Happy Monday! Mondays are a long ay for me at work. Sometimes, when scheduling kid activities, I forget this and over commit for after work on Mondays. Orthodontist at 3:30? Of course, no problem. I don’t know why I didn’t remember that we have piano on the other side of town at 4 on Mondays and The Dancer doesn’t even get out of school until 3:15. Note, she gets out at 3:15 if I’m at the very front of the carpool line and I can only be at the front of the carpool line if I arrive at about 2:45, which is the exact time that my last client is supposed to leave and when, at the same exact moment, I’m picking up Number 71. So, the front of the carpool line isn’t looking likely.
Also, the air conditioning has gone out in my car again (for the second time in three weeks, three VERY HOT weeks) and the car is NOT THAT OLD.
I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious just thinking about it. I know we can’t do all of these things and that I’m going to have to cancel one or more (the orthodontist is looking likely). I know it, but I’ll probably try and make all of it happen anyway. Because I don’t want to admit that it’s just not possible to actually do it all. I can already imagine what’s going to happen. I’ll agonize over it all night. Wake up stressed out at 4AM worrying about how much trouble I’m going to get in with the orthodontist.
What’s happening right now? Is it just anxiety and a tendency towards people pleasing? NO.
It’s shame. I feel ashamed that I didn’t manage the schedule better. Shame that I didn’t set better boundaries and not allow myself to schedule that one last client at 2PM (I know that time doesn’t work and I always somehow schedule it anyway). Shame is the voice in my head telling me that a more organized mother would be able to manage all of these appointments and requirements without stress or anger.
Shame makes me irritable. It makes me cranky. It makes me want to throw up a wall between myself and everyone else that says don’t look at me. That’s the point of anger as a response to shame – it stops people from seeing us, from looking too closely.
But it also stops us from getting help. It stops us from getting reassurance. Anger is pretty ineffective in terms of getting our needs met. The antidote to shame – according to Brene Brown, is vulnerability. It’s openness. Anger doesn’t allow me to do that, but being vulnerable does.
Another antidote to anxiety? Gratitude. I assign gratitude all the time. I ask clients to write down three things they’re grateful for every day at the end of the night. But I never do it myself. So, in a doctor heal thyself sort of thing, here are three things I’m grateful for:
- that my daughter was able to play catcher today in her softball game for the first time and that she felt good about it when she was done;
- the air conditioning that is working overtime in our house to keep it a manageable cool; and
- that my older daughter has made many good friends at her school, she can be quiet and knowing she feels accepted is such a gift.
So there’s the list. I may try and write lists every day or I may just do them in my head. I don’t want it to be a drag on my energy, but I do want to make more room for gratitude in my life. If only so that I can remind myself that the drive to the orthodontist and the piano lessons and and and shall pass one day and I will be grateful that I have had the experience.