Meltdowns don’t happen often. I feel lucky that they are few and far between. But they do happen. And they are the parenting moments that I cannot seem to shake off, no matter how much time passes.
Last year, my son, Norrin, had a major public meltdown on a JetBlue flight. And even though it was many months ago, whenever I think about it – it brings back all the feelings I felt that morning.
Before, During & After a Meltdown in 22 GIFs
It’ll be fine. I’m prepared. I got this.
We are not “new” autism parents. It’s been years since Norrin’s diagnosis. We’ve read books and worked with therapists. I like to think that we’re always able to work through it.
Wait…Is this really happening?
And then it’s like, no girl…you don’t really got this. When a real deal meltdown happens, it catches me by surprise.
And I’m in total disbelief.
Let the bargaining begin.
I offer everything I can think of to calm him down. Do you want your iPad? Tickles? A piece of gum?
And maybe I beg a little bit (it’s been known to work sometimes).
When nothing works, I’m confused.
No. Seriously. Is this really happening?
I try not to, but I get frustrated.
I’m not perfect. I’m human. I’m a mom and sometimes it’s hard.
I feel helpless.
And I feel like a failure.
Because how can I not know how to comfort my kid?
If I’m being honest, during those public moments, I feel embarrassed.
Remember…I’m human. And people will judge. They see a kid acting up and it’s easy to blame the parent for not being able to handle their kid.
And I want to cry.
But instead, I close my eyes and try to calm myself down. And sometimes I even say a little prayer.
That’s usually the moment I stop caring about what other people think.
But I mentally prepare myself in case someone says something slick to me about my kid.
I accept there’s no getting through to my kid during a meltdown. All I can do is ride out the storm.
And I let my mind wander for a bit…
Because sometimes this helps after a long day.
Also…I want to collapse because a meltdown is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting.
Then, just as quickly as it started, it’s over. And you can breathe.
And then my kid is back to his happy self – chatting up a storm like a major meltdown didn’t just happen.
How do you feel after your kid has a major meltdown?