track you down for a date. It needs to be a mutual investment. I don’t usually like to pull out the autism card on my friends but, you know what? This is a darn giant and heavy card and I shouldn’t have to pull it out. True friends will see this card from miles away.  I am not saying that all your friends should bow to you and do whatever you say. It is a give and take with friendship. I realize that I also have to give.

I don’t usually like to pull out the autism card on my friends but, you know what? This is a darn giant and heavy card and I shouldn’t have to pull it out. True friends will see this card from miles away. 

Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been my decision to let go of friendships. I have actually lost a couple friends since having the boys as I suppose that THEY have weeded ME from their lives. A lot of people can’t handle Daniel. I have had failed play dates because of his meltdowns. You have to really like me to stick it out with us!

And the important people WILL stick it out. Thank God, because, we need all the friends we can get! I currently have a couple of extraordinary friends. But this happened over time. When you stop investing in friendships that don’t serve you, God opens the doors to people that genuinely want to be part of your life. The friends I invest in now are super vulnerable and I don’t have to chase! We have a mutual, unspoken agreement that we want to be part of each other’s lives, so we both make the effort to keep the friendship going. I call one day, another day they call. There’s no chasing, no games, and no constant excuses. If one of us cancels and can’t make it there are no underlying feelings of resentment or wondering where we stand with each other because we are both invested. We both know where we stand. It’s exactly what I need at this point in my life.

At the end of the day the lesson I continue to learn as I gain friends and lose others, is that people that really want to take the time to know you, that want to continue investing in the friendship, that want to continue on this journey with you as you share the good and the bad, those are the people that will understand your life and try to be flexible so that they can be part of the ride. These are the friends worth keeping. You can’t choose the cards you are dealt but you can choose who you play with.

What is your experience with friendships on your journey as a special needs parent?

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Grace is Here!

GRACE IS HEREOne morning, two years ago, I was on my way to the Metropolitan Museum of art with all sorts of thoughts on my mind:

-ugh, I forgot to do my bible reading

did I forget to put Dan’s snacks in his book bag?

Micah’s ELA exam is tomorrow, he’s so anxious

-Lord, I’m tired and I feel scattered…

And then this sign, right there on E. 84th street and Lexington. GRACE IS HERE. It was in the window of a beauty salon. A place where people get the external all dolled up. But I would have walked in and asked for Grace for the tangled mess that was my inner thought world this morning, it sure wasn’t pretty.  I hoped Grace took walk-ins cuz I needed a massive makeover.

I once heard Shonda Rhimes, television producer and writer, say, in an interview “moms have to give themselves permission to be okay with the fact that something will always be lacking.”

I might have forgotten Dan’s snack and didn’t get a chance to quiet myself with God but perhaps, or better yet, I am certain that Grace fills in those gaps. She is here! What good news!

I didn’t read the Bible that morning but there it was on the street, in a sign outside a beauty salon window.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.   – 2 Corinthians 12:9

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Mother yourself like a Real Motha!

REAL MOTHA

For some, Mother’s Day can bring up feelings of sadness and loss.  In recent conversations I have had, people miss and still need their moms despite how old they are. I could relate,  and I came up with this thought that I felt led to share with you.

No matter how old you get, you still need your mother. Whether she is still with you and thriving, whether she lives far away, whether she is sick and no longer the same (like mine), or even if she has passed and is no longer with us.

I am 40 something years old and I still need my mom. And in those moments, when I can’t get to her quick enough, I have to be my own mother. I have to affirm myself as if she were right here sitting next to me. I have to love myself with ferocity, like a real Motha! 😁

As parents, moms especially, special needs moms most definitely, we tend to mother everybody but ourselves; our kids, our spouses, even those younger than us at our jobs. We mother hard. And I, particularly, learned from the best. I have a very affirming mom. Still, in her sickness, she’s doling out advice making sure I take care of myself. She mothered fiercely, like a mama bear, well, like a real Motha!

I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs;

I will tear open their breast,

and there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild beast would rip them open.

Hosea 13:8

But for those of you who never did, or don’t have a mother like that, or maybe whose mom is far away, (and whether you have kids or not), I venture to say to mother yourself like the mother you wished you had. Be that mother you longed for, and say those things to yourself that you wish she would have said. I do it all the time. I still need a motherly voice to tell myself ” I’m proud of you” to tell me ” I’m proud of what you’re doing with your art, your kids, your life”! “you turned out to be a great woman.” I hear this from my husband (and I need to continue hearing it from him) but there’s something about hearing it from my mom that I miss and also need, so if I can’t get it from her, I say it to myself and in some small way I feel better and it eases that longing that I continue to have.

On this Mother’s Day, how might you mother yourself like a real motha?!

 

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Find Your own Mothering Style

MOTHERING STYLE CANVA

Mother can’t you see I’ve got to live my life the way I feel is right for me. Might not be right for you, but it’s right for me                   

 -Sarah Mclachlan, Elsewhere

Mothering style. When I first encountered this term, I thought it was weird. What is a mothering style? I thought. You simply have a child and you mother it. For me, that just meant following my mother’s mothering style. It’s all I knew and it seemed great to me.

I grew up with a father who was an alcoholic. I don’t always like saying that out loud and less so in print. Just as I don’t want to be the poster child for autism, I also know that this was not all my father was, an alcoholic. He was a man of great passion and creativity; a poet, actor, and a lover of books. He also had a great interest in real estate and business. Now that I think of it, I am very much like him. Nevertheless, he had a drinking problem and it brought great unrest and instability to our home immensely affecting my sisters and I while we were growing up.

My mom, like my father, was born in Puerto Rico. She came to the U.S. when she was nineteen for what was supposed to be a summer vacation. My mom met my father, who arrived earlier, fell in love, and never went back. The story is quite dramatic, involving my grandfather hauling my mom back to Puerto Rico and then my father going after her, pleading for her hand in marriage. I am not sure how much of this is true but it is quite romantic and I love the fact that there was so much passion between them.

My mother was the total opposite of my father. Where my father liked to go out, network and socialize, my mom was a homebody. She enjoyed decorating, cooking, and beautifying the home any way she could. She sewed curtains, bed cushions, appliqued on towels, and eventually steered all of this creativity towards my sisters and I by making us amazing dresses. My mom had many friends but she did not go out with them, she solely entertained at home. She liked the privacy that New York, particularly the Bronx offered, where you lived behind locked doors, in apartment buildings, everyone in their own file cabinet of a box. She often complained about her home in Puerto Rico where there was no privacy with open door policies, and anyone walking in whenever they wanted, whether they were related or not.

In actuality, I am very grateful to my mom for this. My mom’s love of the home, provided a balance to the chaos that arose when my father would come home drunk, break dishes, curse at her and us, and leave in a huff, sometimes for days.

But like many parents born outside of the United States and raising their children in what they thought was a foreign land, my mom’s mothering style was infused with fear. My two sisters and myself were absolutely sheltered and not allowed to do much that did not involve being in front of the house where my mother could watch us. The freedom that we did have came from being part of a church community and being allowed to go on trips with the youth.

This was okay when we were little girls but as we got older, my sisters and I often struggled for a morsel of freedom. We would joke that my mother’s act of rebellion, coming to the United States at nineteen and then staying for a boy, was more dramatic than anything else we ever fought for: wanting the right to go to school in Manhattan, wanting to date at 16 (that battle we lost quickly), or spending a semester abroad.

When I had children, I naturally tried to emulate my mom’s example. It was the only mothering style I knew. With my first born, I had various freelance jobs so I still had a semblance of a working life but with Dan, and his challenges, this was not possible. I needed to be home. I thought it would be easy because I saw my mom do it and she was so happy. But it wasn’t at all for me. I like to go out, I like to socialize, people energize me! This had not changed because I had children. My husband had (still does) a hectic job and was often not available to watch the children so that I could plan time with friends, and it was difficult to find a babysitter who understood Dan’s needs. I was lonely, miserable, and sad. I would question myself and always had mother guilt because I had this need to go hang out with friends. Why couldn’t I be content like my mom? My mom sacrificed so much for us and I was falling short. What was wrong with me? Should I have ever had kids?

I finally had to come to terms with the fact that my mom’s mothering style was not my own. Yes, my mom is an amazing woman, and she continues to be my role model in many respects. She is a great example to me of courage and resilience. She came to the Bronx at 19 years old, by herself, to live with a family friend from her hometown. This was indeed a great act of rebellion and liberation that allowed her to live the life she desired, here in the States. I don’t know if I could have done that. She put up with my father’s alcoholism, finally breaking free by leaving him. We had to live with family and friends for a while but we finally settled down and began to heal. My mom’s fierceness is what I tapped into when I finally made the decision to honor who I was as a mother. I recognized that, although we had different stories, we possessed the same tenacity and persistence.

That doesn’t mean that there are no sacrifices to be made when you become a mother. These sacrifices, however, are different for each of us. I didn’t have to sacrifice my gregarious self because I have two special needs kids. Now the work began as to how I could honor the social person I was while still being fully present for my children. It’s more complicated when you have special needs children but complicated is not impossible. I finally applied for respite services and got help. I also joined a support group that allowed me access to an array of special needs parents; fearless, warrior moms and dads who also held me accountable in this self care journey.

What is your mothering style? How can you begin to tap into what makes you you, regardless of having kids or not. How can you find a mothering style that honors who you are as a person? How can you honor yourself by creating a mothering style that serves you?

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Don’t Hide

DON'T RUNAWAY FROM THE RUNWAY

Dan attracts A LOT of attention, and it’s not always positive. There’s no place to hide when I’m with him. He makes noises, flaps his hands, skips and jumps as we are “walking” to our destination. Normally, people are pretty cool with his behavior but I caught a couple of weird looks from people when we went out the other day.

I have to admit, I don’t always feel comfortable being on display this way. I want to share my creations, new items in my shop, my museum talks…my frailties, not so much. But because of Dan’s unique mannerisms, he has become my agent, so to speak. He draws people to me giving me opportunities to tell my story and point people to God, the source of my joy.

Last year,  we went to the Natural History Museum and on our way back on the train we met a man who started asking questions about Dan, the train was crowded, Dan was making noise and, of course, all eyes were on him. Long story short, our conversation led to a talk about God and I ended up inviting him to our church.

“No place to hide is the only place to be”

-Seth Godin

So, if that unwanted attention leads someone to God, then, here I am Lord. No place to hide is indeed the only place to be.

You are out on display for a reason, a deeper purpose. You just have to trust, show up, and strut your stuff, vulnerabilities and all. Don’t shy away from the attention. Tell your story. Don’t run away from the runway.

*Much of this was written two years ago.

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God Does Not Care that you have a Special Needs Child

GOD DOES NOT CAREGod is in the business of resurrecting! Let me explain…

This was the title of a sermon given by Bishop Michael Lunsford (may he rest in peace) , five years ago.

When he announced the title, I was like “wait, what?” We are so used to hearing that God cares that this caught me off guard. He then went on to talk about his difficult upbringing, fraught with hardship and dysfunction and how unlikely a candidate he was to be ordained a pastor, let alone a bishop.

God didn’t seem to care that this Bishop came from a family that clearly had issues. He was called anyway. I just want to encourage you that, whatever you are going through, it’s not the end of the road for you and your dreams. God doesn’t care about your background, or what happened to you, or about your crazy dysfunctional family, or the fact that you are broke, or maybe, if you are like me, that you have two special- needs kids . He wants to use you anyway.

When Dan was born and I decided to stay home for good because of his diagnosis, it forced me to think about what I really wanted to do with my life. Could God possibly use me now that I was a special-needs mom to two kids? My previous job as an art teacher re-introduced me to art-making and that part of myself was re-awakened. I opened up my shop, http://www.nelarte.etsy.com (Nelarte- previously Nelesc Designs), when Dan was 14 months old, and although not running in full force,  it’s still there.

Seven years after opening my shop I re-discovered my other passion, art history and museum work, and returned to work with an amazing organization called Arts & Minds which combines my passion for people and art. And guess what? My experience as a mom to two children with autism is valued there.

What I am trying to say is that God is in the business of re-awakening, rediscovering, and yes…resurrecting!

That day, before that sermon, I was struggling with self doubt but I felt like God zoned in on me and told me loud and clear I DON’T CARE THAT YOU HAVE TWO SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS, I STILL WANT TO USE YOU. YOUR LIFE IS NOT OVER, IT IS JUST BEGINNING!

Today, God is telling someone reading this, the same thing.

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*Stories like these will appear in my second book about self care coming soon.

You Are Allowed to Turn the Special-Needs Talk Off

SPECIAL NEEDS TALK OFF

I know it’s probably kind of weird that I posted this right in the middle of Autism Awareness Month when we want to get people talking about autism but…sometimes I have the need to turn the special -needs talk off. Does that happen to you too? Maybe it’s time we, as autism moms, also bring awareness to that part of our lives.

There have been times when – at a banquet, at church, some fashion function,  a gallery opening,  an informal get together  –  I have been approached by people wanting to talk to me about a movie they saw about autism, or about a friend of a friend whose child just got diagnosed. They give me books about autism, movie recommendations, information about doctors promising a new cure,…it can sometimes get a bit overwhelming when all I want to do is be Nellie and have a good time. Like an actor who gets type-cast because we are used to them playing a certain part, I imagine it’s the same for special-needs mom bloggers who talk about their children all the time in hopes to bring awareness. We want awareness but sometimes we need a break.

What people don’t realize is that, with two kids on the autism spectrum, my life is consumed with special needs talk. From the slew of professionals at my finger tips who are/were coming to my house every day, to my own online research, to discussions I have with my husband, and finally from my kids themselves. At times, it can be a 24-hour station.

But how do you turn off the special needs talk? First of all, you have to realize that people mean well. They love you and they want to help, or show that they can relate. So, when I really don’t feel like talking about autism,  I try to be cordial, and in a very nice way, tell anyone who wants to broach the subject,  that today I will not be talking about special needs anything, plain and simple. Give them your number/ e-mail and tell them to contact you later.

It does help if you have something planned to say ahead of time if the special needs talk gets out of hand. That way, you don’t come off as defensive or rude. I politely interrupt and tell them, “I don’t mean to be rude, but I had a crazy day with my kids and I would like to talk about other things besides them.” The people who love you will not get offended and will understand. Those are the people that matter.

How do you handle the special need chatter? Do you feel comfortable shutting it down? Are there other ways to go about it? Always eager to learn.

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If you can’t Find a Solution, Change the Rules

CHANGE THE RULES

My Dan has sleep issues. It has gotten better, but he still occasionally wakes at 3 AM craving food, sensory play or just wanting to be next to me.

At one point in time I was EXTREMELY sleep deprived. Not just one night, not a couple of months, but two years worth or more of sleep deprivation. I am never going to get those years back and my wrinkled, saggy eyes are paying big time for it. So, at that time,  I got to do things that might seem unconventional to some. Let me explain…

It was hard to find a solution to Daniel’s sleep issues. He didn’t respond to anything for a long time. Young mothers are always taught this rule: when the baby sleeps, you sleep. However, when Dan’s waking hours consumed me, his sleeping hours had to feed my soul. I was/am an artist mom and I need to create! So what this meant for me was that while he napped, I wrote, sewed, or screen-printed. This got hard to sustain long term, though, and I eventually crashed with him during his nap, but you know what I mean. I had to change the sleeping rule to fit who I was.

Same thing happened with his birthday a couple years ago. Dan had been waking up everyday two weeks prior to his birthday that year. I had previously told the teacher that I would come and celebrate in the classroom like I have been doing years past. The night before his birthday, Daniel finally gave me a full nights sleep. It was his birthday but I got the gift! It was the first time that I had felt alert and ready to work on my blog, my website, my sewing projects. I was still planning on going to the classroom but with much hesitation. I didn’t want to give up this valuable time! I felt I was giving up my day of productivity to go into the classroom for 45 minutes all because it is something I do every single year. The teacher ended up e-mailing me and said that she was not going in that day because she did not feel well. This gave me permission to call out too! So I called the school and told them I wasn’t going to celebrate Dan’s birthday in school, but at home instead. I did feel guilty and thought “how horrible everyone will think that I am for not bringing in a cake to school.” I went on beating myself up when I thought; what people don’t see is that I have been patiently up with my child for two weeks straight, loving him, singing to him, rocking him, hugging him, hoping that any minute now, he will dose off to lala land. During this time I did not beat him nor yell at him. God sees that, I see that, my family sees that. I deserve a productive day to myself where I am alert and ready to work. This has to be enough for a rule change.

So sometimes there are rules that simply do not apply to you and who you are. Now, I don’t mean rules concerning moral behavior or that you are exempt from the law. By all means, follow those rules! But sometimes the rules typically given to moms (of neuro-typical or special-needs children alike) do not make sense to your particular situation.

This is a lesson I continue to learn.

*Much of this post was written six years ago and modified recently.

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People Need to See You without the Kids

WITHOUT THE KIDS CANVA

Believe me, I know how hard it is to go anywhere without the kids! You don’t have to tell me how difficult it is to find babysitting for two special needs children. But people need to see you without your kids once in a while. You will forever be the poster child for autism if you don’t.

One place that we regularly go to as a family is church. During the service, Dan crawls all over me as I try to prevent Micah’s tantrums. By the time I get home, the day is a blur; I don’t know what the pastor preached about and could not have one conversation after the service, if anyone dared come near me at all.

If anyone does approach me at church it’s usually to tell me about a movie they saw about autism, or that they have a friend whose son/daughter just got diagnosed and ask whether I have any advice for them. Then there are the times when well-meaning parishioners gain a wee bit of knowledge about autism and begin to dole out chunks of advice, book recommendations, and places I should go to help the kids. I used to blame them but then it hit me; why wouldn’t they talk to me about autism? It’s all they see when they see me dealing with my kids and their antics! I had inadvertently become a walking poster mom for the cause with my kids in tow.

If people see you all the time with your kids as they act up and crawl all over you, that is the image they have of you and that is all they will see, and most likely, all they will talk to you about. They can’t see the full view of who you are with the kids in the way!

I realized that this needed to change and told my hubby I had to go to church at least twice a month without the kids. It worked. At first glance, people asked me where the kids were but after that was taken care of, they commented on how great I looked in my outfit, how good my hair looked, inquired about my fashion business, aspects of my life that were not kid related. It was amazing. People saw ME for the first time in a long time. You need that and people need that. People WANT to see you.

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* This was written five years ago but I felt it was valid to leave as is and not update. Since then, we have moved to a new church where, after facing chalIenges, we have found a way to attend church, consistently, as a family.

Find your own Mothering Style

MOTHERING STYLE CANVA

Mother can’t you see I’ve got to live my life the way I feel is right for me. Might not be right for you, but it’s right for me                   

 -Sarah Mclachlan, Elsewhere

Mothering style. When I first encountered this term, I thought it was weird. What is a mothering style? I thought. You simply have a child and you mother it. For me, that just meant following my mother’s mothering style. It’s all I knew and it seemed great to me.

I grew up with a father who was an alcoholic. I don’t always like saying that out loud and less so in print. Just as I don’t want to be the poster child for autism, I also know that this was not all my father was, an alcoholic. He was a man of great passion and creativity; a poet, actor, and a lover of books. He also had a great interest in real estate and business. Now that I think of it, I am very much like him. Nevertheless, he had a drinking problem and it brought great unrest and instability to our home immensely affecting my sisters and I while we were growing up.

My mom, like my father, was born in Puerto Rico. She came to the U.S. when she was nineteen for what was supposed to be a summer vacation. My mom met my father, who arrived earlier, fell in love, and never went back. The story is quite dramatic, involving my grandfather hauling my mom back to Puerto Rico and then my father going after her, pleading for her hand in marriage. I am not sure how much of this is true but it is quite romantic and I love the fact that there was so much passion between them.

My mother was the total opposite of my father. Where my father liked to go out, network and socialize, my mom was a homebody. She enjoyed decorating, cooking, and beautifying the home any way she could. She sewed curtains, bed cushions, appliqued on towels, and eventually steered all of this creativity towards my sisters and I by making us amazing dresses. My mom had many friends but she did not go out with them, she solely entertained at home. She liked the privacy that New York, particularly the Bronx offered, where you lived behind locked doors, in apartment buildings, everyone in their own file cabinet of a box. She often complained about her home in Puerto Rico where there was no privacy with open door policies, and anyone walking in whenever they wanted, whether they were related or not.

In actuality, I am very grateful to my mom for this. My mom’s love of the home, provided a balance to the chaos that arose when my father would come home drunk, break dishes, curse at her and us, and leave in a huff, sometimes for days.

But like many parents born outside of the United States and raising their children in what they thought was a foreign land, my mom’s mothering style was infused with fear. My two sisters and myself were absolutely sheltered and not allowed to do much that did not involve being in front of the house where my mother could watch us. The freedom that we did have came from being part of a church community and being allowed to go on trips with the youth.

This was okay when we were little girls but as we got older, my sisters and I often struggled for a morsel of freedom. We would joke that my mother’s act of rebellion, coming to the United States at nineteen and then staying for a boy, was more dramatic than anything else we ever fought for: wanting the right to go to school in Manhattan, wanting to date at 16 (that battle we lost quickly), or spending a semester abroad.

When I had children, I naturally tried to emulate my mom’s example. It was the only mothering style I knew. With my first born, I had various freelance jobs so I still had a semblance of a working life but with Dan, and his challenges, this was not possible. I needed to be home. I thought it would be easy because I saw my mom do it and she was so happy. But it wasn’t at all for me. I like to go out, I like to socialize, people energize me! This had not changed because I had children. My husband had (still does) a hectic job and was often not available to watch the children so that I could plan time with friends, and it was difficult to find a babysitter who understood Dan’s needs. I was lonely, miserable, and sad. I would question myself and always had mother guilt because I had this need to go hang out with friends. Why couldn’t I be content like my mom? My mom sacrificed so much for us and I was falling short. What was wrong with me? Should I have ever had kids?

I finally had to come to terms with the fact that my mom’s mothering style was not my own. Yes, my mom is an amazing woman, and she continues to be my role model in many respects. She is a great example to me of courage and resilience. She came to the Bronx at 19 years old, by herself, to live with a family friend from her hometown. This was indeed a great act of rebellion and liberation that allowed her to live the life she desired, here in the States. I don’t know if I could have done that. She put up with my father’s alcoholism, finally breaking free by leaving him. We had to live with family and friends for a while but we finally settled down and began to heal. My mom’s fierceness is what I tapped into when I finally made the decision to honor who I was as a mother. I recognized that, although we had different stories, we possessed the same tenacity and persistence.

That doesn’t mean that there are no sacrifices to be made when you become a mother. These sacrifices, however, are different for each of us. I didn’t have to sacrifice my gregarious self because I have two special needs kids. Now the work began as to how I could honor the social person I was while still being fully present for my children. It’s more complicated when you have special needs children but complicated is not impossible. I finally applied for respite services and got help. I also joined a support group that allowed me access to an array of special needs parents; fearless, warrior moms and dads who also held me accountable in this self care journey.

What is your mothering style? How can you begin to tap into what makes you you, regardless of having kids or not. How can you find a mothering style that honors who you are as a person? How can you honor yourself by creating a mothering style that serves you?

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