You know when you have one of those days where the emotions and frustration just all come spilling out?
You’ve been holding it in and keeping a strong front, but bit by bit things start chipping away at your “No big deal” demeanour and you break down and have a good old ugly cry?
That was me today.
This week has been a bit rough. Hubby was unexpectedly called away on business for 2 weeks so this has been Week 1 of single-parenting a very strong-willed and sleeptime-shinnanigan toddler, while battling severe morning sickness with limited groceries in stock, which resulted in an exhausted mommy (shamefully) resorting to more take-out food than she’d like to admit. And today I’m subsisting on half a piece of toast & some scrambled eggs for breakfast, lunch decided it wasn’t in it for the long haul and jumped out, and for dinner all I could stomach was some shredded wheat and milk.
Oh, and I haven’t done a single dish this week so the kitchen smells like a mix of salsa with butter chicken with gravy. (I should probably have more shame and not admit that, but to be honest I’m just too tired to censor myself.)
…there also hasn’t been so much as a washcloth laundered this week.
I’ve probably told myself 5 times today (including just before I sat down to write this post) “It could be worse!” which seems to be my default answer to anything tough or overwhelming. And you know what – while it’s true, it doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid (a great point a friend made recently after I used that line).
My initial reaction is to list all of the blessings that are contributing to how I feel (growing a baby who is just shy of the 12 week mark, wonderful Hubby with a steady job – a little too steady sometimes – and a beautiful daughter whose determinedness is inspiring and is the pride & joy of my life).
But at the same time I need to keep a few things in mind:
1. Give yourself permission to say that a current situation sucks.
Yes, this could be worse, but the fact of the matter is I’m exhausted and overwhelmed. It’s okay to not be happy and positive with a “can do” attitude 24/7. Sometimes you just have to let it all out and not feel like being overwhelmed = failure.
2. If you lower expectations for yourself during tough times, don’t expect yourself to exceed them (seems like a stupid reminder – but I need it).
At the beginning of the week I told myself my expectations were low and essentially the goal was just to keep my daughter, myself and peanut alive.
“You’re exhausted, sick and pregnant – don’t worry about dishes, don’t worry about laundry, don’t worry about cooking – just keep this week as stress-free as possible.”
I’ve done all that………and I feel pretty useless.
But at the end of the day, 5 years from now the dishes, the laundry and the meals won’t matter. Stop being such a trickster bully to yourself and faking your lower expectations!!
3. Pat yourself on the back for the things you did well – no matter how big or small.
I can easily rhyme off 10 things I “failed” at this week…but I have to remember that I did some things well and give myself credit for them (no matter how big or small they seem):
- Putting the effort to make eggs and toast for my daughter this morning (vs. a bowl of cereal)
- Getting to work on time (which can be a feat with no help and toddler unpredictableness)
- Meeting this week’s work deadlines (I feel like this should be a given, but the rule is to pat yourself on the back!)
- Bathing my daughter regularly (it could’ve been easy too say “I’m too tired and pregnant!”)
- Taking fieldtrips to the library and mall this week…without any major tantrums (a miracle)
4. Sometimes you just need to have an ugly cry…and that’s okay.
While there’s definitely a need to regulate your emotions at times, you also need to allow yourself to have an outlet (whether it’s a hobby, chatting with a friend, or having a big old ugly cry). Crying is one of those taboo sorta things that you “can’t” do in public and that we interpret as weak. But I need one every once in a while and think it’s actually a great opportunity to release, reset, and refocus.
I was so busy trying to put on a strong front at work, with my husband, with my mom, with my friends that I didn’t realize how unhappy I was. I think if I sucked it up any longer I probably would’ve had an unfortunate outburst on my daughter over something silly – regrettable crisis averted!
So overall I’m exhausted, I feel gross from eating mainly processed food, and the house is a complete gong show…but there’s still 3 hearts beating in this house and 1 heart that’s coming home tomorrow.
Let’s call a spade a spade and say this week sucked (but we made it!) …think about some learnings to take away (fresh, healthy food is non-negotiable!!)…and get as much rest as you need this weekend…because we’re doing it all over again next week!
Bring it on.
What advice do you have when folks are working through a tough situation?
This one’s pretty situation-specific … I’m happy hubby’s coming home tomorrow, I’m thankful we’re all still alive, and I’m hopeful that next week will be an improvement and go smoother!