To the moms who have been THAT mom

Thank you all for the response to the Walmart post!  I really appreciate you reading, commenting, and sharing that post – keep it coming! I love hearing from each of you.  I’m overwhelmed actually.  I’ve been working on a response for the last couple days and I just can’t get my mind around the big picture here because even though I knew this lack of understand was a problem, I don’t think I realized it was an EPIDEMIC!  My heart just broke into so many pieces as I read story after story of moms being judged, ridiculed, and spoken to so rudely!  I don’t know if you all have read through all the comments, but I encourage you to do so.

I also want you to know that I am reading each and every one of them! If you leave your blog in your comment, I will visit each and every one of you and comment (just be patient with me)!  I appreciate the support and we all have to support each other.

It just fuels my fire!! Reading your comments makes me even more determined to love and accept my child unconditionally without trying to change her to fit society’s standards and to hold my head up high when I’m out in public with her instead of trying to hurry my way through.  It also makes me more determined to watch for those moms having a hard day and to do something to help.

I wrote that post because it was something that happened to me that day that I just wanted to share.  The bigger picture is that I also wanted to get awareness out there that disabilities are not always visible!

I remember when I was a teenager, and I had an aunt who used a wheelchair, that we would park in the handicapped parking spaces for her.  I used to get so irritated when I would see people parking in a handicapped spot (with a tag) and just walking into the store like it was nothing.  I didn’t realize until later that there are so many handicaps that we can’t see on the outside.  Not every disabled person uses crutches or a wheelchair, nor do they wear a sign on their back.

Although, I’ve thought about making Lovebug a t-shirt that says “I’m not misbehaving, I have SPD. Learn about it. Don’t judge”

Or how about, “I have Autism. My mom is tired. Stop staring and ask her how you can help.”

Just in case you haven’t read through the comments yourself, let me give you some of the examples.

These moms have been told:

* Her child needed a muzzle. Really? He’s not going to bite you! (But I might if you say that to me)

* She needed to watch SuperNanny.

* She could control her kids better if she used birth control.

* Her kid needed a whoopin’

* That her kids should know manners

* One had her child made fun of by 2 elderly women!

I’m sure that only breaks the surface of words that have been spoken to so many of you by perfect strangers.  Can I just tell you I’m sorry?  Accept this virtual HUG from me. I’m so sorry that anyone would have to hear those words about their child, but it hurts even worse when you know they are doing their best…when YOU are doing your best.

So many of you are dealing with very difficult challenges each and every day with your children, but you choose to love them unconditionally.  You choose to do all that you can to help them.  In case no one has told you lately, you are doing a great job! If you’ve told your child today that you love them, you’ve done a great job.  If you’ve helped your child get dressed once or even ten times today, you’ve done a great job.  If you made sure your child had food to eat and a safe place to sleep tonight, then you’ve done a great job.

This experience will stick with me for the rest of my life.  I pray that my heart never hardens to the needs of those moms in the store.  That I am never in too much of a hurry to stop and help.  That I will slow down and enjoy my time in the store with my child instead of rushing so that we don’t have to deal with the looks, or so other people aren’t “bothered”.  That I will do what I can to make it a pleasant experience for my child – even if that means my 6 year old has a baby’s teething toy in her mouth, or is wearing the same sweats for the 4th day in a row.

LOVE – for our children, and for others is what matters.

5 comments to To the moms who have been THAT mom

  • Justine

    breaks my heart! Oh, my goodness people can be so cruel! I’m going to focus on the positive, as this is rough to read! I’ve been given dirty looks, and the “deep breath” followed by a sigh…

    One woman said, Doesn’t HIS crying bother YOU?? That’s as rough as it’s gotten….I almost threw a can of corn at her!!! lol

    Blessings to all you mommies out there! Thank you Stacy!

  • Thanks again Stacey for sharing your own experiences as well as all those of the rest of us on this spectacular journey. I have seen so many injustices lately with my own kids on the spectrum as well so many of my friend’s children that I have actually thought of quitting my job (which I love!!) and spending all my free time advocating for our children at the schools.
    So much effort is spent by families trying to educate themselves and sometimes by pediatricians & those rare and amazing teachers, but our world as a whole is light years behind understanding. Hugs to all who fight this daily battle.

  • Stacey,
    Thank you again for opening people’s eyes. I didn’t realize others had it so bad. I thought I was the only one that gets “those looks”. It’s not fair for anyone to judge regardless if the child has autism, aspergers, adhd, or is just having a tantrum. And it’s especially not fair for them to comment. I love your t-shirt idea “my mom is tired”. Might make a few stop and think.

  • Nancy

    Stacy, you and moms in your particular situations need compassion from others instead of their knee jerk reactions. Others need to stop and think before opening their mouths or making faces.

    I have also found lots of moms with kids who do not fall in the special needs category get such reactions too, when their kids are just being kids. Kids are not little adults, they entirely different beings who become adults.

    We never know what someone’s real situation is at a glance. It would indeed be nice if people remembered that before scrunching their faces or opening their mouths. Too bad there aren’t more people with compassionate hearts and willing to say something nice.

  • Sophie

    One day I’m going to get a T shirt made that says “My kid’s autistic – what’s your excuse?”

    I’ve long since given up caring what other people think. I have five children, the older two of which have special needs (and I have my suspicions about the third) and I remember one time when my oldest daughter was screaming so loudly you could hear it throughout the entirety of the very large supermarket. My crime? I *wasn’t* touching her and she wanted a hug, which wasn’t physically possible at the time. By the shrieks you’d have thought I was beating her black and blue. Fortunately people were very understanding that time, but I have so many stories of people deciding they can tell me how to parent for random reasons (some as silly as a scarf trailing on the floor) that I’ve long since decided that the best response is smile, nod, ignore.

    Sometimes it’s ahrd though.

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