No, I’m Not Stronger Than You

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Please. Just stop. From one mama to another, please don’t feel obligated to validate the challenges we face as parents of a child with special needs. You see, having a child with autism isn’t easy, but from everything I’ve seen out there, having a child – any child – isn’t easy at all. Sure, you may see us having a moment in Trader Joe’s because she doesn’t understand why the inflatable flamingo on the sunscreen display can’t go home with us, but that doesn’t make us that much different, friend.  

Stop telling me that I’m stronger than you are.

I’m not. We’re moms and this is what we do. We face the challenges head-on and cry in the bathroom about them later after everyone is fed and bathed and in bed. Is our life harder than yours? Not necessarily. Do we have different hurdles to jump? Of course. So don’t tell me that I’m stronger just because you see us struggling with something. Just say, “good job, mama” and move on.

Stop telling me that you don’t know how I do it.

That’s a blatant, in-your-face, big ol’ lie, and I recognize it immediately. Yes, you do know. We’re moms and this is what we do. We all wake up every morning and wonder what fresh hell awaits us on the other side of the lukewarm cup of coffee we barely get to finish after reheating it three times in the microwave. Then, we face what the day holds and we just… do it. (Nike, I’m 100% available to be paid for that nugget.)

Maybe your day’s list involves deciding on appropriate punishment for your kiddo getting caught sneaking out after dark, and mine involves sending a strongly-worded email to the Director of Special Education for our school district, but we’re both doing what we have to do to get to tomorrow without going to jail for assault. So don’t tell me you don’t know how I do it. Just say, “another day down, mama” and move on.

Stop telling me that God chose me to be her mama.

I know He did, and most days, I’m honored. Some days, I resent it, and somehow, it’s always those days when someone feels the need to be “encouraging” by bringing the Higher Power into the conversation.

On those days when being her mama is extra challenging, I really don’t need to be reminded that someone thought I’d be the best choice for this role. I don’t need to be reminded of all the things I’ll have to answer for or the questionable parenting decisions I’ll have to defend at the Pearly Gates. So don’t tell me again that God chose me. Just say, “you’re doing a good job” and move on. 

Truth be told, there isn’t a handbook or CliffsNotes for this nonsense.

It doesn’t matter if you have one kid or ten kids – we’re all just making it up as we go along. We wake up each morning and have no idea what crazy things we’ll have to deal with. We just DO. Sometimes, we get it right the first time. Other times, we need to have a quick bathroom cry and try again. Either way, you know exactly how I do it and I know exactly how you do it. 

We’re moms. And that’s just what we do. So… good job, mama. Another day down. See you tomorrow.

 

 

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