Category: #ThisIsReal (page 2 of 4)

We Don’t Need a “Cure” – But Compassion & Tolerance Would Be Great Thanks.

This week I got a text message from someone I know alerting me to watch the news because apparently, they’ve found a cure for autism.

This really pissed me off. And here’s why:

Firstly; it’s really fucking insulting to tell someone who is living with autistic family members who they love and adore and who are made who they are in their essence by being autistic that they need curing. And secondly: well duh – there is no proven cure for autism, it is a permanent neurological condition.

I’m not saying that autism isn’t hard to live with. It can be hard on everyone. And it is, regularly. Every single day. But being autistic also gives each individual a unique ability to see the world in a way that no one else does.

And that makes it incredibly beautiful.

If my husband wasn’t autistic, he wouldn’t be the man I fell in love with. If my four year old wasn’t autistic she wouldn’t ask me, full of awe and wonder to “look at the magical way the leaves float off the tree” on windy days. If my eldest daughter wasn’t autistic she wouldn’t be the incredibly intuitive person I know and love her to be and she wouldn’t be twice exceptional.

So no, my family doesn’t need “curing” thanks. 

Perhaps it’s others who need a cure, but then is there even a cure for ignorance? I’m not sure there is.

Autistic people don’t need to be “managed”. Autistic people need the society they live in to be compassionate, understanding and willing to work at things from a different angle. Society needs to be more embracing of neuro-diversity and learn to see autistic people as strengths, not flaws.

They aren’t broken. But your perception totally is.

 

 

This Time It’s Me Who Is Attending Therapy.

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to post about my journey to better mental and emotional health on here but I decided tonight I am going to, because I want to push against those taboos surrounding this sort of stuff.

I’m sure to the unaware eye it appeared that I had a wonderful childhood. I was an only-child and I was pretty consistently showered with whatever things I desired. My childhood was far from wonderful however. It was fraught with abuse – emotional, physical, sexual and verbal. I was robbed of a lot of my childhood innocence that should have come automatically. I had to grow up way too quickly and coincidently I had to come up with many coping strategies that no child should ever have to learn to develop that young.

I’ve been in therapy on and off for oh.. probably about 20 years now. As a child I was shuffled back and forth to psychologists because instead of dealing with the issues at the core, I was managed around them. At  a guess I’d say I’ve seen over 30 different practitioners and specialists. It’s only been in the last six weeks though that I feel like I’ve finally made head way. Finally peeled back enough layers to discover and confront stuff that has been at the root of many recurrent issues that I’ve experienced as a young adult right into my journey as a mother and as a wife.

Six weeks ago I gave in to the nagging demands of my annoying beautiful wonderful most amazing friend and I found a therapist nearby and I committed to 6 recurrent sessions. Six sessions to face up to some shit that I really need help with, six sessions to commit to wading through it all in an attempt to heal somehow.

I’m only up to my third session of which was today and I’m just completely in awe.

It’s amazing really.

In the first session, I told my therapist that I did not want to be encouraged to do Mindfulness or anything like that. With all due respect to those who this works for, this stuff just isn’t my bag.

Don’t tell me to breathe and notice the colours around me, pick up on sounds and other shit like that when I’m barely managing to keep myself together. Don’t tell me to focus on everyday actions mindfully and integrate meditation into movement every day. Don’t. It’s trite and it isn’t realistic and it’s a joke.

 

 

So anyway. My therapist suggested we try Schema Therapy. And what is Schema Therapy? Well, it’s a form of cognitive psychotherapy based on the assumption that current negative methods of coping are rooted in past experiences. It is particularly useful when early childhood experiences have caused trauma to a person and it  addresses needs that have not been met in the foundation years.

A big part of schema therapy involves nurturing the inner child in the present. This means for me as an adult, seeking and finding the joy in childlike things as a way of healing. I find doing craft and art with my girls really fulfils this purpose.

So why is it amazing? Because it blows my mind just how much stuff that adults struggle with in their personal everyday life is connected to shit that they experienced in their childhood. Stuff that goes unresolved, stuff that hasn’t been dealt with and the impact of this on behaviour and habits as adults.

I guess this is what makes me a fierce Mama Lion when it comes to my girls. I guess this is why I talk about what it’s like to live with people who I love who are autistic. Because my girls lives and their experiences of their childhood rest solely on the way me and my husband parent them and bring them up. And I’m not going to ignore struggles and hope it goes away because that doesn’t help anyone long term. At all.

Going to therapy is hard. Fitting it in is hard. Talking about it is hard. Sorting through it all is hard. Adulting is hard.

But the thing is..

Childhood is a gift. It’s not a given.

Not everyone gets to experience a care-free childhood and I’ll be damned if even with the challenges that some of my daughters have, that they don’t. I want fun and frivolity to be a big feature in their lives while they’re young and it’s possible. I want them to grow up with a healthy in-tune mother who prioritises self-care so she can be a better parent to them.

I want to preserve their innocence as best as I can and I want them to actively search for joy – especially because I never got to.

 

 

An Ode To “I’m Tired”.

You know, I wouldn’t call myself perky. And I wouldn’t call myself positive or optimistic, either. My husband thinks I am an idealist, naive and precious in my views of the world at times. I dunno if I agree with him, I probably should because he’s mostly always right. Mostly. But I wouldn’t say I was negative, either. I’m snarky and sarcastic and I kind of lean on the dark side with my views sometimes – sure. Tonight I’m sitting here feeling just feeling……..tired.

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Tired of constantly preempting the next major cause for her to meltdown.

Tired of making plans to manage said inevitable meltdown as it comes crashing down.

Tired of having to explain myself to others.

Tired of talking about myself.

Tired of not talking about myself enough.

Tired of always having to come up with solutions and brainstorm new ideas.

Tired of feeling so stretched thin that I may break.

Tired of having to keep on going even when I am broken; because I can’t just “opt out” – no, now instead I have to keep going as broken which takes me three times as long but it still gets done.

Tired of having to schedule everything, all the time.

Tired of having to plan every finite detail.

Tired of no spontaneity.

Tired of feeling guilty for the times when there is no meltdowns but instead there is peace and yet I wish my other children would just go away and leave me alone and stop talking to me.

Tired of enduring ignorant strangers.

Tired of feeling alone.

Tired of feeling like a broken record.

Tired of feeling like I’m holding my breath during a burst of time where she isn’t screaming.

Tired of getting the wrong fork, spoon, bowl or failing to cut her pancakes correctly.

Tired of being her emotional punching bag because she trusts me most amongst all others; enough to let go and let it all out.

And yeah, I know it’ll pass. It’ll ebb and then flow. I know it’s even harder for her. And I’d never insinuate ever that my love for her is conditional. I’ll love her through all the curveballs that come her way, I’ll be her sounding board and her safe space. I’ll be there, encouraging her, celebrating her, holding her as she breaks down and I’ll be there building her up again. I will fight for her, I’ll advocate for the best of what life has to offer her.

So you don’t need to tell me to cheer up, hang in there, keep going. Because I will, and I don’t see any other option. I’m not asking for your pity, just your ear and consideration.

And you know, until you’re walking on eggshells day in day out, anticipating the next meltdown or wondering what is going to cause your child anxiety to the point of her having another meltdown.. when you’re fearful of what the hours upon hours of screaming everyday is going to do not only for her, but for her family – well, you just don’t know.

You don’t know what it’s like.

But if you do, because you’re riding this wave too – you can come to me. Come over. We’ll share ciders together on the kitchen floor in my house. You can cry first, and I’ll listen but then I’ll probably join you in crying. We can sit beside each other sharing our heavy sobs full of exhaustion together. And then we’ll pick our sweet asses up off the floor and we’ll keep on, keeping on.

But for now.. I’m just tired.

T I R E D.

 

Playdates Are Often Too Damn Hard, Here’s Why:

Playdates with special needs kids are hard. Meeting friends at the park is easier said than done. Most of the time no one really knows what goes on behind the scenes or why stuff is too tricky. And a lot of the time I honestly just can’t be bothered explaining the intricate and complex reasons why.

So I’m sorry.

I’m sorry we can’t come to the beach to hang out with you but the sand is too sandy and the sun is too bright. It’s all just too hard.

I’m sorry we can’t hang out today like we planned but my daughter has a paper cut on her finger and because she’s hypersensitive to pain she’s been alternating screaming and non-verbal shutting down all morning and and and yeah just no.

I’m sorry we can’t come out to meet you for morning tea but that’s nap time here and it’s the only time of the day that everyone is quiet (aside from night time) and not simultaneously losing their shit. And that time is sacred and I need it if I’m going to survive the rest of the day.

 

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yeaaaah. no.

 

I’m sorry we can’t meet you in the city to check out the museum but the dinosaurs terrify my daughter and the 3 hours driving with a car-full of car-hating children makes me want to rip my ears off with a spoon and throw them onto the highway.

I’m sorry we can’t meet you at the cafe at the shopping centre but the crowds, noise, bright lights and smells are enough to pretty much guarantee that even if my daughter manages to keep it together during lunch; I can pretty much say for certain she’ll be screaming from the minute we get in the car until long after we get home.

I’m sorry we can’t meet you at that park, but the grass is too tickly and it’s too close to the noisy road so my daughter will probably spend most of it verbally stimming and I won’t be able to hear what you’re saying anyway.

I’m sorry we can’t come to meet you at that playground but those toilets are too smelly and the bark hurts my daughter’s feet so she won’t actually go and play, she’ll just hang off my boob the entire time and why would I bother leaving the house for that, let alone put on pants?

I’m sorry, you can’t come over here with your four children. My daughters like to have their rooms organised just-so and there’s way too much pressure to do things “right” if we have friends over. The playdate will more than likely end abruptly because thresholds for coping will be pushed beyond their limits and I’ll get tired and overwhelmed and apologetic when really, I shouldn’t have put my girls in that position to begin with.

I’m sorry we won’t make it today. There were screaming meltdowns for 4 constant hours last night so today my aim is just basic hygiene and chocolate, pretty much. I don’t want to go into it, nothing can “fix” it and I just don’t want to talk about it. We all need to take it slower today and getting dressed and going in the car is just too much to ask.

I’m sorry, we can’t come to the playdate today. Because honestly I just don’t have the energy or inclination to be around more children and accommodate their needs when I barely feel like I can cope with my own somedays (most days). But I’d love to hang out one day without children!

Underneath it all I really do want to be friends. And I really like you! And truly many times I feel very alone, isolated and overwhelmed. So I hope we can make something work, some time. Please don’t forget about me or put my family in the too-hard basket. Because we are all awesome, honest. We just require a little extra patience and acceptance.

 

You Don’t Need To “Believe” Me. It’s Not a Story I Am Making Up.

Oh my god, seriously. If I had to count on my hand the amount of times someone has told me they didn’t “believe” in my children’s autism diagnosis I’d, well… I’d need another hand. Or five. I’ve ever had my husband’s autism diagnosis disputed numerous times (didn’t you know autism was the latest fad diagnosis?!). Seriously.

When we are out in public and my child is either anxious and on the verge of meltdown, or perhaps she is having a meltdown and you see me and I mention that she’s autistic and you tell me that she doesn’t “look” that way to you – you have no idea how much you’re silencing me, and her. Okay sure so maybe it’s because she’s so “high functioning” (wow I hate that term!) and perhaps it’s because she’s currently verbal but that doesn’t mean she isn’t autistic. Autism doesn’t have a “look” or an “appearance”. It is open, fluid. It is a spectrum and it spans far and wide. So if you see my child struggling whilst we are out and it didn’t occur to you that she’s autistic before this moment, it might be wiser not to say anything rather than question it in front of her. She is a person, a smart little person who hears and feels and thinks and she’s taking in the world around her; she’s listening.

Do you think I’m just making up her diagnosis? Do you think it’s just a nonsensical line I just flip out there because I can?

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Don’t. Just don’t.

Well I don’t.

And it isn’t.

It’s real.

And it’s not just a little bit of anxiety or “some quirks”.

It’s life-impacting and it affects her every single day of her life. It is always something we have in the back of our heads and if it isn’t actively being supported in every moment then it’s sure as hell something we are having to consider every other moment.

Going out to see friends. Going out to the shops. Going to the beach. Going to school. Going to a birthday party.

So maybe you see her getting upset, perhaps she’s screaming or maybe she’s repeating words. Perhaps she’s chewing on her clothing or maybe she’s escalated into the zone of no-return where she’s having a meltdown and nothing can help her except time.

It’s not a cry for attention. It’s overload. The noise hurts her ears. The lights are hurting her eyes. It is her reality. You seeing her now is seeing her for one fraction of her daily life. You don’t see her leading up to this event, or the after effects which can carry on for days after. That’s days of screaming. DAYS. I’m not talking about a tantrum where a child isn’t getting what she wants. I’m talking about an autistic meltdown which occurs when a child is so severely overloaded from external stimuli that she physically isn’t coping.

Oh, so you think her diagnosis is incorrect? Sure. Okay. Well, tell that to the specialist who spent extended periods of time assessing her and then giving her the diagnosis. I’m sure he’d be keen to hear your views. And I’d sure love to hear the strategies you can offer me.

The bottom line is: parents don’t get their children assessed as an act of attention seeking. Parents seek help for their children when daily life functioning becomes so hard and stressful because nothing they are doing is helping their child to cope and they want to help their child because they love their child. We parents aren’t being overbearing with our children, we are taking precautions and trying to navigate and pre-empt the many many hurdles our children will encounter.

And this is why I write about autism. Because I want other parents with special needs kids to feel less alone. Less like they’re a huge bundle of failure and more like we are all in this together, supporting our children so they can live their best life. It’s fucking hard – for everyone. So let’s not make it harder with ignorance.

This Book Changed my life.

Have you ever read a book front to back and have it absolutely rock the core of your foundations? Maybe it left you feeling mad, maybe it left you feeling sad. Perhaps you felt inspired after it, maybe it stirred up old memories.

 

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I read The Art Of Asking by Amanda Palmer over Christmas last year and I can say without a doubt that it changed my life. I encourage you to immediately buy it, and read it. And don’t worry – I’m not getting any renumeration for this suggestion.

Sooo.. the book is written by Amanda who is an artist who holds, still to this day, the highest record for a Kickstarter project. Her first album was produced through it. If you don’t know what Kickstarter is, it’s a website that allows creators, artists and the like to enable the general public to “back” their projects financially to bring them to fruition. You can contribute however small or large you want, and you get back a range of “goods” from it depending on your donation level. But it basically takes out the middle man and empowers artists, creators and thinkers to bring their much-esteemed projects to life and alive. Amanda got sick and tired of being ripped off by managers and brands who didn’t stand for her values, and if she hadn’t *put herself out there* she wouldn’t have been able to reap her own bounty – which was totally bountiful.

So why did this book change my life? Because it basically enabled me to give myself  a sense of worth. It taught me all about how we live in a society that seemingly undervalues art despite it being such a core element to all of our lives. Creative art; whether it be music, writing, visual art, poetry.. whatever – it is crucial to our connectedness as a society. The arts allow people to express, connect, relate, share stories, grow, develop, learn. It secures within us bonds that stop us from feeling alone. But it is highly undervalued. It’s painted as luxurious to read a book, or attend theatre or paint a picture.. much less charge someone to buy your poetry, painting or book. However the merits of the arts aren’t at a higher cost than say, science. They’re different, but both still incredibly important.

Reading this book prompted me to begin this blog, and commit to writing in it regularly. It gave me permission to put myself out there, and to ask freely of the universe to support my dreams. And over the last seven months the gains that I have received from just my writing alone has been absolutely transformative. The people I have met, the messages I have received.. nothing short of incredible.

We really do only get a chance to live our lives once. And at the risk of sounding incredible corny and perky (gosh I can’t stand perky people!); if you want something but are too afraid to ask for it.. well, it’s not gonna happen. You’ll sit there and stew with resentment, you’ll teeter over the edge of anxiety but nothing will actually change if you don’t make the first move. Whatever you’re striving for – you don’t have it now anyway, so you have nothing to lose by simply asking.

I’ve learned that people are generous and compassionate with their time and experience. They want to share, and connect with likemindedness. It’s a beautiful journey I’m on, and I’m so grateful to be on it and discover where it’ll take me.

So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

The Con Of “Busy”

I’m a pretty stubborn individual by nature. I’m sure my husband will snort in agreement that I painfully have to find out things for myself the hard way. I’m a “do-er” and I have always found it hard to sit still. But over the last year or so, observing people within my family keeping themselves so busy to the point of their own detriment, I decided it was time for a change.

 

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{source}

A few months ago I made the decision to Plan For Nothing. That is, every single Monday – after I have dropped my big girls at school, the smalls and I come home and we do Nothing until pick up time that afternoon. Of course – we don’t actually do nothing. They chill, and I potter around the house, mostly.  There are no expectations, there is no rushing, there is no busy. One sacred day a week every week we have a dedicated time to be slovenly and not be constrained by a continuous stream of outstanding commitments. We are free to just be.

 

It is my strongly held belief that we live in a society that glorifies busy.  But is this good for us? So many people are known to stuff their schedules with so many commitments that I’m not sure they even enjoy how they’re spending their time at the end of the day. Running from one appointment to the next without so much as drawing breath.. I’m not convinced it’s the best thing for us.

 

That’s not to say that the experiences that are available to us aren’t worthwhile. But it’s more that the constant treading water that comes from the apparent inability to slow down or say no just leaves us feeling, well… exhausted.

 

I know I’ve fallen victim to the con of busy myself. I’ve packed my days with so many jobs and commitments that by the end of the day all I feel is sheer relief that the day is over which leads me to ask then; what is the point? If we can’t even pinpoint times throughout our days where we were able to just sit and breathe, just be with ourselves – are we really doing the right thing?

 

I’m sure some will protest and say that busy days are unavoidable – stuff has to get done, and there’s only so much time to do it in. And yeah sure, I agree. *Some* busy days are. But when it turns into the majority of the days in our week that leave us feeling out of breath I think it’s time to stop and think for a moment.

 

Why are some of the most simple things in life like having a cup of tea undisturbed regarded to be such a luxury? Why do parents feel ridden with guilt over saying “no” to outings, commitments and catch-ups? Why do we feel that our best lives are the ones that are stuffed to the absolute brim with stuff that needs doing?

 

Because you know.. just being is doing something, too. Just being is recalibrating, just being is resting, just being is restoring. We can’t run on empty. But we frequently do; which inevitably leads to burn out and illness. And the moments of being at home despite being apparently regarded as “not doing anything” actually are doing something and those moments are just as valuable.

 

So I encourage you to contemplate this, and hear me out. Don’t glorify busy: glorify slow. Pay close attention to the undervalued art of doing nothing, and do it without guilt and joy. Revel in it. Even schedule it in, if you must! Because those times of stress-free, cup-filling, meandering nothingness will sustain you for the rest of the week. The self-care you give yourself will reward you and who knows – you may even begin to do it more than just once a week!

Parenting Is So Glamourous {& So Bullshit}.

I’ve had the kind of week that has been so filled with shit, vomit and laundry that I kind of don’t even know where to begin with saying anything other than it’s been well.. shit.

 

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My husband (sorry who is this man again? I vaguely recollect him despite not actually having slept beside him all week as he kipped on the couch due to being on gastro-watch) and I have been parrallel-parenting: he’ll be managing a few of the girls while I am dealing with the others or attempting to get on top of more washing; in between catching vomit and wiping up splattered toilet bowls. Having to reach around and hold a bucket of vomit whilst being the passenger in a car driving on a highway was a highlight, as was stopping four times on the way home to empty only for her to purge again. and again. and again. and again. Oh and after a few days of reprieve, trying to teach a 2 year old how to spew into a bowl was a pointless endeavour by the way; I ended up giving up – stripping her off, turning up the heater and letting her hurl into a fresh towel each time the poor poppet. Ugh.. sometimes parenting is absolutely revolting. Okay, actually a lot more than we all seem to let on I think. At least our two bigs know how to aim and project into a bowl or a toilet. BLEURGH.

It’s been pretty hard not to get caught up with melancholy over the seemingly endless rounds of illness that have been circulating our family this past month. The sooner we get over one thing, another child brings something else home and then we are managing that. I could pretty much sum up my life in four words from this last week: laundry, dishes, sick and cooking. Actually.. isn’t that just every week?!

It’s pretty hard not to become a cynical sarcastic snark when this sort of cycle just keeps perpetuating. {Oops actually I think that happened a long while ago already…} And it’s almost the end of term and my girls are tired and so am I. They’re ready for a break in the school/home/school/home deal and I wish I could say that I look forward to holidays as they’re relaxing but no.. mostly they just end up being filled with many meltdowns thanks to the change in routine despite my best efforts to create one, and, well.. constant bloody mess.
Thankfully Cj has some time off work during them so we will attempt to do cliched family things like go for walks together as a family and stuff but truthfully I’ll just be taking the moments wherever I can to sneak off and run ‘errands’ that involve hot chips and a book at my favourite cafe, after op-shopping alone – that is. Totally essential and important of course.

I hope your darling children who I bet are no doubt tired as well, manage the next few weeks of term as best as they can. I know it’s hardcore at the moment. And I’m hoping that you’re taking time out for yourself; even if that means exaggerating the truth sometimes – because that’s okay. If anything I’ll be thankful for the time spent out of the car and more spent in open spaces; space to clear our heads and move our bodies more organically.

Somehow, beach therapy always helps me a great deal and if it offers a wider distance between my children howling at each other and offers less crap for them to spread throughout the house and fight over.. then we’re already winning.

How Do I Feel? Like I’m Being Split In Two.

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I took this photo of myself as I sat in the passenger side seat of our car this morning; while our daughter screamed. My husband was attempting to help her navigate the current problem she was experiencing and help her, and I sat there with my head pushing into my hand – staring out the window, numb.

Things have been hard lately. I am pretty sure I’ve been saying that for about 3 years if I’m totally honest. Having an autistic husband and two autistic girls puts me in the position of being able to educate, inform and raise acceptance. And I will tell you that autism expands my world and it broadens my thinking, because it does. But what I won’t tell you always is that it feels like I’m being pulled in diagonally opposite directions. That it feels like I am trying to be broken from two directions at the same time. I won’t tell you this though mostly because then I have to go into more detail and explain and most of the time – I just simply have no energy.

The pulling in two directions isn’t my child versus me, no. It’s not some battle I am having with my child. It’s all me actually. One half of me is giving up, throwing my hands into the air with utter despair and shouting “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! I GIVE UP!”. This half of me feels beaten, sad, emotionally void with nothing left to give. The other half of me however is the perky little birdie on my shoulder,  annoying as all hell. It’s telling me I can keep trying, that it’s okay and that things will get better.

It’s a constant push/pull.   C O N S T A NT . 

It’s very hard for me lately to feel anything but desolate isolation and utter defeat. I’m pretty sure my child has screamed about 10 hours this week, in total. That’s over five days. She screams and flops onto the floor rolling around with her hands in her ears, I walk over & scoop her up in my arms and place her in her room (where she has her tools to self-regulate) to stop my other children being scared and frightened by her behaviour, she inevitably comes out again and we repeat the cycle until she finally calms herself and we can then problem solve together. All the while I am having to remain calm and keep myself together because I know she isn’t doing this by choice and I don’t need to burden her with my hurt or exasperation which she isn’t causing on purpose or with intent.

I feel beaten. I feel broken. I feel like I should be able to help her but yet she’s still screaming. We have small moments of calm but mostly it’s us trying to fumble our way through our lives with a tiny sense of normality and purpose and direction amidst all the chaos. And when there is calm, we are often pre-empting the next challenge – too scared to enjoy it. This isn’t even taking into account my other children’s needs that demand to be met or that of my own; or even that of my marriage.

I can so hear she’s struggling and I am constantly trying alongside my husband and our support team to find ways to make her life easier, and enable her to help herself and cope better. I don’t want to see her so upset, confused and overwhelmed. But I would be lying if I said that sometimes it gets to the point of irrationally not caring anymore and I fantasise about driving off. That’s when the stupid annoying birdie on my shoulder tells me to dig deeper, have a break and keep trying. And I do.

I’ve got to hope that things will get better. I know she’s young and she’ll learn how to self-regulate and won’t constantly dump all her problems in my lap. And I know some days will be absolutely crap and for me, sometimes it’s easier just to feel the feels and honour them… and then get back on track.

I feel like some days I am the most boring person ever. Complaining about how hard our lives are, how tired we are, how little time my husband and I actually get together and then when we do it’s mostly sitting in silence and not talking because we are so tired and run down from constantly talking, constantly trying to problem solve and come up with ideas that may help.  I feel frail and fragile, like a spider’s web caught out in a storm with only remnants remaining afterwards but desperately still clinging on to what grounds me.

And then other days I have a fire in my belly, a rhythm to my step and I pound my way through my day leaving marked tracks so others can follow. In those days I am a warrior woman, fighting for my child, pushing as her advocate and making myself known. I won’t give up and I won’t be quiet.

But god, would I love some nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuff To Do When You Feel Like Quitting Motherhood.

You know the days I am talking about. There’s constant bickering, constant mess. You seriously feel like you have been pushed way beyond your limit numerous times over and you’re scraping the bottom of your coping strategies.

 

this is my "happy happy joy joy joy" expression. truly.

this is my “happy happy joy joy joy” expression. truly.

But alas, dear Mama. You can keep on. Here’s a list of stuff I do when I feel like throwing in the towel that actually helps.

  1. Get Some Sun On Ya Skin. 
    Even to just sit with a cup of tea or some fruit on the deck while the kids climb all over you – getting outside can help keep perspective. Or bundle them all into the car and go and toss a frisbee. It’ll help. Trust me.
  2. Don’t Stress About Food.
    Sometimes the demands for food seem never ending. It gets to the stage where you end up asking yourself “really? they have to eat AGAIN?”. So take the pressure off. Eggs are fine for dinner. Or slow cookers are great for bunging stuff in and walking away and letting it cook and sure most of the time the food all kind of tastes the same but hey it’s one less battle you have to fight. Although curries are really nice in the slowie.  If all else fails, get some pizza in. But hot chips with chicken salt are our favourite for the nights cooking is just not happening (okay so like, at least once a week).
  3. Go Out.
    I realise that asking you to leave the house when your children are making you crazy seems like a big ask but sometimes just getting out and having a break from the mess, fighting and turning circles can be just the ticket in order to refresh and reboot. Bugger the housework, take the kids somewhere beautiful and reconnect. Fenced parks or the beach are usually my favoured locations; preferably after I have gone past a drive-through coffee shop on the way.
  4. Embrace the Screens.
    We have quite highly moderated screen-time rules in our house but I believe that on days when it’s all gone down the crapper, it’s okay to relax the rules a bit. Think of the iPad or iPod as a “tool” and sometimes you need to use certain tools more than others. If the screen will buy you enough time to lay in bed and recharge for an hour or even half an hour so you can then be a better parent; then go for it.
  5. Check Out Pinterest.
    Okay this sounds totally cliched and trite I realise but I’m being honest here when I say that Pinterest is an awesome tool to use when you’re struggling. On there you can search under boards for simple ideas to keep the kids entertained ranging from DIY craft projects that can be done outside, to even something as simple as a free printable colouring in page. And there’s heaps of recipes on there too so if making 3-minute chocolate mousse is your answer to a more peaceful household then get to it! I love using Pinterest as a resource for fine motor activities, craft and sensory play ideas. I also pin many recipes on there as well as shit I’d love to buy but probably won’t ever afford. It’s fun. You can follow me here.
  6. Do Some Meditation and Yoga. 
    My personal version of meditation involves eating a packet of Doritos in the bathtub with the door closed and locked while my children think I’m “cleaning” but if you wanna do the real thing, that’s cool too. And despite me actually fitting in yoga about 4-5 times a week (I set my girls up with food, pink-tea and craft and then hit the mat and go for as long as I can manage), what I am really getting at here is – take some time for you. Whether it’s authentic time or you can also borrow my version of meditation if you like. But honestly yoga really does help. I do Adriene’s videos on youtube.
  7. Don’t Ask For Time Out – Just Take it.
    A simple rephrasing of “Can I have some time alone?” to “I’m going out for an hour, seeya later.” is all it takes. If you’re an awesome single parent, think about who you know would be willing to help you out and if you just totally cannot leave your children with someone then set them up with some food, give them a screen and go and do something you love just for you for half an hour. Or take them to the park and spend the entire time you are there with them on your phone. Hey, no judgement from me at all. Let the kids know before you arrive that the deal is they play: you phone. If they don’t play to the rules then it’s home time again.

I hope this list helps a little. I’d love to hear any other ideas you have. Please don’t feel bad for wanting some time out. Parenting is really fucking hard if you’re doing a good job, because that means you care enough about your children to keep trying harder. If you weren’t trying it would be easy, and they’d probably be a lot worse off. They value you and love you, so try and model self-care because you’re allowed to look after yourself, too.

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