Today has not been an awesome day so far. Sym slept in and I was rushing around trying to tidy the house and before I knew it, it was 20 after eight, she hadn’t had breakfast yet and I still needed to make her lunch. That’s when I discovered that I forgot to take the bread out of the freezer so then I had to make toast for her sandwich and I was having emotional problems with my cookie cutters and it was just STRESSFUL trying to get everything ready so Taylor could get her out the door and to school on time. I mean, it’s only the second week and I don’t quite have our new morning routine down yet but OBVIOUSLY whatever was going on today was not cutting it.
This was compounded by the fact that the daycare kids were being a nightmare today. Three out of four had a weeping hysterical temper tantrum when they were dropped off and after they all got over that they started playing a “game” in which they ran around waving their hands at Georgie, trying to entice her to chase them, at which point they would fall over on purpose, nearly crushing her every time. NOT ACCEPTABLE. I had them all go sit at the table for a minute to calm down, at which point the new girl spontaneously threw up all over herself. She’s not sick or anything, she just barfed on her pants. AWESOME. This is clearly exactly what I needed to deal with.
Did I mention that this was all before 9 am?
So now my nerves are shot and I’m all frazzled and just like, OVER working for the rest of the day, let alone the rest of the week. unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of just quitting, so here are some things that help calm me down when i get to the end of my parenting/housework/child care rope.
1. MINDLESS AND REPETITIVE YET SATISFYING AND/OR CREATIVE TASKS
This weekend Sym and I bought supplies to make a miniature pink-and-white version of this Ruffled Lotus Lantern. Because we bought a small paper lantern, in order to fill in all the gaps I had to cut down and glue back together a whole bunch of cupcake liners to fill in all the gaps. I did most of it on Saturday afternoon, but I wasn’t quite done yet. While the daycare kids were playing with toy food and dishes I took the opportunity to cut/twist/glue 52 mini-blossoms and after they’d dried, glue them onto the lantern.
Some other things that have the same effect include sewing simple felt toys while watching a favorite film (watching movies while crafting is a habit I picked up from my mother); the assembly line-like process of making mini doughnuts, six at a time, with my mini doughnut maker; and folding the dozens upon dozens of tiny hand towels for the daycare washroom.
2. CURLING UP ON THE COUCH TO WATCH A PERSONAL CLASSIC
Obviously this isn’t something I can do while working, but once the daycare kids are down for their nap if I want I can blow off whatever housework seemed so pressing and watch one of the aforementioned favorite films. I’m fond of Wes Anderson movies: The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited (which I’m probably going to watch today) in particular.
On weekends and holidays I’ll have a movie afternoon with Sym and let her pick what she wants to watch. Sometimes she wants to watch an animated film (recently it’s been My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service or Sailor Moon, but occasionally a Pixar movie or something Disney Princess-related gets chosen) or a “real people” movie: Legally Blonde, Charlie’s Angels and Down With Love are some that we’ve watched together tons of times. I might sew her a small toy during these, or we might just pile into the blankets and pillows and eat junk food together.
3. CLEANING OUT THE CUPBOARDS AND DRAWERS
A tidier and more organized house is a less stress-inducing house, but mopping floors and scrubbing toilets aren’t exactly my favorite activities. Some stuff I’ve done recently include sorting through all the tupperware and tossing any containers without lids and lids without containers; rearranging all the pots and pans and things in the kitchen island and throwing out stuff like the old saucepan with the permanently loose handle and the non-stick frying pan that isn’t so non-stick anymore, and freeing up tons of space in the process; and ruthlessly sorting through all my tank tops and getting rid of anything too small, too stained, too old and holey. These projects only involved 2 cupboards and 1/3 of a drawer and probably only took five minutes each but they still made my head feel clearer!
4. LETTING GO OF THIS YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER
I was so excited when those boots I ordered were delivered last week, and SO MAD when I discovered I couldn’t even get my feet into them! I had this big freakout over whether I should exchange them for a bigger size, or just return them and buy them somewhere else in a different bigger size. I decided I wanted to try them on but no stores have my supposed size in-store, and anyway they are much more expensive her than the pair I ordered were, and I don’t know if I like them THAT MUCH that I want to spend an extra hundred dollars on them. So instead of making myself crazy over these silly boots I said FORGET IT. I decided to exchange them for a bunch of different stuff- those sweatpants trousers I like so much, a cord for Symphony’s paper lantern, and some velvet curtains to hide the ugly closet doors in the not-really-a-library.
Choosing all that stuff (not all of it for me) was way more fun than getting stressed over one selfish pair of boots, and I was even able to get Sym and Taylor to help me pick the curtains.
I could probably think of some more things, but right now it’s time for another soothing activity: PUPPY.