Parenting From a Wheelchair
Last updated: March 2023
Being a mother is an adventure in itself, but when you add two young children and a wheelchair to the mix, things get even more interesting! As a mother, with SMA and in a wheelchair, I've learned to navigate the joys and challenges of parenting in a unique way, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Parenting, by itself, is a lot
First and foremost, parenting two young children is never boring. From the moment they wake up until they finally settle down for bed, there's always something to do or someone who needs attention. Whether it's needing to be fed, building a fort, or simply snuggling on the couch, there's never a dull moment when you're a parent.
Family roles influenced by disability
As my kids have grown over the years, especially past the toddler stages, we have really established as a family what roles we all carry. There are things they know they must ask dad to help with, things that they know I can do for them as a parent, and things that they’ve had to learn to do on their own. This unique balance has been a challenge some days but really a blessing. Every one of us in our family has taken responsibility and has learned to lean on each other in areas that we know we can.
Of course, being in a wheelchair can make some activities more challenging, but I've found ways to adapt and make things work. For example, when my kids want to play outside, we head to the park where there are paved paths and accessible playground equipment. I might not be able to climb the jungle gym, but I can still free-race them and join in on a game of tag.
My wheelchair aids my parenting abilities
When it comes to getting around, my wheelchair is my trusty sidekick. It's a great way to keep up with my kids as they run from one activity to the next, and it's also a fun way to give them a ride when they're feeling tired. My wheelchair has been a kid carrier for years now. I know others in public see me carrying my two, and have mixed feelings. Some smile and tell them “you’ve got the best seat in the house” and other look with glaring eyes and I can only imagine they’re thinking “that’s not a toy”
But the thing is for my family my wheelchair has been a vital role in my personal parenting story. It allows me the freedom to care for my kids in the ways I physically can.
Sometimes, I must watch from the sidelines
Of course, there are also some challenges that come with parenting in a wheelchair. Unfortunately there have been times that being a wheelchair has caused some pivoting in plans. There are many times I have to watch from the sideline but I have had to choose to be as present as I can even if that means being a cheerleader instead of a player.
I've learned to be creative and find solutions that work for us.
Overall, being a mother in a wheelchair has taught me to be resilient, adaptable, and patient. I've learned to embrace the unique challenges and joys that come with parenting two young children, and I've discovered new ways to connect with my kids and create lasting memories. Whether we're playing games, reading stories, or simply enjoying each other's company, I wouldn't trade this journey for anything in the world.
Have you found yourself facing accessibility challenges lately?
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