On days when your emotions are bigger than your body – what do you do? Does parenting life allow for a “mental health day”? (I heard your sarcastic guffaw over there). Parenting doesn’t permit the more common “sick day”, let alone a I-need-a-moment-alone-before-I-completely-freak-out. So what do you do?
There are a thousand reasons for an I’m-going-to-lose-it days: no sleep, unreasonable demands from your child(ren), the dog vomit at the bottom of the steps that you didn’t see when you were going downstairs in the middle of the night to get an advil for the splitting headache that woke you up, the spaced-out demeanor of your pre-schooler while you ask over and over again for simple tasks like “open the door” to be complete while you are all standing in front of it to go out to the car for school. Honestly, we would still be standing at the door waiting for it to open itself if I hadn’t finally got to the point of “honey, push the handle!!! Push the handle!!! Push the handle!!!” In short, there is a whole series of little irritations that lead to your fast-paced call to your husband after you’ve dropped off the kid to tear a strip off him for absolutely nothing – you simply needed an outlet to vent off some of the pressure that was building in your head!! Poor man. Poor, poor man.
Here’s the “it” moment though – in mid-rant to my targetted spouse I had a moment of clarity. This was not about him and the fact that he had not left the five-dollar bill on my purse like I was hoping he would (this is what I was ranting about) because he did not read my mind last night when I thought to myself “I need that fiver for the morning for a coffee”. So when I called him after walking away from the vomit rug, dropping off the dopey preschooler and scrounging under the floor mat for change for coffee, he had no idea what the hell was wrong with me, what he’d done to contribute to it and what to even say! This was not fair to him – honey, I am sincerely sorry. My moment of clarity as I was working myself up to a fevered pitch in my tirade was this – my emotions are bigger than my body. Simply put, I was over reacting to most everything and it didn’t make sense, nor, did it feel good. Was I PMSing? Was I simply needing the sleep that I’d missed? Was I in need of a quiet morning to regroup and refresh without stressful demands and frustrating life events? Yes to all of the above. We’ve heard it before but we often ignore it so I’ll say it again. Only you know best what it is that you need. People can not help you if you yourself don’t know what it is that you need. Whether you can see clearly what your own thoughts and behaviours are telling you depends on how willing you are to listen and put that attentiveness to regular practice. You will be a happier, less stressed, person for doing so and, in turn, your family will not feel those stresses piled onto their own stressed out shoulders. In theory, when each family member puts this into practice (ie. Hubby, don’t dump your junk on me either) then your family takes a collective breath, relaxes their shoulders and better supports one another through the hard moments. Referring back to my telephone tirade with my husband who was in the process of talking faster and getting more and more stressed out by my overloading rant, as soon my overhead light bulb clicked on and I said to him “you know what!? I’m stressed and I’m certain it is all because I’m tired and PMSing so please don’t take any of this to heart, just let me vent” then I actually heard him sigh and take a moment to digest that. And then he said exactly what I needed to hear “Babe, you’re going to be alright. Try and put this stuff out of your head and go get yourself a nice coffee”. My rant did an immediate shift from I-want-to-kill-someone to I-could-burst-out-crying-right-now and it was all back in perspective again. At least one crazy had been replaced by another. My emotions were still bigger than my body but I was at least on my way to recovery, a tall latte and a much needed quiet morning. Cheers.