Tuesday, April 11, 2017


I’m tired this week, too tired to really even think up a good, snazzy blog post.

…But it occurred to me that it might make sense, for this month’s Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop, to acknowledge that parents (and caregivers) of people with special needs often get really, really tired. On top of all the “regular” parenting stuff that makes “regular” parents pooped (whatever “regular” means in both those contexts), there’s just more general day-to-day negotiation and oversight with bureaucracies like schools and agencies, not to mention the time spent investigating and dealing with therapists and treatments (and finding the money or resources for these??? Puhlease!), never mind additional efforts at home and in social contexts with our children themselves. 

Here’s a very small example: Does YOUR teen do this every day? 

(Not shown: all pockets bulging from giant pokemon decks. Why picture was taken originally: because when I told him he had to fix his socks - as I do almost every day -  he looked down - as he does almost every day - and said “They’re fiiiiine.” So I tried this new strategy…)

Guess what? He’s tired too.

It’s often exhausting to live in a world that seems to mostly operate by rules that don’t make intuitive sense to you - and that can even sometimes seem wrong or “dumb” (his word). Like the socks-outside-of-pants rule, and others that can be less benign, like the brushing-teeth rule or the sleep-at-night rule (this is a fun one vis-a-vis being tired, right? People with neurological differences, as well as a range of other disabilities, often struggle with sleep challenges), the following-directions rule, and so on… 

My daughter also has special needs. As with many people who have spent time in orphanages, she has an attachment disorder. We’ve worked really really hard  - on our own and with therapists, teachers, etc., - and she’s healed so much. But she still moves in the world with a heightened vigilance and a fundamental lack of trust that can sometimes come out in unhealthy ways.  

She’s tired too. 

And so, I bet, are you, sometimes. Too tired. Of course you are. 

And of COURSE we love our children with all our hearts. Duh. It’s just that this world is somewhere between a little bit and a lot harder every day when one has and/or ones children have differences from the “regular” (with the usual disclaimer for this word) people for whom the world seems designed. 

It’s hard being a parent. It’s hard being a parent of a special needs kid. It’s hard being a special needs kid. Heck, my Meeting Friend and I sometimes text each other “NN,” our abbreviation for “Night, Night,” at eight am.  

When Pardner says, casually, “He’s probably not going to be able to live on his own. Don’t you know that?” NN. 

When just getting to school in one piece is a miracle? NN. 

When you worry ceaselessly about your child (or your children) - not because there is something “wrong” with him/her/them but because the world is so much harder for him/her/them to navigate - and thus are moved almost to tears by pants tucked into socks, again? NN.

PLEASE don’t feel alone in being too tired sometimes. I recently texted a mildly-hysterical friend who has a non-sleeping toddler to tell her to remember that when we don’t get enough sleep we often feel way more negative about everything than we otherwise would. Then I thought, “Good one, FSM. Listen to your own words, why dontcha?” Being tired actually isn’t the same thing as being depressed, having an anxiety disorder, or having a too-hard life - but it sure can feel like it!

Can we be gentle with ourselves? 

Let’s try to prioritize getting more sleep for ourselves AND our families, however possible, and taking care of ourselves so we don’t get too tired and remain that way all. the. time.


Full Spectrum Mama

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop -- a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo -- from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month's Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!


  1. I love this post. As a mom of a teen with autism - I am also severely sleep deprived. These days I have to set time aside just to decide on what is a priority of the hundred things I need to get done. But our kids are tired too, as the many nuances of daily life weigh heavily on them. What a great perspective to bring to light!

    1. Thank you for reading!

      Somehow I didn't expect to be this tired at this stage of family life...

      ZZZZZZ...and love,

  2. Another charming post that is completely Spot On! My guy is 43yrs now; lives alone (so generally I get more sleep) with LOTS of help ftom a local organization that provides a therapist, mentor, an advocate, bus tokins and more. Still, people quit their jobs and leave holes in his life, others take matters into their own hands and spend HIS money on a new phone when he already has one...or asks to borrow 'a couple hundred dollars'...it goes on and on. I wish I had a Meeting Friend, but at least I usually get more sleep. Except for when he shows up AFTER a stay in the hospital to have his gall bladder removed and no one knew a thing about it! [Sigh...]

  3. Brilliant as always! Your post inspired me to go take a nap...

    Now that I'm awake again, I wanted to let you know that my little guy Ben noticed your art. He gives it five stars, by the way. Then, he noticed your name, Full Spectrum Mama. He got really excited when he realized you are "on the spectrum" like him. Now he knows a "famous artist" on the spectrum. He wants to know if singing tickles your back like it does his. :)

    1. Awwwwwwww!!!! Thanks so much, Ben. Singing doesn't tickle my back but I have other stuff like that! Maybe I will write about some if it. For now I must go to sleep!!!!!!!!!
      Good night, my dears,

  4. I laughed at the photo and thought with envy "at least BOTH pant legs are tucked" (my teen always has only one tucked). Thanks for getting it and voicing how exhausting this all is. As always, your understanding makes it better.

  5. Sleep, quality sleep, is invaluable. The number one priority in our house is sleep. My older daughter requires 10 to 12 hours of sleep a day. So homeschooling is our solution. No way would the public school system work with us on that. Thank you for your post! Most just don't "get" it. ♡

    1. Very true!

      Brilliant that you've worked that out for your family.

      Thanks and love,


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