A few months ago I published a post (The Tyranny of Pathologizing our Kids) that has created a bit of commotion around certain parts of the internet. For the most part, I love me some good debate and, even if I get irked by certain comments, I can eventually let them slide off my back. But recently, there was one comment that has simply stuck with me.
I was called a mommy blogger.
Readers were encouraged to not listen to me because I’m just a mommy blogger, and they should consult a licensed medical professional or mental health worker.
My first impulse (which I didn’t follow) was to seethingly respond with all my credentials. To inform the commenter that I was NOT a mommy blogger, but a licensed therapist, national speaker, a soon-to-be published author, and someone who is actually considered to know a bit about mental health and the things of which I write.
And then, I caught myself and asked, wait . . . so what if I am a mommy blogger?! Does that make my voice less valid?!
Initially I was incensed by the ignorance of the comment and the patronizing dismissal of my well-earned credentials. But with thought, I became furious at the misogyny of dismissing a mom’s voice.
When did we decide that a mom’s wisdom is insufficient and less than an “expert’s”? In years past, a mom’s wisdom was sought after for healing, education, nutrition, guidance, everything. But now, a mom’s voice is patronizingly dismissed and minimized.
And don’t we see this every day? Parents voices aren’t honored in IEP meetings as strongly as the standardized test results and interpretations of the experts. A mom has to repeatedly advocate and prove that her child needs additional services before many doctors or educators or mental health professionals will listen, if they’ll listen at all. A mom who states, “my child is gifted” isn’t believed unless there’s outside verification. Instead, they’re labeled “that” mom and completely ignored or put down. A mom who refutes a diagnosis is ignored and believed to simply be in denial.
Just this past week I initiated a school conference which I attended with parents, gt coordinator, classroom teacher, and student services director. I provided insight to a particular student’s twice exceptionality and advocated for accommodations and acceleration. Within forty-five minutes a new academic plan was in the works. After the meeting, the mom said to me that she’d been asking for these same things for years and no one listened until a professional showed up.
Repeatedly, I tell parents that I can call and speak to whomever because, sadly, they’ll be more likely to listen to me than to a parent.
This is ridiculous. And here’s why:
I am a better therapist because I am a mom.
I understand 2e kids because I am a mom to one.
I provide more comfort and understanding to parents of differently wired kids, because I live it along with them.
I know gifted issues because I am a mom.
I certainly didn’t learn anything about gifted or 2e in grad school. The exams I needed to pass in order to be a licensed therapist had nothing on them about giftedness or twice exceptionality. I know this stuff, because I live it. Because I’m a mom who was blessed with 3 fringy kids and I needed to learn about all the fringy-ness to be their best mom.
Show me a mom with a differently wired child, and I’ll show you a woman who’s read and researched and learned and consulted ALL the symptoms, explanations, interventions (both conventional and less-than-conventional), treatments, short-term prognosis, long-term prognosis, etc, etc, etc. And I’ll show you a mom with more innate wisdom about her child than any other soul who walks this planet (dad possibly excluded).
So, all you moms who have been silenced or doubted or minimized or discredited because you didn’t have the “credentials”, stand firm and shout loud anyway. And all you dads who have women in your lives who have been silenced or doubted or minimized, get their backs. Support their mommy wisdom regardless of their formal educational background.
To the man who tried to shut me up because I’m "not qualified" . . . it’s not going to work. I’m a mommy blogger and I’m damn proud of it.