Thursday, November 15, 2012

Perfect Storm

Yesterday was a cluster of competing priorities.

On Tuesday, Hannah brought home a note that said her art was going to be on display at the Education Center and there was a reception the following day. I had my eye exam scheduled for the same day and knew I couldn't really leave early, so Marc agreed he'd take her.

I assumed he'd take Max too, since he normally picks up Max each day. But at the end of the day Marc texted me asking if I could get Max, that he'd also been out for an appointment and couldn't get Max and get her to the art show. So I ran out the door like a bat out of hell, thankfully the train cooperated even if the traffic did not, and I got there by 5:45.

I was so angry about the whole thing, and every little complication along the way. Angry that the school system, which had obviously coordinated a big event for weeks in advance, only gave us a day's notice. Angry that I missed the call from my boss, who is traveling in Australia, three minutes after I left. Angry that Marc's day had gotten more complicated too, so he couldn't follow through on getting Max first. Angry at myself for not automatically rescheduling my eye exam (though we all know how critical it is that I get one, and I got *another* reminder phone call from my doctor's office about it yesterday morning!). Angry that my commute, while actually smoother than usual, was so long to begin with. Angry at our narrow driveway and that it took me four tries to navigate past the window-unit air conditioner and not wreck the house or car. Angry at all the traffic from Winchester St. onto Nahanton St. and the woman in the fancy SUV inching alongside of my car in the one lane portion of Nahanton St. before she could turn down Wells Ave. (shout out for the JCC crowd reading that part). Angry that I'd needed to use the bathroom for over 90 minutes before I had the chance to do so. Angry at Max's less-than-enthusiastic greeting and the fact that his car seat was in the trunk when I went to put him in the car. And finally, angry that I came home to emails cancelling something I really wanted to do.

So it was a perfect storm of moments, all designed to induce stress, anxiety and sadness. All of which I only want to numb with carbohydrates, TV that makes me cry (I recommend "Parenthood"), dark rooms and sleep. All of which I granted myself.

Today is a new day, a chance to do it better and try to have a little more control. But that's the thing I'm still struggling to learn: control is just an illusion. I can plan and execute everything to the best of my abilities, and there will always be that last minute interruption, the meeting that runs late, the traffic and weather corroborating to ruin the moment. So somehow, I need to find a way to roll with it more easily.

What do you do to get through moments like these?


  1. Enjoyed your latest entry, Cheryl! Kids events seem to be planned either so far in advance that I don't put them on the calendar immediately and then forget or with short notice like you experienced this week. Unfortunately, carbs are my route of comfort as well!

  2. I am so struck by how I would have had the exact same response, although perhaps more a feeling of being completely overwhelmed than of anger. I am really working on my reaction to these situations, as it is the thing that turns a chaotic day into a high-stress miserable one. I have gotten better (at least a bit) at turning my stress into a sense of accomplishment when it all manages to come together. When I'm super angry/frustrated, though, I put on music that matches my feelings and sing loudly. And lastly, I try to keep it all in perspective. In the greater scheme of things, how bad is this? In a week, is any of this still going to be an issue? Is there anything here I have control over that I can change for next time? I'm not saying that this removes the stress/anxiety, but I have found that it helps me cope a bit better. And there's nothing wrong with some mind-numbing TV and sleep/nap to help cool down. ;)

  3. We've all been there, and I have a dreadful habit of comparing my chaotic, crazy life to others. Why do they get the shorter commute? Why does it feel like we are always cramming? Why do schools make most events in the middle of the day - without a thought for working parents? Ugh! But that is a crappy attitude, and I do know I've been blessed with many gifts. When the moments get tough, I try to give myself a few indulgent moments to unwind - whether that be with a book, a favorite drink, a scented candle. And of course the thought that tomorrow is a new day. :)