You Are Not a Failure

A mom posted on Single mothers who have children with autism’s facebook page about feeling like a failure because her son was being pulled from mainstreamed classes, and placed into a special education classroom.  My heart breaks when I read things like that.

Adaptation of above image illustrating an Inte...

I think every Special Needs Parent has those moments, hours, days, weeks, or even years, when we feel like we are the biggest failures on the planet, and we feel that pain so much more deeply because we know how much our kids need us not to fail.  But.  We can not allow ourselves to feel that way for too long, for that very same reason – our kids need us to pick ourselves up and keep rolling that rock up the mountain.  It’s OK to fall, to stumble, to crawl into bed and lock the door once in awhile (assuming everyone else is relatively safe).  But we can’t stay there, and we definitely can’t get into the habit of pointing fingers at ourselves too often.

Maybe it would help to remember those naysayers we have all encountered.  The ignorant, mean-spirited people we have come across.  And then in our weakest moments, imagine what kind of a job they would do in our place.  You see, no one is perfect, and none of us were prepared for this job.  And there was certainly no manual.  But we are some of the quickest studies on the planet.  We can read our children’s faces down to the slightest waggle of an eyebrow, and be able to interpret emotion from it.  We can come up with backup plans on the fly, salvage nasty situations, and calm our children when no one else can.  In the eyes of our children, we are MOM (or DAD), the one and only.  Learning from mistakes is part of the game.  It’s not learning from them that is a failure.

Be nice to yourself, parents.  Try not to beat yourself up too bad.  It’s a waste of energy, and you’ve got too much other stuff to do!


Reader Highlight: Katrina

Katrina, who has commented here, is a blogging buddy of mine in our 31 Days Blog Challenge.  I’ve been following her for a little while, and she writes really well about being a special needs mom.  Her post, “The Truth About Being the Perfect Special Needs Parent” is one of her best.

In this post, she writes about the constant feeling of failure, like she isn’t being everything she can be for her kids.

I know this feeling.

Twice this summer, The Boy has had such magnificent, long-lasting meltdowns, that I was the one who ended up pacing the floors, unsure of what to do, unable to pull anything from my bag of tricks because it was completely empty.  I was the one moved to tears because I was tired, emotionally spent, and couldn’t take it for one more second.  I was the one who felt like such an astounding failure.

Katrina ends her post by writing about how important it is to lean on others, accept support, and let others be strong for us, even when it is the last thing we want to do.

I am lucky to have The Man, mind-reader that he is, who (during the second meltdown, as I was pacing, and probably looking like a kicked puppy) said, “You have done all you can do.  There is nothing left.  You are not a failure.”

I urge you to go read Kat’s blog,  She gives a beautifully written voice to us special needs parents.