But I’m going to change tack a bit today and talk about when the best laid plans don’t come to fruition, or when there’s stumbling blocks – which, let’s face it, is a daily event when you’re a mother.
Take my morning for example. I was finishing up getting ready for work. The boys were fed and dressed. I was dressed and coffee was consumed. I’d hung out washing and I looked at the clock and was surprised to see I had a little more time up my sleeve than I thought. I gave myself a mental smiley sticker and left my happily playing boys in the living area while I put on my makeup and fixed up my hair.
I was only five minutes, but the carnage that greeted me upon arrival back in the living room betrayed the short time frame. The eldest child scampered away in a clear admission of guilt, while the youngest was caught blue-handed, happily smearing blue acrylic paint all over the floor, himself and as my widened eyes scanned the room, the couch and his suede chair too.
I thought about taking a photo, as any good blogger would do, but I was overcome with the kind of white hot rage that could only be channelled into yelling and telling said children how angry I was, while simultaneously taking off clothes, washing hands, rubbing faces, mopping floors and trying in vain to remove thick acrylic paint from a textured fabric couch. It was mayhem. I was hot, bothered and beyond stressed.
I thought how ironic it was that I’d planned a post about action plans to stress less in our lives when shit like this can happen at any time, without warning, and far worse things too. So, perhaps the universe was proving a point to me this morning?
That stress isn’t always a thing that can be tied up in a neat little bow and dealt with easily. There are going to be events that shock us, that require us to dig deep, mop up and eventually recover from. My blue paint incident is just a superficial example of the shocks that life can sometimes inflict.
But when you get attacked by the blue paint of life, what is there left to do? Here are my tips:
- Know that you will get through it. Even the shittest moments in life are temporary and things do improve.
- Do what you can. Just as I mopped up the paint as best I could in order to still get to work, do what you can to deal with the impending crisis and know you’ll get to the rest later.
- Express your emotions. I don’t feel bad about yelling at my kids this morning as I needed to express how I was feeling at that moment. As much as yelling now seems to be on the banned list for parents, I think it’s healthier to deal with emotions when they happen rather than bottling it up. In this situation it’s helped me to move on quicker and go back to rationally talking to my children. Any emotion you’re feeling in a crisis situation needs to be expressed – the quicker, the better I believe. Cry, stomp, chuck a tantrum, yell – in private, in public, I don’t care … but express it!
- Cut yourself a break. I worked myself up by the fact I had to clean up, get the kids to kindy and then on the train to work. It seemed an impossible mission when I was in the blue sea of paper towels, but one thought saved me ‘You’ll get there when you get there’. I let go of the pressure of where I had to be and concentrated on what I needed to do now. That’s one thing about a crisis; it forces you to surrender to a moment. A particularly unpleasant moment, but a moment nonetheless. There’s no better time to exercise kindness to yourself, which then translated to greater kindness to my blue-handed offenders.
- Move on. This takes the time it takes. With my blue paint incident, it might take a day. A bigger crisis will take much longer, but whatever curve ball that life throws there will be a time for your own sanity that you’ll need to move on … in whatever form that takes for you.
So, it isn’t the post I’d planned. But life is kind of like that, isn’t it?
How do you deal with the daily curve balls that life throws? I’d love to hear about it and any more tips you have!