I am Carol Morgan, the mother of a 44-year old man with special needs. A few months ago, I attended a seminar and the presenter talked about being a Super Star and it got me to thinking. Are we, the mothers of children with special needs, SuperStar Moms?
The Urban dictionary defines a superstar as “one who is unique and beautiful both inside and out; a bright-shining and/or lovely thing to behold” The example given was:
“Amidst the sea of faces, one stood out- that of the superstar destined for greatness not because of some strange alignment of the stars, but because of all that made him who he was.”
Some of the Super heroes we know of are Batman, Superman, Supergirl, Spiderman, Thor and so many more. What is outstanding about all of these are they have superhuman abilities, probably because they’re not human!
Do we as mothers of children with special needs, make us super heroes or SuperStar Moms? Let’s not confuse Super Stars like Celine Dion or Jennifer Lopez with us. They shine in their own right with their very busy and hectic schedules and lives!
Let’s learn about what makes a Mom of a child with special needs a SuperStar Mom? What are some of their qualities?
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- Passion – Passion to keep on going no matter what. We keep the well-being of our child foremost in our lives. This is not to say we don’t do the same thing with our other children; there is a special connection with our child with special needs. My son was Baker-acted approximately 20 years ago (a person who is Baker-acted is one who is a danger to himself and to others) because of his behavior. I had found myself with me holding his arm behind his back because of his behavior. I realized that this was no way to be treating my son. When the school bus arrived in the morning, I told the driver to go on. I took my son to the hospital and was told by a nurse (who I consider my angel) to tell the doctors that I was not taking him home. That began the experiences of being in the system and living in group homes.
- Comfortable with Conflict – This is an interesting one. Your doctor may say one thing; yet you believe in doing something else. The doctor who first took care of my son, Ira, told me to put him in an institution. This happened 43 years ago. No way! In fact, two years ago, he was hospitalized with no release date set. I was at a luncheon when I called the group home manager who informed me that no date was set. I left the luncheon and told the group home manager that I was going to the hospital and taking him out. The nurses attempted to dissuade me. My mind was made up as they were doing NOTHING for him at that time. He left the hospital with me. You might disagree with a friend or a relative. You might end up standing alone. Whatever it takes to defend or get the best for your child, you do.
- Vision – You may have to change your vision when you have your child with special needs. The hopes and dreams you may have had for a ‘normal’ child doesn’t work anymore. You change your vision as you accept your child in his/her ‘normalcy.’
- Friendship – Having friends is so very important as well as having a support group. Sometimes it can get very difficult. I know, I have been living with my child with special needs for 44 years. I have seen the police being called because of his behavior. As I stated above, I have literally demanded that he be released from the hospital because the doctors weren’t helping. They just wanted to get the money from Medicare. (This may be only my opinion; I was told that by other professionals.) You need someone to share with; to cry on their shoulder if needed.
- Persistence – This is NEVER giving up. If you feel that your child is being denied a service, go to the Governor of your state if necessary. I did this over 20 years ago to get the services needed for my son. Don’t take the first or second or third ‘no;’ keep on fighting for what you know is right. This is where friends can help support you.
- Supporting others – As others support you, support others. Be comfortable sharing your knowledge and experiences with others maybe saving them some tears and time. There’s a saying something like: “when you reach the top, turn around and help someone else up.” We, the SuperStar Moms of children with Special Needs, are a special community. Let’s help each other if we have the time, energy and desire.
- Love – Love is the most important gift of all. To love not only our children; also receive the love that is offered to you. Love helps. This may be hard (or easy) to hear – our children are gifts. They are here to teach us. I know that my son has been one of my greatest teachers
I learned a couple of months ago that a percentage of boys who are (the old-fashioned term) “mentally retarded” can become violent as they become teen-agers. My son was a sweet and loving child. He was a wonderful boy. And, then, came the teenage years and a switch went off where he became violent. I knew nothing of this possibility.
The switch that went off was that he became violent. He would be Baker-acted too many times. I don’t know if this is the term used or the action taken in other states.
I’ve seen him so medicated that he literally fell out of a chair. I did report this doctor to the governing board. I’ve seen my son be discharged from the hospital to only be readmitted that same night.
He has been asked to leave many group homes and programs because of his behavior. You may wonder how a SuperStar Mom can let her child live in a group home. Why would I do this? Because it was best for my son and for me. He has grown since then and so have I. I do see my son almost every week-end; more than I see my other two sons! He is the light of my life and I love him very deeply.
Letting go is also a very important part of being a SuperStar Mom. I’m not saying that every parent needs to do this; it was and still is right for my son and me.