Inadequacy is a term many special needs moms are familiar with. On the last week’s episode of Speechless, feelings of inadequacy were brought to light in Maya DiMeo’s special needs mom’s support group when a new member joined the group.
The definition of inadequacy is a shortcoming or deficiency. Speaking from experience, special needs moms are in a constant state of inadequacy. Tending to the extra needs of a disabled child is a job that never ends. Our jobs are not limited to care. There are numerous appointments, home therapies, fighting the insurance companies, and the list goes on. We have to juggle all of this with our jobs, family obligations, maintaining a home and this list goes on. When you are spread so thin, you feel inadequate, in everything you do. Time and energy is so limited. I think all special needs moms can relate to the feeling of doing so much, but feeling like you are not doing any of it well. Basically, you feel inadequate in every aspect of your life.
On Speechless, when a new member joined the support group, she brought out the inadequacies in the other moms, including Maya. The new member, Becca, looked so put together, made homemade gifts and her house was spotless. It was so difficult for the other members to feel good about their own lives when comparing themselves to her.
This episode of Speechless made me think back to a woman I had met when Hunter was 4. Cheryl started a group called Winners on Wheels (WOW), an activity group for children with physical disabilities. She had a young daughter with cerebral palsy and had two other children. Cheryl also started a lending closet for special needs equipment, Katy’s Closet, named in honor of her daughter. Cheryl and her husband also raised funds for an accessible playground at her daughter’s school. When I met her, I was struggling keeping up with the needs of one child with a disability.
When I first met Cheryl, I wanted to hate her. She made me feel inadequate. She was so well put together, accomplished so much and was so beautiful. Katy and Hunter became friends, so we decided to all go out for lunch. As the kids played, we talked. The more we talked, the more I adored her and admired her. She did have it all together. However, we shared the same frustrations, the same fears, and the same exhaustion. Cheryl became more real to me. She was a special needs mom, even if she always looked like she stepped out of a magazine, had a spotless house and served coffee in china cups.
Cheryl and her family moved away. We stayed in touch for several years, but life happened and we lost touch. When Facebook became popular, I attempted to look her up with no success. Writing this blog, inspired me to once again try to get in contact with her. In my on-line search, I was saddened to discover that she had passed away in 2008. I lost one of my first mentors in this world of special needs.
Watching Speechless every week with Hunter has opened up very interesting and enlightening dialogues. I have discovered so much about my son. He has learned so much about me. I will most likely always look like I just rolled out of bed. I will always have bags under my eyes. I will always be chronically late. My house will never be spotless and my vehicle will most likely look like I live in it. Plain and simple, I will never quite have it all together. I am inadequate. I am a special needs mom. I would not want it any other way.
Watch Speechless on ABC every Wednesday night 8:30/7:30c. You can watch all the episodes anytime on Hulu.
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