“Don’t worry, it gets easier, this is just a season of your life, enjoy it.”
Yes, this is a season. Hurricane season.
The first time I heard this sweet phrase I thought they were very kind words. I pondered them for a while, reflecting on this and other “seasons” of my life.
Now, while my “angel” (read devil) children throw the boxes (we are moving) I just hauled up the stairs back down them, smear mystery dark brown stains on the new, white carpet **chocolate pudding**, scribble on the walls with anything resembling a writing utensil and basically defeat every attempt I make at progressing our lives forward (aka unpack and start living like a family rather than nomads again) I feel like it is about to become “hunting season”…
Seriously, it gets better?!
Don’t get me wrong, I know it can be so much worse. There can be death and loss and all sorts of terrible tragedy I can’t imagine today. Nor do I want to imagine. But barring the worst, why does it have to be so hard to operate in “normal season”? I know – the kids are stressed, their routine has been interrupted, their normal re-balanced, new school, new friends, new rooms, new commutes, and super stressed parents who hardly recognize each other. But can’t they just play nicely? I would be more successful brushing my teeth while eating Oreo’s than I am at navigating this season of my life.
I thought they were joking when they told me my only job once the third baby came was to always know the answer to “Where’s the baby?” This is no joke. I feel for the parent who forgot their kid in a parking lot shopping cart return. It could happen.
I think I have long since passed the “take a deep breath and count to 10” phase. I need real ideas for getting by and getting through. So for my own sake, here is a list of things the old me would recommend to the Crazy who took her place. Things I would like to re-implement in my life. Things I know I need to remember to do when the storm is raging and I feel like the winds are sure to blow me down.
1. Sleep, even if you have to ask for back up
I have been so run down, I literally cannot think anymore. Even if you have to ask your spouse, friend or neighbor; get the sleep you need. Have someone watch your kids and just take a nap. Work it out with your spouse the night before (preferably before the tears of exhaustion set in) that they take the morning shift and let you sleep past O dark thirty.
Just do it. The kids can sit in front of the electronic babysitter for 15 glorious minutes, if you use Netflix, auto play will give you at least two episodes of Dinosaur Train. Do it. Put the baby in the crib and just get it done, you’ll thank me later and so will everyone else…
3. Meal Plan
This could be as little as stopping by the store the night before for a budget friendly, pre-made salad. But trust me, the dollars and aggravation of not making this a priority will eventually catch up to you. Do what you can to avoid falling in the convenience trap. The damage could take years to undo.
Even if it is just a walk around the block at lunch (did I work through lunch again today?) Take 1/2 an hour a day and dedicate it just to you to clear your mind and stretch. This is so important! Activity is always the first to go when the stress levels rise and it only perpetuates the problem, depriving yourself of one of the most efficient stress relievers possible.
Regardless of whether you chose 15 minutes before bed of coloring an “adult” coloring book, meditating, yoga, breathing exercises or whatever works for you, set that time a side and do it. Let your mind relax and settle down. And try to pick something that doesn’t involve a screen. Seriously, no Facebook.
Making these five things a daily habit should help you reset when the storm is raging and help get you back on track to smoother sailing.
Now, to just to take my own advice.