When it rains it pours. And then it floods your basement and ruins your valuables. And then your insurance company refuses to pay any money because you missed your last payment by 2.3 hours. And then your floorboards mold and rot and your house collapses. And then…..
Luckily, none of those events have actually occurred in our house. Yet. But I am feeling a little (okay A LOT) like a Debbie Downer lately. Or Charlie Brown. Or Eeyore. Or any character out there who is gloomy and sullen and says things like “why even bother”.
Our family has hit a bit of a “rough patch”. What the heck is a rough patch anyway? It makes me think of a spot I missed shaving my leg. Why is it a “patch”? Why isn’t it a rough acre? Anyway, I digress. My husband is currently between jobs. I always thought that was a fancy way of saying “unemployed”. And it is, but I have hope, and he has confidence, that he will be starting a new job very soon. So he really is between jobs. And we are really going to be fine. And I really do trust him and his ability to care for our family.
BUT…. this whole waiting game and brief period of uncertainty is wreaking havoc on my OCD/ anxiety ridden self. I’ve discovered that I really have lived a very charmed life. I have been blessed to not have had any major stressors in my life to date. Growing up in my family was pretty much like living in an endless episode of Leave It To Beaver, just more colorful and with jeans instead of dresses. Things have always come pretty easy and everything has always pretty much worked out the way I had planned. So now that there is a minor bump in the road, I’m learning that I am an emotional wreck who has very few coping strategies. And the little things that happen on a daily basis in a home with three small children seem to pile up and magnify.
I can hold myself together at work when I’m having difficult meetings with parents, at the doctor’s office when my son has his 865th ear infection, and through frustrating traffic. But then I get home and find out that we don’t have any lettuce when I was planning on making tacos and I have a massive meltdown. “What do you MEAN we don’t have any lettuce? Is it too much to ask to have fresh produce in the house? Do I have to do EVERYTHING around here? Nobody appreciates me!!!!” Currently my overdramatic 5 year old and I have pretty much the same coping strategies. Maybe I should consider running away, too.
The internet is chock-full of inspirational quotes for overcoming obstacles. Like this one from Helen Keller: “The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
Godlike??? If by “Godlike” she means becoming a person who can eat 12 Oreos in one sitting, then I am definitely on my way to becoming Godlike. I have discovered that I am a bona fide stress eater. I didn’t know that I was such, but I also hadn’t had to overcome much stress either. Other than the aforementioned lettuce for tacos, fresh fruits and vegetables pretty much turn my stomach these days. But give me anything with chocolate or cheese dip and I am instantly ravenous. After I eat a whole medium sized bag of Peanut Butter M&Ms, I have guilt for eating a whole medium sized bag of Peanut Butter M&Ms. And when I have guilt I feel stress and when I feel stress….well, that’s already been established. Then my pants are too tight and that makes me upset because I don’t want to spend money on any new things right now, and then I feel more stress…… sigh.
I really do need to take some pointers from people who have overcome REAL obstacles. Helen Keller probably has earned her right to dispense inspirational quotes. Maybe I need to take her advice and use this experience to better myself and grow. And not just grow extra chins and fat rolls, but really grow as a person and develop better coping strategies. My children need two healthy parents to be able to help them through stressful times as well. I know that I lead by example and I want my children to know how to handle themselves when life doesn’t go exactly as planned.
I vow to make positive changes.
I, Jennifer, hereby solemnly swear to take better care of myself when stressed. I will eat three, healthy meals per day, including at least 4 servings of fruits and vegetables (I know it should be more… but I gotta start somewhere!). I will drink more water and less pop. I will continue to make time to exercise. I will not snack after dinner. I will get my fat ass to bed before 11:00. I will try to think more positively and not put myself down (guess I’m going to have to quit calling my ass fat). I will take time each day to acknowledge the many things I have for which to be thankful. I will try my hardest to be kind, positive, and a good role model for my kids.
Thinking about that vow makes me tired and craving peanut butter M&Ms. Not an auspicious start….. but I can DO THIS!!! I think I need to get some pointers from my husband, who is eternally optimistic and cheerful. Which, on one hand, can be reassuring for a Nervous Nellie like me, but on the other hand, can annoy the shit out of me when his positivity is raining down on my pity party. Since I’m not allowing myself to throw pity parties anymore, I guess I don’t have to worry about them getting rained out by his positivity.
Which is good, because when it rains it pours……