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When Parents Fall

I fell hard last night, you guys. It’s really hard for me to admit that.

The last couple of weeks have been rough for Connor at school and the after-school program. Without getting too specific, his hyperactivity has been out of control. Every task, Every. Single. Thing., has required herculean efforts of wrangling him to get it done.

Day after day of negative reports, coupled with another day of homework struggles was enough for me to snap. I left the room sobbing and shut myself in the bedroom. Hubs was working late again, but was on his way. I told Connor I needed a time-out, which was an understatement.

One of my personal challenges is black-and-white thinking. When upset, I tend to see things in a worst-case-scenario kind of way. “If I can’t fix this, it will never get better and his future is doomed.” It’s not rational, logical, or helpful. But when I get that far into my emotional response, logic doesn’t matter.

Really, I don’t care for being emotional. I’m generally pretty stoic about things, because I know that progress can only be made by being calm and focused. But everyone has a breaking point.

I reached out to a group of friends that share this kind of parenting journey with me. Within minutes I had numerous text messages and phone calls. I cried, ranted, and unloaded every sad, angry, and hopeless thought I had. And I wasn’t judged. Nor was I given false hope. Instead, they took each piece of me, dusted it off, and put it back into place. They reminded me of what I needed to do to keep moving; call a school meeting, move up the doctor’s appointment, make some accommodations for homework. And without doing it intentionally, they reminded me that there were so many families out there facing far tougher challenges than I am.

There was never any danger that I would have hurt myself or anyone else, but my “breakdown” lasted about an hour, before slowly starting to dissipate. Today I’m left wondering what happens to people that don’t have someone they can call, someone who understands their unique challenges? What about those that are dealing with a situation far more extreme than mine?

Today I’m back to being stoic as I make phone calls and plans to address the issues. But I’m still worried about you guys. Do you have someone you can call if things get bad? Do you have a safety net if you start feeling like it’s too much to handle?

Here are some general numbers of support. Please put these in your phone, or hang it on your fridge. Don’t let yourself get caught in a bad emotional storm without a life jacket or two.

help numbers

One last thing. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that online friends aren’t “real” friends. Some of my best, most precious friendships are with people I’ve never met in person.

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About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

17 responses »

  1. You did the thing you knew you needed to. THAT is not a parenting fail at all, lady. That’s a BIG WIN. Tip of the hat and a hug to you.

    Reply
  2. You did all the right things and you put yourself together again, That is always a feat. Many hugs and my best wishes.

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  3. I’ve been in that bedroom on a crying jag that left my chest heaving and mascara rivers on my face. Kudos for recognizing you needed the time out. And how wonderful to then reach out and be embraced. Our journey is so much easier when others come along. All the best!

    Reply
  4. It wasn’t until I went through a really rough patch about 18 months ago that I realized how small my support network was. The REAL support, true friends who were there, listening not judging, and truly got it. I learned quickly that u needed my net to be stronger. The online friends and community I’ve found in the last year are great support. So glad you’ve got a great network and have picked yourself back up. Hang in there!

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  5. I love the idea of a mom time-out. I could have used one today. Thank you for the wonderful idea.

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  6. What you did yesterday, and what you did here – very, very brave lady. I got your back, Mama. But, not your front. That would be weird.

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  7. Thank you for this. It struck a chord with me.

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  8. I have been in this war of ASD with our 8 year old son for 1 year now. Not that he was not ASD before…I just hadn’t known what it was until last year. I was the PTA President for years, a business owner, and the cotton candy spinner of the world. Now, I am a special needs parent. I closed my business because I worked from home. I needed a place to hide. I went to work and Hubby became the stay at home parent. There are days that the boy sucks, life sucks, Hubby sucks….and I find those I can lean on….and it’s not who I thought it would be. Parenting an ASD child shows you who your friends are and who they aren’t.

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  9. Good job. It sounds like it you handled it perfectly. You removed yourself from the situation as much as you could, you reached out for support.

    You can’t fix it, you can only do your best. Expecting to do more than your best will make you not be your best….as parents of autism, we need to be at our best. To expect yourself to not lose patience and panic every once in a while would be expecting the impossible.

    Be kind to yourself.

    Reply
  10. You didn’t fall, Flannery. Falling is giving up. You realized your cup was running over and asked for help. You got things back on track after a stumble. You got this and I’m proud of you for the way you handled it.

    Reply
  11. You are very lucky to have that support. I am still looking for mine. Hugs to you:)

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  12. I cried a lot reading this. What you don’t say, and you never do, is how much you’re there for everyone else. You’ve picked me up when I was a total broken mess, brushed me off, and sent me on my way time and time again.

    The best part about autism is this community. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this last month especially without you, Flan.

    Reply
  13. Been there, lived to tell about it. Thank you for sharing, so many of us are in the same boat.

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  14. Had my time out just last night, actually. Not before an especially egregious lapse in composure directed at my MiniMe, but I checked it, and reached out. This really resonated with me today, thanks for keeping it real.

    Reply
  15. Hey, thanks for posting this! I have a little cry to myself sometimes when I’m chopping onions so no-one sees me having a moment of weakness, hehe 😉

    Reply
  16. I am so glad that you have that resource of friends to fall back on at times like this. ❤

    Reply

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