Friday, June 10, 2011

I’m That Mom

We all know them.  Those slackers who are rude, inconsiderate and downright scattered.

I’m sad to admit, that most days, that's me.

I'm the one who doesn't return phone calls.  The one who's perpetually late and hopelessly unprepared.

You'll rarely get a thank you card from me, and I'm sorely lacking on other common courtesies like small talk and banter.

I'm the mom who's not at the school events.  I don't work in the classroom.  When I do commit to helping, I often back out at the last minute.

I'm consistently inconsistent when it comes to remembering birthdays, Christmas gifts and other things.  I'll offer a variety of excuses, most not coming near to the truth.

It's not my fault, really.  But I'm sure you've heard that before too.

I have the best of intentions, the most amazing plans.  But somehow, they never seem to come to fruition.  Most people don't understand why, but I have a feeling if anyone will get it, you will.

You see, I'm the mom of not one, but three kids with special needs.  I have a son with Asperger's Syndrome, a daughter with alphabet soup (ADHD, Bipolar, NVLD, Generalized Anxiety ) and a little guy who the jury's still out on.  I am also mom to a very neuro-typical, extremely dramatic, teenage girl.

On any given day, I can be seen combing through reports, making appointments or researching new interventions.  I'm checking schedules, updating token economies and cleaning up after the walking tornadoes that are my children.

My calendar is littered with color-coded therapy sessions and IEP meetings.  Incidentally, it rarely has room for silly things like exercise or outings with friends.

I'm not overly friendly and I don't smile half as much as I should.  I usually have that distracted, pensive look on my face as I try to mentally calculate how we will ever pay for the therapies mentioned above.

I never know how my day will go.  Some are great and I can actually be a productive human being.  More often than not, though, I'm met by some combination of meltdowns, sensory overload and teen angst.   And all my good intentions?  They promptly go out the window.

So if you happen to think I'm just rude and antisocial, there may be more to the story. 

I’m a special needs mom.  And this is my life.

Accidental Expert is a writer, wife and mother.  She lives in Colorado with her husband and four children.  You can read about her experiences raising special needs children at Raising Complicated Kids.


  1. I am not the only one really ? I'm always apologizing for the un-returned phone calls , no time with friends and not going out. Frankly a lot of the times when I have down time, I want to keep it that way, down time. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone :), Teena

  2. It sounds like you have been watching my life!

  3. Accidental ExpertJune 10, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    You are most definitely not alone. I have a feeling there are a lot of us out there.

  4. Awesome true. This life has also led me to realize how many friends I was pulling along-making all the plans for, hosting the parties for, organizing the lunch dates. Now that I am not doing that, it's not happening. Guess I am not that missed after all. I figure if people not in our situation can't be bothered to do that, I shouldn't feel guilty. I do somtimes kill myself trying to hang onto that side of my life (being social) and I realize I have to let it go. These are not people who are offering to help me with what I need: babysitting, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house. That's my reality now. I have done many favors for others and I often wonder why did I waste my time, when they aren't bothering to be in touch with me. Time to be "selfish," if that means taking care of my child. I can't take care of the rest of the world, who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.

  5. What a great post!!!! I can so relate. You see I use to be the “other” mom, the one who was on top of it all. But as my son became ill with a mood disorder, I’m in transformation mode, becoming “that mom“. In the beginning I struggled with not being able to do it all and sadly, what others would think of me now that I was no longer involved in the classroom, donating the extra supplies the school needs or serving in church. But as my life has become more complicated, I’ve had to let go of my old expectations and allow myself to be the mom I CAN be considering the life we now have. It is nice to know I’m in good company with moms like you!

  6. Sounds very similar to what happened here. I used to be that "other" mom. I helped out, I went out and actually had friends. But as things got worse, many of these people dropped off like flies.

  7. I was always a slacker. Now I just have a really good excuse. I never wanted to be the other type of mom. I'm the type to show up five minutes late with a box of cookies (I bought on the way because I forgot to buy them earlier when I was shopping) that I put down next to the homemade and beautifully frosted cupcakes. But I have friends who do make the beautiful frosted cupcakes who will make them for me. So, I have the best of both worlds -- the benefits sans the work.
    And my family is trained to call me several days before my husband's birthday to remind me it's coming up.

  8. And once again I realize how much you and I have in common!

  9. You have to take care of your own family first and you do an excellent job of that. Keep doing what you're doing (but try to have that smile or laugh once in a while. :) ). Love and hugs to you.

  10. You are doing great. For me just "very neuro-typical, extremely dramatic, teenage girl." X3 is all it can take. On given day you can find me taking a nap : )

  11. Varda SteinhardtJune 11, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Well, so many of us here can totally relate, for we are "That Mom" too. I know I am. Thanks for this wonderful, honest post. I'm right there with you in the parent-of-a-special-needs-kid slacker crew. And ya know? The years of sleep deprivation don't help either.

  12. Great post - thank you for sharing so we can know we're not alone!

  13. If it's 1 thing I know for sure that having a child with autism has taught me is to be less judgmental. I no longer will ever assume I know what's going on in someone's life or dare to guess about why someone is behaving the way they do. Whether it be an adult or a child. Hang in there. Good luck with managing it all and don't worry about the rest of the people out there. So many of us understand. Do try to take some time for yourself though.

  14. Yeah, I'm one of "those" moms. It's nice to know I'm not alone, and not everyone thinks I'm a "slacker mom" because I don't volunteer at the concession stand at ball games, or bake four dozen brownies for the class party. If they only knew what it takes to keep our family functioning on a daily basis - I'm usually exhausted before 8 a.m. I completely agree with the commenter that said that on those rare occasions when she has down time, that's exactly how she wants to keep it - down time. Thank you so much for sharing!
    Feeling blessed with my amazing children with special needs,

  15. Oh, I can so totally relate to this! I feel like I can only do one or two things well and the rest just have to go by the wayside. Or else everything just gets halfway done until someone starts screaming for their thing to be finished. Ugh!!

  16. Me too! Me too! I'm that too!