Special Needs Mom Burnout: Why Do We Even Bother?
So many moms struggle with the reality of living in special needs mom burnout. Exhuasted. Tired. Done. Every day.
And yet, we keep trying.
I recently posted a question to the moms in A Heart For All Students Private Facebook Community.
“It’s Saturday! Another school week in the books. What do you hope will be different next week and how can we help?”
Special Needs Mom Burnout: Why Do I Even Bother?
One of the moms in our community said this.
“We finally decided to do family photos after like 5 years. Scheduled them several weeks ago for Saturday & …my daughter got sick. We had to cancel. The best part is, the only place she’s been to pick something up is the doctor’s office a week ago. Sometimes I have no idea why I try.”
That one hit me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes I have no idea why I try.
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My Own Mom Burnout
The reason it hit me so hard was because I had this exact narrative in my own head just a few days prior.
If you’re new to the show, you may not know that A Heart For All Students was born out of years my own mom burnout. The adoption of my son & the ensuing years of absolute chaos, stress & isolation led to the mission.
“To equip moms to empower outside-the-box kids to thrive as the people God has created them to be.”
Unchecked Expectations Hurt Kids
Kids who don’t fit the box of the world’s expectations often struggle terribly in the traditional systems of parenting, education and even within the church. This may look like:
- Meltdowns (physical and emotional)
- Volatile behavior
- Poor academic performace
- Shaming by adults who see behavior as always willful
- Self-shame & more…
Special Needs Mom Burnout & Broken Hearts
When you’re the mom of a child struggling, your heart breaks daily. Fighting for the right supports, for others to show compassion for your child. The doctor’s appointments, interventions (speech & occupational therapy), tutoring, late-nights reading everything you can to help your child.
Physical exhaustion of it all. Then add a child who struggles w sleep every single night for 6 years. True story.
Moms Supporting Their Kids: ADHD, Autism, Sensory Needs, Etc.
Mom burnout is real.
If you have a child w special needs such as ADHD, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, dyslexia, etc… it’s even more so. But we still try. We still bother. Because we LOVE our kids fiercely. Even though we know deep down that there is a high likelihood that it’ll all fall apart, we still bother.
My thoughts on why we should even bother. What God spoke to my heart just a few days before I read from Sweet Kara of AHFAS tribe of moms.
Special Needs Mom Burnout Needs To Be Acknowledged
Special Needs mom burnout is real.
It’s imporant that we openly aknowledge our pains & struggles. Our needs matter. If we pretend they don’t, we end up stuffing them deep down until we explode & then we’re no good for anyone.
In today’s episode, I’ll also address the topic of motherhood & shame.
Special Needs Mom Burnout & Shame in Motherhood
I discuss shame’s role in our mom burnout and how we must fight against it. We take those shameful thoughts captive to Christ and then we teach our children to do so as well. So,
“Why do we even bother?”
We bother because we love our kids and families so fiercely. And sometimes, it’s the bothering that’s the whole point.
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Recommended Reading For Moms Raising Kids With ADHD, SPD, ASD (or No Acronym At All)
Podcast Audio Text
Hey, friend, in today’s episode, I did an impromptu one. I was actually driving in the car, so bad I was in a parking lot. I was waiting for my daughter and so I decided to check my private Facebook community. And one of the sweet mommas in there, who I’ve just developed a relationship with, and I’m so grateful for, she had made a comment about the fact that she had tried so hard to get her family all together, scheduled and ready for some family pictures.
Key Ideas And Concepts About Special Needs Mom Burnout
Hey, friend, in today’s episode, one of the sweet mommas out there asked the question “why did I even bother?”
Just a couple of days before that, I had that same dialogue with myself. And I really feel like God has and did at that moment, just give me some clarity.
She had tried so desperately to set up a time for her family to finally, finally have formal family pictures done.
But the reality of:
- actually scheduling and then,
- following through with getting everybody together,
- trying to get everyone to look halfway decent and somewhat coordinated
Doing this so that you can get just one decent family shot, it is torture.
Special Needs Moms: Limited Capacity Requires Intention
I bother because if I don’t do my best to be intentional,
- to create those moments and opportunities for my family,
- even though most likely it’s going to be really hard or it may not even work out,
I do it because if I don’t, then they will never happen.
Mental Heath & Motherhood: Checking Our Expectations At The Door
This is the thing. Unreasonable expectations can kill us. If we believe that it has to turn out perfectly, we moms are in trouble. Believing that the ideal is required in order for that effort to be sweet, beautiful and worth it, is dangerous.
Because then we will never capture those moments.
Special Needs Motherhood & Mental Health
And I will tell you something. I have spent way too many years with expectations of what everything is supposed to look like. Like it’s supposed to be this ideal. And if it’s not, then it just sucks.
Well, that’s not the truth.
Hard Days Do Not Equal Failure
So. Mommas, you might be in a hard season with your child. Some days are still going to be hard.
But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. And when the days seem to fall apart, it doesn’t mean that we’re a failure. And that doesn’t mean that God’s not in it with us.
So why do we try, Sweet Friends?
Because if we don’t, then we’re never going to have these moments.
And the other thing is to just pivot. To be willing to shift our thinking.
Executive Functioning Is Not Just Relevant To Children
Part of executive functioning is flexible thinking and being able to shift our perspective in the moment.
My ability to shift my own thinking, to use my own adult, mature executive functioning skills changes everything. It’s all about perspective.
If you’re a believer in Jesus, if you’re a believer in Christ, you know we have an enemy. That “why do we even bother” statement, that’s just covered in shame? We need to just throw that away and keep that in check and remember and take that thought captive to Christ.
We bother because we love our families.
And yes, we’re going to be disappointed when things don’t work out exactly as we planned. And when things fall apart, those are the moments where we choose this.
“I try because I love my family.”
And that is something to honor and cherish. Be encouraged, Sweet friend, I’m praying for all of us.
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- [03:41] Family Formal Pictures
- [05:29] Why Do We Even Bother?
- [06:34] I Try And Bother
- [08:15] Family Photo Op
- [11:15] Bent Out Of Shape
- [13:16] Some Days Are Going To Be Hard
- [15:12] We Just Do Our Best
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