I Don’t Speak for the Trees: Pour Your Heart Out

“I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.” -The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

As a mom blogger, I never felt like what I wrote was going to be taken as speaking for all moms. My experiences are different than yours. My way of doing things, my choices, my children.  You make your own choices and have totally different kids than I do.  While there are certain almost-universal truths in motherhood, we each have our own stories.  I love to share mine and to hear yours: sometimes we have things in common and other times, we help each other see things a different way.  I am not the Lorax, I don’t speak for all moms.

As a boy mom blogger, sometimes there’s a little bit more generalization. The dirt, legos, sports, noise, and attempts to eat their parents out of house and home. While I might be able to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a boy mom, all kids are unique and your experience as a boy mom might be totally different than mine.  While I hope that my stories show what it’s like to live in a houseful of boys or bring a smile of recognition to your face,  I’m not the Lorax, I don’t speak for all boys moms.

But as a special needs mom, I feel a weight- will people read my words and think that this is how all special needs moms feel? Will another special needs mom read my words and think well, that’s not how it is in my house.

When I share the tough times with my son, will you think that is how all children on the autism spectrum are? Because it’s not true. My son has his own unique journey and struggles and you can’t take the experiences that we have and assume that’s exactly how it is in anyone else’s home. Some have it much harder and some have it easier.

I’m also not the most politically correct person around and when it comes to p.c. terminology, I’m not the person to look to. I’ve read the arguments about “person first language” (child with autism) and arguments for the opposite- and both make sense to me.  So I go back and forth with what I use. Mostly I just use my child’s nickname, not his diagnosis or a label. It’s the tone and intention that mean more to me than the actual words. So I’m not the one to look to for the “correct” terms to use.

There are special needs bloggers out there who tell you they wouldn’t change a thing about their child and they always look on the sunny side of things.  While if someone gave me a magic wand, I’d wave it right over my son and rid him of any disabilities. And though I love my son(all my sons) with all my heart, I have to admit that there are days that just flat out suck.

Being a special needs blogger was not something that I set out to be.  I started out simply telling stories about my family.  But along the way, that evolved from knowing something was going on with my middle son though not knowing what it was, to finding out about his lead poisoning, to his eventual PDD-NOS and ADHD diagnosis.

I still think of myself as just a mom blogger. Yes, I don’t mind that term because I’m a mom and I blog.

And that means I blog about what is going on in my life as a mom. It might be about the crazy soccer moms or how to deal with excessive homework. But, when something is going on with my special needs child, especially when it’s something hard, that finds its way to my blog more often than not.

I blog about it because I need the release.

Because typing out it here helps me make sense of it all.

Because some of you might relate.

Because sometimes I want advice.

Because some of you can sympathize and give me support.

Because some of you need that support yourselves.

Because I do hope that my words can help to give those of you who don’t have to deal with any of this some insight into what it’s like to be a special needs mom. That even though I don’t want to give you the mistaken impression that all special needs families deal with the same struggles and behaviors… all of us can use more compassion and less judgement. And maybe by reading my words and getting to know my family’s story, it will make you think a little more about other families who might be going through something similar- or even something totally different- but to help you to see that we’re all just families with our own stories, our own struggles.

But I’m not the Lorax.

Click if you want to find out more about Pour Your Heart Out. Remember, it’s about what you want to pour out: it’s personal, so there isn’t an assigned topic. It’s also about being supportive of others who are sharing: so visit other linkers and be kind with your comments. Please add the button from the sidebar or add a text link to your post if you are joining in.


  1. says

    Dylan is going to be really, really disappointed to hear I’m not friends with the Lorax. He’s into the Lorax 😉 I appreciate that you don’t see yourself that way, but I do think your voice is so level-headed and honest and beautiful that all moms look to you and take a moment to be more patient with our kids and other people’s kids, no matter what.
    angela recently posted..Always in AweMy Profile

  2. says

    I know that I can speak for myself and say that I have a new and different perspective on special needs children and parenting since I started reading your blog. Special needs are so generalized, like you said, and reading your words (and the words of others) offer a great insight to someone who isn’t in that same boat. :)
    Courtney Kirkland recently posted..False Alarm…My Profile

  3. says

    I’ve always loved coming here for your honesty and a glimpse into your life – as a mom, with boys, with special needs. Though your experience is not the same as everyone else’s, you do help us all understand. 
    Tricia recently posted..The memories I wantMy Profile

  4. says

    This is such a thoughtful post. It’s so easy to begin to think we’re “experts” when we deal with/overcome parenting struggles. Whether it’s special needs stuff or any other issues we share. It’s so important to remember that our children are unique, and just like I wouldn’t want people to read my blog posts and compare, I have to remember to not read others’ posts and compare. Your list of reason why you blog is what it’s all about. Great reminders! :)
    adrienne recently posted..When I Want to Be a Better MomMy Profile

  5. says

    Honest and Truthful about your life. That is what you speak! You may not speak for everyone, but what you say speaks TO everyone!
    Angie recently posted..FAMILYMy Profile

  6. says

    You provide a wonderful window through which we can view the ups and downs and the struggles and triumphs of mothering, Shell.  I think it is so interesting that so many of us have ended up writing in a place we didn’t really plan on or see coming, but it is something that we just can’t not do.

    We draw our buckets up out of our inner well, full of wisdom and experience, and offer the refreshment to any who are in need. I think our greatest challenge is to remember that we ourselves are not the drink others are thirsty for. We are but the water carrier, and I think you do that beautifully. :-)
    Kim recently posted..If you give a child a choiceMy Profile

  7. says

    Perfectly said, Shell. I know I’ve drawn strength from other bloggers who have shared about their own struggles with things I’m dealing with (PPD, special needs parenting) so I try to share my own experiences in the hopes it will help someone else. 
    Delilah recently posted..So What?My Profile

  8. says

    I love this post for so many reasons!

    Its funny how people have such a hard time accepting that every family is different and there is no wrong or right.

    I’ve been judged harshly at times for staying with Joey through his plethora of poor choices and struggles. Yet I’ve also been applauded for doing so. It’s all a matter of perspective and not knowing what someone else is really going through.

    But to show compassion you don’t need to know!

  9. says

    Shell, this was beautiful. I really love your honest, compelling writings and I never assume it’s true for everyone: Just You. I recently wrote about perceptions and misunderstandings, so I hope you don’t mind I linked up two posts this week. “TGIF” and “Am I One of ‘Those’ People?” Be blessed! AND KEEP WRITING!
    Molly Jo at Frankly, My Dear… recently posted..“What’s the Word?” Wednesday: November 14, 2012My Profile

  10. says

    That is how I feel most days. Yes my son has multiple diagnosis but he is still my son and I am just his mom, doing the best I can. Every person with bipolar has different behaviors, every OCD person is not a germaphobe and does repetitive things because of it. I think you do a wonderful job at letting us know this is YOUR story, in all its grit and glory..
    Angel recently posted..She Lurves me. she really really lurves me..My Profile

  11. says

    Yes. Absolute yes. We write as ourselves FOR ourselves, and if we help others and ultimately support them, that’s fabulous, too. 

    Nobody should ever judge another blogger, honestly, we don’t know what it’s like to wear their shoes, whether they wear heels or slippers, boots or Crocs. For real. 

    You, on the other hand, you and your flip-flops [or whatever else you decide on! It just happened to pop into my head as I was rambling!] make me feel right at home. ESPECIALLY with your Wednesday posts, girl. You can’t imagine how many you’ve touched and helped with this meme alone. xo
    Andrea recently posted..When I let myself think.My Profile

  12. says

    That last paragraph is so me. Reading your words and others dealing with similar issues really opened my eyes to what other families are dealing with. Blogging has really broadened my horizons and I love that. I love that I learn new things everyday and I feel like it’s helping me grow, as a person, a mom and a blogger. 
    Susi recently posted..Meeting Hello Kitty {Wordless Wednesday}My Profile

  13. says

    For what it is worth, I’d wave that wand over my boys as well. I love being called a mom blogger. I most definitely write because I have to and like you, if I touch someone or help them see things differently, even if they just stop before judging someone because everyone deals with something, then it is worth it. I love reading your blog because living with kids that battle anything sucks and sometimes hearing someone else say it makes you feel less alone so even though our boys battle different things, thank you! Great post.
    AnnMarie recently posted..Finding Fulfillment in ChaosMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I agree. Though there are plenty who write from an standpoint of trying to educate others and that just isn’t me. 

  14. says

    But everybody needs a Thneed! Whatever the heck that is. :)

    Clearly, you being YOU is the best thing for your readers. I have a tendency to believe nothing is truly black and white, and that comes to blogging as well. 
    Diane recently posted..Stretched Thin.My Profile

  15. says

    I would wave that wand over my son in a heartbeat. It makes me feel like a bad mom though. I keep waiting for the “I wouldn’t change a thing” thing to kick in. So far, nothing.
    So it’s reassuring to me when I read blogs like yours. You’re honest about your life and struggles and that’s why I keep coming back. And I don’t think many people think that one person’s opinion stands for everyone else.
    Twingle Mommy recently posted..Ode to Mom JeansMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that I wouldn’t change a thing thought. Because if I could make life easier for any of my kids, I would. 

  16. says

    Beautifully said!  And yes- there definitely are certain issues or things that we each deal with that you can’t help but feel more passionate about and semi-responsible for.   And I hate that “a mom blogger” has come to seem like a negative thing at times
    Emmy recently posted..Want to Advertise?My Profile

  17. says

    I love your message of less judgment and more compassion. I think that by sharing your words and experinces, you are helping to bring awareness to others even if their own lives are very different.
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..One Ping OnlyMy Profile

  18. says

    you’re so right….I don’t know why we always have to say it though…we all have our own ideas and ways of parenting or blogging or whatever, why can’t we all just accept each other and move on?

    And the thing with if you could take away your son’s SN, I wonder if it’s because, unlike Brooke or another child, he may or may not have been born with it, because of the lead poisoning of course, and so you also have all that, is baggage the right word?, to deal with…

    And if that last comment was totally inappropriate I apologize, but I hope you know me well enough to get what I’m trying to say…sometimes I hate the computer, like I can’t get the right words out? A shock to you? ha!
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..I’m Giving Away a Smart Trike Dream…And It Is a HopMy Profile

    • Shell says

      No, I totally get you. 

      I think part of it is the lead- thinking that if he’d never had that, he wouldn’t have the issues he has- even though we don’t know that for sure. And I see the things that he struggles with as what is hard for him but not really what makes him the person he is. So I think that if I could take that away, he’s still be the same kid- but just have things easier. 

  19. says

    I think you are a great writer. I too am a mom blogger and happen to have a child with special needs and like you I write to share, possibly help and connect with others and it is ultimately my release. Some may dislike my posts or methods but we are all different and so are our children and situations, I agree with you 100%. We must learn to respect each other and agree to disagree. 
    Charity Deleon recently posted..When they stealMy Profile

  20. says

    You’re not the Lorax, but you’re a good friend to many, and you share your space here with us. Through you, we learn, we commiserate, we laugh, we cry. Your voice gives us cheer and hope. 

    I think that’s much better than being a Lorax. :)
    Alison recently posted..Sons And DaughtersMy Profile

  21. says

    You may not be The Lorax but you definitely have a heart as big as his! You are always cautious and put a lot of thought into how you share your words. You speak your mind but are respectful. You share your story but don’t force it on anyone as how they should be living their life. I think that is why so many people love your blog. You are you and to me, that is just perfect…days that suck and all! xoxo
    Kristen recently posted..The Daylight Saving BluesMy Profile

  22. says

    Shell, I love you because you are son down to earth and honest and that’s what I can relate to. We’re all just telling our stories, and I think you do amazingly well when you’re sharing your stories about your son with special needs…it’s honest and heartbreaking and heroic all at once. 
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..Comfort…My Profile

  23. says

    Hi! I am new to this blog and new to this link up, but so far I love what I am reading! Sometimes it’s easy to feel alone as we go through the challenges of motherhood and marriage… but I am finding that my thoughts that I was so scared I would be judged for are actually pretty common!!! I want to read all of these posts… I wish I had more reading time! Thanks for providing such a great forum for us to bear our souls!
    Alexa recently posted..BiggerMy Profile

  24. says

    I’m not a special-needs mom, but I enjoy reading your posts to get a view, an understanding. And when I do read them, I’m aware I’m reading one person’s personal story/struggle/etc.
    You have a great way with words. And I’m appreciate it.
    Carolyn recently posted..My Snow WhiteMy Profile

  25. says

    This a such a beautifully written and heartfelt post Shell. Like many others have said, you have created an incredible and welcoming space here where we can come and share our stories. I always leave here with a new understanding, respect and/or perspective. Because you’re right – if we all share our stories, maybe we can have a little more compassion and less judgement.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Out of the waterMy Profile

  26. says

    You might not be the Lorax but the perspective we gain by you allowing us to look into your own life will indeed increase our compassion to others.  At least for those of us who are open minded enough to connecting our understanding to your words.  Keep up your good work.  We need it!  
    ilene recently posted..Please People! Leave Your Negligees at Home!My Profile

  27. says

    I always love your perspective on things. I’ve often heard the phrase “If you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism.”
    Robbie recently posted..Big RevealMy Profile

  28. says

    I love the way you write shell, and I love how honest you are. I love that sometimes I can relate because I am a mom of boys as well and I love that sometimes I see the differences in it all.. Keep on doing you! You rock!
    brittney recently posted..Woot Woot!!!My Profile

  29. says

    My sisters had all boys until this year.  She was a bit funny about changing my daughter’s diaper, because she was afraid of hurting her, you know, down there.  

    I can’t imagine being a mom of a kid with a certain condition.  The worst for us, so far, is our 3 year old needing speech therapy.   
    Lluvia recently posted..I Have Hungry Thighs!My Profile