She Couldn't Find Support As A Working Mom Raising Special Needs Kids — So Mia Durairaj Helped Create It

This mama says special needs motherhood is excellent leadership training. 

Mia Durairaj - Headshots 18.jpg


When my twins were born three months early with special health needs, I saw that the majority of the other special needs mothers around me were putting their careers on hold to take care of their little ones. I searched for books, podcasts or courses helping special needs parents navigate their careers and discovered that there nothing on the market. Literally: zilch.


I found this gap unacceptable. So I partnered with lawyer, entrepreneur, maternity leave expert, and mom, Lori Mihalich-Levin of MindfulReturn.com, to develop the e-course that I wished I had. As of this date, it is the first and only online program of its kind!


Our e-course, Mindful Return’s Balancing Career with Special Needs Baby, helps moms of special needs toddlers and infants gain confidence to return back to work— whether that means the c suite or running a side business during their child’s nap times. We also offer a private Facebook community, so that working moms can continue to network with each other after the course ends.


This is Mia….


Where do you live?

San Diego, CA


Your children’s names and ages

I have identical twin girls who are just shy of two. (Sorry! My husband and I have opted to keep their cute faces and names private.)


5 words that describe you

Warm, enthusiastic, bookish, curious, over-caffeinated 


How do your children inspire you?

My kids’ epic medical journeys have taught me to appreciate and savor all of the everyday good stuff that gives life its texture and flavor. I take care of what is on my plate each day, and I stress less about things I can’t control.


What is an activity your whole family likes to do together?

My husband plays guitar and I sing while the kids clap along or play with drums. It is pretty much as adorable as it sounds. 


How do you survive a tough day of parenting?

I reach out to members of my special needs mom posse to get emotional support and/or grab a beer. 


What is the one thing you wish people knew about your kids?

You don’t have to feel bad for our family because we have spent a lot of time at the children’s hospital. My disabled daughter is joyful and has developed beautiful relationships with an entire village of caregivers. We have a huge community rooting for us, and that is pretty awesome!


What is the one thing your kids can’t live without?

Their cardiologist. 


What is the one thing you would drive back to get if you forgot to bring out with your kids?

Black coffee (for me, not for them).


Do you make time for self care? If so, what is your self care ritual?

Yes! Most days I make a point of eating nutritious food, reaching out to at least one friend or family member, and practicing meditation. I try (and often fail) to practice good sleep hygiene. But when I have free time, I love going to the Korean spa. 


What is the last thing you purchased for yourself that made you really happy?

A library card. At $0 it was a bargain!


What advice would you give to a (new) special needs mom?

Your life is not over! And neither is your career. Be assured that special needs motherhood is actually excellent leadership training in disguise. The advocacy, negotiation, and delegation skills that the average special needs mom has to demonstrate in a given week is pretty baller. All of these make you a more desirable employee or business owner, not less. 


What quote do you live by?

“You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” — Chester Karrass 


Wolf + Friends exclusive! Get $25 off of the new Mindful Return’s Balancing Career with Special Needs Baby 4-week online course by using coupon code MindfulReturn25 at checkout.