Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Announcing: Chaos

I have this feature on my house phone that will announce the name of the person calling when the phone rings. It's a nice feature to have, since I don't always get up right away to answer the phone (especially right now, what with all the political calls...ridiculous). Most of the time, it doesn't bother me so much. Today was a different story!

I had already fixed dinner for my kids, so their dinner dishes were still on the table. My daughter decided that today was the day to clean out her bookbag--much needed, but she decided to dump the entire contents of her bag out right beside the table. Right where I needed to walk. My phone was beeping, letting me know I had a text message about my husband being on the way home, so I started his dinner. Both kids had homework books and sheets of paper strewn across the counter tops, and I had started unloading the dishwasher so the clean dishes where mixing with the dirty ones. My son was talking to me (Mom, what if we walked 10 miles--no, mom-mom-mom--what if we walked 20 miles--no, wait--mom-mom-mom-mom--hey, mom, what if we walked 20 miles in our bare feet...). That's when the phone started ringing, announcing loudly "Call from Richmond, V-A" (another political call, no doubt). So my daughter starts asking me "Mom, where's the phone? Mom, hey Mom, Mom! Mom! Where's the phone?" She's talking, he's still talking, the phone is ringing and announcing, the grilled cheese I'm making has been on the griddle a minute too long, there are dishes and papers and books and bookbag paraphernalia that hasn't seen the light of day since last year spread from one end to the other...and all of the sudden, I feel like I'm going to scream. I could feel that familiar feeling rising up in my chest, ready to snap at the next person who crossed my path...

...when this occured to me (thank God it did): the people who are getting ready to cross my path are people I love very much. They are innocent bystanders, simply talking to me because they like to talk (sometimes a little too much, but it's better than having a silent house. Trust me, my house is silent most of the day.), and I'm getting ready to bite off their heads because I happen to have become suddenly and swiftly overwhelmed with circumstances.

I don't do well with chaos. Visual chaos, mental chaos, auditory chaos--I don't deal well with any of it. Maybe I need a zen garden. Maybe I need a mental break, or do more yoga. Or maybe I need to learn how to deal with chaos because life happens to be a little chaotic, and I don't think that's going to change.

Recognizing that I don't do well when overwhelmed and I need a better way to deal is an important step for me, because then I begin to see what I'm reacting to and be proactive instead of just reacting.

Today, when my mind felt like it was going to explode and come out of my mouth, I was able to recognize what I was upset about and stop myself from getting angry and snappy with my kids. I quickly said a little prayer that basically asked God for a little help. It wasn't perfect, and I'm sure someone felt ignored in the process, but I'm seeing progress in the way I choose to handle myself, and that's a step in the right direction in my book.

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