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5 Things This Dad Wants You to Know About Parenting with a Disability

After a gunshot wound left him completely paralyzed from the waist down, Wesley Hamilton felt his life was spinning out of control. Confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, he battled health problems and severe depression. That is, until he won a contentious battle for custody of his two-year-old daughter and found inspiration in it.

“I wanted to be more of a father to this little girl,” Hamilton says. “I got sole custody of her for a reason.”

To be the best father he could be, Hamilton focused on fitness and nutrition. He saw exercise as a way for people with disabilities to push through the limits they had unconsciously set for themselves. A year later, he was lighter, both physically – he had lost 100 pounds – and mentally; and in 2015, he founded the Disabled But Not Really Foundation, a nonprofit organization promoting health, fitness, and wellness.

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“Once you start to see and do something that you never thought you could because of your physical limitations, you become empowered within yourself,” Hamilton says.

Hamilton then became a member at WeWork Corrigan Station in Kansas City in 2017, which he said opened lots of doors for him. His organization won $18,000 at WeWork’s Creator Awards, which allowed it to purchase equipment for its first adaptive fitness program.

Throughout his parenting journey, Hamilton realized that though the challenges around parenting with a disability are definitely there, it doesn't impact the quality of his parenting, not does it affect his child in a negative way. Quite the contrary, in fact!

Here are five things that Hamilton wants you to know about what it’s like to be a parent with a disability.

1. Your child doesn’t see you as disabled. “Your child doesn’t see a disability unless you show them, and that’s because their love for you is unconditional,” says Hamilton. “If you allow your disability to bring you down, your child will feel that. If you’re allowing yourself to be defeated by your flaws, they might allow themselves to be defeated by theirs.”

2. Having a disabled parent makes kids more accepting. “Having a disability actually opens up your child to seeing a whole new world of people,” he says. “They start to accept everyone else in the same way they accept you. My daughter has good friends that are kids with disabilities because she doesn’t see any difference.”

3. There’s no shame in asking for help. “We go to the grocery store together and my daughter’s pushing the cart, grabbing packs of water, throwing groceries into the cart,” Hamilton says. “I’m showing her that we can do this together. If we do need help, we don’t hesitate to ask.”

4. Being there for your kids is the most important thing. “Being in a wheelchair can prevent me from being able to take my daughter places or do certain things with her, but I’ve found different places that we can go together,” says Hamilton. “I can’t jump on the trampoline with my daughter, but me being there, smiling and laughing with her while she’s having fun, is the same thing.”

5. We can change the way the world looks at us. “When your child sees you doing what they thought you couldn’t, they gain confidence,” he says. “I do everything with my daughter. I learned to swim a few months ago just so I could get in the swimming pool with her. We have the power to change the way the world looks at us, and sometimes the power comes from our parenting.”

Charlotte Klein is an Editorial Intern at WeWork. She is a senior at Wesleyan University, where she studies English Literature and Creative Writing.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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