temper tantrum

I've got a story for you. It's from about two months ago.

It's 8:15 in the morning, and our daughter is still is asleep. I've just whisper-yelled at my husband and thrown my mightiest temper tantrum in months. I am on the floor, curled up in child's pose the way children really look when they do that. 

Somehow, my husband can see that I'm really sad, I think, and not just being randomly mean to him, and he bends down to rub my back.  This is the magic medicine that transforms my tantrum into the real thing, the thing behind the thing I've been ranting about.  And now I am crying in a heaving way, a sad way.

The hardwood floor is cold on my forehead.

Our daughter wakes up and calls for her mama.  I am that person, perhaps more than any other person I am right now.  And I walk toward the sound of her voice.

I lie there with our kiddo, and I think about breaking down. I think about how this is one of the ways overwhelm looks in my house, in my body. I think about how I should know better than to let myself get like this.

And then my brain does one of these . . .

I've spent years trying to break my patterns of overwhelm. I write about this stuff. I coach people on this stuff. And I was just so overwhelmed that I COMPLETELY freaked out. Whatever I've been doing, it doesn't work! I'm a fraud! I'm a fake! I am the same stressed-out lunatic I was ten years ago!!!

And then I took three deep breaths. And then three more. And then maybe about 27 more.

And then I let go of some stuff I had been gripping harder than I realized. I canceled a plan that I felt really bad about canceling. And I let my husband and my mom help me out of a scheduling jam.

It took me a while to remember this: it's okay to get overwhelmed. Again. That's the signal. The hazard lights are on.

Sometimes the bounce-back is the measure of progress.

Love to you.