When the going gets tough, how do you cope? Yesterday I had arguably the most stressful day that I can remember, and as the day wore on, I struggled with how to cope with everything. My day started earlier than usual, with my daughter waking up at 6:00. We sat on the couch together and watched Sesame Street and ate Cheerios. I decided to quickly check my blog to make sure my scheduled post had gone up. It hadn’t. It took me a good 45 minutes to fix that problem and have the stupid website publish the post. I still don’t know what the issue was, but boy, was it frustrating!
When my husband left for work, my daughter clung to him and cried for him to stay. (She must have known how our day was going to progress!) She was in hysterics for five minutes, crying at the door for “Daddy! Daddy!” I finally calmed her down with the promise of stickers, her current favorite activity.
Later that morning, I received an email update about a close friend in the hospital. It was disheartening, to say the least. Still, I tried (and am trying) to focus on the positive and remain convinced that he will recover fully and be well again someday.
With that weighing heavy on my mind, I decided what everyone needed was some fresh air. I bundled Lilly (and myself) up, put her in the stroller, and grabbed the dog. My dog is a rescue mutt who is big and full of energy. He needs to be walked everyday, but I have been bad about it the past few weeks, thanks to my sciatica pain and the cold weather.
We all set out for a quick zip around the neighborhood. Everything was going fine until a woman called out to me as I walked by her house. She commented on the backpack my dog wears. I told her it is supposed to help with his behavior and was about to continue on my way, but she kept talking. Then she started walking towards me. Knowing that my dog is wary of strangers, I tightened my grip on him and made him sit.
As she got closer to us, my dog tried to go towards her and I immediately reprimanded him, telling him to stop and sit. The woman ignored me trying to block her from the dog and said “Oh, he’s fine!” Then as she tried to pet my dog, he jumped up and bit her hand.
I was furious. At everyone and everything involved in the situation. I apologized but immediately followed it with, “That’s why I didn’t want you petting him. We don’t let strangers pet him.” “But I always pet dogs,” she answered. Well, look where that got you, I wanted to say. I am aware that I should have been firm and stated “No petting my dog” and just kept on walking. But silly me, I was trying not to be rude.
I was so upset over the incident that my husband came home from work to assess the situation. Like me, he was already stressed out about our friend (his close friend since high school). Then he walked into a situation of me crying and frustrated, and he lost it, too. We argued loudly and ended up worse off than if he had just stayed at work.
He left to go back to work and I was left feeling unhinged. I didn’t know what to do to feel better. I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep the rest of the day away. Unfortunately, you can’t do that with a kid. I decided to not be a superhero and just try to survive. I let my daughter eat an easy lunch of a PBJ and as many Cheerios and raisins as she wanted. In my bed. While watching The Wiggles. I emailed with some friends about this horrible day and actually felt a tiny bit better.
Then I put the little one down for a nap and relieved myself of any pressures to do cleaning, laundry, or work for the day. I made a cup of chamomile tea in hopes that it would help calm my nerves. And then I sat down to write this.
In some ways, I’m thankful that I’m pregnant, even though it definitely added to my stress level and caused me to worry about my baby being affected by me worrying too much. Because lord knows, this would have been one of those days when Mommy needed a glass of wine with lunch.
How do you cope with stress on a day when it just seems to keep piling on?