Meet Dolores Collins, a single mom of two daughters (both with intellectual disabilities), Dolores is passionate, outspoken and resilient.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I am perceived as very emotionally strong, but I am actually a very sensitive person.
What are you passionate about?
My God, my two daughters, my academic accomplishments, my job, and the Dandy- Walker Alliance, which brings awareness to my oldest daughter’s disorder, which is a Dandy-Walker variant.
How has motherhood changed you?
I’ve matured quickly because I was blessed with a daughter who was born with a brain malformation and another daughter with a severe anxiety disorder. I’m more responsible than I’ve ever been in my life and can’t see myself anywhere but where I am today.
How do you banish stress?
I get silly with my kids and we just start cracking up! If I am not in their presence, I pray. Prayer helps me change my self-talk and that helps me view stressful times from a more positive perspective.
What inspires you?
My two beautiful daughters inspire me. My oldest, LaKaya, has disabilities but she shines everyday with not a worry in the world. My youngest, Jasmine, has Selective Mutism but her faith and support from her family and teachers keep her in positive spirits. They are both honor students in school and keep very positive attitudes.
Along with your job as a mom, do you have other employment, either in or outside of the home? If so, what do you do?
I have a wonderful job as a Highly Qualified Paraprofessional for Moore Public Schools. I assist students with assignments, supervise students in instructional settings, off-campus activities and during noninstructional activities, and attend in-service training in Special Education to keep up with new policies and procedures.
What do you like most about your job?
I love being the person who is making a difference in a child’s academic career. I’ve always had respect for the Paraprofessionals who have worked with my daughter in the school settings over the years, but now I have a new respect for them.
What’s on your wish list?
I would like to have the money to take my girls on an amazing vacation. They deserve it and so do I. They never complain and they help me out so much.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud that I have raised two of the most selfless, caring, beautiful (both inside and out) girls in the world. I am proud of myself because I’m the first one in my family to graduate from college—and I was at the top of my class.
What motivates you?
My motivations are my girls and my determination. I want to be an amazing example to them of how your circumstances do not have to define you.
How do you find balance in your life?
I find balance through prayer and spending quality time with my girls. I love to see them happy and content; it makes me feel like I am truly doing right by them.
Advice for other moms?
Always ask yourself, “Is this going to benefit my children?” If your answer is yes, and it is not benefiting for selfish reasons, then you are doing the best you can do as a mom.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from California but moved here with my now ex-husband about four years ago.
What’s the biggest challenge in your life?
My biggest challenge is knowing that my mistakes can have a major impact on my children’s lives if I am not careful with how I deal with my circumstances. I am separated and going through a divorce with their father. I am careful to think before I say or do anything that may hurt them. Because he lives far away, they seldom see him, so I am careful when anything comes up that has to do with him.
How do you help others?
I help others by giving my time and providing my knowledge of how to help children who may have special needs and need certain services. I am an advocate for my children in the school system as well as other areas of their lives.
What is your parenting style?
Respect and appreciation are huge rules in our household. During the week, before anything else, homework comes first. We always pray and eat dinner together and ask one another about our day. My girls are sheltered, but not suffocated.
Favorite advice about motherhood?
Being a mother is the greatest gift God can give you. Embrace and nurture your gifts from God and don’t take them for granted. They are not your possessions; they are your children. Our children are precious and should be shown this on a daily basis.
Quick Facts about Dolores:
1. What 5 words describe you? Dependable, persevering, resilient, knowledgeable and advocate
2. What is your favorite indulgence? I enjoy movies; I am a big movie fan and have a collection of over 2600 movies.
3. What can’t you live without? My girls, I love them so much and love being around them.
4. What’s always in your handbag? I don’t carry a handbag, but I can’t live without my phone. It has my calendar and the alarms are always going off for what I need to be doing and when.
5. What’s your favorite family outing? Feeding the ducks in Bricktown.
Mari Farthing is the editor of MetroFamily Magazine.