We all have times when we are barely getting by, where microwaving dinner sounds just too hard.
As pathetic as I am, I have just been through a week of that. Matt's had a business trip for 6 days and I'll tell you what, it is no joke.
I have NO IDEA how you single/military/husbands-work-crazy-hours moms out there function because I'm. So. Dang. Tired.
Matt occasionally takes work trips but its been a while since he's been gone this long. And I certainly didn't have all of my charming cuties then.
I got to the end of the day and no one was there to take over. No one shared the mealtime chaos. No one did the dishes. No one helped with bedtime. I know I'm pampered, but I'm used to this life of luxury, dang it!
I woke up early Sunday just after Matt left to finish the lesson I was teaching at church and less than 10 minutes later I had 2 baby helpers. Huh. That was tricky but I made it work.
I wondered a bit how church was going to go. We had to be there a 1/2 hour early as I was leading the young women in a song during the meeting. Fortunately I have some wonderful women in my life, one who sat with my kids and me before and during church and another took the hysterically screaming, stranger-danger baby for a walk down the hall, away from the door to the chapel, as we sang our song.
The baby was a disaster for the entire 3 hours and by the time I got home I was quite done, thankyouverymuch, but then I had to get dinner on the table. Bedtime might not have been picture perfect.
Monday was not great, not going to lie, and I think the fact that I even powered through family night should make up for any less than ideal responses on my part.
But Tuesday morning I had this beautiful revelation that completely changed the rest of my week. Don't get me wrong, I was still tired and stretched, but I was peaceful.
I was reading some girl's Instagram where she talked about her Ah-ha with her kids. She said she had fallen down some stairs rushing to get to her fighting little ones. She just sat there on the stairs thinking and realized that getting to her kids at that moment was not an emergency. That realization helped her change her whole response moving forward when things weren't perfect with her kids. Repeating that phrase "It is not an emergency" totally calmed her and she was able to respond and not react.
I read about her experience and thought about how MY problem is just overreacting. No secret. Our emotions run high here and we feed off each other.
It seems when things are stressful (for instance: no hubby + 5 young kids + attempting to prep a move) then my response to regular monkey behavior isn't the best.
Well, Tuesday morning as I was laying in bed pondering these great truths, I pulled out a pen and quickly wrote on my hand "This is NOT a Big Deal."
I read it to myself when the 3 year old had to be asked for 739th time to clear her spot. I read it when the 5 and 8 year olds simultaneously whipped each other with random removed clothing items (what the heck?!). I read it out loud to the various children throughout the day who, for whatever reason, were flipping out over something not big.
And I've got to say it worked. It was like a magic button. For real. I couldn't believe it.
Just the act of acknowledging that this event we were feeling these big emotions over wasn't really a big deal kept all of our responses in check. Like, it would quickly flip a kid from freakout to a calm speaking voice. But mostly it helped me to respond instead of emotionally reacting, which is probably mostly why the kids responded so crazy awesome. It kind of blew my mind.
So then I wrote it again in permanent marker.
Before the dam burst.
When the baby decided she was all of the sudden done in Costco and started screaming whilst attempting to remove a chunk of the 3 yr old's arm and they were both wailing in the middle of the aisle, I said, "This is NOT a Big Deal," and then laughed because, what else are you going to do? And then I whipped open that delicious sliced chicken lunch meat stuff that's on sale and shoved some in both of their sweet mouths, pushing the cart as quickly as possible to the checkout.
When the determined child yet again took 25 minutes to get moving in the morning I said "This is NOT a Big Deal," and let his natural consequences occur, commentary free.
And when the blackberry jam's container broke and it spilled polka dot drips all over the kitchen floor as I dropped it like 5 times trying to get it in the garbage can at the end of a long day I said "This is NOT a Big Deal," and smiled as I wiped it up. It was a snarky smile for the record, but I wasn't mad about it. This picture does not do it justice btw. It was everywhere but by the time I thought to document, this was all that was left.
I'm telling you, that little phrase has made this week so much better.
So now I'm left wondering if maybe I should have it tattooed on my hand or something.
Now, I'm not saying this is a magic button for you. You probably have your stuff all together and never find yourself angry over the 57,926 pieces of tiny paper your darling child has left for you on/under the coffee table. Again.
But if you are one of us lucky ones who feels our emotions rise as one child death-screams at another, "Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater!!!" then I'd highly recommend thinking about if any such phrase might motivate you.
Obviously, we're all different with our personalities and challenges and situations and whatnot, so what's going to help us is all different. This worked for me this week, big time.