Fast forward a day or two. All of the sudden we were home. The retreat was over. And all of our regular life responsibilities now stared us in the face. Instead of our little family of four being together with a specific spiritual purpose, we were scattered just trying to manage life details. Groceries. Air conditioner needing repair. Traveling details for our next trips. Laundry. Dishes. Office work. My husband and I were tag-teaming caring for our boys so that we could each accomplish what we needed to do. I became super sensitive about a number of small things, getting my feelings hurt and being rather irritable in general, which definitely didn’t help the home climate. My husband just started his seven day work week on Saturday. So, the responsibilities just kept going.
Over the weekend, though, even in the midst of work and responsibilities, we had some good conversations. Ones that actually shifted the atmosphere.
We both recognized that I was on edge. Just acknowledging that allowed me to have grace for both myself and my husband. If I was on edge, maybe I didn’t need to be as upset with my husband as I was feeling inside, especially about such small things. We both acknowledged that we’re exhausted. Not only had we just led a retreat, but that retreat came on the heels of a month filled with a miscarriage, two full weeks of hospitalist work, and some other life struggles. We are fatigued. Recognizing this fatigue allowed us to come alongside each other and be on the same “team." And as we talked, I also realized that I really haven’t been enjoying being a mom since being back from the retreat. I’ve been in “go mode” since we got back and haven’t slowed down. Last night, I saw clearly that if I didn’t change what I was doing, how I was feeling wasn’t going to change either.
So, last night, I purposed that this morning I would s-l-o-w down. It is so hard for me to slow down! I love being productive and accomplishing everything I possibly can in one day. But often, when I am in that mode, I stop enjoying being a mom. The enjoyment ceases because instead of enjoying my boys (which is the amazing opportunity I’ve been given), they seem to get in the way of what I am trying to accomplish (which is so sad to even admit!). In my heart, I know that actually enjoying my boys and being their mom is way more important than the personal thrill of accomplishing my “to-do” list. I knew that I’d have to be with them more than do everything if I was going be able to shift from being irritable and stressed to being happy and peaceful.
This shift made a huge difference today! I changed my pace today. I lowered my expectations. And we are having a much better day. I am a much happier person. And my heart is so much more at peace. I picked one thing to accomplish this morning and did just that…and instead of rushing around afterwards, I let myself and the boys take our time just being around the house. We managed to get out around 11 a.m. for a short stop at the Children’s Museum. And as we left (running late for lunch, but so at peace because I chose to slow down today), an amazing Midwestern thunderstorm broke loose and we drove home in drenching rain and thunder loud enough to shake my car. It was such a beautiful gift to top off a peaceful morning.
The boys are napping now. My heart is at rest. My pace is slow today, but for me that if that shift changes me from a cranky mom to a happy mom, the slow pace is well worth it!
What about you? What do you adjust in your everyday life when you notice yourself becoming stressed out and irritable?