Executive functioning

I’m pretty good at hiding my executive functioning struggles most of the time. I figure, as long as I stay busy, I’ll accomplish something. I am going to share a story of an episode I had that was unmistakably an Executive Malfunction.

It was the day after Halloween. Our family has a tradition to cook chili, hotdog, cider, and cobbler and share with our neighbors coming by to trick or treat. We sit around a firepit until the last trick or treater visits. It was a week night, so I didn’t stay up to clean all of the dishes.

I woke up the next morning in a hurry to get the kids to their therapy appointments. We got home at 1pm, hungry. I got to the kitchen to prepare the kids some lunch, and there was not a single space on the counter. I froze. I couldn’t think of what to do first. I have a set way of doing things, but if I did them that way, it would be 5 pm before my kids would get lunch. So now I couldn’t think of what to do first. All of the things were swirling around in my head.

I’m also trying to train my kids to do chores. So, then instead of doing it all I was trying to motivate my kids to do their parts. They struggle with motivation so that is a task in and of itself. My oldest could tell that I was panicking. She said, I’ll clean my room mom. Then she came out and said, but I can’t until this coat rack is hung.

So what do you think I did? I got the drill, the anchors, screws, stud finder, and put that coat rack up. It was now 2pm. The kitchen was still a disaster and no one had eaten.

I gathered up my little ones, put them in the car and drove them to my mom’s. I took them in and told my mom that they needed to eat. I drove home, got a pad of paper out, and wrote down all that needed to get done. Without any distractions or pressure, I could do all of the things in the order I like to do them in.

At this point I decided to do all of the cleanup by myself. When I can do such things as cleaning the kitchen, the right way, in the right order, without noise or distraction, and without pressure, it is very self soothing.

Thankfully I have my parents close by. That situation doesn’t happen everyday, especially to that extreme. Sometimes, if I am able, I will stop at a drive through and pick up something they will eat so that when I do clean up, there isn’t such pressure on me. I don’t function well under pressure.

This section I plan to go into detail in explaining what executive function is. I will also share some tactics that have worked well with our family. If you struggle in this area, and have found something that works well for you, please comment below.

Blessings, Jen

Transitions! Transitions! Transitions!

I am posting this article under executive functioning, because I find this to be a rather large barrier in having successful executive functioning. This particular issue is a present problem that I will be facing in the near future.

For the last month, I have been in the hospital with my 4 year old daughter whom has spina bifida. Hopefully in about a week, we will be going home. I don’t love many things about hospital life. The lack of sleep and freedom being just a few. Even though I can’t wait to be around my other kids again and in my own environment, I am nervous about the transition time it will take to adjust to our new normal.

My youngest, AC, will be going home with an ostomy bag and a port. There will be new medical responsibilities. Also, I will be going home to 4 mom missing, love hungry kids. Just the thought of all the responsibilities, attempting to make up for all of the lost time in meeting my family’s emotional needs, getting our newly quarantined life organized, oh and ensure that I am taking care of myself too, makes me feel extremely overwhelmed. This week may be our last week in the hospital. So I am preparing myself for the upcoming transition. I will be sharing as I learn. Hopefully, there will be tools that could help you. How do you feel about life changing transitions? Do you know of any strategies that work well?