Losing my sh*t, as defined by me for me, includes (but is not limited) to the following: lashing out, yelling, crying, purposeful ignoring, and unrealistic thinking—resulting in a crappy sense of self.
I am the mother of a lovely two-year-old girl. I also have a sweet two-month-old baby girl.
Some days are hard. Actually, most days are hard.
At the end of the day, when both girls are in bed and sleeping, and I get 15 minutes to myself (before I need to go to bed to be able to function the next day), I do very important things—like look at Instagram and Facebook. Lots of days, though, after I check the “necessary” social media updates and stories, I sit and feel guilty about losing my sh*t that day.
I lose my sh*t on my husband, my dog, myself, and, yes, sometimes my toddler.
I say things I don’t mean. I have unrealistic expectations of everyone, including myself. A great example of this is expecting my two-year-old to be quiet when her sister is sleeping and then expecting her not to scream louder when I tell her to stop screaming and then expecting myself to chill out when the baby wakes up and starts crying.
I feel upset at my toddler, but don’t say anything. Suddenly, I remember my husband gets to play baseball tonight. “Ah, a few hours away,” I think to myself. “Must be nice.”
Cue a passive aggressive text message to my husband asking what time he will be home tonight and asking if he is helping with bedtime (knowing he will be at baseball), just so I can get a jab in. Nice, eh?
I teach yoga, and I am also a social worker. I provide therapy to individuals, couples, and families. And, yes, I lose my sh*t.
The point is, everyone loses it sometimes. Life gets overwhelming. I am not a living example of the things I converse with people about through my work. No one is.
If we focus all our attention on changing the freak out itself, we miss the building pressure issues. Sure, there are lots of things that can lessen the blow—taking deep breaths, counting to 10, going for a run, and so on. Instead, we can focus on this being a perfect time for us to reflect on why the tipping point is near.
What is going on in my life? Did I just have a weekend alone with the kids with no contact with the outside world for a fricken week?! (Ahem…oh, that was me this past weekend.)
We need to get to know ourselves to be okay with knowing what contributes to not being able to use the trusty cool-down measures we are often taught. We can try and anticipate reactions to things and focus on the build-up to the event. We do this with our kids all the time: Jimmy hates getting wet. We are going to the splash pad. Bring an extra set of clothes for Jimmy.
Imagine getting to know ourselves as well as we know our kids!
What causes our feelings like being upset, angry, and anxious? More importantly, what fosters our feelings of happiness, rejuvenation, and excitement for life?
At the end of the day, if we reconnect with kids, the dog, partners, and ourselves, we can start to expand our understanding of self. We can try sharing moments of gratitude each day. We can ask (and listen), to how someone’s day was. Instead of robot responding “good” when asked how we are or how our day was, we can think about how our day actually was.
We all need a break. By utilizing physical and emotional self-care, we can feel better overall. Sometimes this means seeking out help from a friend, a yoga class, a few therapy sessions—whatever is needed, recognize and pursue it.
What makes me feel good even after the worst day? What is realistic and doable? It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we don’t have the time or resources to do this. Yes, a yoga class would be wonderful. No, I don’t have time, money, childcare, or whatever. We can find a 10-minute yoga video online. Start small. Start somewhere.
Talking about our hard moments allows us to learn from them and own our reactions. It’s easy to say, “I lost my cool because Jimmy pushed my buttons.” Rarely does an isolated event cause us to blow. Rather, the cumulative effect of events and situations helps create the perfect storm.
We can stop perseverating about what went wrong, learn about ourselves, and use these tough moments as stepping stones in our journey of self-discovery—all the while knowing that we all lose our sh*t sometimes!
Author: Alisha Stubbs
Image: Alexandre Pereira/Flickr
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Danielle Beutell