If you’re the parent of a special needs child, you’ve heard the comments before: “Oh, you are such an angel.” Or perhaps: “Those children must be so grateful that you rescued them.” Or my favorite: “I couldn’t do what you do, it takes a special mom.”
Often these comments are meant as compliments. People are trying to tell parents of a special needs child that they see the hard work and are impressed by what is being done. What they don’t understand is the full story. So here are some things not to say to a special needs parent.
“Oh, you are such an angel.”
Every time someone tells me this I feel like I need to reveal that time I yelled at my child during a meltdown. Or perhaps tell them about how frustrated I get when I explain a concept for the 100th time. Or perhaps tell them that I cry and yell at God about what will happen when I am gone and my child is alone in this world. Angels don’t usually yell at God, do they?
I am certainly not an angel and neither is my child. We are human. We are doing our best. We have difficult trials to overcome but haven’t we all. Ours is just easy to see at times.
To all who see an angel. Please, that is too much pressure. I’m just a mom doing my best, just like you.
“I bet your child is so grateful that you rescued them.”
Our children are all adopted. We knew (except for our first who has autism) we were taking on children with special needs.
But there was no rescuing on our part. In fact, the opposite is true. I dreamt of children. My arms ached for a baby. I wanted to wipe dirty faces, have tickle fights, and read bedtime stories. I wanted to be a mother more than I wanted Sunday naps, chocolate, or money (obviously since I have lost all three since having kids. The kids keep discovering my chocolate stashes, and naps? Ya, right. Good one.)
My children rescued me. I’m a mom now. And that is my dream.
“I couldn’t do what you do, it takes a special mom.”
So you’re telling me you would abandon your child? No. I don’t think so. You haven’t done this because it hasn’t been required of you. But if your child got in an accident tomorrow, I would stand by your side, hold your hand, and help you through it. Because I am just like you and you are just like me.
We do what is required. That is what moms do. We love our children and we will help them through the tough times.
“What a priceless gift.”
This is the comment I would love to hear because it’s true! God gave me five priceless gifts. They were His children first. I have the opportunity to raise them and they teach me all that God wants me to learn.
Yes, they are priceless. And for now, they are mine.