What do you do when all you want to do is hide in a closet & not exist anymore and the last thing you want to do is interact with your kids & “reconnect”?
The question above was originally asked to me after I posted What to Do When Being Mom Makes You Feel Mean. The original questioner said she saw mostly suggestions for reconnecting with kids in that post, and at this point that was the last thing she wanted to do.
I've been feeling about this way the past few days, so it seems like a good time to post this. Please add your ideas in the comments – we all could use the support and I don't have a ton of answers for this one.
What do you do when all you want is to hide in a closet?
It's a dang good question, and hard to answer because usually the answer isn't neat and tidy.
So I'll tell you what I do – and not all of it's helpful, but I seem to have made it through each time, so take it for what you will.
In these moments I can't beleive I've gotten to this place in my life – how can my ‘dream come true' leave me empty and unmoored? These are the Dark Pit Parenting days and they usually occur when I've had my umteenth day of no time to myself.
I don't remember what it's like to finish a thought. The simplest remedy might be to get some babysitting, but amid all the tasks needed just to keep humans, dogs, cats and fish alive I have yet to manage that bit of arrangement heroics. I think ‘How does this ever work in any kind of smooth way?!'.
I feel lonely and hopeless and in need of chocolate.
If I'm lucky I also have chocolate in the house. Good dark chocolate.
I begin to junk out on Facebook or repeatedly checking emails. This is one of my first signs that I'm sinking. We'll put it in the not so helpful category.
I make myself a cup of coffee. And then another.
I go in my room and hope the kids don't destroy the rest of the house while I call my best friend. This is the invitation for kids to get out the cupcake game with 100 small pieces, trail yogurt drips through the house and wrestle with each other until somebody is crying. We will still put this in the helpful category, because the sanity savings of talking with someone who Gets It are worth the mess and tears.
The mood drags on and I stumble through another day.
My kids seem worse and worse. Their normal behavior feels like a personal affront.
I vaguely think again that I ought to arrange a babysitter and get some time to myself. Instead I congratulate myself for managing self care basics like drinking water and eating food at regualr intervals between the chocolate.
I tell them to go outside. Go OUTSIDE. Go. Play. Out. Side!!
Put on a movie.
By day two or three of this, no matter if I am faking a kind voice or not, the kids are reacting to my mood without even realizing why they're grumpy. They get into whining at me and each other, hitting one another and searching out anger buttons that I thought I had deactivated years ago.
I think things like, ‘I really should change our moods by taking them out of the house, maybe go to the park.'
However, given that in the past couple days I've spent a good deal of energy ushering my thoughts away from visualizing hauling off and wailing on each of the kids, I sure as heck am not feeling up for changing the shouty/pouty dynamic by taking the kids to the park.
I spend some time wondering why in the world I have a blog about parenting, much less about parenting joyfully. I worry for a while on that and then decide to worry about my parenting in general, my motivations for life, the writing and everything, the current state of gender equality, why I'm too serious… This is not in the helpful category. I realize I need to avoid any social media that gets me comparing myself to others at this point.
About this time I probably start writing. Writing in a journal, writing a blog post, just writing and rearranging those thoughts and I begin to get a grasp on my negative thinking.
I think back to the other times I've been here in the parenting dark pit and I think, ‘I made it out. Things will change. Things will get different.' I reflect on the words of a wise friend who said, “I've prayed for sleep and I've prayed for patience and now I'm just praying for grace.”
And I pray. I'm not sure to who or what, but grace is what I'm looking for.
If you need someone to talk to, please reach out.
I would really like to know your answer to this quesiton – what do you?