Friday, August 01, 2008


August is a new month. I have a personal trait I need to eliminate.

I had a big heart-to-heart with Dr. G-to-be last night wherein he told me that I am just too stressed and it is affecting my family. He is really right. I have smoke coming out of my ears about 90% of the time I am with my family.

I did tell him that the words "don't stress out" don't really do much to relieve my stress. Go figure. This whole, "you do everything while I write my dissertation" business is kind of hard on me.

I am supremely disappointed at how little stress relief has come from my reduction in work hours this summer. I really thought it would help more.

Anyway, here are my questions. I sincerely want your answers. I truly intend to carry my load a little better.
  • What do you do to de-stress in five minutes or less on a zero budget? In other words, when there is smoke coming out of your ears, how do you quickly put out the fire?
  • How do you cope when everybody needs something and you're still just one person who, by the way, also needs to take care of herself?
  • How do you teach your kids to be more self-sufficient and motivate them to take care of themselves a little bit, without making them feel guilty for causing your stress?
This is me turning over a new, serene leaf. Obviously, I have no idea how to do it. I'm going on faith.

G, by the way, has also pledged some improvements, for which I am grateful.


SalGal said...

Something I told the kids I was going to do, but obviously haven't yet, is that before I go to bed at night I would get out the cereal, bowls, and spoons. If they wake me up for breakfast they are toast (ha, ha!). They are old enough to get their own darn breakfasts. It is also fairly easy for the two older ones to be responsible for putting together their lunches. Maybe make a chart or a list telling/showing them what to put in their lunch bag to make sure it's not full of junk. Or just go the hot lunch route, then you have one less thing to worry about!

It's hard to tell another parent what to do because what works for you may not work for the other's family dynamic.

I am also fond of locking myself in my room and screaming bloody murder into a few pillows so they can't hear what I'm saying and I still get that release of frustration without hurting anyone.

Braden and Meredith said...

Oh Ana, I wish I had something that could help. I don't, so I thought I'd just express empathy. I don't know how you do it! No wonder you have a little smoke outside of your ears. Personally, I find that small luxuries make a world of difference to me and how stressed I feel. A diet Dr. Pepper, a fun dvd from netflix (have you ever seen All Creatures Great and Small?) glass of herbal tea, a quick read out of a book I choose for fun, listening to a book on tape in the car...some of these take longer than five minutes, but not all of them. Anyway, good luck.

Marta said...

Not having any kids, I can only guess what it's like to have stress of that sort. However, last night I was feeling rather unappreciated and in a rather bad mood. I went outside and weeded my flower bed for awhile, and in just a few minutes I had started singing to myself, and I only sing when I'm happy. Weeding doesn't seem like the ultimate de-stresser, but it really made me happy to be outside in the evening, as it was cooling down, to be by myself for a little, and to be getting something done I don't normally have time to do. Plus, I could take out my frustration on those little buggars trying to overtake my flowers. I hope you find something that works for you!

Anne/2rosebud said...

Well, with Bill's heart attack 2 weeks ago, I've been an absolute bundle of nerves lately.

Someone at work told me to focus on my upper lip, right below my nose and concentrate on deep breathing. I haven't tried it yet, though. I think I should.

Also, I've put into play my husband's Employee Assistance Program wherein I can get 8 sessions with a therapist, at the company's expense. My former workplace at the university had the same program, only I think there was a co-pay. They did phone consults for free, though. Does your workplace have something like that? I can't wait for my first session on Monday. I'll share the techniques I've learned with you.

(((HUGS))) and I'm keeping you in my prayers.

Ana said...

OK, Anne, you have suddenly whipped me back into proper perspective. I'm so sorry, hon. Thanks for being so unselfish. Love you.

And thanks everyone for your tips.

I have had a pretty good day today!

Jeannine said...

Ana, Each time I read your blog I find myself in such similar shoes. We need to get together more often.

So I've been known to eat lots of chocolate - though it really isn't a fix all. For the moment, it seems to help.

I've been also known to listen to my Ipod while 3 kids are crying in the background.

I've been counseled to exercise but fitting it in is overwhelming itself. Any suggestions?

Then when all else fails, I fall apart and my husband has to pick up the pieces.

I liked the counceling idea. I haven't done that for awhile. Venting in a safe place is always helpful to me.

Let me know if you find something that works.

elizabeth said...

Hi Ana,
Bet you didn't know your cousins kept up on your life by reading your blog (which I love, by the way.) But anyway, having the student husband/self breadwinner/mom role as well, I understand the stress, although mine is cut in half due to number of kids. But, I assigned my student husband 2 nights a week to fix dinner. (And nope, he doesn't get off dishes those nights). I love not having to think up, and whip up anything. And yes, we have a lot of spaghetti, and grilled cheese, but it's worth it. And unfairly enough, the kids don't complain when HE cooks, probably because they love ramen!

Ana said...

Liz, I DID know my cousins read my blog ... and I am glad to hear from you!

What is the wife-imposed deadline for your husband to finish his dissertation? Mine was supposed to be this month. I have grudgingly granted an extension until December.

Glad we're in it together!

elizabeth said...

my deadline is next june, but we'll see.....somedays I wonder if it will ever end. Thanks for the inspiration

Denise said...

1. To destress quickly, I pound on the piano. Play it out. Or just LEAVE. Go for a walk if it's not too hot. That's hard if there's no one to watch the kids, though.

2. I usually just have a meltdown, so I'm not a good one to ask. Usually dh has to step in on this one, because it's true, you CAN'T do everything for everyone.

3. I tell the kids that we ALL live here and we ALL have to pitch in. Again, it's so hard with young ones, because they can't help as much as we really need them to. But I give them chores they can handle, and it does help take the stress off a little bit, even if it means they just carry their own stacks of clothes to their rooms, or take their own dishes to the sink, or the older ones agree to keep an eye on the younger ones for a bit while you lock yourself in your room for a cry, a nap, a good book, whatever it takes.

I know that feeling of not being able to take it one more second, of wanting to just blow. Usually ranting, crying, and slamming a few doors helps, but I guess I shouldn't recommend that, lol. I hope the pressure lets up soon.