When the toaster stresses you out

When the toaster stresses you out

Not today toaster. I am ready for you. I place the frozen rye bread into the toaster and push it down. I’m ready for you I mutter under my breath. You are not winning today. I stand there with my plate waiting for it to pop up. I feel like a kid winding up a jack-in-the-box. Waiting and trying to prove that I won’t be startled, and it inevitably pops up and scares the piss out of me each time. Stupid jack-in-the-box I think to myself too. Nope, I will win today. I will not end up with another damn piece of toast on the floor. See, what you need to understand, is that I have a toaster that launches my toast across the room. Ding…done…floor. Every damn time. In the morning, while I am tending to the toast, and the eggs, and milk and whatever else the kids are getting that morning for breakfast, I always forget about the toast until I hear it hit the floor. At that point, my stress meter climbs an inch.

This time it stayed on the counter…..this time

When it hits the floor, I spin around and I do a rough calculation. Did I make it over to the toast before 10 seconds. If yes, did it land on a freshly washed floor, or a floor that most likely has more grime on it than I care to discuss in this blog. If it landed on the washed floor, have the cleaners I used had enough time to not have made its way onto the toast? If yes, I scoop it up and inspect the crap out of it. Before deciding that it really didn’t matter if I calculated the worlds hardest math equation, my anxiety never allows me to save it from the bin anyways. In the bin it goes…and in goes more damn bread to be toasted. Once again, I stand there, muttering, not this time toast.

Toast, Coffee, and plungers.

It might not seem like a big deal, but when you add it into the chaos of a typical morning of rounding up kids, keeping them alive, and then getting your butt and theirs out the door to begin the day, having to re- toast perfectly good floor toast is annoying. It becomes just another notch on the stress meter that you have to keep in check throughout the day. Especially when you’re still picking up your floor toast and you look down and see your empty coffee mug in your hand, but the sound and smell of freshly brewed coffee is making its way out of your keurig machine into your senses. Confused, you whirl around just in time to watch your coffee cascading all over the counter. Yup, add another notch to the stress meter.

Some mornings my stress meter barely registers, and other mornings it has run out of room before 8am. You may be thinking, why don’t you just buy another toaster? Well, I will tell you why. I live with a man who doesn’t like to get rid of things “that work perfectly fine”. The same man will buy a dollar store plunger, that literally goes inside out when you attempt to plunge the toilet. Have you ever tried to fix an inside out toilet plunger that has been in the toilet working on a clog? That is NOT ok! NOPE NOPE NOPE. Stress meter, up another notch.

Get ready, I am about make a metaphor out of my floor toast

Sometimes in life, you just have to deal with things that don’t work. Like my body living with chronic illness. My illness is the toaster and I am the floor toast. Sometimes I pop up in the morning and I am A-OK! Other times, I pop up and I hit the floor, and no matter how hard I try, the floor is where I am destined to be that day. So appreciate the days the toast stays in the damn toaster, and find ways to cope when you hit the floor, ahem I mean the toast hits the floor. Let that stress meter explode if it needs to, because it always dials itself back down when you wake up the next morning. Recognize it. Own it. And try again the next day. If toast flying across the kitchen is all you have to worry about, I would say you are living a pretty fantastic life.

Learning to find my balance again

Learning to find my balance again

I spent 5 years complaining that I didn’t have enough time for myself. By the time the day ended, and the kids were in bed, I would sit down exhausted and zapped of all my energy that was required to do any form of self-care. My nails would sit with chipped polish for a month at a time, too tired to remove the polish and re-do. My legs, meh i’ll shave them tomorrow. My face looked dry, but man the cream is all the way downstairs, that can wait till tomorrow too. Working out…nope. Meditation, yeah right it would put me to sleep.

Yet, all the while I was stressed. I felt like I was being pulled in every direction except my own. I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I was taking care of my families needs. I would feed the kids healthy food, and myself essentially crappy scraps. I couldn’t see that in order for me to be a better mom, which meant being less stressed, being less short tempered, more giving of time with them, and not so worried about everything else…I had to slow it down. I had to say nope, you know what it’s ok that they go on their IPADS today so that I can go do Yoga and Meditate. (funny the word meditate just auto corrected to MEDICATE…made me laugh….I am sure that is also applicable some days!! lol)

My point is, I was so focused on being the super star mom with a clean house, healthy meals, lots of exercise and activities for them, while making sure they had less tv time, that I was exhausting myself. I wasn’t able to keep up the pace because the same level of care wasn’t being given back to myself. Between working, school and being a super star mom (or so I thought) I had nothing left. .

So I started

So I decided one day to start. I just started, and here’s how I did it. I am sure some would shake their finger at me …but I don’t care! I gave them iPads and headphones and said ….have at it. What I finally cultivated was an hour of silence….an hour without requests, an hour that I could do what I needed to do …once a day…for myself….ME TIME. It felt great. So I did it again….and again…and again. It still feels great. I do yoga, or meditate, read, whatever it means that day. Whatever I need the most that day.

By the time my hour is up, I am refreshed. I feel like a rejuvenated person, and I am no longer short or tired for my kids. I am able to go play with them, or give them undivided attention. I am not too tired or exhausted to do so. My mind is not also wandering away from them, thinking about the things I need to do. I just do them now. Somewhere along the line, it became ok for parents to revolve their life around their kids 24/7. It shouldn’t be that way, and to do that to a child, only sets them up for disappointment and failure when they are older and they don’t get that same attention from society.

Teach a child to be bored! Teach a child to amuse themselves without their parents. Teach a child that it is important to give their parents their own time too. My oldest daughter actually says to me now, hey mom how bout we go play in the play room so that you can have some time to yourself. She’s 5 year old. She sees how good it is for me. She respects my need for that, and best of all, she is ok with it.

And we all need to be ok with giving ourselves more time, and not feeling bad about it. Be a better you first, so you can be a better you for your children and spouses.