Sensory Overload: Please Don’t Touch Me!

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.

Sensory. 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.

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?

35 thoughts on “Sensory Overload: Please Don’t Touch Me!

  1. I never thought about it like this but I think I might be suffering from sensory overload too! I often snap (particularly in the morning) when i have them both sitting on my legs (one is 5 the other 3 and they are both very heavy and massive) cuddling me, touching me, asking to be tickled…. Obviously i feel like crap after snapping but i just can’t help it. Thank you for sharing with #StayClassyMama

  2. Sound overload is definitely my trigger, too many different sounds and at an unreasonable volume for a prolonged time really pushes me to my breaking point. It really can just all be a bit too much at times can’t it? I’m glad you’ve written this though as like you said we regularly talk about sensory overload in children but sensory overload in adults in rarely discussed. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

    1. Yeah, conflicting sounds are a big one for me too. Sometimes I feel like I must be such an awful human, so it’s reassuring to know others feel similarly!xx

  3. The noise overload gets to me. My daughter is 12 and talks non stop! I hate having to tell her to be quiet for a bit, but if she doesn’t I’ll go mad. Like you say, it is so mch worse when everyone comes home and is trying to talk at once.

    1. It feels horrid doesn’t it?! But as you say, I think I’d go insane if I didn’t sometimes ask Amelia to stop talking for a minute haha!!xx

  4. Reading this makes me feel like I, too, have experienced Sensory Overload. My girls can sometimes see it coming now, but my youngest (who’s now 6 and TALL) still wants to be touching me ALL THE TIME. She is too big for my lap, but still asks to sit there. It’s okay for a few minutes, but then I need to throw her off. And then the noise – that same 6 year old is the loudest happy person I have ever met. My 9 year old is very quiet compared to Rose. And some days I can’t handle the noise, so I do like you – yell at her to stop yelling. And then I feel immediately bad afterward. So yes, I think I fit into that Sensory Overload world too.

  5. Yes yes YEEEESSS to this! I struggle really badly with things like background TV sound downstairs when no ones watching it (or worst still, two conflicting background noises like a TV and a radio in two different rooms). Also, once the kids are in bed, the cat thinks I’m fair game and I’m a bad cat mum but I cannot nurture one more thing!!
    Loved this. Thanks for linking to #coolmumclub

  6. As mummy to a child
    With sensory issues I was really interested to read this. I have real
    Noise issues and can’t stand the music from computer games or game
    Apps. The boys have to turn the volume off!!! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  7. Yup, can totally relate. Some mornings I have my 4year old talking at me non stop, the baby crying and the cat meowing and it seriously makes me want to cry..or scream. The hair pulling and climbing up everywhere gets a bit too much sometimes too xx #coolmumclub

  8. I totally get it – sometimes it can all get to be too much when you have little people clinging to you and talking non-stop. Whining tends to be what pushes me over the edge – I just can’t stand the sound of it. #ablogginggoodtime

  9. I have a feeling you are not alone. I think many, many parents feel this way at some point. I still find it a bit too much when I have both girls trying to talk to me at the same time and they’re both at secondary school now. Oh and the cat meowing at me really gets to me! #coolmumclub x

  10. I think it’s completely rational to get to a point where you want kids to stop touching you. I think it actually teaches kids that there are boundaries and even Mom will set them when she needs a break. #bigpinklink

    1. Yeah I can imagine how tough that must be. My 17-year-old brother is on the spectrum, so I can empathise with how hard dealing with small kids must be xx

  11. Oh my goodness yes! I get it a lot. Ellie is now old enough and knows to say “excuse me” if me and hubby are talking at the end of the day. That has made a huge difference. But yes the touching. Over the years I have built up a huge tolerance for this but even so sometimes it is the way they touch me. All soft and ‘cute’. Urgh! GET OFF ME! Mummy needs a time out 😉 #BigPinkLink

    1. Hahaha!! I know exactly what you mean! We’re getting closer with Amelia, but the need for contact is still strong in that one 😂

  12. Yes this is definitely something that I can relate to! I have a baby and a toddler and some days I just want to go lay down in a quiet room all by myself where no one can climb on me or pull my hair! #bigpinklink

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