My family’s busy looks different.
Neurodivergent family members require lots of downtime and space around activities that leave them tired, wired and all peopled out. We chose to unschool as part of realising that the school life wasn’t suited to us, and wouldn’t meet our needs.
I get this, I’m getting this much better these days.
I know now our limits of doing activities, visits, parties and catch ups.
I know that I have to space a birthday party with a day at home with no plans.
I know that 2 days with an activity both sides requires lots of space afterwards, and that we make the 2 activities as easy as possible.
It might mean we turn up to a BBQ later than others. It might mean we ask that the lunch catch up be arvo tea instead. It might mean that we leave earlier than others.
It means our birthday parties are broken up into smaller parties and we usually now do my partner’s family one weekend and my family another weekend. I do this because it means my family can interact and be with the people we love in the most comfortable way.
It’s not always met with understanding and is sometimes mocked. It’s sometimes seen as me being difficult and just “trying to be different”. Whatever that’s supposed to mean. Being different is ok, in fact needed. But being made to feel like you are being difficult because someone has differnt needs to others is unfair, and rude at best.
I have to understand that if people find it difficult to accommodate or understand us, that’s on them. They can wear that “difficult” badge. And that’s probably been the most difficult thing to cope with in relation to our busy being different – our ability as a family to manage life in the way that best suits us isn’t always accepted.
Many people attend birthday parties, whip out to the shops, do spontaneous outings and weekends are full of activities. This isn’t how we roll. But we feel and are busy in our own ways. The times that we have a really rough time is because we try to live up to expectations of “doing all the things”. It doesn’t work and we end up with a seriously unhappy, fragmented and highly strung family who are trying to hold it together.
So we are here now, we are really finding our place, what works and how we can best all experience the things we like, without causing disharmony.
And I hope as other people navigate a Neurodivergent family way of life, you know you’re not alone.