Making Adjustments with Toddler Tantrums
You know days when things go according to plan? Maybe it’s a late train, sickness or a toddler tantrum, but there are days when you just have to start from scratch. Plans are so altered that there’s no recovering, so you have to come up with a plan B. Has that ever happened to you? It happens often as a mom of 4, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m good at it. Actually, scratch that - I HATE change. When plans are changed, I hate it. When when my schedule is interrupted, I hate it. When a curveball is thrown I. HATE. IT. I used to think of myself as a pretty easygoing person and would totally judge people who were type-a, organized and high strung. I never thought that I could be described as any of those things. I was a free spirit. I was a wildflower. I was flexible. But currently, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Hi, I’m Rhianon and I’m a control freak.
Today was a day when plans were considerably altered. I had an appointment in the city, and my husband suggested that I take the whole day off. Go, write, get lost in a cafe, wander, think, do. Just go. Now, as a person who fears the unknown, this was both incredibly freeing and also crazy terrifying. Go? Alone? No kids? No agenda? What would I do? Where would I set up shop and write? What if I don’t like the place I picked? What if the trains were weird that day? So after taking to Facebook to crowdsourse (obviously) I decided to utilize my MoMA membership before my appointment and then head to Chelsea Market after. Well, because it had turned into a rainy day EVERYONE ELSE AND THEIR MOTHER also had that very same idea. After an uneventful train ride into the city, I showed up at my destination and found the place looking like an anthill. People standing shoulder to shoulder, tripping over each other, being herded like cattle and immediately I knew that this was not the place that I was going to be settling for an hour or two. I left, defeated and irritated that the rain had driven everyone inside of my beloved museum. But instead of dwelling on the fact that I have to alter my plans, I carried on. I just walked. And walked. And walked. Yes, in the rain. I walked down 5th avenue. I sought shelter from the rain. I wrote a bit. I went to see my counsellor. I went to Chelsea Market. I rode the subway. I ADJUSTED.
As I walked down 5th Avenue avoiding tourists, umbrellas and puddles I realized that just because my perfectly planned out day hadn’t actually gone accordingly, that didn’t mean that I was going to finish short of my goal. I may not have accomplished the things that I wanted to accomplish, but I survived a day of unexpected changes. For someone who likes things to be perfect and predictable, that’s a win. It may not have been the original goal, but it was a goal that I completed nonetheless. There’s grace for days like today. There’s good amongst the changed plans. There’s purpose in the unexpected. We may not always see our desired outcome, but that doesn’t mean that the time wasn’t well spent.
I think I can get so caught up in making the most out of my time alone that I forget to just BE ALONE. I plan to have a stress-free, kidless day but then my plans ruin my plans; they make me inflexible and unable to reevaluate well. I want to squeeze every last ounce of productivity out of days that I’m by myself, but the reality is that I need to just appreciate my solo time. I need to stop trying to fill it with all the things or try to make it perfect. Of course I want it to be perfect; I want to write the best blog ever, have the worlds yummiest lunch, answer emails with clever wit and drink delicious, life-giving coffee. But every week? It’s just not possible. I have such high expectations for my days off that they are almost unattainable. I just need to be satisfied having no fights to referee, no butts to wipe, no snacks to grab, no shoelaces to tie. I need to be satisfied with letting my heart spill out onto paper, not worrying if people read it or not. I need to be satisfied with the fact that I’m doing something that I love, and not worry about producing. I need to be able to feel the same whether I go out in cutoff shorts, a tee and a baseball cap or a dress, with hair done and lipstick on. I need to stop stressing so much about the details and just let life unfold. Do you think that's something we perfectionists can do? It's somewhat terrifying to say yes, but I think it can be done.
Basically I need to chill out.
Because what is this perfect life that I’m trying to have anyway? The perfect hair, the perfect home, the perfect kids, the perfect job, the perfect partner, the perfect vacations, the perfect budget, the perfect spirituality, the perfect demeanor, the perfect wardrobe. Does that even exist? I'm pretty sure it’s just an illusion. And before we go any further, let me just say right here that my life is far from perfect. FAR. I love my life, but it’s got a slew of imperfections and I think that if we all realized that everyone else has their own breed of imperfections, we’d all be able to take a deep breath and relax.
Wanna try it with me?