In our house, breaking means – you can no longer pull it together.
For my twin babies, it means throwing your body dramatically on the ground because you aren’t allowed to eat the remote control. For my daughter with special needs, it means an absolute meltdown because the legs of your doll are bending or even worse, the strings of your headband are uneven.
My version of breaking is far more glamorous. It involves sitting in a parked car eating some version of chocolate. Usually while listening to a mix tape from the 90s.
During my most recent bout of this episode, while wiping Oreo crumbs from my mouth, I realized, if I was in need of a reminder of how to get through these episodes of breakage – there are probably other special needs parents that may benefit as well. Frankly, the rules could apply to anyone.
- Cookies are not a food group. While they are in fact easier to cook than vegetable lasagna and it is a certainty my children won’t throw them on the floor, cookies are not usually enough for a well-balanced meal. Proteins and vegetables have proven themselves to get your through more successfully. My ideal is prepared meals for the week, usually via crock pot, but I will cut myself a break and at least accept a peanut butter scoop on a spoon.
- Hide from Zombies, Dragons, or Reality Television Stars: It is a guarantee when I have survived an especially damaging day, the solution comes from lying like a comatose shell of a human in front of my televison. How else will I find out how much the house in Sheboygan, Wisconsin costs on House Hunters- even when I have already seen that episode? Turn off the television, and go to sleep.
- Have Something to Look Forward To: I was raised on this sage advice from my father. I don’t think he meant laundry day, or my personal favorite, the nights I successfully cut 60 finger and toe nails. A walk through a book store, dinner with friends, or even a movie (you can always sneak in cookies) will suffice.
- Listen to Shonda Rhimes If all of those nights binge watching Grey’s Antomy has taught me anything, it means everyone has “their person”. Use them. Vent to their voice mail, exchange humorous memes, facetime them during ‘dinner time’ [aka. The screaming, food fight happening in your kitchen]. You were told, “If you ever need anything” and support while potty training is definitely something you need.
- Dance Party: Instead of hiding inside my phone, while my children eat play dough, jump off the couch, or throw blocks at my head, turn on some music for a good ol’ dance party. Ariana Grande has gotten us through a lot of the child rearing stage. The lyrics may be unsuitable for my five year old and she no longer thinks wearing pants are a necessity, but when you are desperate, anything is better than the 10th time the bus driver tells you to “move on back”.
- Basketweaving, Leggings, or Wine: Anyone who has been a caretaker can tell you the lesson to “put on your oxygen mask first” is helpful, but often hard to remember. Sadly, it is true. When the foundation is cracked, everything can start to fall through. Revisit a childhood hobby, actually try on the Lularoe leggings to see if they are truly buttery, or in my case, find other crazy people who will attend a 5am gym class, because it is the only time you can find. Ten minutes a day can be the difference between you and a zombie, Snickers filled evening of debauchery.
- Breathe. Some days are so broken, you need a reminder. I’m going to stick a post it note to the back of my twin boys, so at least when I’m chasing after them in opposite directions at the library, I can multitask.