When my second child was born, with special needs like my first, I have to be honest, one of my biggest disappointments was to conceive and accept the idea that, as the mother of two children with special needs, having it all was not a possibility.
For years I thought I was never going to have enough time to pursue my own dreams, because I was too busy trying to get my children’s most basic needs covered: Appropriate education, health needs, and inclusive opportunities in the community.
Parenting is tough for any parent, but it’s much more demanding when your children have special needs. To the typical “to-do list” you must add another couple dozen things you need to complete in a typical day, of which the only typical thing is the number of hours on the clock.
I remember reading and watching all the “Have It All” lectures, while telling myself that I wasn’t born for that. A couple of years later I got divorced. Instead of feeling like I was getting there, I went through this dramatic experience feeling as if I was losing it all. And then one day, while laughing with my children, I realized that I already had it all.
Since then, and as the mother of two children with Down syndrome, I’ve realized that “having it all” is not a ruler that measures you compared to others. Having it all means different things to each one of us. This is why with our intention to empower other mothers to fight for their right and their passion to have it all, we have to allow room for them to make their own choices and find their own meaning of “having it all”.
I have it all, and to me that means:
- Being able to work a part time job, because my most important priority is to be there when my children arrive home from school.
- I combine life and career in a productive way that gives me the motivation and the hope to believe that I’m not only getting paid, but that I’m changing the world for my children and their peers with special needs.
- I get to watch them growing while I grow along with them.
- I surrender to living with all that we need, not all that we want.
I respect and understand that my personal concept of having it all may be mediocre and less than perfect for many, but it works for me. I truly believe that I have it all, at least for now.