Saturday, May 30, 2015

                                                           This is my daughter

     We have been visiting our youngest daughter and her four little girls (6, 6, 8, 9) for one week, and I have made several observations. God blessed me with only two daughters. How she manages four working full time as a middle school assistant principal, giving anti-bullying seminars, teaching on-line classes, maintaining a large home, writing endless to-do lists, putting out fires both at school and in her personal life, doing ten loads of laundry every two days, dealing with 150 one-sock pairs is beyond my realm of comprehension. I realize there are many single moms with more children and  fewer resources, but I am only observing this one. I know I would be a raving lunatic. My patience fits in a small thimble, and despite my inordinate supply of energy, I would be exhausted by Tuesday.

     When I can't find a blueberry that isn't shriveled, I remember, "Oh yeah, she has four kids." When the sheets on the guest bed are flannel, and we wake up drenched in sweat, I tell myself, "It's not worth mentioning in the whole scheme of things." When the gas tank reads, "One mile left," I tell Mr. Wonderful that the kids were sick last week. Maybe these are some of the things that keep her awake at night. So I am offering her (and anyone else who needs it) some motherly advice about "the two-to-four a.m. wtf what-do-I-do-now syndrome." She tells me she only has three needs: rest, rest and rest.  Whether she heeds Maman's helpful hints for sanity remains to be seen, but here they are.

     To distract the mind and go back to sleep, try:

1.  Deep breathing. Breathe in deeply and let out slowly. Repeat several times trying to make the mind go blank. This is also very helpful for anxiety.
2.  Check out the "Calm" app on your I-phone
3.  Read (recent suggestions:  The Four Agreements, The Paris Architect, All the Light You Cannot See, The Girl on the Train, Dead Wake, A Higher Call)
4.  Write, write, write. (keep or throw away)
Sometimes writing why you cannot sleep will help you determine what is at the root of the worry or obsession.
5.  Watch a good movie (Have a supply next to your bed.) The goal is to distract the mind.
6.  Clean a drawer. Be sure that it's one with no bills, hate mail or photos in it.
7.  Try camomile tea.
8.  WARNING: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT LOOK AT PHONE. Even if you don't answer texts or emails, whatever is on your phone is stimulating your brain when you're trying to shut it down. Hello.

     I was a single mom once working four jobs to put my girls through college. I didn't have four kids, but I had plenty of stress and had to learn to juggle and get through sleepless nights. I learned through it all how to be resilient, creative, and assertive. It is easy to judge others when you have not walked in their shoes.

     Sleep tight.