My kid doesn’t like me. He doesn’t exactly hate me either. We have a strained relationship. Jack didn’t join our family in a “typical” way. I’m not his birth mom, adopted mom, or even foster mom. Technically, I’m his guardian. He thinks I really am a guardian, keeping him from his own family. Really, I’m just someone who did a friend a favor and is trying to figure out how to raise this little guy.
Being in a family that has been haphazardly sewn together has its own set of challenges that I never expected. Like what do you do when someone steals every time they come out of their room? It adds a whole new layer of mommy guilt when something goes sideways.
Who wants to break a broken kid any more than he already is? Some days I feel like all I do is damage him more! And how exactly does one balance the needs of a neglected and traumatized child with the needs of a whole family?
Having a child who is so exceptionally different is incredibly isolating, too. Not many people understand when your child only feels safe in his room. Or that know, we cannot bend the rules even once. Because bending the rules means nothing is safe and everything changes. Sometimes, even my own family doesn’t get it, and I feel like no one else likes me either. It’s so isolating.
This is why it is so important to find your tribe! For me, I needed to find other Trauma Mamas! But at first, I didn’t even know that’s what I was! I had the fortune of having a parent match with another Trauma Mama who could plug me into an already thriving community. I was no longer alone!
There were groups of women who came together in my community and online to encourage and help support each other through sleepless nights, hoarding, and even residential treatment centers. They had been through the worst, and made it through to the other side! There was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Being a part of a community has helped steel me for the many adventures that have come our way. These women get it when I say I feel like I can’t turn my back on Jack. They soothe my frazzled feelings and offer tips on how to smooth out the kinks. Their successes become my successes, or at least they open the door to possible success for our family. And they cheer me on too! And after a hard-fought day of success, there is nothing like turning to your people and hearing them say “good job!”
Learn about how you can connect with other families and parent groups.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.