With three kids and life besides, the emotional input in this house are constantly at high levels. As much as I would like to tune it out or make them all be happy and volume-controlled, I can’t. It doesn’t work.
The only person I can control is myself. And even that goes awry at times (I’m looking at you, this morning).
A useful thing I’m learning is to monitor how I’m feeling. You’d think at 26 this would be standard procedure, but somehow I am only now learning to reach beyond the surface-levels of anxiety or frustration and consider where they came from.
Sometimes I’m just anxious because of a hypothetical scenario in my head, or I had a distressing dream that night, or a word or sentence in a actual conversation came across the wrong way and I need to process it. If I can track where the worried/stressed feeling came from, I can then edit the story playing in my head.
Feelings have a real role in the story of a day. Often tracking down the source is enough to move on in an orderly way, but when the emotions are tied to actual problems it can be harder to resist letting them hijack the day.
This morning I was feeling really stressed out about a problem that is outside of our control and I was snapping at my kids. Adding tears and screaming to my stressed out household was not not going to work. So, eventually, after some lost-cause battles, I loaded up the car for a mini-escape. We hit up chic-fil-a, drove around for a little bit, and then had a picnic at the playground. It was a good reset and a good reminder how easy it is to change the track of the day to a brighter tune. And even though the same stressors are still there and the kids are still screaming, adjusting expectations to fit the mood of the day was much more life giving than any other option may have been.
It’s not being complacent or ignoring the pain of the problem. It’s accepting the reality of each piece, evaluating my ability to change them, and fitting the puzzle together in a way that brings more life.
Here’s to more life.
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