Moms Of Children With Differences: It’s Difficult, But It Doesn’t Mean You’re Doing it Wrong

Moms of children with differences often blame themselves when things are hard. The truth is sometimes things are really difficult, but it doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. 

He threw the book and stomped off to his room.

Don’t you understand?” he yelled, clearly frustrated. “I have dys-A-lexia!

As he slammed the door, I tried to sort through all my reactions – smiling because of the way he pronounced dyslexia, bitter because he threw the book and we have been trying to help him work on the explosive responses, sad because reading is so very difficult for him, despair because maybe we will never be able to get this right, and grateful because I know he is at least making progress, whether or not we can both see it right this minute.

He came out of his room a few moments later, sheepishly apologized and climbed up onto my lap.

He rested there for a minute, and as I kissed his head and smelled his hair, I asked him what happened.

The only thing he could say was, “This is too hard. I can’t do it right.”

Moms Of Children With Differences

Several years ago, his older brother suddenly began reacting aggressively and violently towards everyday life. He would lose it every single day, and literally destroy his room and anything or anyone else in the way. He pulled over bookshelves, punched and kicked holes in the wall, hit me in the face, threw heavy objects at my head. He stopped sleeping, preferring instead to cry and bang his head against the wall for hours and hours.

We were on several waiting lists for an evaluation. But waiting lists don’t help when it’s 3 AM and you have bite marks on your arms, and your baby is slamming his head over and over again into the wall. 

I remember sitting next to him, rubbing his back, trying to help him settle down, praying that it would just stop, and saying to myself, “This is just too hard. I can’t do it right.


Moms of children with differences – Just Because It’s Difficult, Doesn’t Mean You are Doing it Wrong

When we finally got the diagnosis, I distinctly remember asking the developmental pediatrician what I was “doing wrong” in caring for him. Her answer was so simple.

Just because this is hard, doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. It’s going to be difficult. It is difficult. There is no way around that. But it doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. Sometimes things are just hard.

Moms Of Children With Differences

Moms of Children with Differences Just Like Me

I know my son and I are not alone in feeling this way. We want to know how we can fix it, what we aren’t doing, what’s the right way.

But sometimes, no matter how hard we try, no matter how many books we read, no matter how many doctors we see, no matter how many prayers we pray…sometimes it is just hard.

Sometimes the difficulty level in this game called life is way beyond any of our abilities.

It doesn’t mean we are doing it wrong.



I gathered my frustrated boy up in my arms, carried him back over to the table with the books and the flashcards and the pencils, and I sat down with him.  I asked him to face me, looked him straight in the eyes and said –

Just because this is hard, doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong.

But we don’t quit. When something is this important, no matter how difficult, we keep going. Even when we get frustrated. Even when we are sure we can’t take it anymore. Even when we know that we are in way over our heads and have no chance of ever not being faced with this circumstance.

We take the next step. And then the next. And then the next.

As he began to work on his reading assignment again, I said a quick prayer, thanking God for the reminder I needed more than my son. For showing me over and over again that as much as I want to believe I can fix it, that I can try harder, do better, and just get it right – the truth is, sometimes life is just what it is.

And in the midst of all the difficult, rather than looking for what we are doing wrong and trying to control it, the beauty is in the acceptance, the surrender, and the embrace…

as we simply take the next step.

For more support, ideas and encouragement:

When life is hard

When the child who needs structure fight it the most

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  1. So thankful that I ran across this today! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this! I needed it so much right now! Taking a break right at this very moment from my daughter’s assignment because she said “it’s just too hard, I can’t!” Thank you again for this!

    1. You are very, very welcome! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.

  2. Thanks a lot for that reminder. I will write it down and read it when life is difficult. May God strengthen you and give you wisdom and courrage to move forward. It is one of the worst thing, to see our kids suffer and the only thing we can do is to Walk beside and lead their steps. Praying for you all.
    Love from Dorthe

    1. Thank you, Dorthe. As always, you are a sweet encouragement.

  3. Oh my – this is perfect. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Thank you for this article! thank you for reminding me… xox

  5. So beautifully written!A lovely go to post for whenever we really feel bleak.
    Thank you Shawna for sharing your courage and wisdom!

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words.

  6. Oh I needed this. Especially today. Especially today.

  7. This is such an encouraging post. It’s true that sometimes life is just hard. We do our best at it, and we do the best we know, and we do it the right way the best we can. But it’s still hard and we feel like we are going under. We can’t choose what hand we are dealt, but we can choose how to react to it, even if it’s through tears and struggle. Totally needed this post today, thanks for sharing. <3

  8. If you would like another resource or idea, we had tremendous success with Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord. It was also really nice for me as a homeschooling mom to be able to help with reading from arms distance instead of being right there in the thick of it every frustrating day. If phonological processing is part of the reason behind your son’s dyslexia (and if you think the exercises target his areas of need), I highly recommend finding a way to use the program. We enrolled in an umbrella school that used it, and it made such a difference for us (both me as a homeschooling mom and my child in getting over some big hurdles on the way to reading better). You are so right that sometimes life is hard and there is no way around it. I try to inspire myself and my kids that the harder it is, the more we are learning and growing – and we don’t want to stop learning and growing. But it is hard not to lose heart. Thanks for the encouragement.

  9. Well written, open and honest and so true thank you for being vulnerable.

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