Proud To Be A Good Enough Special Needs Parent
My son with cerebral palsy isn’t “imperfect” in my eyes—I long ago quit seeing him like that. It wasn’t fair (or helpful) to him, and it depressed me. It’s taken me a lot more time, though, to quit seeing my parenting as imperfect. Same goes for hundreds of moms interviewed for Good Enough Is The New Perfect, a smart and encouraging new book about motherhood today by my friends Hollee Schwartz Temple and Becky Beaupre Gillespie. It’s about accepting that you are actually human and can’t do it all, and focusing on what you most want out of family life, work life and life in general. It is one reassuring read.
As a parent of a kid with special needs, I’ve beat myself up a lot for not doing enough for Max. Now that he is 8, though, I’m getting past the guilt. Well, mostly. These are the ways I am a good (enough) parent:
Truth: I asked all of the therapists at Max’s school to email me regular updates about what they’re working on with him, and what we could be doing at home with him. I am not doing every single thing. Hardly.
Good enough: I do what I can.
Truth: I have not been very diligent about potty training Max. He is 8.
Good enough: I try. When Max is truly ready—and when I am tired enough of dirty diapers to get commando about it—it will happen.
Truth: Max has an iPad with a speech app that he uses for communication. When we’re hanging out and he’s trying to articulate something, I will sometimes guess at what he’s saying, rather than making him use the iPad.
Good enough: I constantly talk with him and encourage him to speak. If at times I don’t want a machine to interrupt a moment between us, so be it.
Truth: I let my husband, Dave, handle most of Max’s feeding on weekends (at times, Max needs help guiding food into his mouth). I tell myself Dave is “better” at it but really, it’s not my favorite thing to do.
Good enough: I dress Max, give him baths, and do other stuff Dave doesn’t particularly enjoy. It is not realistic to expect any mom or dad to relish every single thing about parenthood.
Truth: Some weekends, Max watches more TV than he should.
Good enough: I am a better parent for having had time to myself. And I am sure Max is learning lots from iCarly! OK, maybe not.
Truth: I started letting Max crash in our bed again in the middle of the night after working so hard to get him to sleep in his own room.
Good enough: I kind of like it.
How are you a good enough parent?
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