I’m a lucky Real Woman. I know this because I have a loving family, amazing friends, a good job, a nice home, and good health. (Cue Cinderella’s blue birds). Not everyone can boast all of that. Yet even the luckiest of us can have…well, less than perfect days. Days when we are tempted to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over our heads and hibernate.
Granted, these days frequently coincide with that week in the month when we are already feeling like we are at the bottom of the heap. When our emotions and tempers are roller-coasters and our self-image is appallingly low. None of that helps. From there, all it takes is one challenging moment to kick off a domino affect.
Here’s a recent example….I’d had a frustrating night of trying to locate lost reservations for an upcoming family vacation and stayed up far too late. Domino #1. Never skimp on sleep when crankiness sets in.
My son lost his glasses a few weeks ago. Earlier in the evening we had finally gotten him to the eye doctor who was appalled that our son had gone at least a month without his eye-wear. His one eye that requires correction had gotten worse since the last appointment. Domino #2. Mom Guilt. There goes my bid for Mother of the Year again.
After an all-too-short night of sleep, I awoke feeling overwhelmed by the amount of “things” I need to get done, both at home and at work. I had already convinced myself I could not possibly get everything done that I needed to get done. While stressing about work, I had a bizarre collection of other thoughts swirling in my head, as we Real Women always do. They went something like this: When can I fit in a haircut before we go out of town- I need to call that family member to try to help him with his computer issues-how soon can I get my son’s new glasses before he goes blind-what am I making for dinner tonight-do we need to take the dog to the vet? Domino #3. Self-induced stress.
As I backed out of the driveway to head to work, I didn’t see the can of recyclables my husband had put out, knocked it over, and bottles, cans and glassware spilled out all over the road. There I was, in heels, scurrying around picking up the spilled contents, as other commuters had to brake or swerve around me, no doubt annoyed to be slowed down by this silly woman who made a mess. At one point I felt like standing in the middle of the road and yelling “yes! That is an empty Baileys AND an empty wine bottle you see!” Did I mention it was 2 degrees out? Domino #4. Not giving in to the humor of a situation. (by now the blue birds were long gone, and the ravens were circling.)
True to form to make myself feel better I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a fattening chai and muffin. After all, most of us R.W.’s in New England cope with winter by consuming far too much comfort food. By February we’ve given in and decided the extra pounds are a good match with our pale skin tone. Some of us supplement this coping mechanism by taking part in Retail Therapy as well. Which kind of makes sense, since nothing in our closets fits anymore…. But I digress. In the distance between the cash register and the pick-up counter, the servers forgot about me and had to be reminded what I ordered. Ok, I get it, I wasn’t on top of my game either. Domino #5: Mood Eating.
Upon arriving at work, I soon realized I had never put on earrings. Glad I at least remembered underwear. I then heard the weather report that another doozy of a winter storm is due this week — naturally when my husband will be out of town for a conference so I’ll need a crash course in using the snow blower and will worry about him traveling. Lovely. Domino #5: Worrying about that which is out of our control.
It had officially become “one of those days.”
The good news is as the day progressed, there were a few high points, namely in the form of other people who made me smile and laugh. Eventually I made it through to the end of the day and ended up where I wanted to be in the first place: snuggled into bed.
I know you are waiting for me to share that the lesson learned when we each have “one of those days” is that it could be worse. None of these were real challenges, all First World Problems, suck it up and be thankful. Yeah, yeah, sure, sure……
That’s not really the lesson in my mind. To me, the lesson is that at any given moment, we have no idea what any one else we encounter throughout our days may be carrying with them. Maybe their baby puked on their new skirt on the way out the door. Maybe they burned their toast or broke a heel on a shoe. Maybe they knocked over all of their container recyclables into the road. You just never know. We are all real. And when these events happen, at that moment, they feel like very real issues and challenges.
So let’s cut each other a little slack. Share a smile or a laugh. You never know how much another R.W. could use it.
With thanks to Mary Englebrett, a talented artist who routinely captures the essence of being Real Women.