Another gray day, another battle over leaving the house. My children, who used to love going for adventures in the woods, suddenly decide that they hate going for walks in the woods now that we live amidst them. A huge yard, with a playhouse and a fairy house and a space to run and play waits for them to come visit. I ask them when they will want to play in the garden, and they respond, “When it’s warm out.”
Routines shift and change. Old self-care standbys, like my Saturday
mental health writing day, get missed. I can’t remember the last time I went for a run in the morning, or woke up and did some yoga, or even woke up before the girls and had quiet time to write in my journal or work on a project.
Foods I know I can’t eat have become unbearably, heartbreakingly enticing. I had a close encounter with an almond croissant at the cafe last week. I found myself on the verge of tears right there at the cashier, suddenly filled with the knowledge that eating that beautiful croissant would make me feel terrible, and that will probably be the case for the rest of my life. That lovely pastry, so flaky and delicately dusted with icing sugar, it will never be mine. EVER AGAIN. Cue the melancholy violin and uncontrollable sobbing.
The worse my mood becomes, the less my children feel like listening to what I say or being around me. I mean, I can hardly blame them. I don’t particularly feel like being around myself when I’m in a bad mood. When I leave them to their own devices they play Lego peacefully for three hours.
I know these are the problems of the privileged. I know there are people who would be happy to have any food, let alone an almond croissant. I know my girls will grow fast, that soon they won’t be coming on walks with me because they’ll be busy with their own friends and then they’ll be calling home for that cookie recipe they love. Knowing this doesn’t make those feelings go away.
Maybe it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder. Maybe it’s moving-related emotional fallout. Maybe it’s because I was solo parenting for three days over the weekend during the most irritable time in my cycle. Maybe it’s Mercury Retrograde in Pisces. Maybe I’m actually processing a lot of emotional stuff that I never actually dealt with until everything that helped keep me from feeling my feelings was stripped away.
Maybe it’s only when we actually go right up to the limit and then beyond it that we learn some critical things about ourselves. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying it’s good to live beyond the limit. It’s certainly not something that’s healthy in the long term. But it has a way of bringing up unresolved emotional stuff, and that wretchedness will soften our hearts if we let it. Maybe it’s OK to feel those feelings, to cry over lost croissants and the fact that my daughter WILL NOT put on her boots and the fact that I am vulnerable and imperfect. Then I will dry my tears and wake up early to do some yoga tomorrow.