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My Child’s IEP is Bigger Than Your 10 Pounds

Imagine you’re having lunch with a couple of friends who are talking about weight loss…

And you jump in and mention that you’re still trying to lose those last 10 pounds of “baby weight” (okay my “baby” is 7 years old), and they collectively sneer at you? It seems your 10 pounds counts less than their pounds. But no less ideal is your ideal weight, is it?

Sometimes I get this same disdain when I attempt to describe my kids’ behavioral issues, or school related problems. When I talk about my 5th grade daughter’s frustration due to boredom in the classroom, the response often is pooh-poohed.

“My child’s issues trump yours by 10x!” is the annoyed response I get from them. They aren’t willing to listen to the concerns that might arise with a child who overall excels at school, yet still has specific difficulties, albeit small. It’s like they think I’m not worthy of getting to my ideal weight, nor is my daughter worthy of additional help in areas where she may genuinely need the help.

I’m not trying to compare child problems or gauge whose child struggles more. And certainly I’m not judging anyone! I’m simply in need of sharing a current parenting/school frustration at the collective mommy water-cooler.

Before you compare your child’s problems to another parent’s child’s problems, walk a few steps on their treadmill!

Believe me I’m well aware of the energy and effort required as the parent of a child with mild to severe learning differences.

  • I’ve spent a lot of time listening to other moms explain the pain they feel as they watch their child struggle with learning disabilities or ADHD or even a grade school bully.
  • I’ve gotten extra training in order to babysit a friend’s epileptic 5 year old, giving my friend much needed hours of relief.
  • I have watched carefully and learned alongside my sister while she raises a child with cerebral palsy.
  • And I’m a trained foster care provider. I’ve seen my share of behavioral issues!

What I’m saying is that the next time a friend asks you to join her in a local “biggest loser” workout group, say YES and be grateful for the motivation — instead of peeking at her scale!

And the next time the mom-next-door complains about her sons’ funny obsession with red crayons, instead of lashing out that she should be grateful that her kid is advanced enough to know his colors, take a step back and remember that every mom is working through all the ups and downs of their own kid’s peculiarities the same as you are. 

Have you had conversations like this? Do you have a hard time NOT comparing your child’s achievements to others?

And you can totally come work out with me. I’ll be at the gym at 8:45 a.m. After all, those last ten pounds are NOT walking off on their own!




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#2 Carissa Rogers 2011-10-27 01:41
You said that exactly perfect! I'm so glad you understand! I was once complaining about finances to a friend and she got all worried for me.. and I realized I was complaining about stress from whether my savings account was big 'enough... she thought I meant I might not be able to make my mortgage that month?!

So it's worth being clear about what your stress levels are too eh? :-)
#1 Emily 2011-10-14 18:15
I know what you mean. It's hard not to compare your ups and downs with those of other people you know. I think it's important to try to look beyond the specifics of the situation and look at how your friend feels about it. Her problem might not seem like a big deal compared to yours, but it might be a big deal to her and she probably could use someone to listen and provide encouragement.

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