I am blessed with three beautiful children, ages 12, nine and eight. Things are a little crazy at our house, but isn't it always with three kids?
My ability to parent as a person who is blind has come into question many times. Not because I'm not capable of raising my own children, but because people can’t understand how I can do it blind.
There is no reason why someone who is blind or partially sighted can't raise children if they so choose to. I believe it takes a village to raise a child, and this is the same whether you are sighted or not. Having a support system in place has been essential for me. My support system however, doesn't help me with the day-to-day care of my kids. They help with the things that are barriers to being blind. The main one is driving. I live in rural Saskatchewan and need to travel to appointments and to get groceries. This is hard with no public transportation in my community, so I need help with this.
Many people can't believe I don't have a nanny because I am blind. I don't need a nanny, my kids are not in any danger and never have been. Yes, I have had to do things a little differently, but this never affected my ability to be a good parent.
When the kids were toddlers they had to stay close to me when walking, or at the park they were not allowed to run away. We also established rules like: when mom calls your name you answer and come check in. Visiting places I was not familiar with, or in crowds, my kids benefited from my low vision because I was always right there playing with them, so that I could keep them in my view. Did they miss out when they were younger on all the things that toddlers and young children like to do? Not in the slightest.
When it comes to making sure they are safe in our home, I have established rules and we communicate all the time. When I ask a question the kids know that a head nod will not suffice and they must answer. They have also learned that mom can hear an eye roll in their voice and you will never get away with walking in the house with your shoes on!
There are things in the home that I have to ask for help with, but they don't affect my ability to parent. I ask my husband to measure out liquid medications and help me figure out the dosage. I also get my kids to help read instructions on foods or recipes, which has made us closer and teaches my kids new skills.
I'm just like other moms, we love baking cookies together. People's perception of what I am capable of is what makes it hard to parent, not my abilities.