Our Biggest Sale of the Year is Here!🎄 ➔

My daughter is sweet, loyal and loving. But, she’s also a handful. And I know it.

I know it when we’re out, and people look away.

I know it when I see the eager eyes of a teacher at the end of the day.

And I know it when birthday invitations go home—and her backpack is empty.

And I want to scream.

Because they don’t know how far she’s come.

They don’t know that just months ago she laid in a bed, lifeless.

They don’t understand that when she’s screeching it’s because a seizure has robbed her of her words.

They don’t get that when her arms are flailing it’s because she’s happy.

And they don’t know that when she’s in their personal space it’s just because she longs to play alongside them.

But that’s just it. They don’t know. And I owe them at least the same grace I’m expecting for her.

Especially because if I’m good and honest with myself, I’ve been there, too.

I’ve been in a grocery store wishing someone would silence their screaming child.

I’ve stepped over someone else’s kid in meltdown mode, questioning “how can a parent be OK with behavior like that?”

And I’ve yanked my kid away from others on the playground because “they weren’t respecting her space.”   

And never, in any of those scenarios did I ask myself, “Why?”

Not because I intentionally didn’t care, but because I didn’t know I should care.

And that’s a common mindset. Until something directly affects us, it’s not our problem.

So, I share my experience—my guilt and my hurt—in hopes it opens another’s eyes.

There’s a common sentiment among women about motherhood that “we’re all in this together.”

But we’re not.

We’re parenting in silos. Living in circles.

“The good kids” and “the bad kids.”

Those who are “typically developing” and those with “special needs”.

Those in our neighborhood, and those in others.

And the list goes on.

And I’m not even suggesting that that isn’t OK.

Because it’s natural.

But be aware.

Practice empathy. Ask questions. Offer a hand.

And if you can’t do those things, and you can’t widen your circle to be inclusive, for the love of everything, just be kind.

You may also like:

You Become the Advocate They Need When Raising a Child With Special Needs

Sometimes Kids Have Bad Days, Too

Life is Too Short for Fake Cheese and Fake Friends

Some Kids Are Just Harder Than Others

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Cara Arnold

I’m a mama to 3 whose learning to balance parenthood and chronic illness at the hands of autoimmune encephalitis. Some days I’m a soccer mom, carpooling like a boss; other days I’m a relentless advocate, taking on doctors and insurance companies alike. But, if you’re looking for consistency every day I’m a hot mess. My life is a puzzle that’s still not together. I used to think pieces were missing. But it's all finally fitting together. It’s not what I envisioned, and some days I mourn that; but it’s mine. And knowing how fast that can change I try to appreciate every moment of it.

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading

I’m in the Big Little Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
black and white photo of little boy and little girl standing in a window together

I’m in the big little years. It’s when you’re no longer in the tender season of babies and toddlers—those sweet, smothering, exhausting years of being constantly touched and needed . . . . . . but you’re not yet in the big kid years—navigating boyfriends and driver’s licenses and bracing your heart for the impending ache of an empty nest. I’m somewhere in between. I’m in the years of having littles that aren’t so little anymore, but still need you for so much. They have big feelings. Big ideas. Big dreams. But they have mostly little problems (even though they...

Keep Reading

1-Year-Olds Are Wonderful

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
1 year old baby smiling

Newborns—who doesn’t love them?  The captivating scent of a brand new baby, their fragile little bodies laying so delicately on your chest. Everything that comes with a newborn baby is just absolute magic. But have you ever had a 1-year-old? I used to think the newborn phase was my favorite, nothing could ever be better than having such a tiny helpless little human rely on you for absolutely everything. I could hold my newborn for hours, soaking in every tiny little detail before it became nothing but a beautifully distant memory. But I’ve realized it’s 1-year-olds who have a special...

Keep Reading

My Kids Are All in School Now and It’s a Little Lonely

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman looking out window alone

I had just dropped my children off at school. All of them. My youngest has just started full-time. It was my first full day on my own since she began, and I had really been looking forward to it, so I took myself into town to do a bit of shopping and grab a coffee. Just me. The kind of days dreams are made of, right? I could suddenly breathe again.  I only had myself to answer to.  I got my latte and something to eat. And then I cried.  My eyes filled with tears as I sat in the...

Keep Reading

I Love You Even When I Say I Don’t

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter touch foreheads

“I love you even when I say I don’t.” These words came out of nowhere from my 5-year-old. I was standing in the bathroom with her (we still don’t like to go potty without mommy standing right there), and she wouldn’t look at me while talking to me. You see, my 5-year-old and I have been in more spouts than ever before. She’s found this new attitude in her first couple months of kindergarten, coming home with new phrases including, “No, I don’t want to–you do it.” It hurts my heart, makes me frustrated, and leaves me asking myself where...

Keep Reading

Big Questions at Bedtime Don’t Require Perfect Answers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child at bedtime

Last night at bedtime, my son asked why everyone has to die one day. The thought of my sweet 7-year-old grappling with the weight of such a question hurt my heart. He looked so small tucked under a fleece blanket, clutching his favorite stuffed panda. How could the same little boy who just started second grade wearing a space backpack stuffed with bright, wide-ruled notebooks ask such a thing?  Perhaps my children are more aware of the inevitability of death than other kids their age due to the passing of various family pets over the past few years, or perhaps...

Keep Reading

If Someone Needs a Friend, Be a Friend

In: Friendship, Kids, Motherhood
Three kids with backpacks, color photo

“If someone needs a friend, be a friend” it’s the running joke in our family. My husband will say the phrase to our four kids when discussing certain life situations in a lovingly mocking type way. They’ll all look at me and chuckle. I giggle a little myself at the corniness of it. But I always add, “It’s true.” It’s a phrase I’ve used more times than I can count. To teach them all to be includers—the kind of kids who look for the kid having a bad day and seek to brighten it, the kind of kids who stand...

Keep Reading

I Hope My Daughter Always Hears My Voice

In: Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler girl putting on sock, color photo

“Dots on bottom. Stretch over toes,” she mutters to herself while independently putting on her tiny toddler socks. I must have said those words to her about a thousand times and responded to “Mama, help” even more . . . modeling how to correctly put them on until the moment she finally pushed me away and insists on executing this task herself. When I believe I sound like a broken record, what I’m actually doing, as it turns out, is imparting wisdom . . . “Uh oh, try again,” she declares when her tower topples. “Chew first, then talk,” she...

Keep Reading