Five Ways to Avoid Holiday Meltdowns

Meltdowns are not a fun event, no matter what day of the year it is. Most of the time, they can be avoided, but sometimes, it’s entirely out of our control. To learn more about meltdowns, you can read The Truth About Shutdowns and Meltdowns

Give thanks

Bringing Down The Stress

The holiday season can be a stressful time- starting with Halloween and ending at New Year’s Eve. This can depend on which holidays your family celebrates- some families don’t celebrate anything at all, some celebrate everything.

Isn’t that neat? My family celebrates Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Chanukah. My mother is Jewish, so we go to her house every year to have some fun over the eight nights. It’s fun but can get a bit tiring, so we go at our own speed.

Things can be a bit more stressful if you run into family members that don’t understand your child’s special needs- especially if they don’t want to. There is a difference between not knowing and not wanting to know. This topic is a bit more detailed in Helping Your Family Understand Your Child’s Special Needs

Overall, there are ways to help your family get through the holiday season in a way that everyone can remember fondly.

Upset child

Five Golden Rings…I Mean, Tips

  1. Avoid places with crowds, loud noises, etc. Many kids with special needs do not like the line to see Santa. It’s loud, bright, and if you’re Julian, there are germs everywhere. Some kids do not do well in crowds, because it’s too cramped, things move too fast, and sensory issues can be caused by very small things that we are not aware of. Some places are becoming more aware of this and are offering sensory-friendly gatherings, so look around in your area.
  2. Be flexible. This is most likely the most important tip. Flexibility is a requirement in parenting, but in this case, there’s more of a need. Things can change in a second with our special needs kids, and this is okay. Things can become just too much for them, and they need the ability to find a quiet spot to calm down in or leave entirely. Bring two adults to events so that one can stay with the other children, bring adaptive equipment, etc.
  3. Watch out for wandering. This can occur when a child needs to escape quickly from a situation they do not want to be in- a loud party, for example. Keep an extra-close eye on your child near doors and other routes away from your location.
  4. Keep up your routine. Most kids are on a break for a week before and after Christmas. It’s important to keep up a daily routine- eating and sleeping as close to usual times as you can. Kids do better when they know what is going on. It keeps their anxiety low and they are less likely to get off-track with behaviors.
  5. Take a break if you need it. If things get to be too much for you and/or your child, it may be time for a break. Don’t go to the next party. Don’t worry about the next celebration. Stay home, watch a movie and snuggle up with your family. This can be more fun than going out and potentially creating more stress.

Christmas gifts

The holiday season is upon us, the weather is getting colder. Let’s make great memories with our families.

What tips do you have to prevent meltdowns with your kids?

Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Information from CBS

Twin Mummy and Daddy

Moving Like a Turtle

I have friends that I can discuss a lot of topics with- sadly, this includes autoimmune diseases. One has RA and lupus, the other has fibromyalgia.

All three of us are in our 30s just trying to live our best lives.

One of the friends, the one who has fibromyalgia, said that she has a hard time slowing down when her pain is bad.

I told her that it takes time. It takes patience with yourself, both of which can be tough.

Lessons From My Joints

I have learned that I cant handle full-time work anymore. I still don’t know how long I’ve actually had RA but looking back, I’m not sure how I got through the physically demanding work I’ve done in the last few years.

I work part-time and its the best option for me. I’m glad that’s even a possibility. Many with autoimmune diseases and other medical conditions can’t work. Will I be working part-time forever? I have no idea.

The fatigue and pain I have at the end of some 5-hour work days is almost like when I worked 8 or 12 hours. But then, I’m working at a preschool.

There is only so much I can do in one day and learning when to stop is hard. I was used to running at full speed and BAM, I have RA.

I finally started a new medication this week and I’m hoping it helps the pain. I sit a lot more, and I remind myself that it’s okay to rest. If I don’t, I’m not going to be able to do much for anyone.

Back to the Rheumatologist

I went to my rheumatologist today (12/6) and here goes:

  • Lab work to make sure that my meds aren’t doing major damage
  • My hip pain is mechanical, not inflammatory, meaning I probably need to sit more and…have you seen my life?
  • Back in two months.

I’m also looking at physical therapy if the pain doesn’t improve. Look, I’m just trying to avoid the hip replacement I keep joking about. I’m 36 and…nah.

I try to support my friends with chronic pain because I know how important it is. Trying to get through the day with chronic pain takes more energy than many think. They also support me and I appreciate it so much.

How can you help someone with chronic pain?

  • If they’re into humor, memes. Send all the memes. They are a great distraction.
  • Ask them if they need anything. It’s hard to ask for help.
  • Just sit and hang out with them, if they’re up to it during a bad pain day. It means a lot.
  • Be patient when they cancel plans or leave early due to pain. It isn’t fun to do either but it is sometimes the best/only option.

Hang in there with us, we’re doing the best we can.

For further reading:

RA and Me

RA and Me Part Two

A Guide to the Holidays: Staying Emotionally Healthy

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people. Many deal with stress and/or depression, grief, or other issues like toxic family members. Some even go through the holidays alone. This can be especially hard. It’s important to know how to stay emotionally healthy during this time so that you can enjoy the holidays and possibly be able to help someone you know.


If You Are Alone

This situation is caused by different factors- distance, family issues, financial issues, and so on. There are ways that you can make this a positive time of the year:

  • Reach out. Many people will offer to extend an invitation to someone they know may be alone for the holidays. Let them know if you are available, offer to bring something. If you have friends who wouldn’t mind an extra person, ask if you can join them for a celebration.
  • Create alternative traditions. “Friendsgiving” potlucks have become popular in the last few years among those who aren’t able to see their families. I’ve gone to a couple, and it’s a lot of fun. Everyone brings a dish, decide on a fun activity, and let the fun begin.
  • Pamper yourself. Do something you enjoy- a day at the spa, nails, a new book, shirt, etc.
  • Help others. This can take many different directions- volunteering at a homeless shelter, animal shelter, etc. This can help remind you of how fortunate you are and it’s a good experience.
  • Travel. If you can afford it, go out of town for a couple of days. If you can’t, try a “staycation” and go places in your city that you haven’t been to.
  • Self- care. Check in with yourself daily- feelings, hygiene, etc. You don’t have to be cheerful 24/7 during this season, alone or not. If you realize you are having a hard time, reach out. Please see my Resources page for more information.


For Those That Are Grieving

Grief is a hard process any day of the year. The holidays can be harder on someone that is grieving than most people realize. If you are grieving or will be celebrating the holidays with someone that is, these tips may be helpful.

  • Take care of yourself. Grief can affect people differently. Depression can cause a person to not care for themselves as they did before the loss. Self-care is important, even the tiniest steps like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, etc.
  • Don’t rush the process. It may take years for a family to feel like holiday gatherings are “normal” again after a loss. Do not rush through your grieving process for others. Everyone grieves differently and this should be respected.
  • Plan ahead. Do you really want to host Thanksgiving this year? Can someone else do it? Think about where you are in the grieving process and how comfortable you feel hosting holiday events. It might not be for you this year, but in a year or so, it might be okay again.
  • Share stories. This might be hard, depending on the situation, but it can also be helpful. Sharing stories can be good, however, when they focus on the good times with the person, acknowledging that they are missed.

If you are going to a gathering with a family who has had a recent loss:

  • Offer help. Maybe the family needs help with shopping, cleaning, decorating, etc. This can be a huge relief to them. It’s one less worry in an already tough time.
  • Ask how everyone is doing before attending the gathering. It may be a somber or joyous gathering, but you will not know unless you ask beforehand.
  • Respect the right for everyone to grieve. This is very important.


Holiday Cheer or Holiday Stress?

There’s a lot of pressure to spend lots of money on presents, spend time with family that we may or may not get along with, get our kids everything they want and so on. How do we remain, or even get, cheerful about the holidays? How do we deal with the stress?

  • Tune out the noise. The holiday specials, songs, and movies can be a bit too much. If it becomes too much, turn it off. I can’t stand the radio stations that play nothing but Christmas music- starting before Thanksgiving.

Can we get through Thanksgiving first? It’s a bit much for me to hear this music for over a month, so I don’t even turn it on. I am stuck with it when Matthew and I are in the car together because he loves it- there’s a thing called compromise.

  • Set limits for presents. This can be a number of presents, price, or even both. We have four birthdays within 2 weeks after Christmas, so we really try to watch how much we spend. (Those birthdays are mine, Matthew, my father in law, and Cameron.) Plus, there’s the battle of making sure each kid has the same number of presents. Kids need to know that money doesn’t come easily and that they may not be able to always get what they want.
  • Toxic people need to be shown the door. Not everyone in your life is meant to be there, and that includes family. Your time is valuable- why spend it with people who don’t value you? Be realistic about what you can handle.
  • Be grateful. The main message behind the holidays is counting our blessings and being grateful for what we have. It may be a good idea to make a list of the things you are grateful for, no matter how small they are. This can be a bit of a lift, especially on the harder days.
  • Have fun in moderation. You will feel a lot better if you don’t overeat, drink too much or overdo other activities. Everyone has their limits- don’t go past them or you may disappoint yourself.
  • Take care of yourself. This can be a very hectic time of the year, and self- care can slide to the bottom of your to-do list.

Example: If you’re a perfectionist, it’s okay to let things go a bit. You can find the perfect gift for everyone, but if you’re so stressed out finding it, you’ve lost the fun part. It becomes a drag. Try loosening up a bit- don’t spend hours online looking. If you need to, take a break after an hour and come back to it the next day. Start shopping earlier to relieve some of the stress.

  • Say no. This is okay. It’s possible to become overburdened with parties, work, and other activities. Saying no lessens that burden. It’s important to remember your needs.
  • Nourish yourself- physically and emotionally. Don’t entirely skip the good foods, because there are plenty out there. Try a smaller portion. Treat yourself. Try taking a bit of “quiet time” each day to read, write, draw, anything that helps you rest your mind a bit. You will feel much less smothered by the demands of the season.

Do you have any tips for a stress-free holiday season?

All pics are from Unsplash

Information from Psychology Today

My Identity and Childhood in a TV Show

If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you’ve probably realized that I am biracial- my mom is white, my dad is black.

Interracial relationships and marriages are common today. However, I was born in very late 1982, when people still weren’t big fans of the idea.

I’m from Kentucky and interracial marriages weren’t legal until 1975. My older sisters were born that year and in 1977. My parents did not have it easy at all- my mom was called a lot of names and my dad’s mother never let my mom in her home because she’s white.

Thanks, Mom and Dad

As a kid, I was usually the only biracial kid in my classes, maybe even the grade. I don’t remember when I noticed it, but sooner or later, I did. It might have been when I wasn’t allowed to play at some friends’ homes because their parents didn’t approve of my parents.

That’s a crusher, because then you wonder what is wrong with you.

I decided much later if I ever had kids, I wouldn’t do this to any of their friends. It’s not a good feeling to realize you’re different for a reason that you can’t change, not that you would.

Growing up biracial opens your eyes to a lot of interesting experience- try finding hair care products as a teen that doesn’t really help yours. My hair is naturally curly, and WOW, has that been a blast.


My hair looks a LOT better these days.

All of my kids inherited my curls and it’s much easier to find products these days.

It also opens your eyes to accepting people who and where they are, no matter what they look like or their background.

This lesson has been passed to my kids, who haven’t shown the same thoughts that I did.

A New TV Show

I watched the pilot of “Mixed-ish” and loved it. It’s a spin-off of “Black-ish”, a very popular show. The idea is the mom, Rainbow, telling her kids how she grew up in the 80s.

There’s one part where Bow (as she’s called) and her siblings were asked, “What are you weirdos mixed with?”

That touched my soul!

I’ve been asked that more times than I could possibly count. I have a great golden skin tone- I’ve been mistaken for a lot of different nationalities. It doesn’t annoy me anymore- if you ask politely, I’ll tell you, but if it’s in any way rude, I’ll probably shred you.

Bow also struggled with “having to pick” a race. Whew, this was a hard one for me. I guess biracial kids today, like mine, don’t feel the pressure to do so, but I certainly did. Her siblings seemed to choose a race, but Bow just couldn’t do it. She saw it as picking one parent over the other and she loved both.

I definitely identify with that. I’ve been told I’m not black or white “enough”. Who or what defines that? I don’t know, but I refuse to do so.

What are you, some kind of oreo?”

I was called a “Twinkie” as a kid and to this day, I won’t even look at one. This, if you aren’t familiar with the term, means yellow on the outside and white on the inside.

I’ve also been called an “Oreo” but I’ll eat those anytime. All jokes aside, this means black on the outside and white on the inside.

Both terms shouldn’t exist, but yet, they do. I don’t think they’ve gone anywhere. Sadly.

“Being different IS my superpower”

Since day one. I learned as a kid that it is okay to be different and there are others who appreciate it. My other superpowers include: sarcasm, eating a whole order of Buffalo wings in one sitting and getting a BA while becoming a mom- twice. Living with RA is probably a superpower too.

I will definitely keep watching this show- I identify with it so well. It’s a good laugh and I have to see what happens to Bow and her family.

What is your superpower?