Settling Is For the Dogs

4 years ago


When you have an SPD kiddo, the situation naturally vacuums up any time you used to have for yourself. Oh sure. Other parents will say they’ve experienced the same thing, but we insiders know differently. So when my husband and I manage the occasional date night, there’s no way we are going to settle.

That wasn’t the case a couple of years ago. We were still trying to convince ourselves that we could keep skipping along. Everything was going to be just fine. Whatever comes our way we can manage. We’re two capable adults, right?

But there comes a point in time where you have to stare the heartbreaking truth straight in the eyes. We’re not doing well. Our family is not doing well. And we don’t know how to make it better.

Humbling. I think humbling is the best way to describe raising an SPD child, let alone two. It makes you face your own weaknesses. It forces you to realize that what you once defined as being strong was wrong. And it makes one ask for help — which is easier for some than others. Want to guess where I was on that spectrum?

But through this journey, my husband and I have become incredibly comfortable asking for exactly what we need. That is one of the biggest benefits we have gained through this initial mess. No more saying yes just because we’re too uncomfortable to say no. And if my husband is in the mood for Mexican for dinner, dag nabbit, he now says so!

So having absolutely no time for ourselves has made us more picky about what we do in those few precious hours. And last night, we managed to get out of the house. Hurray!!! We went to see a movie that I’ve been DYING to see, but it was sold out for the rest of the night. Crestfallen !

There were other options but nothing grabbed our attention, so rather than settle, we headed off for dinner. We decided to forgo Mexican this time because it was Cinco de Mayo. We agreed on a local noodle shop. The moment we walk in we were lambasted by a Mexican band that was so loud and off key it actually made my ears hurt. We were quickly seated, and we just looked at each other and started to laugh. Really? Bad Mexican xylophone players in a Pan-Asian noodle shop? Next to us was a miserable couple who were eating their way through the pain of the music. That’s it! We up and left.

Destination 3, restaurant 2. Decided to try another place nearby. Stuffy clientele. So noisy we had a hard time hearing each other. We looked at the menu which was as bland and boring as all get out. Nope. Not for us!

Destination 4. Restaurant 3. Italian joint. Ahhhh. Finally. Comfort food for a crazy evening. I can’t say we’ll repeat the traveling date again soon, but I applaud us for saying what we each needed rather than suffer in silence.

As a sensory parent, I’m so busy being a coach, appointment scheduler, emotion reader, tantrum soother and semi-OT at home that my own personal needs get easily pushed aside. Never mind the usual mom things we all deal with — cook, cleaner, family cheerleader….

But last night, there was NO WAY I was going to settle. It makes me think about other ways I’ve allow myself to get lost in the hurricane of Sensory Processing Disorder. It’s one thing to do what you can for your child. It’s something else entirely to diminish your role as a human being and sacrifice your core essence for the family. No one wins then.


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