Five Ways to Help a Special Needs Mom

158b3ea47eb4b5467a381bf7aa1d910b.jpgAs much as love and tolerance for others is taught these days, sometimes the first reaction when someone sees a special needs kid in public having issues (read: meltdown or stimming/self soothing) can be to stare wide eyed, make offhand or rude comments, or just bristle at “the weird kid”.

Please remember that the parents are doing the best they can, and that just like your neuro-typical kids, their kids have bad days too. Here are my five tips for how anyone can help a special needs mom.

  1. Offer to Help:  Offer to carry a bag or box they may be struggling with, especially if they are trying to remove their kiddo from public. I remember a few years ago, we were at Chick-Fil-A and Our big guy was done. He was tired, there were 15-20 kids in the little sound-proof kids area, so it was crazy loud in there and he was over stimulated. He just broke down and started crying and was wailing like a banshee. Two moms at the next table helped us pack up our leftovers, got our drinks refilled, and helped us carry everything out to the car, so I could carry both kids out. No shame, no dirty looks. Just compassion for a situation that every mom faces: THE PUBLIC MELTDOWN.
  2. Be a Friend:  It can be very isolating to have a special needs kid, trust me. Text your friend. Offer to get together at a park or some place that her kiddo(s) can play, so you can spend time together. Some special needs parents have hectic schedules with therapy appointments or doctors visits sometimes weekly. Keeping in contact with your friend can really help “normalize” her life.  I so seldom see other moms, that texting and Facebook are two of the ways I am able to keep up friendships.
  3. Starbucks Run: Ok, so it doesn’t have to be Starbucks, but if you know she’s having a rough day, bring her a coffee or a treat. I had someone (and to this day it’s a mystery), send flowers to me after a really rough week.
  4. Expect to hear NO- and be OK with it: As much as you want to see your friend, hang out, go to the movies, get a pedicure, or just gossip over coffee, it can be hard for special needs moms to get away. Not everyone has family that can handle their kiddo, and special needs respite/care can be expensive. Sometimes, even the offer to hang out is better than being left out completely.
  5. Give Your Friend Grace, and Pray for them: Recognize that your friend may have a harder road to hoe that you and your family, and that’s ok. If you aren’t religious, think of them or send them good thoughts, dedicate your meditation or yoga session to them.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about a time when you helped another person!

Coupon Clubs: Friendship & Savings!

deals_and_Coupons_version_2 (2).jpgOne of the questions I get frequently  is how do I get so many coupons?

I used to subscribe to FIVE Sunday papers (so much waste!!), but the best way is that I belong to a coupon club!

A what?  A coupon club.  We meet once a month, bring our extra coupon inserts, clip, trade, nosh, gossip and share tricks and tips.  We have a private Facebook group, so we can discuss deals and post our “wishlists”.  Each of us posts a list of coupons that we would like, and as the next meet up draws near, those who are attending clip and print coupons for each other.  Each meet up is like Christmas morning, we trade envelopes of the clipped coupons we requested.  We also talk about deals, frugal living strategies, and help each other. We’ve been together about 7 years!!

In addition to trading coupons, we also have teamed up with a local American Legion Post. They collect Sunday coupon inserts from members. We clip them and return them (taking whatever coupons we’d like). The Legion mails the coupons overseas for those military families living on base overseas. Overseas Military commissaries (that’s the on base grocery stores) accept coupons expired up to 6 months after the expiration date. So not only do we get access to multiple inserts, but, we are able to help others.

We also collect sample sized toiletries and items that we are able to get for free and donate them to the American Legion Post for their homeless veteran outreach.

If you are interested in starting a coupon in your local area, check out Facebook or meetup.com- there are lots of coupon clubs all over the country.

I have a Facebook group for people in my local East County San Diego area. We meet twice a month during the week. If you are interested in joining, check out our group:  Weekday Frugalistas: East County

I post freebies, deals, and other stuff between meetings, and I post a run down of what we discussed at the meeting afterwards, so even if you cant go, you’ll still be up to date!

If you can’t find a local coupon group, there are website dedicated to helping couponers. My favorite is:

 

Visit Hotcouponworld It's all about the deals.HCW has forums for all the major stores, including grocery, drug and mass merchandisers. Trade coupons, find freebies, and find local coupon groups.  You can trade coupons and view their coupon database! I’ve met lots of friends on HCW!

And if you are looking to print coupon online, check out my list of printable coupon resources here.  Every coupon you print helps support our blog!