Sputter, sputter, sput…sput… the car shakes and dies, having run out of fuel 1km from the nearest gas station.
“What the heck are we going to do now? This is my worst nightmare come true,” I say, feeling totally guilty for getting us in this predicament in the first place.
“See, I told you we should have stopped to fill up before heading onto the highway,” she replies. “And we don’t even have BCAA!”
“OK, I know, I know. I will fix this. I’ll be back with gas, you two stay put.” I grab my wallet and phone from the back seat.
This was our first mishap of the day and it was a biggie! Running out of gas on a highway off ramp is not a safe or fun situation to find yourself in, especially with a toddler.
1 hour later
“You have got to be kidding me. This salmon smells terrible.” I say in disgust as I peel back the plastic wrapping.
“Phew! Sour. Something is off with that for sure,” she replied wrinkling her nose and covering her mouth.
“Thai or Indian?” I ask as our eyes connect, we laugh, and we give each other that, ‘what lesson are we supposed to learn from this mishap?’ look.
Yep, got home after running out of gas only to find that our salmon dinner plan had to be aborted. Nothing worse than trying to make a healthy and delicious dinner for your family only to find that the salmon is spoiled. Things didn’t stop there. The chaos prevailed into the early evening.
1.5 hours later
“Stay still love, I’m trying to get the back dry” I say loudly over the noisy hair dryer, as he squiggles under my feet.
“But Mimi, I want to close the door” he replies and as he does, accidentally knocks the full length mirror off the back of the door.
It hits the floor face down and smashes to bits.
“Uh oh” he says as we both stare in utter astonishment.
“You have got to be kidding me” I say, doing my best to remain calm among the sheer chaos of the day. “It’s OK honey, just leave it and let’s get out of here” I say reassuring him that I am not upset with him.
This is a perfect example of ‘just when you thought things could not get any worse” kinda days. Things went from one mishap right into the next. There was nothing we could have to done differently (OK, maybe I could have filled the gas tank before hitting the highway but I wanted the points for my credit card at the Esso station).
My point here is that not matter how much planning and preparing you do, things can still be nutty and parenting takes that nuttiness to an entirely new level.
When things get hectic and stressful if you can come to a place where you are able to laugh about the chaos you’re far better able to deal with the chaos. When we feel as though we are losing control that we once felt we had, choosing to laugh brings light to the situation for everyone involved.
Deep breathing calms the nervous system and allows a ‘time-out’ and ‘recharge’ for the brain. When we find ourselves in a situation of high stress we tense up our muscles, our breathing gets quick, shallow we feel constricted and we do not make rational decisions. Taking a moment to breath (3-5 deep breaths) really helps combat your stress.
Ask yourself whether what you are stressing over is really going to matter, in the big picture. What I mean here is that if you are stressing out over some spilled milk or your kids messy toy room is this really the best use of your energy?
There are certain things in life we can control but when it comes to parenting there are lots of things that we can’t, so why bother trying? When we stop trying to micromanage we alleviate a lot of our stress.
Reframe your mindset to “there is enough time for everything that you need to do, it’s just milk and it can be mopped up, the kids toys are messy and they will clean them up”. Everything will be OK. No matter what the situation. Life is not perfect but will always get through it everything will turn out as it should and just trust that.
The main takeaway here is that by switching your thinking, when it comes to the things that stress you out or cause you anxiety on a daily basis you make a conscious effort trust that you will get through whatever it is that’s happening, even though it may not feel like it in the moment.
Laugh, breathe and reevaluate are the best tips I can give — and it’s honestly how I managed to get through that crazy day.