I didn’t plan on being a stay-at-home mom.
I had goals. Dreams. Ambitions.
I went to college and got my degree in Human Resources and Organizational Leadership. I graduated with honors.
I had big plans for my life. Start my career. Make a name for myself. We were going to be a family with two working parents and a good income. I was going to be successful.
But God had other plans.
It started with my struggle with depression and anxiety. Holding a job was so difficult for me. Add in children and physical health struggles and so much stress, and I just couldn’t do it. So I made the decision to stay home. At first, I thought this would be temporary. That as I and my children got older, it would be easier and I could return to the workforce.
Once again I was wrong and God had other plans for my life.
I would soon learn that my middle son has autism spectrum disorder. And so began my journey as a special needs mom. I couldn’t even fathom at the time the twists and turns our life would take. I had no idea what was in store for us. I had so much learning to do. So I dove in and began my research so that I could become the mother he needed me to be. But I quickly learned I would become so much more than just a stay-at-home mom.
My new role is now not only mom but also caregiver and advocate.
As we began to navigate this new world, I started to notice signs in my oldest (daughter) as well. Shortly after that, we got her diagnosis of autism and ADHD. My youngest son is also displaying signs, and we are in the process of getting him an evaluation to determine if he is on the spectrum as well.
Having children with special needs means they need me here. Our life is filled with appointments for therapies and services. My children require more supervision and support than most. The best possible thing I can do for my children is to be home and be present for all of their needs.
Our life has changed in so many ways. What was once a beautiful home that was open for the kids to be wherever they pleased has now turned into this lockdown-type, prison world. We have locks and alarms on all of the doors and windows for safety, our yard is privacy fenced in, the once beautifully decorated home now bears empty walls filled with holes and scuffs and scratches.
This life of having special needs children certainly takes its toll on every part of our lives.
It affects our marriage, friendships, finances, and family relationships. It dictates what we can and can’t do and where we can and can’t go. There has been a learning curve, to say the least. Looking at all of these facts about our life I’m left to wonder, would it ever be worth it for me to leave this and try to have a job?
I may never go back to work. That’s just my reality. Not only do my children need me, but if I try to have a job on top of our already crazy, stressful, and busy life, I know it would overwhelm me and I would have nothing left to give to anyone. This is just what is best for our whole family.
So no, I didn’t plan this. This isn’t how I would have done my life if you had asked me just a few short years ago. It certainly isn’t easy. Being a stay-at-home mom of young children on its own is hard. It’s lonely. It’s isolating. It can be depressing at times if I’m being honest. And when you factor in the extra challenges of special needs children and all that comes along with that, it is just that much more difficult and lonely and isolating.
But do you know what I’m learning through all of this?
It is beautiful.
These children of mine have opened my eyes to a whole new world I never knew before. I’m learning acceptance. I’m learning patience. I’m learning grace. I am learning to slow down and see the wonder and beauty that is all around us in this world. They are teaching me so much. I am becoming a better, more patient, and empathetic person because of them. I am learning to be less quick to judge and quicker to offer grace and a helping hand.
So even though being a stay-at-home mom of special needs children can be scary and hard and overwhelming at times, I’m so grateful God has chosen me to be their mom and to fill this role. I couldn’t picture it any other way.