Warrior Mixer Initiative
Imagine being dropped unexpectedly in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, you have no Google maps, and you’re all alone. Sometimes I wonder if that’s how my mom felt when my brother was diagnosed with intellectual disabilities in 1963. There was no road map to guide her on the path. The doctors gave her a diagnosis but no instructions to follow. However, the worst part may have been how very alone and isolated she felt until she finally met other parents in similar circumstances. Fortunately for Tulsa mothers of kids with disabilities, there is a group ready to welcome them.
Beginning with the need for a connection with other mothers of children with disabilities, the Warrior Mixer Initiative started in January 2019. I recently spoke with Lauren Pool, one of the group organizers, and she told me how beneficial the monthly nights out have been for her and the other moms. There is often no time for socializing when you’re a busy mom. When you’re the mom of a child with disabilities, your time is often even more stretched with additional caregiving responsibilities. There are therapies, appointments, IEP meetings, and medical visits beyond the ordinary scope. Despite the busy schedules, being a mother to a child with disabilities can sometimes feel lonely. To have the opportunity to meet and connect with other women in similar situations is priceless.
Parenting a child with disabilities is life-altering and a path that takes most by surprise. It’s normal to have a wide range of emotions, including denial, grief, depression, sleep deprivation, and loneliness. Of course, there are also joys and blessings along the way, but it doesn’t help to sugarcoat the difficult feelings. It only creates guilt and further isolation to deny that there are challenges on this journey also. Having friends who share similar life experiences makes it easier.
Lauren said that the Warrior Mixer Initiative provides the opportunity to form friendships with other moms of kids with high needs. It also is a group that can talk about diagnoses, share resources and information, and provide support to one another. There are many diagnoses under the umbrella term “disabilities,” and meeting together is a chance to learn about different types of disabilities and gain an understanding of what others are going through.
Although there are differences, there are also shared experiences. Who else can comprehend the magnitude of the day-to-day responsibilities better than another mother with a child with disabilities? Another mother of a child with disabilities is able to appreciate the feelings and emotions involved. Although others may try to be compassionate, sometimes it takes another mother of a child with disabilities to truly empathize.
Warrior Mixer Initiative Meetings
On a more superficial level, the Warrior Mixer Initiative is a fun night out without spouses or children. Who doesn’t need a good girl’s night out occasionally? There was a pause during the pandemic, but the group is now ready to resume monthly gatherings. Each month the group meets in locally-owned restaurants.
This Monday, April 3rd, the group will meet at District Burger in downtown Broken Arrow at 6 p.m. Any female caregivers, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, or guardians of people with disabilities are welcome to attend. If anyone would like more information, don’t hesitate to contact Lauren George via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t need to feel alone or isolated on this journey as a parent to a child with disabilities. Come join others at the Warrior Mixer Initiative!