by Lillian Csernica on March 6, 2016
Life is hard when you have one special needs child. Life gets exponentially harder when you have another child, especially when that child turns out to have special needs also.
The thing that makes life unbearable is when you run into the family member who knows more than you do about everything. This person isn’t a doctor, a nurse, or a therapist of any sort. This person might have teaching experience, might have volunteer experience, might even have some experience of special needs with his or her own child.
“A little learning is a dangerous thing.” — Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
It’s bad enough that as a mother I’m under my own constant scrutiny, watching to see if I’m doing what the doctors and therapists tell me to do so my sons will grow up realizing as much of their potential as possible. It’s bad enough when people who mean well but who have no real idea about daily life in a special needs household come to me with questions or suggestions that I know won’t work, I’ve tried and modified, or found effective five years ago. Right here, right now, I know what’s best for my sons. Why? I’ve devoted my adult life to finding out.
What really hurts, what goes so deep that the emotional bruising lingers for days, is when a family member decides to tell me I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m doing it wrong, or I’m just doing nothing. Yes, that’s right, just the other day I got a lecture on what a lazy, careless, thoughtless, inconsiderate mother I am.
Every mother knows how much this kind of attack hurts. No matter how hard we try, there’s always that little nagging voice inside us that sees what we don’t do. The greater effort we could have made. The times when we were selfish enough to give ourselves a break.
One of the people I ought to be able to count on for support has just hit me where I live. This person does not have a sterling track record in the parenting department, but if I dare point that our then I’m just being cruel and trying to dodge the real issue.
The nice thing about people you hire to work with your children is your option of firing them when the time comes. You can’t fire family. Blood is blood, even when there’s a strong temptation to spill some.