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How To Guarantee A Stressful Day For The Whole Family

Yesterday was Wednesday, which for me means “taxi mom”.  Yeah, I know a lot of you moms AND dads out there know what that is.  Constant frantic driving back and forth all across town, breaking up your day, evening, or weekend into practically unusable chunks of time.  Dads, many of you do your share, too.

Take a look at my genius move, folks.  Wednesdays in my life are absolutely ridiculous.  I take my older two daughters to elementary school at 8 a.m.   About an hour later, I take my five year old to dance class.  An hour and fifteen minutes later, I pick her up.

I push her to eat a quick lunch, change clothes, and get out the door.  She resists and becomes crabby, usually making us late to preschool at noonish.  I get her at 2:30, then the other two at 3:00.  Then the rounds of older girl dance classes begin.  Drop off, drop off, pick up, pick up, all about an hour apart.  Everyone’s exhausted, hungry, and sick of running everywhere.  The madness all ends at about 7:30 when I’m back home with my last pick-up of the day.

Somewhere in between the evening drop-offs and pick-ups, I really stop caring.  I’m often cooking in stages while I’m home in chunks of thirty eight minutes at a time.  When I’ve been really clever, I have had something in the slow cooker that day.  That’s happened all of one time, I think.

I’m grumpy, sometimes late for each trip around town, and totally not in the mood to play checkers, find someone’s missing school paper, or hear about the latest dirty clothes issue.  Supper is hit-or-miss for my husband and the girls, and I’m not a very pleasant mom or wife by then.  Everybody loses here.

Sigh….so how did I do this to myself?  I created a day that I hate before it starts.  It gets me agitated and irritable in predictable ways, and it always seems to end in chaos.  Yes, “I” did this.  The preschool and elementary school schedules aren’t all that flexible, but the dance schedule is.  I thought I could pull off a “marathon mom” day and make it work.  I just sat back for these months and said nothing to the staff about the schedule, getting frustrated each and every day.   Why?  Why?  Why?

I’m still trying to figure that out myself, but I do have a thought.  I’m generally more of a people-pleaser than a pot-stirrer.  I’m thinking of saving the busy gals at the dance studio some inconvenience.  Except that I know they’d help out if I had a challenge.  Instead, I made myself a non-factor in the situation, an unnecessary martyr.  Thinking I was doing keeping things easier by denying my frustration, I turned myself into a lousy wife and parent by the end of the day.  When momma ain’t happy….

It’s probably been amplified since I had depression, which made me feel like I *should* be invisible.  Though I have improved a great deal in this area, it can still trip me up.  Not saying that if you hide your needs you are depressed.  Just saying my depression experience amplified this Achilles heel of mine.  Instead of feeling good about giving my time to do what the kids need, I feel resentful about the situation I allowed to remain.

So – note to self.  The build-up of stress and agitation is NOT worth the illusion of convenience.  I’m not super-mom.   I can certainly stand up to make things work so I’m not pushed past my limit.  Sigh…lesson learned, I hope.  I don’t always have as much choice with the kids’ schedule, but I can do better to prevent a train wreck.  Maybe I’ll play some loud happy music next Wednesday.

How To Guarantee A Stressful Day For The Whole Family


Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.


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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2009). How To Guarantee A Stressful Day For The Whole Family. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 25, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/family/2009/04/how-to-guarantee-a-stressful-day-for-the-whole-family/

 

Last updated: 23 Apr 2009
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