The Manual

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I see you staring at our loud family sitting at the table. I see your judging eyes when our differently-abled son whines and yells for me to hold him. I see you dart your eyes quickly when I look up because I feel the stares.

I see the judgment when I finally give in and pick him up. I see it when he starts to push his knees into my chest and hit me because he’s frustrated. I know those eyes are thinking, “That mother needs to discipline her child.”

I see it all the time, and it is unfair.

What you don’t see is that our son can’t verbally communicate what he wants or needs. That is why he whines and yells. You don’t see that the only way he can tell me what he wants is to point and say “eh.” You just see what you want to see.

What you don’t see is that yes he is two, but developmentally he is still just a baby. He doesn’t have the self-control like his older brother and typical growing children have.

What I wish you would see is this mom is trying. This mom is doing everything in her power to keep calm, and keep from crying. What I wish from you all is empathy.

Before casting those judging eyes, show a little compassion. Put yourself in the mother’s shoes before assuming that the mother doesn’t discipline her child. Don’t assume that she doesn’t know how to raise her child.

Because I do know how to raise my children.

But with differently-abled children, you don’t have this perfect and complete manual on how to parent. With a differently-abled child, you write a manual as days and weeks go by. YOU figure out what’s best for your child, and what works for your child…

But with differently-abled children, you don’t have this perfect and complete manual on how to parent.

And you jot that down in your unique manual. Inch-stone after inch-stone, tantrum after tantrum, and day after day, you work on it. You painstakingly add to it. And then, what they were able to do last week might not be there anymore, and so you edit your manual again.

That is our life as a Special Needs Parent with a differently-abled child. Our manual, our life, is always changing. Just when you think you have normalcy down, another curve ball gets thrown your way… and once again, you’ll have to update the manual again. It is what an author may call an unfinished master piece.

So, the next time you see a mother at her wits end—don’t give her those judgmental eyes. Give her empathetic eyes, or even offer some help or encouraging words. She is doing her best. She’s been thrown an imperfect manual, and she’s doing extremely well with what she’s got.

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  • Reply Cheryl

    What an awesome post. I hope many get the message and remember it. You are an excellent example to other mothers whatever their struggles may be. Take care!

    March 4, 2019 at 8:12 am
    • Reply Jennifer

      Cheryl, thank you so much.

      March 5, 2019 at 7:49 am
  • Reply Lana

    Hey Strong Mama!!
    I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for The Mystery Blogger Award!!
    You inspired me daily and help me keep going in my crazy blogging journey. Thank you for sharing your story. I love getting to know your handsome boys. You can check out the award here! Have a great week!

    March 5, 2019 at 9:36 am
    • Reply Jennifer

      Thank you so much Lana! I need to work on this next week 🙂

      March 15, 2019 at 12:28 pm
  • Reply Cassie | White Sands and Cool Breezes

    Thank you so much for sharing this!!! We never know what’s going on with another person, let alone a child/family. This is a great reminder to be empathetic first!

    March 7, 2019 at 10:03 pm
  • Reply Lana

    I love this. It is really important to see this from someone else’s point of view. I think we need to be reminded that we don’t need to judge because we have NO idea what might be going on. <3 You are awesome, Mama!

    March 8, 2019 at 9:34 am
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