Different Isn't Broken: A Letter to the Mom Raising her "Different" Child

"Different isn't broken" by Ginny Kochis (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2017), CC0/PD

Motherhood would be hard — that much you expected. You had no illusions about the vocation to which God called you, thanks to mommy blogs and Instagram posts and friends who’d already had kids.

It would be tiring. It would be messy. And some days, you would feel like falling apart. But the joy and the beauty would make all the difference. You knew it would make the struggle worthwhile.

And then the baby came.

And the baby was alert and bright and … different.

Your motherhood was different, too.

Everybody else’s babies started sleeping. Yours did not, with no age-related respite in sight.

Your toddler, then your preschooler, was the most intense, most focused, most clingy kid on the playground.

Other moms chatted or checked their phones while their kids played undirected. You, on the other hand, were on call all the time.

The tantrums were more than tantrums.

The interests were obsessions, not pastimes.

The simple things you longed for — the normal mother-child relationship everybody else was having — didn’t seem possible.

Your motherhood became less about crafts at the table and more about surviving life.

Surviving playtime.

Surviving storytime.

Surviving school days.

Surviving Mass.

And now you are alone despite good friends, loving family, and a parish community.

Someone who understands — feels — the life you are leading?

No one gets it. No one sees it. And if they do see it, they have plenty of “helpful” advice.

Well, I see you. And I am only part of your tribe. There are lots of us out there raising kids who are different.

They are brilliant. Creative. Intense. Beautiful.

They bring us more joy than we could ever imagine, and yes, they cost us sleep at night.

Though you may feel it, you are neither alone nor a failure at this maternal gig. God created you and your children in his perfect, beautiful image.

And He chose you – only you – to be the mother of this child. 

I know it is not easy. There are days when I’m sure you wish God didn’t trust you so much.

But every day you wake up, and you love and you teach and you advocate for your child.

That is your fiat — your yes at this point in your life.

It is an opportunity for holiness for both you and the child you are raising.

You are shaping the child who will change this broken world.

Like Moses the Black, who surrendered his anger and impulsivity to lead other young men to Jesus.

Like Ignatius of Loyola, whose desperate search for God’s voice amidst desolation has brought healing to countless lives.

Like Léonie, Thérèse, and the other Martin sisters, whose strong-willed and often rigid behaviors became abiding fervor for God.

Like St. Joseph of Cupertino; Herman the Cripple; Maximilian Kolbe; St. Thorlak of Iceland.

Individual. Quirky. The Body of Christ, united.

Yes, your motherhood is different, but different is not broken.

It is beautiful.

It is powerful.

It is the image and likeness of God.

Copyright 2019 Ginny Kochis


About Author

Ginny Kochis is a Catholic wife and homeschooling mom to three differently-wired children. She founded the Not So Formulaic community to support Catholic moms raising out-of-the-box kids. Ginny believes God gives curious, creative, intense children the exact mother they need to thrive.

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