Today started as a challenge. I thought I was going to reach my breaking point of being a stay-at-home mom. I woke up to a disaster zone. My family and I went out of town this weekend and, because it is tougher to get out of the house on time with an infant, we left the house a mess. Consequently, my home was a wreck this morning. Unneeded jackets and toys were tossed from the diaper bag all over the living room. Laundry spilled out of my heaping basket. Cheerios littered the kitchen floor (it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep the floor clean with a baby in the house!). Dishes were stacked on the counter and a full dishwasher bellowed my name. I had a lot of work to do.
On top of it all, I was on a time crunch. Every Monday, I go to my parents’ house and clean. It’s their way of helping us out financially without insulting my pride. I like to head down early in the day so that I can start cleaning while Bug takes his morning nap so I only had a couple of hours to restore the house to order. Bug wasn’t having it.
Typically, I’m very proud of how many tasks I can accomplish with a baby perched on my hip; I feel like Superwoman.
However, my wrists have recently begun to be sore. Normally, I’d ignore the ache, but I have a history of wrist ailments–from pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel to DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, the latter which required me to undergo two very painful cortisone shots. Having no desire to need shots again, I’ve splinted one of my wrists and am trying to take it easy. No more WonderMom. I had hoped that Bug would play nicely on his mat or bounce in his doorway jumper, but he decided that all he wanted was Mommy. He tantrumed every time I tried to put him down. He tantrumed when I tried to feed him breakfast. He even whimpered while he nursed, his all-time favorite activity in the world!
By 10 o’clock, I hadn’t been able to accomplish a single task completely, including eating my bowl of oatmeal or brushing my teeth. Frustrated, stressed, and hungry, I contacted my husband at his work, hoping he could help me avoid a meltdown. “I love you. You are awesome,” he reassured me. Pouting, I quipped “I am not awesome. I want to cry.” I wanted to take the baby to him and just leave.
Since taking the baby to Jesse’s work wasn’t an option, I worked to pull myself together. I put on my toughest t-shirt which reads “I will windmill kick you in the face” (a line from the awesome Christian beat poet Bradley Hathaway) and tied my bandanna around my head, Rosie the Riveter style. I managed to get the baby in his car seat, the diaper bag packed, and out the door shortly after. Before getting into the car to head to my folks’, I stopped to breathe. It may seem silly, but I use the mantra “calm. relaxed.” to, well, calm and relax myself. “Calm,” I inhaled. “Relaxed.” Exhale. Then I managed to cooly climb into the car. Amazingly enough, Taylor Swift (guilty pleasure for which I hate myself) was screeching, “trouble! trouble! trouble!” when I turned on the radio. Belting it out along with the pop-star fully grounded me again.
By the time I reached my parents’ house, I was calm and mentally prepared to deal with my fussy Bug. I managed to clean both my parents’ house and my own and maintain a happy baby all day long.
So, folks, when it seems like you can’t get anymore stressed out, remember that things have a way of working out. Put on a kick-butt outfit, take some deep breaths, and sing the frustration out!