Last night was one of those.
It was supposed to be our one night at home this week. Supposed to be . . . before I was reminded that there was a Cub Scout meeting. Supposed to be . . . before my 6yo’s coach decided to have a t-ball practice, because you know, two games in a week (per child) isn’t enough time for the boys to spend at the ball fields.
I was already irritated at the situation, and then hubby called to say that he was stuck out of town and would likely not make it home in time for either of these things. These things that were happening at the same time. These things that each required parental accompaniment.
So what did I do? I couldn’t think of a solution. I didn’t want to have to make a choice between the two things. I didn’t have the mental energy necessary to come up with a plan to make things work.
I did nothing. I didn’t even think about the problem. I found something more enjoyable to do, and purposely ignored the clock. I didn’t make dinner, which was necessary no matter what decision we eventually would make.
I avoided the issue. And then, of course, when it was almost too late to throw ham sandwiches together, I called my husband and asked him to make the decision for me. Thankfully, he was closer than he thought he would be, and was able to pick up the Cub Scout from the baseball practice and go with him. But, of course, at that point, the kids had to shove down their sandwiches, we had to run to the store to get something to take to Cub Scouts, and we didn’t even leave the house until after the time that the t-ball practice had started.
If I had just done what I knew had to be done, regardless of the decision, like . . . SUPPER, things would have been so much easier once the situation was figured out.
I do this. Sometimes if something stresses me, I put it out of my mind. I was thinking about this last night as I was so frustrated with myself for the completely avoidable hassle that I had added to the unavoidable hassle. In what my mother has gently pointed out to me is my typical fashion (over-using “always” and “never”), I lamented that I always avoid things that I don’t want to do.
But really, that isn’t true. There are many areas of life where I don’t avoid the hard stuff. In parenting, I’d much rather confront the issue early on than let it grow into something that eventually HAS to be dealt with. I’m often the one who has the privilege of dealing with difficult/delicate issues in groups. Putting on a play, I know exactly what it takes to have a good show, and I’m going to work hard from the beginning to be sure that things turn out well.
I guess my point is that maybe everyone does this to some degree, but in different areas. One of my biggest areas of avoidance is in housework. I imagine a job – like cleaning the shower – to be so big, so time-consuming, so difficult – that I avoid thinking about it. I choose not to let it register that the shower floor is supposed to be white.
I shared yesterday that I took a week off from cleaning the bathrooms. Although it might be okay to skip a week of shower scrubbing, it’s really not okay to go an entire week without ever peeking in the door of your kids’ bathroom. I knew it was bad, because even my peripheral vision could see the mess as I walked by, but I had chosen not to look inside and let it register. Too many other things were going on, overwhelming me, and I didn’t want to know what it really looked like.
Today, though, while composing this post in my head and being irritated at my tendency to avoid, I went in there. I picked up the dirty clothes off of the floor and shoved them in the hamper. I moved the fossils/playground-rocks that my 6yo paleontologist has been faithfully scrubbing with an old toothbrush. I wiped down the counter and the toilet, and suddenly, I wasn’t horrified anymore. And, of course, like so many things I avoid, it took me all of about 4 minutes.
Don’t forget that today is the first Focus Check Friday.