Special Needs Moms Need Friendships with Accommodations

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The other day an old friend of mine reminded me of how bad I can be to my own self. “You don’t show to our yoga dates and your hair is full of grays,” she said.

  • Not to be melodramatic but God knows I was wearing my yoga pants that day to actually attend a yoga class with her, but I received an unexpected call from school regarding my son’s upcoming IEP review and I didn’t have a choice. I had to prioritize and I did choose to address my child’s needs over my own. Yes, I understand the frustration from the real yoga practitioners who keep bad-mouthing mothers like me for just wearing the pants without really utilizing them to exercise, but believe me, I wore them with the best intentions but wasn’t as lucky as I would have liked to have been that day.
  • Regarding my grays, I was dying to show up to see the girls on Saturday after getting a good dye job but I was literally flooded with dirty clothes, dishes and previous commitments so I had to pretend I didn’t really care about my hair and fulfill my personal obligations, which by way, couldn’t wait any longer.

I hear you, my friend. I can’t be good to anyone if I’m not good to myself. I even have a sticker with that phrase on it. I’m still young and I deserve money and time invested and spent on me. But what if instead of just trying to keep up with the smart motherhood tendencies, for once we were honest and realistic about our individual realities and circumstances.

  1. I’m the mother of two children who happen to have special needs. Yes, I understand the perspective that sometimes their needs seem to be fewer compared to other kids considering that they don’t push or expect as much, however, the difference between their needs is critical. A child with special needs entirely depends on the commitment of his or her caregiver. A typical child can do much more on his own and learning new skills for independence comes much more naturally. I’m not saying that neurotypical children can raise themselves on their own, but they need much less support than those with special needs.
  2. Then, and because my children depend on me to interact with others, to achieve their goals and keep advancing and progressing, sometimes there is really nothing that I can do. I have to prioritize my role as a mother, and even knowing that self-care can’t wait, it doesn’t translate to my circumstance. After all is said and done, there’s nothing left for me so yes, it can and it needs to wait.
  3. To further differentiate my situation, I’m divorced/single by choice and with no remorse. I hear it all the time and many times agree it may be easier to not to have someone to fight with all day and over almost everything, but let me tell you, there are times I would love to allow myself and my children to depend on someone else. But it’s just not a possibility. This is a reality I have to deal with. Add to that, I work full time which doesn’t lessen my full time job as a mom. Not complaining at all, I’m just saying. No, I don’t always get to choose to do what I would ove to do. Most of time, I have to focus and just do what I have to do.

I’m not saying that adult friendship for mothers (and for me!) is not important or worth it, I’m just saying that as my children need accommodations to thrive and be successful in life, I do too. The “have it all” rhetoric doesn’t apply to me and I don’t care. I’m fine with who I am, I’m fine with what I live. I celebrate friendships with those who have understanding and are nonjudgmental of me. I need friends who realize I’m not victimizing myself or trying to get attention through my indifference to self-care or friendship goals. I’m just trying to keep up with my life and do it right.

I hope I’m not offending yoga pants activists with my speech, and I hope my grays don’t take over my brain. But most important for all, I hope other friends understand through my words that being the single mother of children with special needs is not a ticket to holiness or anything like that, but it’s for sure a much more demanding circumstance. In this case, we need supportive friends that want to keep being our friends, even after months of us not showing to yoga classes and having overgrown, unsightly grays.

About the Author

Named as Best Latino Advocate 2015 Through the Use of Technology and Social Media, Eliana creates awareness about the possibilities of people with disabilities through her social media channels and bilingual posts. This past October, her son, Emir, was a guest of honor to the White House, along with other 10 geniuses in technology. For the first time a person with intellectual disabilities was included to represent his community. Her daughter Ayelen is growing up while representing diversity in her role as a model for several brands in the U.S.

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