When you don’t feel ‘enough’ as a special needs parent


By 4pm the panic was setting in. Later afternoon is the time it mostly hits. I begin to think about dinner, cleaning up, baths, stories, and hopefully bedtime, and I realise yet another day has passed and things haven’t changed. When my children eventually settle to sleep my mind will run through all the missed opportunities, all the forms I never quite had time to fill in and all the moments I left my children to entertain themselves. Did I do enough today to help them? Did I do any of the exercises the physiotherapist told me I should? Did I ensure my daughter had her insoles in to correct the turn in her feet? Did I teach them anything or encourage any social skills?

Even if I did something, was it enough?

If I read my children’s speech reports I am reminded of all the times today I forgot to use pictures to reinforce understanding, and why do I suddenly remember all about makaton signs the second my child has fallen asleep?
Then I remind myself I am not a speech and language therapist. Even more important I am not MY CHILD’S speech and language therapist. I am his mum. I can never be ‘enough’ for his speech and language development as that is not my speciality. So I could do more! What parent can say they honestly do all the exercises with their speech delayed child all the time?

If I read my child’s physiotherapy report my heart sinks. Once again another day has passed and we never did those leg strengthening exercises she hates, or invented games that required rolling. When I was busy cooking I noticed she was sitting in that ‘W’ shape again and I left her too it. I never did enough. Actually I don’t think I have ever done enough to satisfy her physical needs. I feel guilt about that daily but then I am sure all parents feel like this sometimes? Maybe it is just me?

I left my non verbal son to watch videos on his iPad today. Not the most ideal thing according to therapists I know, but sometimes I just can’t do it all. I even put my two autistic children in the car and went somewhere today without first reading them a social story about it, showing visuals and going through the route on google street maps! Oh dear, no brownie points for me today!

The fact is they survived. I survived. We lived to see another day, and yes I will always feel guilt at what we didn’t do in terms of therapy or research or exercises, but in many other ways I was more than enough for my children today.

They had more than enough of my time.
They had more than enough to eat and drink.
They have more than enough toys and technology.
They have more than enough clothes to wear.
They have more than enough access to medical and educational support.
They have more than enough love.

Fellow special needs mum, remember this: never let any professional make you feel less than enough. Never let your child’s struggles make you feel less than as a parent. You ARE enough! Your love, encouragement, support and dedication WILL be enough. Did you make it through another day? You were enough today and you will be enough tomorrow.

Never ever forget that!

This post first appeared here.




6 thoughts on “When you don’t feel ‘enough’ as a special needs parent

  1. Pingback: When you don’t feel ‘enough’ as a special needs parent | faithmummy

  2. I feel exactly the same Marian. Every night when I go to bed my head starts whirring with all the things I should have done with the kids and didn’t. Of course I don’t think about it during the day because I’m too busy doing washing, dinner and cleaning up, and yes in my house these small tasks can take up most of my day especially when I get interrupted literally every five minutes. But then I remind myself that I tell them a hundred times a day that I love them and I kiss them and hug them a hundred times a day too and that’s just as important as therapy in my book 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my did you just sum up my everyday feelings! Wow!

    I am a newer special needs mum, in the past 7 1/2 months I got 2/3 kids diagnosed and my husband. It’s been a worldwind. Evaluations after testing after appointments after therapy after reports, I am trying to get school, teachers, family, other specialists up to spead, returning from my mat leave of my 3rd baby has been hell, was put off for a bit but I need to go back to working fulltime for financial reason in paying all these specialists that take almost my entire paycheques. I feel like I wasted this precious mat leave time with my last baby, I am barely seeing her grow-up compared to the others, my house has never been this bad to my standards, I never played this much catching up in my life as I been in these pasts few months. I want to give them all the best, the support, the recommandations, but I need more time in a day, more energy, I just need more I feel so I can give them more. You’re gonna end up burned out they say, you need to decrease the amount you do, do more for you… but in the same sentence they all add all these new thing I NEED to do, I need to change my life and house to accommodate them… So I get out always more overwhelmed in how I am failing at this new special needs mum stuff. My kids/husband could be worst when I read stories, I feel like I wine over my situation for no reason, but can’t seem to shake off these feelings that I failed them and failing them still… People say my girls are sooo cute, beautiful, nice and full of life, etc. Family and friends tell me “but their soo cute and nice”, like you can’t be cute if you’re a special needs child, like really?!
    Thank you Miriam for this great article it gives lots of perspective on my feelings, and I’ll just keep loving them, fighting for them and doing the best that I can and if that is a pj and cuddle day, well so be it!!!

    Liked by 2 people

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