The other day I almost had a total meltdown. I found myself telling to Amelia to “please just stop touching me!” Every time one of the kids used me as a leaning post, grabbed my hair, sat on me, climbed on me, wrapped their arms around my legs, caught me with a stray flailing arm I wanted to scream. Someone suggested that it was like sensory overload, and that’s when I realised that’s exactly what it is.
I don’t know why this has never clicked before. We talk about kids and sensory overload a lot, and use it to explain and understand their behaviour. Yet it’s not something we ever really talk about in terms of adults. The more I’ve thought about it over the weekend, the more I’ve realised that most of the bad reactions I have are down to sensory overload.
Yelling “Be Quiet!”
Totally ridiculous to yell at the kids to stop yelling, but I can’t lie; I do this quite a bit. They don’t necessarily have to be yelling for a bad reason. Amelia has a habit of screaming at the top of her lungs during play, and this is the one that usually gets me the most. Partly I think it’s because I’m usually not expecting it, but mostly it’s because the loud noise overloads my poor brain. I’m not asking for peace and tranquillity all day long, but I can’t stand all that shouting.
More Than One Speaker
This is usually at its worst when Mr C finishes work. 5pm always feels like a really stressful part of my day, and it’s purely down the fact that the conversation level suddenly jumps up about 8 notches. All day I have Wills who can basically only say “yeah”, “bu-bye” and “ta-ta” and Amelia chatting to me. Suddenly at 5pm, Amelia is trying to talk to me, Mr C is trying to talk to me, Amelia is trying to talk to Mr C but he is talking to me, Will is yelling “TA! TA! TA!” because he wants whatever Amelia has, Amelia’s raising her voice to be heard and then;
“Everyone STOP talking right NOW! You; listen to her, she’s been waiting for you all day. You; we’ve talked about waiting for your turn when people are talking, haven’t we? You; you can’t have it, it’s your sisters. Now talk to me one at a time or don’t talk to me at all.”
Too Much Touchy-Feely
This one is a source of huge guilt for me. It feels like one of the worst things in the world to say “I don’t like my kids touching me” but sometimes it’s true. I love a good cuddle and squeeze with my 2 as much as the next mama, and obviously their random acts of affection are adorable. It’s just the rest of it.
It usually takes a few weeks for me to build up to a point like last week. But I do often hear myself saying “please, get off me!” It gets to a point in the day when enough is enough. It makes me feel a bit crawly like there’s constantly something or someone touching me. I’ve also realised that sensory overload is probably partly to blame for the not very nice way I treat Mr C. I don’t mean that I am horrible to him, but that I often shrug him off. I feel like in the evening, once the kids have gone to bed, that’s my time for my body to be mine. No one grabbing me, pulling, hitting, smacking. No touching at all. Sorry C… I do love you though! xx
How about you? Do you struggle with sensory overload?