Momming is messy and hard, no matter who your kids are. Even the most well-behaved and polite child will throw a tantrum eventually.

When you parent what I call “extreme children,” parenting goes from hard to nearly impossible. Even on our children’s best days, they have meltdowns. Even when they have a great morning, they may bring home a note about bad behavior at school. Even when they volunteer to help with dinner, they may lose their minds before bed.

Parenting children with behavioral and emotional special needs is unpredictable. More than any feeling my husband and I have felt over the last five years of living this life is paralyzing isolation.

Mama, I hear you crying on the bathroom floor, face tucked tightly into your knees and mouth buried in a hand towel in a desperate attempt to hide your sobs. I know how hard you’ve worked to keep it together since your little one woke up punching and screaming; how you tried to remain calm, picking up the toys they slammed against the wall and folding the stretched collars of shirts they’ve tugged and chewed on.

I have been on that bathroom floor. Last week was so long and so hard dealing with our son’s behavior that I honestly didn’t know if I’d make it to the weekend. I was kicked, punched, had toys thrown at me, had pictures yanked off of our walls, and spent no less than three nights without sleep. I cried more this week than I have in a while.

Friend, you aren’t in this fight alone. If you hear only one thing, let it be this: reach out. Whether you comment here or text a friend, begin to build your village. These are the folks who will hold you up when your body parts are limp spaghetti noodles and you are all cried out. I feel you. I live this lonely, exhausting life too.

My little tribe of friends is my most important resource. Whether it is 3 am or noon, I can text them to vent. I have called them crying. I have texted them from that bathroom floor. I have sent memes that were questionable at best, but I knew they’d get it, and we laugh together. We laugh to overcome the tears.

These are the folks I found from a list of old friends and members of Facebook support groups. They are people I trust unconditionally because they aren’t just friends but they live the same life I do. They aren’t giving sympathetic comments hoping to comfort me. My tribe knows my struggles because they are also their own. Find your tribe and love them hard.

We are in this together.


Guest Blogger: Brynn is a wife, a mama, a writer, a teacher, and a lover of all things outdoors. I live tiny, love big, and laugh always. I write because it’s cheaper than therapy and everyone needs that funny girlfriend they can vent to at 3 am over nugget sauce-stained yoga pants and a box of wine. Seriously, you’re welcome!

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  1. Nice post and very true. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many special needs family over the years. I must say the those parents and teachers really need to be on their toes because, yes, behavior can be unpredictable. I know I shouldn’t say this, but as a teacher, there were always parents that I either wanted to slap in the face (to get them to wake up and be present, pay attention,etc) or buy them a drink because I really admired how they parented. For special needs parents, I always wanted to give them a hug and tell them they are doing their best, then buy them a drink because God knows, they deserve it.


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