I don’t think it’s a secret that I’ve been struggling lately.
And this struggling has made me very…angry, annoyed, sad, tired, etc., etc., etc.
I find myself in sensory overload often. Too often, honestly.
If you’ve never experienced sensory overload it’s where there just tooooo many sensory things happening: too much sound, too hot, too tight of clothes, too many smells, whatever your trigger may be.
For me, it’s usually sound.
I’m one of those annoying people who has music going almost constantly: at work, at home, in my car, anywhere and everywhere. But for some reason lately,
I just can’t.
For example, I had to hide in my bedroom for awhile this weekend, because I was watching something on my phone, and so was my husband across the room, plus he had the football game on, plus our kids were bouncing around and scream/playing.
I just couldn’t handle it. It was making my skin crawl, my heart was beating too loud, and I just wanted to scream at all of them–and the whole world, really–to shut the fuck up!
I teach in a high school. I can handle noise.
Except lately, I can’t.
And do you know what makes this so, so much worse?
My five year old has ADHD.
For those of you unfamiliar with ADHD, one of the frequent symptoms, particularly in the hyperactive (or combined, which G has) type, is that they make noise.
For Griffin, this was one of the first clues for those of us familiar with ADHD and G. He talks. All. The. Time. I know a lot of parents feel like that about their kids, but recently, we went to a town 25 minutes away for a chiropractor appointment, and Griffin talked to me from the time we got into the car, until my appointment, and the whole way back. Anything and everything. Rambling on and on. Didn’t care that I wasn’t actively engaging in the conversation, just talked.
Another thing, is that he just makes noise sometimes. Sound effects. Random songs. Banging things together. Whatever. Noise.
And, the most familiar characteristic of ADHD, the moving: fidgeting, jumping, squirming, readjusting, up and down. All of which comes with sounds as well.
All. The. Sounds.
G and I had a lot of one on one time last week, and I found myself burnt out on the sounds. I texted Nate and was like, “I can’t do this.”
I feel like the worst mom on earth, because I get so frustrated with my son who can’t help who he is.
Like, beating myself up over this. And, of course, because I’m a mom with anxiety who has a child with a diagnosed “disorder” wondering what could have changed that: if I’d drank less coffee? Watched less tv? Didn’t crank the music in the car when I was pregnant/he was little/now? Did we start tv too soon? Etc. Etc. Etc.
Then, I was talking to my friend about the endless amount of homework we were doing because G missed a day of school last week, and I was like “Thank God he’s smart, because I would go crazy if he struggled.” (Because I am a teacher, but I can’t teach kindergarten, or any elementary school age. It’s not my skillset, I can’t rationalize or ask them if they understand my references. I don’t know how elementary teachers do it, but God bless them.)
And, even though I hadn’t said anything about my dark thoughts this past week, my friend responded perfectly. “You were made to be his mother, nobody can do better than you.” She went on to say that while she loves kids (is our daycare provider) that 24 hours a day with a kid with ADHD would make her struggle too.
When I confided that I had a day recently where I thought Griffin deserved better, she reminded me that he was given to me, he doesn’t need perfection, just me: showing up, loving him, trying my best for him, apologizing when I fuck up.
Which I do. On the regular.
While I can’t promise I’m not going to get annoyed, overwhelmed, or crabby with my children, I do know that I love them more than anything. More than I ever knew was possible. I brag them up whenever I can, and am so proud of who they are.
So yeah, far from perfect, but God gave me these babies so that I could help them and, realistically, so that they could help me too. I’ll guide them, help them grow; they’ll help me grow, and (hopefully) become a more patient, better version of myself.