Dear Special Needs Mom, You are beautiful. Even on the most exhausting days, you are beautiful. Yesterday I posted a video on Facebook after I got home from advocating for a client of mine at an IEP meeting. It was a LONG day. 1.5 hour commute each way and a 2 hour meeting to make sure that this awesome little girl who is turning 5, has Down syndrome AND is bilingual, gets all the supports and programs she deserves for a bright future. In the video...I looked AWFUL! It was a Facebook live video so while I was live, I just didn't care because I wanted to share with you what happened at the meeting. When I looked back at the video. YIKES! My eyes were puffy, my hair was a hot mess and I had that "exhausted mom" look all over. I wanted to take down the video, but just before I clicked DELETE, I thought. No. I'm leaving it up because you know what I look like... a mom who did their job that day. I've been a single parent for 5 years, but even when I was married, my kids were "my job"...especially when my youngest was having seizures. There were days I couldn't take a shower because there was no other adult around and I couldn't leave my daughter unattended. I tried to pull myself together for the little things like seeing other parents at preschool pick up and drop off, but what I thought was "together" was the equivalent of a "typical mom" rolling out of bed on a Saturday. Nobody told me I was beautiful. Beautiful for giving all of my energy to my daughter when she needed it most. Now, I'm not telling you not to take care of yourself, but let's face it. A special needs mom taking care of herself is different than what the outside world thinks it is. I'm beyond blessed that my daughter doesn't have seizures anymore. I'm finally at the stage of parenting where I can sleep and tell my kids to make their own dinner if I don't want to cook. But my work in the special education community puts me in touch with you and your fellow special needs moms everyday. I see the exhaustion in your face. I see that you tried to pull yourself together to cover some of the exhaustion. I see me in you from years ago. What you need to know is YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Even on the worst days, the no-shower days, the no-sleep days, the I-Just-Can't days. You are beautiful. So I'm going to leave up the "not so pretty" video on Facebook and remind myself, that I am beautiful, even on days like "that" because I gave my all to a child that needed me more than I needed lipgloss.