The Conflicting World of Raising a Meltdown Kid

My friend and I have been counting down the days of summer for at least the last 2 weeks.  And not in the sad to see it go kind of way, but in the can’t these days go faster kind of way.  Our fringy kids do not do well with the looser structure of summer.  And it seems no matter how much of our own structure we add to the days, it just still isn’t enough.  Summer sucks.

And so, we look forward to school.  We look forward to 8 peaceful hours without mega meltdowns and the luxury of someone else planning all the structure our kids can ask for.

This was actually the first year that my friend’s child would be going to all day school, so her excitement and eagerness had 5 years to build.  She was ready.  She was more than ready.

And then I got the text the morning of her child’s first day of school.  She hadn’t slept a single moment as her stomach and heart somersaulted through the night.  Her mind raced with images of her child not fitting in, struggling in school, being scared or misunderstood, having a meltdown at school, not finding any friends, and the list could go on and on and on.

When we talked later in the day, my friend said to me, “I just didn’t see this coming.  I have been needing the break so desperately that the worry and anxiety just took me totally by surprise.”

And that’s how it works, isn’t it?  Us fringy parents experience these extreme contradictions in emotions and they can sneak up on us and hit us like a Mack truck when we least expect them.

One moment I can feel so empty and drained and ready for a break that I’m willing to sell my child to the first bidder, and the next, I feel an overwhelming love for her that wants to scoop her up and not let her out of my sight.

I can be quite on the edge of throttling my child and then suddenly feel fiercely protective.

My daughter can show a seeming regression in behavior so that I’m feeling hopeless, and then within an hour do something I never thought she’d be capable of and I’m filled with pride.

I can be feeling an intense pride in my parenting and put-togetherness, and then within minutes it all can change and I get pushed beyond my limit, and feel the sinking feeling in my stomach as I face my latest parenting mistake.

Of course, every parent has conflicting feelings.  Every parent who sends their child to a brick and mortar school is simultaneously excited and nervous for them, and feels both eager to get them back to a routine and sad that they are a year older.  But, there’s something more intense and more extreme about the conflicting feelings us fringy parents feel.  I have never before loved someone so intensely and felt like I can’t survive another moment being around them.  This fringy lifestyle just brings everything to a whole new level.

So, know that your drastic emotion changes are very common for other parents like you.  Know that you are not alone.

Rest assured that when those deeply painful emotions are there, they are temporary and in a matter of minutes a newer, more pleasant feeling may spring up.

And be prepared for anything.  Any emotion is possible as we parent these kiddos of ours.  Know that you will probably feel conflicting things, and that’s ok.  It’s all part of this magically conflicting world of raising a meltdown kid.