Supermum, yes I’ve heard that so many times. ‘I don’t know how you do it’ or ‘special kids for special parents’. But I’m not Supermum, in fact I’m far from it. I’m exhausted, I’m stressed and I’m far too bloody emotional.

I‘m going to admit it, I’m really struggling with the school holidays, and we’re only just starting week three here.

The school holidays mean something very different to me and a lot of other Special Needs parents out there.

The school holidays mean stress, exhaustion, chaos, tears, anxiety. More so that our usual day to day struggles.

For us there are no lazy mornings or sofa days. Our days start even earlier in the holidays due to the change in routine, this past week have been 4am starts plus the usual three or four times waking in the night and I’ll admit I’m absolutely exhausted.

I’m loving having the extra time with my gorgeous boy but it’s not easy. The lack of sleep makes the demands more intense. It’s relentless when your child needs one to one attention for their own safety and challenging behaviours. When you can’t leave the room for a minute without the furniture getting destroyed or them hurting themselves.

Last week I was sat in an appointment with the Behavioural Psychologist and balled my eyes out. I definitely didn’t feel like Supermum then. I felt like a total failure actually telling him I was struggling to cope.

The solution from the Psychologist is get out into open spaces and let him burn off his energy somewhere safe, away from other children. We do that so often, just me, Archie and the dog out walking & running wild but it’s not solved our problems. A child with autism and sensory processing difficulties needs more than just a field to run around in.

And what do you do when it’s raining and your child has severe sensory problems with water, I struggle to even get him out of the house without a major meltdown so going out walking just isn’t an option. Neither is going somewhere like soft play. It’s just too much for him. Again, he goes into sensory overload, lashing out at noisy children, hitting & kicking. I do my best to keep control of him, going into the soft play with him but he’s just so fast and I’m not the ideal height to weave in & out of the tunnels! Then the meltdowns continue at home and through the night, it’s just all too much for him.

The school holidays means a lot of the support is just taken away. I’m told I need to let Archie burn off steam in a safe environment but the local council stops all of the out of school activities for children with special needs. We normally go to a trampolining session for children with additional needs once a week, plus autism friendly sessions at the soft play centres, but in the school holidays it stops.

The only sports inclusion sessions that they do run for children with additional needs aren’t open to the general public. You have to be referred from Child Services and they are for children older than five, and with Archie being four that means again we’re not included.

We’re low on options as everywhere is busy. Everywhere is different. Bowling or the cinema just aren’t suitable, parks and play centres are too noisy or too busy, we need to go early in the morning & hope it’s quiet. I need to find a balance of keeping Archie busy & entertained but not to overwhelm or overexcite him as he just can’t control his own emotions and it’s just not fair to put him through it. It breaks my heart so see him so distraught over things we just take for granted.

As a special needs parent, I still have the masses of paperwork, the appointments and therapy sessions. I still have to work from home when I can as I still have a business to run. The difference in the holidays is that I don’t get a break, it’s 24 hours. I don’t even get a rest through the night but it is what it is.

I’m not Supermum, the holidays are downright hard. It takes a huge amount of planning, a huge amount of preparation and a huge amount of energy.

We’re getting through it day by day.

I’m not Supermum but I’m trying my best for my boy.

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  1. August 15, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    I hope you get some unbroken sleep this summer, it’s so hard to cope with things on too little sleep as it is and that the nice weather comes back to make getting outdoors easier. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

  2. August 15, 2017 / 8:55 pm

    This is such a good thing to admit because no one is perfect and I sure couldn’t cope with half what mums deal with. You’re all stars x

  3. August 16, 2017 / 1:41 am

    Aw hun sorry to hear that there is not much support for Archie over the summer but I know how you feel. My foster sister has Williams Syndrome and a form of autism too and she also has sensory issues just like Archie. She is a happy go lucky kid but can find it difficult to cope with certain environments too x

  4. August 16, 2017 / 2:20 am

    It amazes me to hear when other places and other countries don’t offer holiday services. My oldest is 15 and he was diagnosed when he was 4. He has been going to out of school programs every summer since pre-school. The town I live in fully supports these programs for special needs kids. He is in high school and needs less of that but he still goes. In fact, next year we are hoping to get him involved in community service with the program to help further his social skills and he will learn some job skills along the way. These programs are supported by my state because of the overwhelming evidence that suggests children on the spectrum and other disabilities show signs of regression during the summer months when not in school. It saddens me that your child isn’t supported in this way. You are doing the best that you can and that makes you pretty great in my book so I think when people call you a supermum they are just in awe of your skills. I think they just admire your strength even when you think you have none. When mine was younger I used to beat myself up too much about the littlest things. It was my sister and my mom who kept reminding me, especially when I was too exhausted to move, that I was doing great so remember that when you feel you are at your lows. You’re doing great mom!! 🙂

  5. August 20, 2017 / 1:41 am

    So sorry its been so tough, I am lucky that T sleeps in during the holidays, although he has only just gone to sleep now! his six siblings are brilliant with him, but organising and planning things to do in the holidays is certainly challenging,and you may not feel it, but you are a supermum xxx
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  6. August 21, 2017 / 11:39 pm

    Gosh, I can’t even begin to imagine how tough it’s been for you. It’s awful that all of the activities are stopped over the summer, I didn’t realise this was the case. Hope your hanging in there ok.

  7. September 1, 2017 / 9:46 am

    I really appreciated the honesty of this blog. Thanks for sharing. Every mum is a super mum – including you! Sending hugs.

  8. January 9, 2018 / 4:29 am

    What about a trampoline? You get those small ones you can put inside?
    But I hear you. I have 2 kids who have sensory issues. Holidays were not fun for my oldest daughter. She really just did not cope without the routine and people everywhere freaked her out.
    It’s hard but we are mamas we are better than Superwoman – we are resilient and fueled by Mama love ♥️

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