Do you ever have one of those days that you’d like to have a pause button that would put the world on hold while so you can take a moment to breathe?
I’ve had a few of those days lately. It seems like the normal stresses of life, the bills, the home maintenance, the job, and all those other day to day things get to be a lot – and factor in the marriage, other relationships that can become ‘high maintenance’, responsibilities, and add a few kids and suddenly you feel overwhelmed and would just like to shut everything off and close your eyes and hear nothing.
How nice it would be to be able to sit down and read a book for as long as you felt like it without an interruption, or take a bath without having to pre-arrange the time (not that pre-arranging time actually works but it always seems like it’s worth a shot), or have what you want for dinner, even if it’s a bowl of cereal, without getting a complaint about it.
I suspect that every parent has at least a fleeting thought like this now and again, I also suspect that as happens to me, the guilt happens too!
I love my kids, and wouldn’t trade them for the world but sometimes life just seems to be emotionally draining.
This week, The Dad and I actually got to go away for a night. This is the 3rd time since kids that we’ve done that (which also happens to be the third time in 3.5 years – maybe we’re on a roll!) and it was really REALLY nice. We ate dinner at a restaurant that we knew we’d have to wait for the meal to be cooked and we didn’t care, we didn’t have to gauge the emotional thermometer of the kids before choosing what to do or consider how long we would be doing it (to establish if it was a good plan or not), we stayed up late and slept in, read the newspaper in bed while we drank coffee and we dressed up to go out. (among other things!)
It was nice.
Parents will always worry about their children. It’s what parents do. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t have to be so in tune with The Girl and The Dervish though. They are high maintenance kids. With them you can never just do something, everything has to be carefully considered, and, even when you think you have planned for every potential glitch – have 5 different kinds of snacks, 3 changes of clothing for each, blankets and pillows for the car, a variety of toys, bed early the night before, a good breakfast the day of…. something will invariably happen that you didn’t or couldn’t plan for.
The problem is, intense emotions are not only strong, they are long lasting. Intense kids don’t just ‘get over it’ and move on, they cling to the feeling like it’s life itself and will allow it to ruin an entire day. There are moments when I feel sorry for myself (I always feel sorry for them – they are the ones being bowled over by their own feelings).
But, then I make myself take a step back and remember that sometimes I forget the blessings, sometimes I forget that compared to others, my life might seem like a picnic.
Take LITTLE PRINCESS The Story of a Special-Need Child from a parenting experiences page. My heart broke for this family and this little girl with all that they’ve been through and all that they will go through. This makes my chores to prepare for an outing seem petty, and my complaining seem ‘childish’. What have I really got to complain about after all?
So this my advice for today. When you are down and overwhelmed …
1. Take a break. Everyone needs it now and again, people as individuals need a break, need a breather. It’s good for the soul. Couples need time together, it’s good for a relationship. When you take the time to nourish your soul, you come out of it calmer and happier and that makes you better. A better person, a better partner, a better parent.
2. Try to remember, that as bad as it feels sometimes, in most cases, there is someone, somewhere, dealing with something that is more than you can imagine handling – and that makes your problems seem a little less daunting.
Now what was it I was feeling tired about?