The S.T.U.C.K. Method

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being

Stuck on SHARE MY STRESS!

13 Comments

Mornings are often difficult in my household.

There’s so much to do to get 4 kids out of bed, ready for school, and out the door on time.

And this is a never relaxing experience.

******

06:45.

T-minus 40 minutes and counting.

Wake up the kids.

(Except for the two younger ones who are up when the rooster crows.)

My daughter gets up without any problems, which I am oh, so forever grateful for.

My older son?

I just turn on the lights on his room with a cheery, “Good morning!”, then strip the bed of all his covers at which point, he screams at me.

“NO!!!!!!!!!!”

“LET. ME. SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Why, oh why, is this such a struggle every morning?

Perhaps I should be putting them all to bed by six in the evening.

**************

06:50.

T-minus 35 minutes and counting.

Get kids dressed.

Which 3 of the 4 can do quite well now on their own.

Picture 024

But, one child claims he doesn’t know how to.

Which, of course, he can.

He just doesn’t want to.

And, he’d rather bury his face in the sofa chair and cry about it rather than unzipping his sleeper to get the process going.

And while this hysterical scene is going on, another kid cries he can’t find matching socks.

And another one can’t find one shoe.

“Well, shouldn’t it be where it belongs?”I half whine.

********************

07:00.

T-minus 25 minutes and counting.

And, I’m already feeling like I need some help around here.

Picture 019“Husband, where are you?” I call from the kitchen.

No answer.

None.

So, I try to stay on track without losing it.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

************************

Time for make the doughnuts breakfast.

And time to pray that the children arrive to the table without their pajamas on.

Picture 036

One child wants this bowl.

Another child wants that spoon.

This one wants this cereal, this one wants that one.

I do not like green eggs and ham.  I do not like them, Sam I Am.

Picture 034

And this one just complains, “There’s nothing ever to eat for breakfast in this house!”

So, naturally, he goes to the refrigerator, opens it, and stands there.

Looking.

Staring.

What dear G-d is going on in his mind?

Invariably, he shuts the refrigerator door and returns to the table empty handed with a droopy face.

*****************

07:10

T-minus 15 minutes and counting.

As I continue with the morning routine, pouring second helpings of cereal, picking up dropped spoons, cleaning up spilled milk, filling up cups of water, I turn to look at the empty lunch boxes that need to be filled.

Picture 040But, wait!

One child is calling to get his butt wiped.

Why, I don’t know.

He’s 4.

But, he still asks, and I still acquiesce.

But, yikes!

The lunches need to be made!!!

And I’m running out of time!

*****************

07:15.

T-minus 10 minutes and counting.

Picture 023

3 elementary school lunches!  (Or, as it were in Israel, the 10 o’clock meals).

Which consist of a sandwich and a fruit/vegetable on the side.

And, of course, this one wants a pita and this one wants a roll.

This one wants tahini and this one hates tahini.

This one prefers peanut butter and this one only wants jelly.

And I’m about to tear my hair out.

I look up again calling out to my husband.

Picture 019 Hello?????

Anybody there????

I’m going a little crazy down here.

And would love some help.

I’m running out of time.

They’re going to miss the bus!!

Hello?????

No answer.

*****************

07:20.

T-minus 5 minutes and counting.

As I frantically put the lunches in each school bag, and notice some of the kids are still half dressed and some have dried milk all over their mouths and one can’t find his kippah, and the other still can’t find his lost shoe, and, and…

And I’m literally feeling like I’m going to lose it…

Guess who shows up?

Picture 037Striding right in.

Cool as a cat.

All calm.

And refreshed.

Showered, dressed, and having undisturbed bathroom time.

With not an ounce of stress in his body.

Smiling ear to ear.

And, instead of hearing “Good morning, honey.  What can I do to help?”

I hear, “I just put a load of laundry in.”

Which in other words means, “Soon after you get the kids off to school, you’ll have to hang the laundry (since we don’t have a drying machine) before you start your work.” (I work from home.)

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I couldn’t handle hearing that.

I didn’t want to hear that.

I started to cry.

And he started at me as if I were crazy.

“Are you ok? I just said I turned the laundry machine on.”

And, I started to attack.

“Laundry? How can I think of laundry? I’ve got 3 kids needing to get to the bus, another kid needing to get to gan, lunches half made, bags not ready, a kitchen full of dishes…

And you’re talking about laundry?????”

SHARE MY STRESS WON’T YOU??!?

************

Yes, I got stuck.

Naturally.

But, only for a few minutes.

Because once the kids left and I calmed down (read: once I stopped ranting and raving), and I took a deep breath, I was able to acknowledge what was underneath all of this.

My frustration that my husband is not sharing in my stress.

And, at the time, I really felt I wanted him to be participating in my stress.

Because, as my kids remind me, it’s not fair!!!!

Why should I be carrying all the morning stress alone?

Whoever claimed this was my role?

But, I came to another perspective.

I don’t really want my husband to share my stress.

He’s got enough of it of his own, with his business, and with supporting a family of six.

And he certainly wouldn’t want me to share the stress that he has in his life.

And so instead, I asked him to help me figure out a way to lower the morning stress that’s in our household every morning.

To which we brainstormed together:

Wake the kids up earlier.

Picture 035Teach them prepare their own lunches in the morning (or even perhaps the night before).

Pick out their clothes (and socks and shoes) before they go to bed and make sure their bags are ready to go the night before.

Remind them that the chalkboard hanging in the kitchen is there for a reason.  If there’s a food they want in the house and we don’t have it, take responsibility and write it down.  Most likely, we’ll pick it up (as long as it’s not some utterly bad for your health processed food with 1,000 ingredients in it).

Encourage self-care (and remind them that if they know how to wipe their butt in their own in kindgergarten, they can certainly wipe their butt at home).

***********

Which is what I did.

And after this processing experience, life became a lot less stressful in the mornings.

And now I’m able to respond to the “I just put a load of laundry in” with a half chuckle, smile, and a hug.

and And I love you right up to the moon.  AND BACK.

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Author: Shira Taylor Gura

Well-Being Coach, Podcast Host, Author of the award winning book, Getting unSTUCK: 5 Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being.

13 thoughts on “Stuck on SHARE MY STRESS!

  1. So glad I only had one child !!!!!

  2. 🙂 Yes, that comes with its advantages.

  3. I hated making lunches ,especially after working all day ,shopping for dinner,picking Aly up after extended day at school and finally getting coming home to OMG I have to make dinner immediately because the guys had baseball practice. Then clean up and throw in a load of laundry, The next day it began all over again. I feel your pain but I miss the HUBBUB. They will grow up before you know it and you might feel the same way. Hang in there!!!!

    • Wow, Marilyn… thanks for sharing! Yes, I’m trying to live in the moment and enjoy each day, as crazy as they come!

  4. This is a good one, Shira!

  5. Thanks for sharing Shira. And happy you have come to a conclusion to make the children a part of the responsibility . They will one day thank you for teaching them what is necessary and how they can take over. My love

  6. Shira,

    This is still going to my old email.

    Love,

    mom

  7. Shir,

    I just read this and it cracked me up! I can just picture the scene every day!

    Love,

    mom

  8. I LOVED THIS POST. OMG! YOU NAILED IT. THE WRITING IS SOOO VIVID. I FELT LIKE I WAS IN YOUR KITCHEN. I FELT YOUR STRESS. Loved T minus technique to capture the tension of it all. But yea for you for your mindful approach to it all. It takes such discipline to allow your feelings and not to react–to step back and choose a more constructive response. I’m cheering from S. Jersey.

  9. Great posT! Yes, those morning routines and non routines can be stressful… Let us know how it goes with giving them some responsibility. I have found that works well…. Especially if it means they can eat what they want (if they make it themselves or request it the night before, so I can make sure we have time…). Thank you for your post… Sounds like a lively, fun morning,,, stress and all.

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