This is my two-year old’s constant whine right now. “I’m tired, I want my sucky!!!” (which is what she calls her soother/pacifier/binky). And it’s a really interesting link to something I was thinking about last week, during a particularly trying Thursday with the munchkins. For some reason, they are both having a round of sleep disturbances, which makes me particularly cranky/exhausted. I had finally sat them down to quiet time and I had a few work-ish things to do, but while I plugged away at those I was looking up and messaging a friend about some beauty products (well, more like hygiene products, face wash, moisturizer, shampoo etc), was staring longingly at some new goodies coming from my accessories company, and thinking how much I wanted to go shopping to a new thrift store I’d heard about that afternoon. And I thought about it for a minute (insert lightbulb emoji here): Whenever I am struggling internally or emotionally, I use external methods to solve that. Stressed out because my day didn’t go as planned? Boom, the PERFECT face cleansing routine will at least fix my skin, maybe then I’ll feel more “successful”! $100 later…..would it really make me feel better?( I didn’t actually buy anything yet, so that’s a win for me!) Had a bad day with the girls? Boom, a new dress will fix that! (and I did go thrift store shopping, to get a few things for a fall capsule wardrobe that I’ll tell you all about next week – mostly dresses and bottoms) Mark’s mother making me feel inadequate? Boom, eat a piece/bowl/bag of candy/chips/popcorn! It’s always concrete, tangible THINGS (like a pacifier) that I use to solve a problem that is much more cerebral or emotional. That’s like trying to solve hunger pangs with soothing bird calls on a cd, it just doesn’t even address the problem! DING. LIGHTBULB goes on.
So today I had a crappy day with the girls. Actually yesterday wasn’t great either. During a fun little dance class, my youngest (she of the sucky demands) fell and smashed her face, teeth first into the floor. Blood blood blood and screams for HOURS. She was up at 11:15, 3:30-5:00 and 6:30 from pain. (Have you ever fed a two year old a Popsicle at midnight? Or frozen raspberries at 4:00am? Weird.) So today mama was CRANKY and emotional and a bit edgy. And the four year old, who starts kindergarten tomorrow and is kinda FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT, decided to be the most challenging four year old she could be. (Dear god of fast food establishments and public bathrooms everywhere: please remove automatic toilets and hand dryers for the sake of my nerves?!)
And I WANTED to go shopping. I wanted to eat. But I remembered my light bulb moment, and went for a (brief) run instead! And yesterday I did yoga in my office with a youtube video! Ok, and then I ate nachos, but STILL! I feel like these are much more sensible reactions to the problem of being emotional. Given that we know exercise creates some kind of upper (endorphins? Don’t ask me, English major) and so does nature, getting outside for a run actually helps. Whereas eating or shopping does not. Someone remind me of that after we do dr’s visit for little miss bladder infection and kindergarten orientation tomorrow. Cause I’m pretty sure I’m just going to want a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn. That sounds tasty now actually….But getting back to the sucky idea, it’s very similar to my two year old having ANY KIND OF PROBLEM and wanting her sucky. It’s comfort, it’s familiar, it soothes, but does it really fix the problem? Nope. So I’m basically the emotional equivalent of a two year old? Yup, sounds about right today. But I feel like I would never have figured this out if I hadn’t started this project. I would have just bought something else and wondered why it didn’t work. Again.
What do you do to self-soothe??