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Not "Normal" Parenting

by Lisa Woodruff

May 3, 2019 | Episode 278 | 31:25

I received an email the other day and it honestly had me in tears. It was from a listener of the podcast who reached out to thank me for being so open and honest about the struggles of motherhood in episode 261, "My Personal Seven-Year Transformation."

She also talked about her own challenges that she faces on a daily basis as a mother of three boys, one of whom was born with a very rare, life-threatening disease.

As you can imagine, she is not your everyday mother. What many of you find normal, she does not.

Her story is so heart-breaking and inspirational that I had to share it.

I’ll share snippets of her email throughout the post. But if you want to hear the full email, please listen to the podcast and let’s use this opportunity to support not only this warrior mama but all the warrior mamas out there fighting battles that we can’t even imagine.

You ARE The Mother That Your Children Need

The subject line of this email read,All I ever wanted to be was a mom.”

When I first read that, I was immediately hooked. As many of you know if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, I shared the same dream when I was younger. I always wanted to be a mother and I knew I could relate to the sender almost immediately.

We all have an idea of who we will be as a mother. But, more often than not, that vision never comes into view.

For me, I found out I couldn’t get pregnant. I hit a roadblock and it almost floored me. But, I steered off that path and made a new path to motherhood. My own path. Adoption turned out to be my road to motherhood and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The writer of the email also dreamed of becoming a mother. But when it finally happened for her, it didn’t look like the picture she always had in her head.

Let me share a few lines from her email:

Our boys are not typical. Our oldest was born with a very rare disease and will most likely not make it to 18. Each time he gets a cold or any type of illness, it can cause brain damage. He has spent a good portion of his life in the hospital as we fight to give him the best chance he has.”

As you can imagine, not many mothers prepare themselves for such a heart-breaking and difficult roadblock. How can you prepare for something like that? You can’t.

It’s so easy to doubt your ability as a mother, but you ARE the mother your child needs you to be.

Motherhood might not look or feel the way you thought it would. But it doesn’t matter. This is your story as a mother, and you are the mother that your children need.

Dealing with your child’s diagnosis is incredibly difficult whether they’re a few weeks old or a grown adult. No matter what age they are, you’ll always be their mother.

Over on my Warrior Mama Masterclass, I tell the story of how our kids got diagnosed and how I was able to go from a mom who listened to everybody else to a Warrior Mama. If you want to hear that story, you can check out the Warrior Mama Masterclass for yourself.

You can also hear from a fellow warrior mama over on episode 267 of the podcast,Warrior Mamas with Monique Horb.

Parenting A Child With Additional Needs

Whether your child has learning or physical disabilities, your role as a mother becomes so much harder when faced with more than the everyday parenting challenges.

For me, the hardest part of mothering was stepping into and owning the mother my children needed me to be and not the mother that I thought I would be.

The sender of the email that I share in this episode of the podcast talked about some of her struggles as a mother. She talked about how my book, The Mindset of Organization,” helped her because she could relate to a lot of the experiences I talked about in that book.

She was kind enough to give me permission to share some of the struggles she mentioned in her message here with you:

All I wanted to be was a mom. The mom in playgroups and coordinating events for the PTO showing off how cute and smart and talented her children are. I wanted the ‘normal mom’ experience. But, I'm not that mom…

I'm the mom who struggles to take her sweet precious babies to a store just to get milk and strawberries. Only they keep that stuff in the back of the store and on opposite sides of each other. And, it takes 25 minutes of screaming and crying from all of us just to get milk and strawberries.

I've missed out on posting milestones on Facebook and shooting videos of first soccer games because we haven't been given the chance to experience those.”

This is something that I feel so passionately about, too. Unfortunately, society doesn’t wait around for our kids to catch up with their peers. The football team moves on. The players grow up and the window of opportunity for those kids that are left behind closes.

Often times, it’s up to parents to recreate important milestones and experiences for their kids. They missed their chance to play soccer at school. But when their coordination and mental ability gets there, they can play those sports and do things that were out of their reach before.

The problem is that this mom is tired. She’s drowning in bills, running off her feet grocery shopping, and doing everything else around the house that she has no time to herself. Plus, she homeschools her children. She’s exhausted. She’s in a constant state of stress and anxiety.

Finding A Support System

Yes, living a more organized life feels great. It helps to unload some of that stress. But sometimes you need more. You need a support system. Preferably, one that understands what you’re going through and offers you the support you need to help lift you up.

I always share some of my own personal stories with you on the podcast. I don’t share everything. But, I share enough.

When you find someone who understands what you’ve been through as a parent of delayed children or children with serious illnesses, it can be a massive help.

As your children grow up and start to see and experience more of the world, it’s natural that you want to shelter them from it. The world isn’t always a kind and helpful place. It has dark corners, too. But, as a mother, you can help prepare your children to face the good and the bad.

And, you can also help other parents who need support. The next few lines are from the email I was sent. I wanted to share them with you because they’re so powerful:

Find a way to make this part of your journey about the mothering so you can valiantly reach the top of the mountain. So you can shout to those further down and we can all keep climbing together. You're never done raising your kids. But, you've made it through beautifully to the part that so many of us feel like it's never going to end.”

Moms like me need your voice. We need that natural optimism and true faith that we are our children’s moms for a reason and we are capable… just remember that it's voices like yours that give us the power when our batteries are beyond drained.”

Her words have really touched me and they inspire me to keep going. If my stories can help other moms in their parenting journey, then you can bet I’ll keep them coming.

If you want to hear the full email that this inspirational mother sent me, along with all the advice and stories I share with her, make sure you tune into the full episode and listen through until the end.

So, don't let society's expectation and what everyone else is doing change how you view your child, your relationship with your child, and what your child needs. You’ve got this and I'm right there behind you.