Today’s post is from a special guest blogger, Samtra K. Devard. I have the privilege of knowing Samtra through some work we have done (and continue to do) to help make the family voice, perspective, and experience a part of everything we do in our state to educate the service providers, current and future educators, and medical professionals who care for our children with special needs. Samtra has been a tremendous inspiration to not only me but to a large number of parents. She is a passionate advocate for children, including her own three beautiful kids —one of whom has Down Syndrome, and she works tirelessly to create greater opportunities for inclusion for all our children. I am proud to know her and to call her friend.
Everybody knows the commercials featuring the Maytag repairman. This is the guy who has nothing to fix. Of the millions of washers, dryers and dishwashers that are sold – the guy who was hired to fix any problems that Maytag appliances may have, has nothing to fix.
Surely there is something that he can fix. Yes, only if something is broken!
Just like the Maytag repairman has nothing to fix, Mom’s of children with disabilities have nothing to fix. We are in essence Maytag Moms.
Many of us are given a diagnosis for our kids and a laundry list of all the things that are wrong. We are presented with scenario after scenario of circumstances too bleak to contemplate.
The problems that face children with disabilities and their families sometimes seem endless. And for many who are faced with a problem – the natural tendency is to fix it.
A wise woman whom I love and respect once told me it took her a long time to figure out that her role in her daughter’s life was to NOT to “fix” her daughter, because she wasn’t broken. Once she learned that, she was able to come into acceptance of what is – and find peace with that. To function in a mindset that is about maximizing potential and life chances, rather than fixing the problems of a “broken” child or family situation is so much more meaningful. The Maytag Mom is expending valuable energy trying to fix something that isn’t really broken.
Broken means out of order, not working, damaged, ruined, destroyed, defeated, dejected, crushed, dispirited – without hope.
Our children are anything but broken.
The sooner we stop trying to fix the situation or our children, the sooner we can begin the healing process and begin to function in a positive, less energy draining way.
I have learned I am a Maytag Mom. I having been doing all I can to fix things. Acknowledging this has been so profound for me. It’s taken a lot of soul searching in a short period of time to realize that no matter what – we have some circumstances that just are what they are. Nothing’s broken.
The good news is Maytag Moms are good at what they do and can redirect their energies to things that are about building and growing and uplifting. We can do with our lives what was intended – to live and love to the fullest. Love our children and the joy they bring. Resist any temptation to fear the unknown about what lies ahead. Certainly, what the Moms of children with disabilities face can be different than if our children didn’t have a disability – but guess what there would still be something to deal with; just a different something.
But I believe wholeheartedly that the heart, energy and passion of the Maytag Mom is why God blessed our lives in such a great way. Reminding ourselves of the blessings during times of turmoil all around us becomes the challenge.
Maytag Moms – there is a great future ahead!