Something that I think people often underestimate about special needs parenting, is just how completely exhausting it is.
I can personally attest to how exhausting it is.
In fact, I’m exhausted right now.
Special needs parenting is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for one’s entire lifetime. It’s all hours of the day and night.
Personally, I don’t even remember the last night of uninterrupted sleep I had in our house.
Very few things come easy and most things are in fact, a constant struggle. Whether it’s potty training or just trying to get a sensory sensitive child to eat, there’s always something that needs your complete and undivided attention.
Everything in your life takes a back burner to whatever the current crisis is. I spend most of my time running around putting out fires.
Don’t even get me started on school.
When your a special needs parent, school can be an absolute nightmare.
If you have a special needs child, you will likely have to fight, not only for your child’s rights but for the services and therapies they require and deserve, in order to learn.
Some families are lucky and have a really good school system but sadly that’s not the case for a great many others.
Even if you have services in place, bullying is a huge issue that’s very hard to address and is all to prevalent in the lives of our special needs children.
Things that most families take for granted, like their kids making friends, being able to express themselves or for that matter even talking, are things that many special needs parents must live without.
Can you imagine if your child was unable to tell you about what happened at school?
Perhaps they don’t feel well or are scared but have no way to let you know what’s going on?
Many special needs parents don’t have to imagine this because they live with these situations, each and every day.
Special needs parents are constantly on alert, even in the middle of the night. Living a life of hypervigilance is absolutely exhausting, stressful and impacts every aspect of one’s life.
Trying to live in the moment can be difficult because so many are terrified about what the future holds for the child they love and that can be all consuming.
I could literally go on and on because there are so many reasons that special needs parenting is exhausting. Perhaps one of the most exhausting parts of special needs parenting is that fact that the world doesn’t slow down.
Not only do special needs parents have to worry about these and many other things, they also have to worry about the same things that everyone else in the world has to.
There’s no way around the fact that special needs parenting is exhausting. Having said that, it should also be known that special needs parenting is also very rewarding as well.
My goal with this article is to show just a few of the reasons that special needs parenting is, or at least can be exhausting.
Something else to help put things into perspective is this. There are studies that show that the stress level experienced by Autism Moms is most closely related to that of active duty combat soldiers.
Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of what it’s like to be a special needs parent. This is just one aspect of special needs parenting but it’s an important one.