Finding your Plimsoll line


A long time ago ships went out to sea with as much cargo as they could carry without a worry as to how they would float. Since there was no standard to tell them they were carrying too much, the choices on how much to carry were based on volume not weight, until Plimsoll. He realized there was a direct correlation between how low the boat sat in the water and how likely it was to return. Now all boats have a Plimsoll line, a line they will not be loaded past. Once it hits the water, that’s it nothing else goes on and the boat leaves with its cargo.

We however don’t have a nice line painted across ourselves to tell us that we have reached the point where we are in danger of drowning ourselves and our crew. As parents of special needs/circumstances children, we often live with our Plimsoll line under water. But how do we manage? At the beginning of the journey that is the hardest most uniquely personal questions I faced. I sunk more often than I swam, and things like the holidays often sunk me. But it has been five years living with little men who keep me close to my sinking line. So what to do? I often joke with new foster parents that they all need to get a gym pass with day care included even if they only go sit in the spa every day. But the reality if we need to let ourselves have breaks without guilt.  We need to eat better, because we frankly have no time to be sick. We have to do something for ourselves. I write, and although I have not published yet that is a near future goal for me. (

I am certain that a better sex life would help, but mostly the quality of that is my fault, I pass out at the end of the day, not going to bed.

Do you feel overwhelmed yet? I do. There are so many to do’s in life that the most important thing that I have learned it to say no. “Sorry I can’t.” without giving a reason, because the response of “I am currently too close to my Plimsoll line.” just confuses people. Let it go. Your house isn’t clean. Your kids are not at grade level. Your hormones need more attention. Your toes haven’t been painted in three months. Christmas shopping is impossible because your children are complicated. And you need a nap. Desperately. I hear you.

So for this holiday find your Plimsoll line, and stay way away from it. Give up on things when you get close and lay in bed with a small special needs person, filling yourself back up emotionally and getting away from that bad place that is threatening to sink the family. With love, Wildscottkids.

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