Why I’m not special (and don’t deserve a national day)

Ellen over at Love that Max recently brought to my attention in this post that Congress is considering creating a national day to recognize parents of kids with special needs.

My first reaction was that creating a day to recognize parents like myself who have children with special needs only serves to segregate us from other parents. If you’re like me, you’ve longed to be a part of one of those silly mommy groups where everyone has coffee and watches as their adorable “typical” children play nicely with each other. A national day will only serve to make us even more separate.

Secondly, how will this national day help me as a parent of a special needs child? Will it raise funds for education programs or healthcare? The benefits of the day are still very unclear.

My third reaction was that being a parent of a special needs child really doesn’t make me worthy of a special day. I’m just doing my job as a mom, plain and simple.

So, I’m going to list a few (of the many) reasons why I’m just not that special:

  • I’m just a regular old mom. I mess up. I am lazy at times and let Ruby watch Elmo instead of working on therapy with her. I let her eat with her hands when I’m too tired to force her to use her spoon. I’m human.
  • Every child, typical or not, has needs. Sure, there is a wide spectrum on which these needs fall, but every kid has them, whether it’s fear of the dark, social anxiety, wetting the bed or a medical issue. As parents we must adapt to our child’s needs and find the resources to help them succeed no matter what challenges they face. That’s not unique to parents of special needs children.
  • I whine and complain sometimes. I NEVER do it in front of Ruby, but with my family and friends, from time to time I vent (and cry) about how life as a parent of a child with special needs can seem unfair.
  • Like most parents out there – special needs children or not – I’m just doing the best that I can do with the resources I have.

The point I’m trying to make here is that being a parent is never easy, whether your child has special needs or not. Unless this national day can help parents of children with special needs in a very real way, I am very content being honored for my hard work as a parent with all the other mommies on Mother’s Day.