Yes, my sweet child, Mama needs a sensory break.
You’ve told me you sometimes feel like you are walking on the moon, with no center of gravity, and bouncing on the trampoline brings you back to earth. Mama needs to self-regulate too. I can feel discombobulated from life’s constant sensory inundation and taking care of your sensory needs as well. Please don’t think I’m complaining, as there is nothing I’d rather do, but Mama needs a sensory break.
“The spa is silly,” you and your dad have said, but Mama’s getting aromatherapy and deep pressure there. Those hot rocks are a tactile experience like no other, and the soothing sound of wind chimes and wooden flutes brings Mama back into her body, and Mama needs a sensory break.
Much like your swinging, Zumba is my way of simultaneously decompressing and energizing. Mommy’s vestibular system craves the spinning, and my proprioception system gets a tune-up while navigating the dance floor; Mama doesn’t want to crash into anybody. And you’d be surprised of the amount of bilateral coordination in a single dance! Mama needs a sensory break.
When Mama’s fight-or-flight response kicks in, driving in the car while blasting Miley Cyrus is Mama’s internal release and auditory therapy, the same way you need to shout at times to let all of your strong emotions out. I won’t be shamed for my music preference, Miley’s stopped twerking and is helping homeless youth, and Mama needs a sensory break.
Being submersed in an Epson salt bath is detoxifying and increases my body awareness, while being calming. The water surrounding Mama’s skin sends an immeasurable amount of messages and releases positive chemicals to mommy’s brain, muscles and organs. Mama’s soak in the tub is as magical as your time in the ball pit. Mama needs a sensory break.
Please note that Mama watching The Bachlorette is a form of vision therapy; it takes a lot to decipher between 25 Bachelors, and studying facial cues and body language is beneficial, as you know. When Mama can’t get out to visit her real friends these shows provide a cognitive vacation for Mama’s emotional well being. Mama needs a sensory break.
Yes, sometimes Mama wants her chocolate, whether that’s in the form of a Hershey’s kiss or a “better than sleep” cake (wink, wink – nothing is better than sleep!). I want a meal that doesn’t included pizza or chicken nuggets, because Mama needs green and orange in her diet too, and chomping on carrots gives Mama the oral input to organize her mind and be able to focus. Mama needs a sensory break.
And last, but not least, Mama’s time on Facebook is an important contribution to my social skills, like you playing games on Xbox. Mama is connecting with other Mamas and being part of her community, and controlling my environment by unfollowing and blocking toxic people who enter my online bubble. Even Candy Crush can be therapeutic.
Yes, my child, your sensory therapy is important, but let’s not forget, Mama needs a sensory break too!
Jackie Linder Olson is the author of The Waiting Pool and co-author of the Sensory Parenting series. She writes weekly articles at PeaceAutismandLove.com. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.