She wasn't gossiping or making social arrangements. She was talking with a teacher, her sister, and making sure her husband knew that soccer practice was today. She furiously texted, but spilled coffee on herself and looked at me with a look that says, "Wanna trade places just for today?" I said to her, as reassuringly as I could, "At some point, you'll be sitting at college graduation and you won't even remember this day". To which she responded, "Promise?" I said, "Promise" in my best reassuring Mommy voice.
I've done my frantic time at the deli counter and it wasn't easy. But it was eventually over and everyone survived and indeed, thrived. She'll never know how my heart ached for her. It's a roller coaster that you can't jump off of, never stops and has dizzying turns and dives. Nausea.
This is when I reference "the list" I saw in a newspaper a very long time ago and subsequently learned that was taken from the book The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer. If you haven't seen this "list", take a moment and appreciate the words that describe your life. Yes, someone actually captured about 15-20 minutes of your day and wrote it down for all to see. Thanks, Joyce. This helps.
This same dearly beloved person has been known to get close to my face when I've slept past 6 a.m. and when I suddenly awakened, startled, says, "Sorry, I had to make sure you were breathing" and, on one hilarious occasion, woke me as I was sleeping on the sofa and said, "What are you doing?" to which I replied, "I'm enhancing my immune system". The response was, "Can't you just take a nap, do you have to always be doing something?" Puh-leeze. Have you been watching my life?
The strength of being human (or any living thing for that matter) is the ability to adapt. People wrote music and poetry and made musical instruments in concentration camps, but they had little choice. You have a choice. Re-boot, re-tool, re-set and re-align.
WHAT DO I DO???
Learn "refusal skills". Those are the tactful ways of saying, "Nah, I'm not doing this" to your boss, your friends, that nagging PTA lady who wants you to put together a circus. Give yourself permission to focus on you and those people and activities YOU value the most.
Know this. Kids grow up and become more independent and leave home. But, they have only one childhood and you have to pay attention to it. Yes, work supports your family and it, too, is important, but you'll eventually move out of the work force. Good times pass and so to the trying times. Keep the faith.
You want to take a look at "subtracting" to a point where you don't wake up hyperventilating everyday because of your list of "competing needs". Look at the how many times a day you say outloud or to yourself, "I gotta...". It's a good "I'm overwhelmed" measure.
If today, you're saying, "I've gotta make a meatloaf and mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner", you might want to welcome your family into the "wonderful world of soup and sandwiches". Did you know that grocery stores have wonderful, freshly-made soup? You can buy a few to give your family variety and make up some small sandwiches and let them "have at it"! I know you define yourself as a "good mother" in certain ways, but maybe it's time to relax some of your expectations and re-define yourself.
Change your breathing. Yes, your breathing. The way you breath signals a lot of powerful emotional information to your body. Consider the website My Calm Beat (and there's an app) to help you re-establish healthy breathing patterns to avoid the shallow, panicked breathing of an overwhelmed life. You don't even have to schedule a time to do this! Just breathe!
I know you don't have time for a massage. You probably wouldn't go if you had time. You'd take a snooze or do another load of laundry. I know you. I am you. Release that stored up muscle tension by squeezing your major muscles while sitting at stop lights. Do some shoulder rolls to release neck tension. Stretch a little. Just a little.
Thanks for taking your valuable time to read this. Seriously. I know that your life runs on the nano-second and "time" has become your worst enemy. Do your best to change your relationship with time. Steal those minutes.
Get in the longer line at the grocery store so you can stand still and take a few deep breaths. When I hear that "Miss, oh Miss, this line is available", I calmly say, "No, I need the rest. Let me just stand here". Every woman in the line laughs. You know...that knowing laugh..
Just do the best you can,