If you’re a mom with anxiety or depression, have kids with anxiety, SPD, OCD, ASD, ADHD or other “invisible” challenge like that…I get you. I normally write about decluttering, and that’s because I’ve found it to be a chip away at this big huge thing called stress in my life. Minimalism helps a bit…but sometimes, you need more than a less messy home. Today started with massive meltdowns (school library book lost; world is ending! socks are uncomfortable! can’t function!), the kind that make your ears ring, and then homework ended with more meltdowns (I can’t read! Too hard! [i.e. if kid can’t do it perfectly doesn’t want to try]). I’m SO tired.
If you can relate, and also if you can’t and are having judgy thoughts about how I should be disciplining my kids, please read this article by Dr. Koslowitz entitled The Burnout We Can’t Talk About; Parent Burnout . It addresses parenting the neurodiverse child, and I love this quote:
“The world misunderstands challenging children, and it’s up to us to explain them to everyone. Simple tasks, like getting our kids on the school-bus, to brush their teeth, or to eat dinner become massive jobs requiring Herculean effort. Homework time with kids isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. Try doing homework with a child who erases every letter that isn’t shaped perfectly, or who can’t stick to a task for more than three minutes straight. Then multiply a few siblings, who just have the neurotypical struggles and life demands. Add in some soccer practice, maybe a boss asking for some at-home work and throw in a toothache for good measure. For some people, this would be a nightmare. For others, it’s just called ‘Tuesday.’ ”Dr. Robyn Koslowit, The Burnout We Can’t Talk About; Parent Burnout
Did you know parents high in empathy have a greater likelihood to burnout? Dr. Koslowitz also wrote an article that to me demonstrates why parents need to have a great support system and should feel it is normal and good to seek counseling. She quotes another in her article as well, saying, “Mikolajczack and collaborators posited that high levels of emotional intelligence can contribute to burnout because they consume resources needed for self-regulation. If a parent is in need of some self-care, but her child’s distress signals are magnified by her excellent emotional intelligence, she might neglect her self-care in favor of caring for her child.”
I think the above is why the mommy wine-culture happens…but I want to do things a healthier way. So I have family systems counseling tonight. It helps find areas of stress in a family and reveals ways to cope better. Before counseling, I was at the end of my rope, because I couldn’t see things improving. But they have, I just needed to have someone who understands our family’s challenges non-judgmentally point out ideas I wasn’t able to discover despite my zealous reading efforts.
If you’re under unbearable amounts of stress, there is hope for improvement, even in rough times like this. Don’t try to do it alone. Reach out to a trustworthy family member or friend who is good at listening, or if you have insurance check if it covers tele-health (online counseling.) Also, you can text https://www.talkspace.com like Michael Phelps and Demi Lovato are bringing awareness to. Not every moment in life is supposed to be easy or enjoyable. But it doesn’t have to be so hard that you dread the future like I used to. Take care of yourself, Momma.