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  • Writer's picture1marthasmith

Controlled Explosion

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

(Photo credit and thanks to Brett Jordan, via Unsplash)

Sometimes, the hardest part of parenting is simply putting one foot in front of the other. Life can chew you up and spit you out and when your children rely on routines for safety, it can be incredibly difficult to peel off and let your emotions out in private. If you are their mainstay the pressure to not let your guard down in front of them is immense. But bottling emotions up multiplies them and, if left to fester, can lead to breakdown.

I am not a saint. If I am exhausted or I feel let down, if I've been hurt or disappointed or I am frightened, I find myself barking at the kids, unable to tap into the patience and calm that is essential for keeping everyone afloat. It isn't fair on them. In the case of my children, if I am under par it can lead to panic, obsession, meltdown, sleepless nights or, in the past, school refusal. The guilt that subsequently floods into me from raising my voice or snapping piles on top of the original injury and everything becomes huge. God it is hard to be human sometimes.

So what is the answer? Your guess is as good as mine. Parents like me are endlessly lectured on the importance of 'self-care', so much so that it can feel like another chore to either embrace or fail at. What we really need is less challenge, for things to run more smoothly, for people to stick to their word and do what they have promised to do. But life happens and it is impossible for families full of typical bodies and brains to avoid conflict and confrontation, let alone us. Sometimes all you can do is keep one nostril above water and if you need to drop the kids at school and scream your way home over ear-bleed music or go down to the bottom of the garden for a good howl, do it. Try to find time alone to feel like crap and grind through it because when the kids return you know you will plaster the smile back across your face, excuse the puffy eyes with some bollocks about an allergy and get on with whichever routine you need to follow next to keep everyone safe.

So for those of you who are struggling, all I can do is send you a virtual hug and the knowledge that I get it, I really do. And for those of you that live next door to me or might happen to drive past me on the way home from school, sorry (not sorry) for the racket, I'm just trying to keep myself afloat.



For anyone just starting out after a diagnosis, click here for my best attempt at some advice. Good luck x

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