Moment 2 Moment Masterpiece Parenting Blog

Tears in the Laundry Room

by: Elizabeth Thorndike

Sometimes the most powerful therapy is just a pause.

~ Amanda J. Friedman


I am writing from a place of struggle this afternoon.  I left my house in a huff to come here to the coffee shop to work. It was not an eloquent departure, and heaviness followed as I drove away. Sound familiar to anyone?

We are in week 3 of summer break, and I am feeling the craziness from head to toe! I used to absolutely love summer break. In Washington State, we would be barefoot and outside all summer. We went tide pooling, frequented several parks, and ate a lot of ice cream. I loved every bit, especially with our diverse situation. I loved seeing my kids discover things.

burnout tide 2 resize body

Here in Arizona, we love the weather, but the summers can be a bit stifling. I have kiddos that are used to being out all day, but here, the best place is inside, relishing the AC. We have adapted but tend to step on each other’s toes when we are cooped up too long.

Today was my day. My day to come unglued. My day to softly tell my hubby I was done with tears in my eyes. It came after a simple scenario really. We are teaching our 2 girls that have DS to do laundry and cook. We have set some goals for the summer, and these were top of the list. One of my daughters is craving independence. We must know where she is all the time and are often cleaning up situations that were done “with the right heart in mind.” She often comes down the stairs donning someone’s make up, which is hard not to chuckle. (But, not so funny when the older sister finds her make up smashed and broken. She is very patient)

Heart in the right place

Well today our spirited one came down the stairs with laundry basket in tow. She had taken all the clean and folded clothes and threw them back in the dirty hamper. While my husband and I sorted back through them, she took dirty clothes from the washer (about to be washed), placed them in the dryer…dirty, and started them. She then proceeded to throw in all the rest of the clothes on the floor in the washer and started it up (whites, delicates, cleaning rags, and animal towels), all within 50 seconds flat! I walked in and sort of spiraled downward! It was not pretty. Now mind you, as an isolated event, this sounds easy to manage. However, this came after a morning of other events, and I finally met my breaking point. My sweet red head lowered her head in sadness and walked away. That is when the washer met my tears and I paused. I was not proud of my little tantrum.

exhausted mom resized body

We are told we are “special.” We are called “super parents.” We are told we “Have our hands full,” in front of our kiddos.

The truth is, we are not. We are not special, or even chosen. We are just regular parents trying to raise kind, thought filled people. Our hopes for them…the same. Our dreams for them…the same. Our kids are not always happy and filled with joy. We have good days. We have long days. We have beautiful days. We also have hard, cry in the closet, tear up at the local pool days.

There is, however, a certain level of caregiving we do in our families. This level looks different for each family. It can be nurturing and loving, but it can also be isolating and hard. Sometimes, we break down in the laundry room.

Beautiful friends, I see you in these hard times.  I also feel that during these hard times, connection is everything. Knowing you are “withed” during these lonely times is life giving. It encourages you to take just one more step.

There are many ways to connect. Here are a few ideas that have helped us along the way.

  • Having a key friend on a journey like yours is priceless. Reaching out from a place of struggle can be an honor. Allow others to be there for you. Give them permission to do the same. We need each other.


  • Another great way to connect is on a thread on FB. Sites like the ones below can be a soft place to land. You can reach out and several people will pour out love, empathy, and even ideas. There are also FB groups specific to your area. From these you can create friendships with those that live close to you.

Special needs Parents Support and Discussion Group


           Down Syndrome, Support for Mommies

  • Starting a thread on Group me can be a more intimate setting than a bigger site like FB. On group me, the host enters specific people so they can support each other. We started one with our small group at church and it has been a life saver. We ask for help. We ask for prayer. We ask for advice, and we share our hurts. I have a friend that started one with her birth to three play group mommies. It has helped them so much for the beginning years of our journey. Any group you are close with can start a group thread.


  • There are also local chapters of Special Olympics. This is a great way to get your kiddos involved and meet other parents. My girls just finished track season through S.O., and the friendships we have made there are wonderful. We have also gotten closer to the adult participants of S.O. This has been special to both me and my husband. It gives us glimpses of our beautiful future with our amazing kiddos!


  • Look for a church in your area that has a focus on diverse needs families or a specific special needs ministry. When we moved to the Phoenix area, we were blessed to immediately find an incredible church with a special need’s ministry. This was a game changer for our family.  Our kiddos feel included, and we have made lifelong friendships.


  • Finally, use Google! Search for “local organizations that support special needs families.” You will be amazed at how many there are, and their desire to connect with you! Places like adaptive programs, the ARC, and Gi-Gi’s playhouse. These programs can help you build your village. Just take a step forward, they will catch you.

Connecting can be hard

I know reaching out and connecting in a dark time can be easier said than done. I feel though, that it is so vital to the health of our life journeys. We are a part of an incredible village that knows our walk. Increase your village and reach out! Call with celebrations. Call with tears. Just call. You will be blessed! You will not be a burden. It is a privilege to help others.

Friends, finding a village can take time, especially in an isolating season. I encourage you though, it can be done. You are all my people and I see you!

Please subscribe to our site and send us an email of how you personally connect so we can share those in future posts.


about us

Meet the Thorndikes - Moment to Moment Family

Hi there! We are the crazy cool parents to 5 amazing and crazy cool kiddos. But, first, we are Dan and Elizabeth Thorndike – married 15 years and living this life one moment at a time. We have a full and blessed life, but we are clumsily tackling a journey we never foresaw ourselves living.

Read our story of how this journey all started in our blog post titled:
“The Beginning. Our Special Needs Journey”


Elizabeth Thorndike

Introverted extrovert – that’s how I describe myself. I absolutely love being a mama but never knew how hard it would be, nor how deeply I could love.



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