Chances are by now you’ve heard about the Mom Squad. The urban inspired name of your essential group of friends who have your back. You know, your pals, your besties, the ones ya roll wit. (No, that’s not a spelling error, that’s my attempt at being cool.) All kidding aside, ask any Mom, and she’ll tell you she couldn’t keep it together without them. But you know what?
Ain’t no Squad like a Special Needs Mom Squad. I know this because I am in fact a special needs mom.
Like the OG Mom Squad, we have our “Ride or Die’s.” The friends who see us through the bad times; hold our hands at funerals, tell us when our shirt is on inside out and when we have lipstick on our teeth. Friends who don’t think it’s weird when we send them pictures and ask if we look “too forty in this” and the ones we can go months without talking to and pick right back up where we left off.
But the Special Needs Mom Squad is a bit more diverse than the original version. Of course, it is. It’s mother flipping special. If you’re a special needs mom, you’ll totally understand these how important it is to have these squad goals for your team:
Other Special Needs Moms. Your kid hasn’t slept for days? They get it. Child locked you out of your car & you had to call the police to unlock it, again? Copy that. You’ve got a runner who refuses to do “business” anywhere but a closet? Yep. They’ve been there too. See, there’s no need to explain anything to these ladies, not even the crusty stain on that t-shirt you’ve worn three days in a row because they understand that clean laundry counts as a luxury.Unlike the typical mom clique, this group will not judge your home, even when it looks like a level four hurricane has ripped through the living room. Somehow, they have the ability to ignore it. You need them. Trust me.
Awesome Teachers that Communicate (Daily). Yeah. They may be the chupacabra of the educational system, but when you find one they’ll be your new best friend. There’s nothing more valuable than this super convenient life line into your kid’s world. Special Education Teachers have a lot on their plate I know, but it is so important for parents to communicate with them at least weekly, preferably daily, about what is going on in the classroom. You need to know your child’s behavior; is he sleepy? Aggressive? Bored? Frustrated? There’s no way to help if you don’t know and waiting until the yearly IEP is too late.
Developmental Pediatrician that knows whats up. Uh-huh. My kid’s doc has an autistic son, so she knows the game. And now she’s killing the game 24/7 with her rapid responses to my emails & occasional last minute refill requests on MyChart; the communication program used by many hospitals and physicians. Now, you don’t have to seek out a doctor that has a personal special needs history to get this kind of treatment. What I suggest is that you work on building a relationship with your child’s medical team. Tell them the story of your child’s diagnosis (if they don’t already know it.) Be kind to them and their staff. A little goes a long way in developing a personal relationship with these heavy hitting Special Need Mom Squad members.
Pam at the Front Desk of OT. Ok, so Pam and I didn’t get off to a great start. She had a bad day, then I went super crazy because after being asked to hold for thirty minutes my call got dropped, but we finally got on the same page. Mostly because I knew that I needed Pam on my team. Now, when I need insurance claim information or a last minute reschedule, Pam’s my girl.
Marcus at Blue Cross Blue Shield. I know he’s a dude, but his prompt service and vast knowledge of all co-pays and in service providers put him on my Squad. He gave me his extension, y’all! (Ok, so I asked for it, but after five calls and three hours on the phone I felt like I could take our relationship to the next level.)
Babysitters (I can trust). Word up to the two sitters we can trust. If it weren’t for these women, I’d be living under a bridge due to insanity. See, we have ZERO family help and two other children. I am grateful to have found these women that allow me to have “typical” mom time and down time. They are squad for life!
If you’re a special needs mom, you need these people on your team. Over time it will happen. Mine didn’t form overnight. Three years ago I had no one. When my son received his autism diagnosis, I was lost and frustrated. I admit I took that resentment out on people that did not deserve it.
When I called to make his first appointment with the developmental pediatrician I was told the wait would be six months. I lost my temper and yelled at the receptionist. Didn’t she know how hard this was? If early screening and intervention were so important then why did he have to wait? She didn’t have the answers. She was just doing her job. I sobbed uncontrollably after that call, and later, after I got myself together, I called her back and apologized.
I explained that we didn’t have any family support and that I was at my wit’s end with worry. I asked her if she had kids and she told me she did. A little boy. I asked her what she would do if she were in my shoes. It was then that she explained that we might be able to get my son in sooner should someone cancel. She would put his name on the list, and they would contact me if any appointments opened. I thanked her. Three times.
I learned a lesson that day. By sharing my weaknesses as Nathan’s mother, I was more likely to get a favorable result for him. And that was what I was working on in the first place. Getting the best for my special needs child. That’s what the Special Needs Mom Squad is all about.
Now that’s a Squad Goal.
I’m Heather Burnett. I’m a mom from Mississippi who started blogging at 40 because I love writing. I write about parenting teens, tweens, and autism at Word to Your Mother Blog. My mother tells me (daily) that I went to college to fold laundry. She’s kinda right. I did go to college. I don’t always fold the laundry. You can find me on Facebook ,Twitter & Pinterest.