Over the years I have learnt a few tough lessons, throw out all those parenting books they are poison for parents with neurodiverse kiddos and don’t follow what every else does – you will drive yourself crazy trying to fit your neurodiverse kiddo into a neurotypical persons expectations, even if that means things like Christmas and Birthdays look a bit different. You are afterall a parent to YOUR kids, not everyone else’s kids, so do what is best for YOURS.
And yes for us that means Christmas in our house looks very different to most people’s, we do want suits a household of 3 sensory people. Typical Christmas activities tend to be very overwhelming for sensory people, they are loud, full of crowds, there are often lights and honestly it can be like every part of your body is overwhelmed all at once. So we naturally tend to have quieter more low-keyed Christmases, my kids love them so there are no complaints (oh and that includes Christmas food, I don’t see the point in forcing my kids to eat tradition Christmas food if they do not enjoy it).
Christmas also tends to be that time of the year when all the cumulative sensory stuff built up over the year just becomes a bit much and we often seem to hit a wall. This past year it was me who hit that wall, I needed to switch off for 2 weeks, so I did. I stayed away from my computer and social media, I spent time just completely switching off. It was great, it was what I needed. And I actually feel more relaxed than I have felt in ages.
But here is the thing, in the past when I hit my sensory wall, I have often tried it ignore it, I tried to do what was expected and then I would normally end up physically sick. It is hard to explain to people that over the festive season what you actually need is to just hibernate and switch off for 2 weeks. Most people don’t understand that. But as much as I have learnt that I need to parent my kids to suit their needs I have also learnt that to be the parent that they need I also need to cope with my sensory needs however it suits ME.
So it does mean that sometimes over Christmas I disappear. It does also mean that in the evenings when my kids do Latin lessons with their dad I take that hour to vanish upstairs, close the door and just listen to music or read my book. It means that I am never going to be a social media queen, but just like we do Christmas that suits our family so we do life that suits our family.