A Parent’s Perspective on Life’s Stresses (with a child with special needs)

AT LEAST  twice a week, I get the frustrating urge to clean my home. Not that it’s dirty. My home is a actually very clean. But, it is more on the “messy, lived in” side of the spectrum.  So, after a few days, I decide that it is again time for our family to try to organize things and put things away. And then that reoccurring light bulb pops up in my head reminding me of the indisputable fact that


IT’S TRUE. No matter where we go in our home, we will find one of our children or something belonging to one of our children.   On any given day, we can be sure to find a football, tennis balls, Nerf darts, sneakers, costumes, clothes, school stuff and toys on the floor, furniture, table, or chair in any room. And it really does not seem to bother anyone in my family (except me occasionally)!

But, today, when I was trying to put some games away and found that I could not get into the closet without crawling under the makeshift fort that was built, I started to think about WHY and HOW we live the way we do. 

Why do we (my husband and I) enable and allow our kids to take over the house?  And you know what?  The simple answer I guess is … WHY NOT?

As much as it would be nice to have a beautiful, model home with everything perfectly in its place, we are just not that kind of family.  My husband and I both work. We have a child with AUTISM. We have children with special diets. We have four children at three different schools.  We have a dog.  We enjoy doing things with our children. We like to have guests in our home.  And we love that our kids want to have friends over all the time.

So, why sweat the small stuff? Clearly, nobody cares if they have to walk over or around a few items to get into my living room to sit on the sofa. And, if they do care, then they are not a friend of our family. We have bigger concerns and more pressing issues.

The one thing that my husband and I have definitely learned over the years is to understand and evaluate every situation. Everybody has issues. Everybody has problems. Everybody handles them in different ways.  Having a child with special needs, we have learned to put everything into perspective. We definitely don’t sweat the small stuff. As  a matter of fact, we stay pretty calm with the medium stuff. This is an innate trait of parents of “special” children, I believe. We fight challenging obstacles daily that the typical family cannot even imagine. We encounter issues that we could not have predicted. It is a different type of stress and anxiety. It has helped us to become stronger and enabled us to be more patient overall.

Not too long ago, a wise man recommended that we look at the blessing in each situation. I thought it was a little hokey and ridiculous to try to put such a spin on life. Nevertheless, my husband and I tried to adapt to this mindset and find such blessings.

It actually does help!! If our children want to accessorize our coffee table with their Nerf guns and toys, I can now smile and think to myself “what a blessing that they are fortunate enough to have these toys to play with and that they enjoy using them”! Between work, school, and other obligations, time is limited and we want to enjoy it.

My life is far from perfect.  And, those who come inside of our house can see that firsthand.  But, my family is happy with this life that we live.  I hope that other parents raising a child with special needs or struggling with a disease can find happiness in their lives as well.  What techniques do you use to deal with life?

Kimmy Katari, mom to 4 amazing boys