It was not a good day.
I told Tom this when he woke up. He works the night shift so he sleeps until the afternoon. He seemed a little taken aback when he came down the stairs and saw me sitting in the middle of the living room with a bunch of Natalie’s toys surrounding me. Not to mention a spray of crumbs.
“Would you believe,” I said to Tom in a shaky voice, “that I had this room cleaned ten minutes ago? But just look. Look what you daughter did to it.”
Tom blinked. He wasn’t sure how to respond so he just scratched the side of his head and went, “Er.”
Very insightful man, that Tom.
“This has not been a good day,” I continued, standing up. I brushed crumbs off my knees. Natalie had been munching on some crackers and had decided to turn them into confetti. She had crumbled them into her palms and had tossed the bits into the air. “Weeee!” she had gone. “Weeee!” I had been in the kitchen doing the dishes and hadn’t known what she was doing.
“Why hasn’t it been a good day?” Tom asked, but his tone indicated that he really wasn’t interested. He probably just wanted to sit in front of the computer but he knew if he did that then I’d probably lash out and call him names. He says that I have rage issues and that I can be mean. This isn’t true. I mean, okay, maybe it’s a little true. I did call him numbnuts the other day but that was because he was just STANDING there as I was cleaning up. Who just STANDS there and watches another person clean? I mean honestly. I did apologize for the name calling, by the way.
“No one will listen to me,” I began. “This morning as I got Tommy off to school, he kept shouting even though I explained that Mommy wasn’t a morning person and that if he valued keeping his tongue, that he ought to keep it down. Then Natalie was up and she didn’t want to listen and kept bringing out every single toy she owns to the living room. I tried to get a tiny break in and read a few pages of my book but then she wanted to play tea. I said I didn’t want to play tea but she insisted, slapped her tea hat on me and forced a plastic cup in my hand. After tea time I went upstairs to clean and realized that your son had PISSED in the plastic tote that holds his cars. Who does that? Is he some kind of animal?”
Tom made a face. “Er,” he offered.
“Then your daughter won’t stop shitting. I cleaned three shits today and I think it’s because she ate an entire tray of veggies yesterday. Then I had to do the catbox and let me tell you Tom, I’m so tired of dealing with other people’s bowel movements. I’m just so tired and I just want to sit and BE for a bit but I can’t because I live with a bunch of animals!” I concluded.
“Go upstairs and rest then,” Tom suggested. Thank goodness he actually said something. If he had gone “er” I might have called him numbnuts again.
I did go upstairs. I started to go through my pile of papers that I’ve been meaning to sort through. I stumbled upon several magazine articles that I had torn out—if an article interests me, I tear it out so I can re-read it.
I found one that made me smile.
It was from Redbook and it was about 5 ways to de-stress in 20 minutes or less.
I definitely needed to de-stress. So I surveyed the article and decided to do the different ideas that it suggested.
Number one was to tidy up a little.
I had been tidying up all day. Didn’t the article realize I had been dealing with people’s excrements? According to the article, stress-reducing endorphins sometimes get released while cleaning.
This doesn’t happen o me.
Stress-CAUSING endorphins get released when I clean. Because I start to think, “Why am I picking up a GROWN MAN’S socks? Why is there PISS in this plastic bin? How many turds is this child going to produce?”
So yeah. I moved onto the next suggestion.
That one said that I ought to stare out the window because nature scenes can help a person de-stress.
Okay. I could give it a try.
I gazed out the window.
La-la-la, waiting for the de-stress to wash over me.
A few cars drove by. Boring.
Then I noticed my neighbor in her yard planting something. She was staring up at me in confusion.
Great. My neighbor probably thought that I was either A) spying on her or B) checking her out.
“It’s okay,” I wanted to say, waving the article around. “I’m just trying to de-stress!”
So that bombed.
I checked the article again. Number three said I should sniff some coffee. Problem? We don’t drink coffee in this house. Maybe I could run to Starbucks? The article said that the smell of coffee beans helped relax sleep-deprived rats after all.
Wait a minute.
Was the article comparing me to a RAT?
Moving on to suggestion number four.
Ohhh. It was telling me to get my game on. Apparently games are distracting from your problems. Well, duh. The thing is, I don’t play a lot of computer games. Not anymore. I used to play a game called EverQuest before I had kids but now I don’t have time for it. I do play the Wii but usually when the kids are in bed because if I try to do it when Natalie is up, she stands directly in my way and tries to take the Wii-mote from me. Then I get irritated and she cries and shouts that I’m not SHARING and I wind up turning the game off.
I checked out the last suggestion.
Score a yoga buzz just by breathing.
You mean all I had to do was BREATHE to relax?
I decided to try it out. I was told that I should sit quietly and close my eyes. Then I needed to let my muscles completely relax and release tension. I had to shrug my shoulders, and roll my head and neck. I did this and felt like I was Linda Blair. I breathed in and out, in and out. Ooo, maybe it was working. I did feel relaxed. I did—
“Where are the diapers? Natalie took a dump!” Tom’s voice rudely cut into my thoughts.
I kept my eyes closed. “You know where they are,” I yelled back. Why doesn’t he check first? Does he think I wake up and go, “I think I’ll change where I store the diapers.”
“It really SMELLS!” Tom boomed.
“Welcome to my world!” I answered.
Ahh, I could relax again.
I was drifting away into another world, one filled with cosmopolitans, lifetime chocolate supplies and an explanation of what in the world is going on with Lost. I was—
“What are you doing?” The bedroom door was thrown open and Tom stood there with Natalie beside him.
“De-stressing,” I said. My eyes were still shut.
“You look like you’re about to fall asleep sitting up,” Tom the genius observed.
“I’m not. I’m trying to—oofff!” The ooof was because Natalie hurled her body into me and I fell back. My eyes snapped open and Natalie’s face was inches from mine.
“Horsie!” she said and sat on my face. Ugh. Thank goodness Tom had changed her diaper. Otherwise I’d have probably passed out.
“Get off Mommy,” Tom said, lifting her off. He stared down at me. “Are you better now?” That was his way of saying, “Are you going to be nice and not call me names?”
I sighed and stood up. “I guess.”
“I know a way to cheer you up,” Tom said and I thought he was going to suggest something sexual. But no, he said that he’d take me out for some ice cream.
“Remember Dairy Queen has that deal where you can buy a blizzard and get another one for twenty five cents,” Tom added, knowing it would make me happy that we’d save some money in the process.
So in the end, the article didn’t really help me de-stress.
It was my delicious Butterfinger blizzard that did.