Love, Disability and Single Parenting, Part Two
Guest Blog Post by Katie Grange
February is the month of love. Can a single special needs mom find love? Katie and I have shared many cups of coffee talking about this important aspect of life. Her story is riveting. I know her story will capture your heart and inspire you to believe in your own dreams.
This blog post is the second in a series of three.
Alone. Single and parenting a special needs child. Was this to be my only future?
Thank God, I didn’t believe my friend. One thing you don’t tell a special needs mother is what’s not possible. So I didn’t put limits on my son’s future, why should I limit myself when looking for love?What I believed, what you believe—becomes reality. Deep inside me, I knew, even with all the responsibilities in caring for my son, I still had a lot more love to share.
Of course, along the way I made a lot of relationship mistakes. After the hurt and embarrassment wore off, I shared my stories with other moms that remarried (and re-divorced!) and discovered that they weren’t just my mistakes, they were common themes we shared.
1. Beware of the knight in shining armor. Do a Security Check.
If a new beau is all about your kid and loves all the attention received from others when out in the community—think twice! A knight in shining armor may be just looking for attention to fill some inner void within them. The role of superhero can make a potential partner feel important. When the stardom becomes old and tiresome, so does the relationship.
I experienced this scenario. Added to the stresses of single parenting, I needed to help my son heal from the rejection he felt as another father figure deserted him.
I quickly learned that the last thing I needed was a potential partner with unhealthy motivations added to my already complicated life.
2. Have you ever been attracted to the professionals in your child’s life?
Being head over-heels, smitten by your child’s doctors or other paid health providers is a normal occurrence for special needs single parents. We spend large amounts of time in close contact with people who play critical roles in your children’s lives. These often nurturing roles focus on the health and survival of your child. They understand a great deal about your personal situation and it can confuse the heart.
When the attraction is strong, ask yourself is it love and appreciation you want? Is this someone you want to be in a relationship with?
3. Looking for a father.
That is a huge expectation to put on someone you are interested in. Beware—if that is your main criteria, you might find him, but it’s unlikely it will end up being a really healthy relationship. Think about changing your vision of a significant relationship. It might not include your child. Remember, the relationship is for you!
4. No time left for a relationship.
As single parents, we can come up with all sorts of excuses not to find love again.
- There is no time with all the things I do for my child…
- I cannot afford a sitter/care provider.
- I have to work crazy hours to support my child…
- There are not enough hours in the day…
- No one could understand and provide care at the level that I do. Etc. Etc.
I knew all these excuses intimately. I saw no possible way to find love again.
Until, I changed my mind.