How to Get Grounded When You're About to Lose Your Sh*t
It was a sunny summer morning and I’m left alone with a 4 week old and a 3 year old for the first time. I know you’re thinking that’s a recipe for disaster, but I thought it wouldn’t be that bad since I’m on maternity leave and am at home with time to spare.
This is what I had to deal with on that particular morning:
- Get up at 6AM to nurse (I get up every two hours in the middle of the night anyway)
- Prepare breakfast at 7am for a family of four (not my own - we own a B&B).
- Deal with the cleaners asking me a billion questions.
- The property manager also happened to have a billion questions that morning too.
- Lead a meeting with the non-profit organization that runs a Nature School from our property
- My 3 year old (Nyla) had a billion mosquito bites and was highly irritable and cried all day. (The peppermint oil I used as a remedy kept getting into her eyes when she rubbed them after scratching the bites - not a great idea by me)
- Since Nyla was highly irritable, she made my newborn (Wesley) highly irritable and he of course cried all day too – that’s a given
- Nyla saw the newborn was getting more attention than she was, so cried even louder
- Wesley was tired from the lack of sleep, so he cried even louder
- I was hangry from barely eating all day because I had to feed my children
And believe it or not, I did not lose my shit.
I did not yell.
Not even once.
I did not pinch Nyla, even though the urge was there, trust me.
I too was shocked at the end of the day when I reflected in my journal.
Here are the things that I repeated to myself throughout the day.
1) Wesley doesn’t want to cry all day. He’s just not getting the attention that a newborn needs. He’s not doing this to drive you crazy.
2) Nyla is trying to drive you crazy on purpose. But that’s her job. She’s a toddler. If she didn’t, then she wouldn’t be normal. She’s designed to push your buttons and push boundaries, especially since she sees that crying gets Wesley more attention.
3) I’m so grateful for my children who are able to communicate their needs to me.
4) I’m so grateful that I have a husband who is willing to drive around all day to find a good deal on a rental truck and help my parents move almost single-handedly (by hiring the right people)
5) I’m so grateful to live on such a beautiful property where guests travel from all around the world to visit
6) I’m so lucky to have help from all these contractors who are doing their best to help me
7) I’m so lucky that we will get to contribute to our community by offering our space to a Nature School in exchange for our daughter to get the education that I moved here for
8) Thank GOD this is only one day and it’ll be over soon.
By being empathetic towards my children and the people around me, I was able to get another perspective and see how all these people were trying to help me instead of driving me crazy.
By always expressing gratitude for what I have in my life – people, connections, love, energy, self – I’m able to stay grounded when life throws me curve balls. Gratitude is not about saying, “Thank You” when someone holds the door open for you. It’s about saying thank you with your words, actions, and energy by expressing a deep appreciation on a regular basis so that others know that you are grateful for their help. Because when you’re receiving help, gratitude is all you have to give.
By being in nature, I breathed fresher air and felt grounded immediately when my feet touched the grass. My family doesn’t wear shoes the second it becomes 15 degrees Celsius or so around our property. We walk on grass, gravel, sand, mud – the earth on a daily basis from spring to fall. When my daughter starts to lose her marbles, I pretty much throw her outside and she calms down instantaneously. So do the rest of us.
When confined in a house, car, or any small space, our problems seem so big. Outside in nature, we see just how minuscule we are compared to the tall trees, mountains, and never-ending skyline. At least, I do. I always am able to breathe better and realize that whatever it was that I was dealing with, just wasn’t worth me getting angry about it.
So even though that time I was able to get grounded, I lost my shit the next week under similar circumstances. Hey, I’m a humbled human. I never proclaimed to be perfect. Don’t judge me. I got over it really quickly by going for a walk, being empathetic, and expressing gratitude.
If you have to deal with this kind of stress on a regular basis, I empathize with you. I really do. Please get help. You can’t (or at least you shouldn’t) do this alone. I really did see in the brief moments of insanity how chronically stressful environments can lead to depression, violence and psychological disorders.
I used to tell people I don’t get stressed and don’t get sick (I rarely do) as if it is a weakness. What I understand now is that acute stress is normal and good for us. When we work out, we break down muscle tissue so that when it grows back, it’s stronger. We need times of mental stress to make us stronger mentally too. Chronic stress is the real killer. Excessive cortisol in our system wears us out over the long haul and causes disease and aging.
I will do my best not to judge when I see moms lose their shit at a mall or at a grocery store, because you never know someone’s circumstances. You can just give a sympathetic grin, or say, “ I totally get what you’re going through,” and that can turn around someone’s day completely.
When I was grumpy occasionally, my husband would be upset with me. But now, he knows better and says to me, “It must be so hard for you to wake up every two hours and not get proper sleep.” See, I’ve trained him well. You can laugh, but our relationship is much better since he’s become more open to my perspective and I to his. Similarly, my relationship with my children is better when I see things through their lens, even if it’s only an itty-bitty 4-week-old lens that doesn’t see very well just yet.
As moms, we are so judgmental of other moms. But let’s be real. No one is perfect. Let’s not compete on whose stress is worst. Let’s just take care of our own shit and be more empathetic towards others and be grateful for what we have.
Our children and the world will do much better for it.
Come to our workshop: Get Grounded where we will review these tips and do yoga, hike, journal and get grounded in nature. Tentative date is April 28. Enrol in our FREE membership for updates on registration.
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