Stop and Smell the Roses: Raising a Special Needs Child in a Fast-Paced World

Raising a special needs child in this modern world is not easy.

I lived a fast-paced life. Cramming 48-hour tasks in a 24-hour day, even sacrificing rest and family time, just to get something done was my norm. I barely had time to appreciate the sunrise nor the sunset or even enjoy a cup of coffee without trying to finish another task.

However, I needed to make drastic changes to my fast-paced lifestyle when my son was born.

You see, my son, Zaine, was born with Down syndrome. It is a genetic disorder that is usually associated with delayed physical development and learning disability. At 3 years old, my son is not yet potty trained, still needs help in feeding and changing his clothes. He’s starting to imitate words now, but he is still considered non-verbal. At his age, his developmental age is equivalent to that of a 16-month old.

Having a child with special needs throws a big curve ball in the fast-paced, tight schedule that I used to have. And realizing that made me reassess the way I live my life. While I cannot change the pace of the world we live in, I realized that I had to learn to slow down and prioritize what is really important. And my son is the most important.

As a parent, it is my duty to teach my child, but my son has been teaching me a lot of things that I have long forgotten.

He is teaching me patience. With all the technology nowadays that allows us to do our tasks quicker and more efficient, I tend to be impatient with things or situations that would make me wait. But when I had Zaine, I needed to learn how to be patient as I try to teach him a concept repeatedly, over and over again, until he understands it.

He is teaching me to appreciate the small things. I used to only have eyes on the big prize. I did not recognize a small accomplishment as real accomplishment because I was aiming for a higher one. With Zaine, as he hits his milestones – may it be as simple as learning how to sit down or stand up or putting his nappy in the trash – I have learned to celebrate it. As they say, every small thing leads to greater things. At the end of the day, it is the small things that really matter.

He is teaching me to slow down. I really struggled with my schedule when I had Zaine, being the workaholic that I used to be. But as time passes, I have learned to take a rest in between my tasks and I have learned to set aside the non-important ones to spend more time with my son. Not everything can be accomplished just because we’ve set a very tight deadline. Sometimes, the longer it takes do things, the better the outcome will be. And the same is true with Zaine. It is not possible to fast-track his progress just because I want him to reach a developmental age equal to his actual age. He has his own timeline in achieving every milestone and what I could only do is to slow my own pace down and match his until such time that he can go faster.

In this fast-paced world that we live in, let’s take time to slow down to appreciate the small things. Let’s watch the sunset even for a few minutes before we go make that dinner. Let’s take that time away from our computer screens and spend time with our kids playing on the floor. Forget about work during the weekend and go run in the park or watch a movie with your child. And just like what I have learned from the latest McDonald’s commercial, let’s celebrate each milestone no matter how big or small they might be.

Once in a while, let’s stop and smell the roses. Who knows, we may enjoy it.





Disclosure: This post was sponsored by McDonald’s. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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  1. I salute you Mommy for all the hardwork you’re doing. As much as we teach our kids, we also get to learn a lot from them. You have a very wonderful son and he is special in his own special way 😉

  2. I think all of us parents need to learn to slow down. There are so many things we want done, that we forget what is important. I learned the same thing with my two kids – children can be the best teachers sometimes!

  3. Isn’t it funny that our kids teach us more than what we are teaching them. I have learned so much from my kids and I will never trade motherhood for anything in this world. Truckload of beer sounds tempting though…. Kidding aside, I totally agree, let’s celebrate each milestone no matter how big or small they are. I can relate to this so much!

  4. “Lesson 32: Enjoy the little things”-Zombieland… Since I heard this from the movie, I swear by it. And now that I’m a mom, this made a whole lot of sense. 🙂

  5. I am teary-eyed. Indeed, our kids teach us far more important lessons in life. God bless you and Zaine, sis! God loves you because he gave you a really precious gift, and it’s your dearly beloved son! <3

  6. I think children with special abilities have a unique way of keeping things in perspective.Taking time to enjoy being together is something we need to do despite our busy lives.

  7. We badly need to slow down for the slow and small people in our lives. There are times when I try to tell my sons to move faster but then feel guiilty because I’m pressuring them for something in which I should be adjusting in. Instead of them enjoying the time, they are forced to be quicker to keep in our pacing. Thanks for this very inpiring post. It’s really the parents being taught in this parenting time. 🙂

  8. It’s really the small things that matter! I’m still amazed by how we, the adults that we are, would learn a lot from our kids if only we took time to really bond with them.

  9. I can’t help but feel proud of moms with children who have special needs. It’s not going to be easy, but there will always be tons of people who will support you all the way 🙂

  10. While teaching our kids, we are also learning from them. And the best lesson for me so far, is to appreciate every little thing. And just like you, I’m beginning to embrace all what was given to me, and enjoy every bit of the moment.

    1. So true! It’s so easy to forget life when you don’t have that responsibility. It’s totally different when you have kids. 🙂

  11. I haven’t seen that McDo commercial but I really do believe that raising a special needs child will really test your patience. But kudos to you for stopping to smell the roses and being with your son on each of his milestones. 🙂

  12. Celebrating milestones can be difficult na icelebrate when you tend to get too busy na and pag malalaki na ang kids. But those are still important. It’s good to realize it while the kids are still young.

  13. It’s amazing how parents like us still learn a lot from our kids, noh? I’ve been a mom for 15 years now and I’m still learning from being a parent. Your experience is really remarkable though. You’re doing a great job as a mom. 🙂

  14. Being a single mom is very challenging more so if you have a kid with special needs. Patience…glad I’ve got lots of it- is indeed a virtue. We really need to adjust to our kid’s capability and not the other way around for the reason that our child depends on us and look up to us. Stay positive and never cease to nurture your child- you are on the right track and God will bless you for that. Kudos to you!

  15. I still learna lot from my kids, everyday. Mostly they are the reason why I can make the right decision.
    Proud to meet a mom like you Liz.
    Hope to see you.

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