I’m actually looking forward to Monday. It will mark the (hopeful) end of hell-week.
As I was typing the title for this post my son stopped crying just long enough to puke all over the rocking chair in his room. It was the grande-finale that beautifully sums up the week I just endured. And that was not the only barfing incident.
Have you ever had one of those days (weeks? months?) when every little thing you do blows up in your face? Even a soothing cup of tea to take the edge off becomes a scalding experience. A pleasant bike ride on a sunny day becomes an accidental backflip with my son strapped into the carrier on the back. The hope of an hour of peace is dashed when an exhausted toddler is woken up by a loud noise made by the dog in the living room.
It would be unfair to bore you with a list of the remaining hourly disasters that piled on top of each other to make seven days of misery. Instead I will pull some positivity out of my ass and share the lessons I’ve learned from hitting rock bottom.
- Focus, Damn You. Although it feels more productive to do otherwise, distraction is the master of disaster. Unfortunately, I have been programmed to behave like a kid on sugar who forgot to take her Ritalin® so it will take some retraining to learn to focus again. To get my focus back I tried meditating this week. It was a demoralizing failure. It’s like I’m starting at square one. I will try again tonight if I don’t fall asleep writing this post.
- Never Break the Cardinal Rule. Or a kid will break your last pair of sunglasses. I swore I wouldn’t let my son play with my sunglasses after he broke my husband’s and scratched my favourite pair. Today I bought a new pair that is expensive enough I will actually cry this time if anything happens to them. Or, more likely, I will fly into a monstrous rage and cause someone physical harm. In the end it was all my fault for ignoring my son’s track-record. I’ve learned that If a rule is broken, it’s no longer a rule.
- The Secret to Peace is Subtraction. Say less, do less, buy less and just be. It all sounds so new-age dreamy I want to gag. But, it’s true. The fewer things on my to-to list this week, the more peaceful I will be. Life is slowly teaching me that children mess up every good intention a parent will ever have. Better to have less intentions then. Also see lesson #6.
- Get the Hell Out. Have a Kit Kat. Go to a cafe and read, alone. Hang out with nature – just the two of you. Ask other people to help you share some of the load left over after subtraction. It’s okay if they say no (see lesson #5).
- Say No – a Lot. For yourself and your sanity. If you feel like you’re going to explode just say ‘no’ to everything. Obviously you’re overwhelmed and the last thing you want to do is add more to your already overflowing plate. I really suck at this. The upcoming week will be be brought to you by the word, NO.
- Just Let it Go Already. Drop your standards, perhaps even permanently. This takes practice, knowing when to let go of something before it becomes a burden. I often jump to fix problems the moment they spring up, but sometimes I need to let things fail all around me while I relax with a glass of wine (like that ever happens). Letting go might also mean saying goodbye to something or someone who just isn’t working out. The goodbye process always feels more painful than it actually is, and when I give up I find the real fear is my concern about what other people think. It’s as though I have some saintly image I must maintain at all costs.
This week will be the time to put these lessons into practice. I’ll forget them all just like I forget my wallet when I go grocery shopping. But, as I keep reminding myself to refocus every time I fail I will get better at having good days which will, eventually, lead to good weeks.
Did you have a good week or a shitty one? Want to compare notes or one-up me? Leave a comment below.