I read a post from another mom the other day that used the phrase “additional needs” to describe her son’s differences.
I loved the post, but the phrase got me thinking.
“Additional needs” is actually a perfect description. It maintains that my children have the same needs as anyone else, with some additional layers. It describes what I do to help them as well – I am a mom just like any other mom, with some additional requirements.
As much as I love it, I am not sure what to do with it. I write to help and encourage other moms, and hopefully make some families’ lives a little bit easier.
If I use the term “additional needs,” I worry that the mom in the midst of a new diagnosis or an overwhelming health crisis won’t find me. She won’t know that something as casual as “additional” could possibly also mean her circumstances.
I think about my boys, too. Would they prefer it? What if they get a bit older and hate my word choices, or worse, me, for sharing some of the most difficult parts of their lives.
I think about it all the time – What Will My Children Think About My Blog?
I worry about it a lot more now, than ever before.
The internet is mean, y’all. Like, really, really mean.
Add to it the fact that my children have to live with the consequences of my choices on it, and I lose some already elusive sleep.
My Children and My Writing
I have been honest and up front with my children from the very beginning about this blog and my books.
They always have right of refusal. They have the option to call this whole thing off if it feels like too much and there are some parts of our life that I will never share.
When we talk about it, I share my reasons for writing. I talk about what it’s like to be a mom and not know what to do to help your child. We talk about how much stigma there is around their diagnoses. I share my heart to protect them and their privacy.
They get it. My youngest is passionate about the topic of how we view mental health in America and get fired up just talking about it. They are supportive and honestly, most of the time, could care less.
And, they are still young. They still need me to make good decisions about their future online footprint, and protect them from the harsh reality of living with differences in our culture.
What Will My Children Think About My Blog?
As my boys mature into young men, here is what I hope they know about their mom taking on this blog thing.
This is as much for our family as it is for any other.
Nothing will ever change, as long as moms like me and kids just like them, live in the shadows with shame. Nothing will ever improve, as long as we avoid difficult conversations that desperately need to be had.
I want them protected and secure. I also want them to fight for what is right. To stand up and help others. To worry less about what other people think and more about what they know to be true about themselves.
I want them secure in the knowledge that they are wonderful and perfectly made, just as they are. That no one should ever, ever make them feel like their differences make them less.
I want them to know that they are loved in every single word I write, even if I don’t always choose the right ones or know the best way to express my heart.
Please, never ever get so caught up in what I share about our tough times, that you lose sight of the big picture.
My children are the absolute best I know and it is a humbling privilege to be their mom.
It is what I hope they see most in their mom’s blog.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.