A Simple Way to Avoid Stress
Glimpse a typical moment of my daily life if you will: I am strapped to a breast-pump. Easton has opened the front door in his Pokémon undies for a stranger and is now showing them his Spider-Man LEGO set. Hudson just defecated on the kitchen floor. All the while, both babies are concurrently fussing, as they add to the amount of poo and/or spit-up I will soon be cleaning. Glamorous no?
Is it really a wonder women lose hair after giving birth? Reasons to gather tension are unlimited. There are a million differing answers to each parenting question, none fully right, wrong, or guaranteed to work a lick. Which brands? Binky/no binky? Sleep train, co-sleep, neither? Resting heavily upon your fatigue stricken shoulders is the future and wellbeing of your children. No big deal.
Needless to say, enjoying motherhood free of stress can be a challenge. I for one, would far rather spend my time snuggling babies, than scrutinizing each parenting move I have made. Thankfully, I discovered a strategy to prevent that escalation of panic during my day to day confrontations with over-analyzation.
Due to simplicity, my trick is going to seem anticlimactical. Left unattended however, my thoughts shift inward, so be it simple, this approach proves worthy of mention. Here it is, free of charge.
Allow me to set the scene: A situation arises. Your mind cascades frantically down a path of 'what to do's' and 'what have I done's'. Tunnel vision sets in as you flail in anxiety. You mentally replay your error or conundrum. Suddenly, you are trapped in an unremitting circuit of alternative solutions pertaining to what should have or can be done. Pause right there. As soon as you catch yourself losing perspective (and your calm), ask yourself this simple question: Will I remember this problem in five years? I know, nothing groundbreaking. It sounds insignificant and corny, yet it sifts out 95% of my pointless worries. That equates to, roughly, 10 grey hairs per minute. Go ahead and fact check that.
In my experience, by applying a long-term perspective, I find grace for myself in the small moments. As parents, I believe the phrase, ‘let grace abound’ should be a resounding mantra for us and our children. Five years down the parental road these small issues will likely fade out, such as; organizing toys, the wacky pajama-top outfit my four-year-old wore to church, or the occasional day my caffeine intake exceeds the recommended amount allotted while breastfeeding. I must be selective in which thoughts I entertain and this rule of thumb helps in prioritizing.
So when I forget to brush someone’s teeth or time-outs begin to outnumber high fives, I remind myself, in five years, the small things will be long forgotten. A lesson I hope will stick with my little ones long-term, is how to meet personal error with grace rather than self-depreciation. My children can then exchange unnecessary stress for a more productive hobby, such as taking their old, frail mother out for a spa day, to compensate for all this poo.