Special needs parenting has much in common with parenting typical kids, but it has many differences, too. In a Parents.com post, Ellen Seidman (who also blogs at one of my personal faves, Love That Max), uses a Pew Research Center major poll, Modern Parenthood: Roles of Moms and Dads Converge as They Balance Work and Family, to aid her comparisons.
Special Needs Parenting Comparisons from Ellen Seidman
Here are three favorite comparisons from Ellen’s original post:
Poll stat: 53 percent of working moms and dads polled with kids under age 18 say it’s difficult to balance job and family responsibilities
Special-needs parent fact: Given the additional medical appointments and therapies moms have to manage, I’d say that work-family juggling challenges are significantly magnified for parents of kids with special needs. Not a day goes by when I don’t think “Wow, this is hard”—and marvel that I haven’t run screaming down the street because I’ve finally lost it.
Poll stat: 73% of moms say they are doing an “excellent” job as a parent
Special-needs parent fact: I’m a good parent and yet, I never think of myself as doing an “excellent” job with Max. This is because there is always something I feel like I could be doing with him—some therapeutic exercise, say, or trying a new app that could help improve his reading skills. With so many parenting resources these days, perhaps a lot of mothers feel this way—but when you’re the parent of a child with significant delays and challenges, you truly never feel like you are doing as much as you could. So if you ask me what kind of job I do as a parent, I’d say “Good enough.” Because that’s the best I can do, and I have learned to be satisfied with that.
Poll stat: 43% of married moms say they are very happy with their lives
Special-needs parent fact: The world may perceive us as being unhappier than other parents. And yes, we may very well have more pressures and stress. But the truth is, we get just as much bliss in our children as other parents do from theirs. They may have special needs, but they are not “defective.” They are our children. In fact, our happiness can be that much greater because our kids work so hard for their achievements. The first steps my son took at age 3 weren’t just milestones—they were miracles.
Special Needs Parenting Comparisons from You
You can read the rest of Ellen’s comparisons at How Special Needs Parenting Compares to Typical Parenting. Then come back and leave a comment about how you think special needs parenting compares to typical parenting. I’d love to hear what you have to say!
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