It is hard

It’s Official…It is hard being a parent of a child with special needs.

Or any parent for that matter.

I sometimes get caught up in the “I can’t act like it’s hard because I don’t want pity routine.” I don’t want pity; I don’t want people to feel sorry for me or for Olivia. We have a wonderful life; we really do.

But it is hard.

I try to act like it’s no big deal to carry her from point A to point B because she’s tired…even though it’s like carrying a 50 lb. wet noodle. Thank God she’s small for her age but still.

I act like it’s fine that she’s still in diapers even though every time I go to Costco I swear it’s the last box I’m buying. When I return a month later and buy another box, I want to scream F*!K at the top of my lungs because I’m so angry that I have to buy yet another box. But I don’t. I smile and pay the cashier and lug my supersize box of Huggies home. Again.

I act like it’s fine that every time we go somewhere she upends someone’s drink or hits a baby on the head or freaks out over certain noises. Aw shucks, people, that’s just the way it goes.

I act like it’s ok that she’s not like other 9-year-old girls.

I act like I don’t worry about the fact that someday Matt and I will be gone and who will take care of her and how will we pay for it?

But then I’m reminded either by a blog or a friend or a quote that it is hard. And it’s ok to admit that it’s hard. That doesn’t make me weak. That doesn’t diminish my love for Olivia. It doesn’t make me pitiful.

It makes me honest.

The other day my sister-in-law was spending the day with us at the lake and Olivia kept getting into the soap and the toilet and whatever trouble she could stir up. My sister-in-law looked and me and said “This is so hard.” Normally I would just shrug it off and say “Well, you know, it’s just Olivia!” but that day I looked at her straight in the eye and said “Yes, it really is.” Later on, she did Olivia’s hair for me and got her dressed. It was so nice to have a little break.

The other afternoon my friend Amy and I were having a conversation about Olivia. Amy is one of the few people who I can be totally, brutally honest with. I was saying how it’s so hard sometimes and I feel like sometimes I don’t get as much help as I need or want. Amy looked at me and said “It’s because you and Matt make it look so easy and so effortless.” I thought about that for a while. It made sense.

All of this to say that it’s ok to cry Uncle once in a while and ask for help or just admit that you’re tired and it’s difficult. It’s ok to admit that, yes, it’s hard. It doesn’t make you weak or pitiful, it just makes you truthful. And admitting it may end up making you feel a little better in return. Or at least get you out of bath and diaper duty once in a while.

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11 responses to “It is hard

  1. I admire your strength and perseverence…there is clearly a lot you take care of everyday on top of what you do for your other two kids. And a lot you prepare for when you go outside your home environment.

    You impress me.

  2. Thanks for your honesty Tif! Although I work with special needs students for part of the year, I have never walked a day in your shoes!

  3. YES! Agree. We need to ask for help more often, even if for just short periods of time.

  4. And… man, is it ever hard. I feel like I always walk around saying, “It’s hard.” I feel like a whiner…

  5. I don’t have a special needs child and I think it’s hard to be a parent to a 4 yr old and 18 month old. I’m like you though, I trudge through it and try to take it all on. I rarely have anyone watch my kids and I do everything I need to do with them around. It takes twice or three times as long and it’s not perfection (as much as I wish it was), but rarely do I ask for help. I wish I was one of those people who could ask for help, but I’m not , so I don’t. However, sometimes even the strongest willed people (like you) need help and yes it is okay to ask for it. So, don’t forget to ask someone else to take the burden on sometimes, I know it’s hard but as my MIL pointed out kids are resilient and they will make it through most things (even having someone else take care of them for a while). Thanks for another honest post!

  6. I can relate. I have been learning that it’s okay to feel the rough of some days. And trying to be transparent about it, well that one is still a struggle for me.

  7. Great post Tiffany. I do think that how we “appear” to others really trains them how they should relate to us in many ways. It is hard to become vulnerable to others. But sometimes, it pays off!

  8. It is SO hard to ask for help. Always. Thank you for the reminder that it’s okay to not be able to do it all ourselves. And for your honesty. You are an amazing individual. I hope you know (and I mean REALLY know) that.

  9. I think that all parents need to admit defeat sometimes. I am the parent to 1 “normal” (what ever that means) and I can’t handle it sometimes. We all need help and I for one know that doesn’t mean that I don’t love her to death, just that I am human and need a break or help every once in a while. You are great and normal!!!!

  10. 🙂 Awesome post! I love your optimism…that is the big picture that I see since I have read about your life through posts, that you are very positive and try hard to make the best out of life…you are very inspirational!

  11. Great post. I’m with you, it is HARD. I too try to not complain about it and act like everything is fine, but dammit, Ella is a lot of work sometimes. BUT, I don’t want pity either. Ugh.

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