Disclaimer: This post is all rambling and no pictures, so read at your own risk.
We all have them. I’d like to think I don’t have them any more often than anyone else, although sometimes I’m not sure.
Today was a hard day. There was nothing really special about it or different. I got up at the same time; I had my coffee and made my to-do list; the boys were themselves, childlike and learning, but not especially naughty; the house has looked as it has for basically the last five years and counting. So why did 10:30 a.m. find me crying over folding clothes with my twenty-month-old looking at me like I was crazy? I’d like to play the pregnancy card, but the truth is more likely it was just my own attitude that crops up every now and then and makes normal life suddenly seem unbearable. I have these days un-pregnant, too. All the time.
That mid-morning emotional crash followed me throughout the rest of the day, though its influence faded somewhat by dinnertime. I can only sum it up as the semi-daily I-Am-Failing-At-Everythings. If you don’t get those, well, good for you. I’m a perfectionist and I fight them frequently. I need a name for them–like the Mean Reds, where you suddenly get scared and you don’t know why–I’ll have to think about it. I can’t seem to be clever at the moment.
Anyway, that’s what happened and now that I’m on the other side for one day (we’ll see about tomorrow) here’s my assessment of what I did, should have done, shouldn’t have done, etc. For my own sake. I know myself. This is not a list for you…unless you’re me. In that case, listen up.
WHAT I SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE
Probably the stupidest thing I did today was put WAY too much on my to-do list. I have three children four-and-under at home, and even though I don’t plan on things like the four-year-old filling his clothes full of sand from the sandbox and dumping it out on the sofa in the sitting room, well…those things happen. You’d think by now I’d allow room for those unexpected but somehow predictable…teachable moments…but for some reason today I didn’t. Which meant that when they happened (oh boy did they happen) I was already on edge by demanding too much of myself and really, really little things just pushed me right on over. Why did I do that to myself?
Stupid thing number two was just lying down when the kids were napping and resting. Now, for some people that is a perfectly good thing to do–especially when twenty-something weeks pregnant. But I am a TERRIBLE mid-day napper. I always wake up grouchier than I was when I convinced myself that I was exhausted and needed a nap. Always. Mid-day napping just makes me angry that it’s still today when I wake up. (Someone please tell me I’m not the only one like this!) So no, that little sojourn of “rest” didn’t help things, it just made me that much more likely to burst into tears when someone dropped all their cheerios onto the floor. (I told you it was a bad day.)
WHAT I’M GLAD I DID
I started today with a few goals and I did accomplish all of them: read to the boys, read my bible, drink more water, don’t try to escape the day with TV for kids or just jumping in the car and escaping the house altogether. Those last two were HARD. Let me tell you. I feel like we’re still getting our lives back from those weeks and weeks of first trimester funk, and what that means is that if our days aren’t full of Things to Do And Places to Go (read: distractions) we all kind of wander in circles in the house (and Clive demands a new something-to-do every five minutes precisely.) Things have been incredibly busy here lately–we haven’t been home an entire day for almost two weeks–and that, unfortunately, absolutely destroys everyone’s attention span. I have no problem with getting out of the house and going places, but I also believe learning to be content at home (and play with something for more than five minutes at a time) is a life skill for the kids. Escaping just wasn’t an option…though I seriously considered it a few times. I’m glad I stuck it out.
I don’t usually do this, but this morning alongside my to-do list I wrote out a loose routine for the day. It came in handy when I was overwhelmed by said stupid to-do list. Also, I wrote out the day’s meals first thing this morning, too, and set things out to thaw before the 10:30 a.m. meltdown hit, so I wasn’t blindsided by that after my completely useless nap when I woke up angry at the world. Thank goodness. I write all of these things down in my bullet journal every morning, which has become my Brains and has been (when I’m not overachieving on the to-do list) a real lifesaver.
I’m also going to add that I’m glad I’m rambling about this because hopefully it’ll give me some clarity when the next Hard Day hits.
WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE
For the love of all things pink, why on earth I didn’t text a friend for prayer I’ll never know. Actually, I do know. It just stinks to let other people in on your hard days sometimes. So instead I muddled through the day by myself, and blogged about it at night so that the WHOLE INTERNET would know, because that really does make perfect sense if you think about it. (Actually, no, it doesn’t make sense, so don’t think about it please or you will give yourself a headache.)
Anyway, one little “I’m having a rough day today, would you please pray for me?” would have done wonders, I know. It was dumb to skip it. Ugh.
I’ve already covered and re-covered the to-do list, but seriously. Even when I wrote it this morning I wondered if I was over-extending myself. I try to only write down the things I know I can do. I always want to write down something, because I think expectations are important, but ridiculously high expectations are counter-productive. Tomorrow (and each day following, hopefully) I will be more realistic. Hopefully.
Finally, I should have made myself useful during that ill-fated attempt at resting. Those couple of hours while the boys are napping is perfect time to accomplish things that are hard to do with frequent interruptions. And, unlike napping, working on something during that time ALWAYS makes me feel more energized and ready to tackle the rest of the day. Every time, without fail. Even if I’m just sitting and crocheting a blanket while listening to a podcast.
So that’s it. Erin, here’s your guide to yourself for the next time you find yourself wallowing in the depths of despair while folding Anselm’s fleece jammies. And Ephraim, if you’re reading this some day, I’m really sorry I took a nap against my better judgement and cried when you dropped your cheerios, which was totally an accident and not actually a big deal. And Clive, I’m sorry but you’re going to have to play Mr. Potato Head for more than five minutes at a time, for your own good. And Anselm, I’d like to tell you that your Mama is not crazy but I’d be lying. But I do love you, and I’m sorry about that episode with your jammies.