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I tell a true story of when I was beginning this journey special needs parenting.

My husband and I went to a series of support group meetings with other parents for neurobiological disorder education and upon leaving one night I just broke down sobbing. My husband tried to comfort me hugging me and telling me it would be ok “We will get her better, I promise you we will never give up” I remember looking up and saying “That’s not why I’m crying, I know we will get her better but did you see those mothers… they look like hell” (embarrassing to admit I know but hold your judgement for a few minutes)

I remember listening to how hard their roads have been, how unresolved, how toll taking and feared that I would inevitably be navigating this very difficult path. Emotional pain and stress can take its toll both physically and emotionally and special needs moms get more than their fair share. Who has time to take care of their appearance when they have so many demands on them? Who has the thought of how they look when their hearts are breaking? Who has the money to spend on hair dressers, make up, manicures and pedicures, facials not to mention skin products and clothing after all the out of pocket expenses we as special needs parents lay out? Not many, but there are ways to take care of yourself without a huge expense.

I’m a firm believer that if you look good…. you feel good. I’m no raving beauty…. I’m never going to look like celebrity….. it’s not about looking like a supermodel… it’s about the way you feel when you put a little effort into yourself. This is not a vanity issue, its about not losing yourself. I often talk about the process, the stages we all go through on this journey. We all go through them at different times and for different durations and I personally feel we NEED to go through it to come out whole…. but come out we must. Becoming swallowed up by our children’s disorder’s is not an option… in fact… it is counterproductive.

Often special needs mothers feel they are being selfish or will be judged for making themselves a priority in their lives. Making yourself a priority does not take away from your child in fact it does just the opposite. With so much judgement put upon us for our parenting the last thing these women need is to feel pressured to look like they are going through a war to somehow validate to others the difficulties they are enduring.

Over a decade has passed, the years are beginning to show, but that moment, that night leaving that support group inspired me to get up…. get dressed… put on some lipstick and not lose sight of the woman behind the mom.

If that woman is lost…. go find her! Brush her off…. polish her up ….. I promise you…. she is worth it.

Wishing you strength and calm,


For all Marianne’s writings to go The Life Unexpected

Here is a video sent to me today by a celebrity make up artist that made me remember that night and thought it may inspire you too

3 Responses to That’s Not Why I’m Crying

  1. This is a great reminder! My son deals with chronic eczema, while we have it under control now, there were times when I’d cry myself to sleep thinking about his severe head to toe eczema and the constant uncontrollable itching that was changing his personality. I certainly didn’t take as much care of myself as I should have in those harder times. This is a great post that I’ll be happy to share among the eczema community – as we all need a reminder to take care of ourselves as mothers.

  2. This is just what I needed in this moment of utter madness. This is what’s happening to me in the past 3 months. My son is in puberty. We’ve taken steps backwards as a result. I’m a train wreck. Wearing Beanies sans makeup; tennis shoes and my kids socks. All my energy, despite PCA care, is drained. I’m a single mom. The other parent is not involved emotionally, physically nor financially. How can you take time for yourself? Especially after today’s episode that I am literally in shock. Too afraid to share at this moment. Taking care of me means resting. I’ve only so much to give. I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Sepsis survivor; with complications. I feel selfish for admitting that I feel like I’m dying to save my son. I missed my one outlet today, college classes. I’m trying to get myself back. However, I need support. When I cannot attend class and have to take a leave from work due to my son’s disability; where is time to listen to your Podcasts? It’s 24/7/365. Sincerely, ~Angie Lembo

  3. Admin Admin

    Im so sorry you are going through so much Angie. I think at one time or another most special needs parents dealing with very complex kids feel they can take no more and you are right, you need to rest, get some strength and breath. I don’t know what your child’s diagnosis is but if we can help you in any way we will, I agree, you need support and understanding. There will come a day you will be able to find time for yourself but this is not it unfortunately. I have learned from my time dealing with severe stress during my childs illness that it was always two steps forward one step back, the inevitable setbacks were devastating and exhausting. Get some rest when you can, remember this too shall pass and let me know if I can find you support. Feel free to email me at if you like

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