Lately when I’ve been getting frustrated with the slowness or not-happeningness(real word, promise) of a situation I’ve been trying to step back and look at the scene a little more objectively. I’ve been finding that it really helps me to relax and be logical if I ask myself a couple questions. It chills me out, calms me down and sometimes embarrasses me with truth.
“Why is this a problem?” This is tricky, and you have to get it right because if you ask “What’s the problem here?” it’s easy to blame the incorrect thing.
A few days ago I was on the exercise ball trying to get Wilona to sleep. Ben was going to watch over her while I took Ascher for his bedtime run. I’d had her down once, but a minute or two later she was crying awake again. Not really unusual, since she sometimes has burps that she doesn’t find until she’s set down in bed, but I was a little frustrated and it was showing in my big sturdy bounces and solid, but not-so-snuggly grasp on her.
If I had asked “What is the problem?” you can bet that my grumpy first reaction would have been to say “The problem is that she won’t sleep and I’m never going to get to run and Ascher is never going to get to bed on time!” See that blame shift? Good grief, that’s a lot of blame to stick on a four month old. On top of that, verbalizing the situation like that only makes me more grumpy, tried and known, and it doesn’t solve anything.
Instead, I asked myself, “Why is this a problem?” and the answer was immediate. It was a problem because I was in a hurry. Why was I in a hurry? Because I wanted to do my thing(run) more than I wanted to bounce her for another couple minutes.
Here’s the second question.
“What’s the truth of the situation?” When I assessed this I saw that Ascher was playing happily, by no means distressed at a slightly delayed bedtime. I saw that my run would still be available. I saw that Wilona was getting more distressed rather than less at my present brand of attention. I saw that if I continued this way things were only going to go downhill. And that made me sad.
So I told myself, out loud, “I’m not in a hurry” and in saying this, everything changed. I took a deep breath of relief. My body relaxed and bounced more slowly and cuddled Wilona more gently. Her body relaxed into mine and she burped and I half-laughed and said it again, “I am not in a hurry.” She snuggled close and I put my nose in her hair and felt the warm soft weight of her on my chest as she grew more and more relaxed, into deep sleep. And after a little longer I nestled her into bed, tucked her in, and went for my run.
I’m not in a hurry. There are literally zero places I have to be at a specific time. I don’t have appointments or lessons or anything where people don’t understand what it means to have littles. In the average week I leave the neighborhood once(Sunday dinner), maybe twice(grocery shopping or other visiting). Yes, I live a charmed life.
If I can kick myself out of wrong thinking before I get too wrapped up in it I can take a deep breath and remind myself that it’s ok if they need settled for bed more than once. Why am I in a hurry? Tv show? Not as important. I’m not in a hurry.
It’s ok if I’m still wearing way more baby weight than I want. Why am I in a hurry? Other clothes? I have plenty of nice ones that fit(and swimsuits suck anyway!). Not in a hurry.
It’s ok if it takes Ascher ten seconds to manage the step and get into the house even if I’m behind him and it would only take me one second. Why am I in a hurry? Because the door is open? Not gonna break the bank. Because I’m thinking ahead to doing something else? I have time. Not in a hurry.
Lately, my note to myself has been this –
SLOW DOWN, WOMAN!
You are not in a hurry.
Why? Because these babies are growing, in what seems like a hurry, and nothing else is as important.