Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Truth About Stress

As E's refusal to sleep through the night enters it's fifth month, I am finding it harder and harder to power through the sleep deprivation. There have been mornings when the sound of the alarm clock actually brought tears to my eyes. When I finally drag myself out of bed it is a wild whirlwind of activity as M feeds L his oatmeal, I take care of the baby, M takes his shower and leaves for work and I turn on Curious George so that L is occupied while I slap on some make-up and try to put together an outfit that doesn't make it look like I just crawled out of bed. I have to write everything down at work or else I will forget. I have forgotten and, as a result, been late for two meetings this week. I am no longer fun to be around, not that I go out. If I did, I would be grumpy and probably have mascara on my cheeks from rubbing my eyes. Most evenings I make dinner, eat dinner, do laundry/dishes and then go to bed. M helps, he really does, but sometimes just doing it yourself is easier than telling someone how to do it. I had to ask myself this question: in my quest to be the modern, do-everything-working-mom, have I screwed myself out of getting help from others? Have I locked myself into such a tight schedule and routine that it's difficult to stop and let someone else lend a hand? Will it really, really matter if M picks out E's clothes instead of me???

I knew that I had gotten into a bad pattern when I caught myself stress eating. I never stress eat. I have been known to stress shop, although that has stopped since we're watching our pennies these days. I have been known to bite my nails or make irrational decisions about my hair style, but never stress eat. Without even thinking about it, I ate a box of chocolates that a co-worker was selling as a fundraiser for some little league team. I have been working so hard to lose my pregnancy weight and have made really good strides as I am now only 10 lbs away from my goal and this new hobby of mine could ruin everything. How did I let it get so bad?

Every time you open up a women's magazine you see all of these stress relief tips. You can meditate, count to 10, make a list, breathe a scent, etc.. I only know one person who actually practices meditation to ease stress. One. The rest of us are either ignoring the advice or reading the article while eating fundraising chocolates.

I know I'm not alone and I know that my problems are not special or real problems, for that matter, but I miss who I was. I want my brain back. I want my ability to form a coherent thought back. I need to figure out a way to rise above this and maintain at least a little bit of sanity so that my family won't disown me.

So, what do you do when you are stressed? I mean, what do you really do?


  1. Run. And yea, it's another one of those things you have to try and cram in to your already overloaded schedule but not only does it melt away the stress, it burns calories and makes me not want to further stress eat. Something about regular running increases my ability to stay away from junk food. I'd also like to say that a good baby jogging stroller is kind of important in this method of stress relief.

    I hope you can find something that works for you. I, too, am a victim of pigeon-holing myself in to having to do it all because I'd rather know it is done right (aka my way) than let my husband help me.

  2. I'm looking forward to seeing your comments on this one. I feel ya honey - I really do. There are days when I have no choice but to break down and cry...
    I miss the old me. I love my *new* life - and I wouldn't trade my babies for anything...but I used to be fun, and outgoing, and friendly, and thin...
    How do we get our old selves back while still keeping what we have?

  3. I sort of wallow in a pit of dispair when stressed. I don't wear stress well. My only coping mechanism is to power through it and make it be over as quickly as possible. Until then I'm a real JOY to be around (not).

    Praying for some sleep for you very soon, and wishes for your stress to start to unwind itself.

  4. For a long time stress and depression hit me the same way. I would sleep and sleep and sleep and then, well, I'd sleep some more. Once I woke up I'd put just enough food into my stomach so that I could have a drink and then I'd go back to sleep.

    Now, I find that I still have the desire for endless sleep but I also will run or exercise. I feel so much better after a good session, even when I really never wanted to do it!

  5. I do stress eat--that is why it took me seven years to lose the weight from my first--and probably 3 years to lose the weight from my second!!

    But, I do have to agree with some of the comments above--exercise really does relieve stress. I get up before everyone else in the house and exercise on my stationary bike (or my stepper or my cardio video) and watch the news or a DVD. Almost every morning. And it really does help me. (and I am finally starting to lose the weight again)

    Also, I make sure to ask for that help--even if my hubby does not do it the way "I" would--at least its done.

    And, if you can afford it--one of my biggest de-stressers--our housekeeper who comes every Friday.

    Things will get better!

  6. I am with you 100%, working, kids, new borns, husbands it all adds up! Demands on moms these days are insane I was just discussing this with my mom last week. Her advice is to find a few good friends and chat on the phone while I work on things... Consider a girls night IN... chat while folding the laundry and feel better about getitng the chores done and catching up with friends! I'll let you know if it works!

  7. I'm a stress eater and if I had the money I'd be a stress shopper! Neither of which are good coping methods. I do enjoy cleaning when I have the energy. It helps me with stress because I feel like I accomplished something. Hope you get some sleep soon!!!

  8. Wow, did I write this post? Cuz I totally sleep, plenty of stress, equals for an unhappy mommy/wife/friend. I also tend to be very OCD so if I don't do it or it's not done the way I wanted it done then I'm unhappy. I don't know how to stop, it happens before I realize it.

    As far as coping, well, if I'm about to lose it,I literally just walk out of the room and breath. Other than that, I tend to wallow, or if I can get in my car and listen to music then I feel a bit better. Eventually, though, I just push it down and keep going...not healthy, but hey, that's me.

    I hope you get some much needed and much deserved sleep very VERY soon.

  9. Love your version of stress relief...and I do hope you get some rest soon. Demands are crazy--wish I could hire someone to be my Demand Manager....
    BTW, love the new blog--will put it on the BB blog--and email me when your new address is active--Im guessing now! Just let me know what it is--and thanks for the card!

  10. This is NOT what you want to hear- but I eat. I have no idea why, but food provides a calm harbor that is quicker and cheaper than the body massage I would much rather prefer. I'm trying to change that, but it's hard. What I'm trying now is when I'm stressed I play with C. His smiles make me feel good and they're so hard to resist. It's hard to worry and stress when I see his toothy grin.

    Good luck! I hope you can get more sleep as that really will help a lot.

  11. Thanks for your comment - I actually was thinking of doing that exact thing! And, then maybe including a "sample" of one or more of the recipes.

    I'm going to bookmark you to come back and catch up with your story.

    I hope you get some sleep soon! I am also feeling the sleep dev, but I don't have to work on top of it, so I can't imagine!

  12. Oops. :) I just realized who you were! Thanks to BB. Never mind for "catching up," but I do have your new home in my Reader now!

  13. I cry. I cry and then I try and do something productive because that makes me feel better. I like to garden. That helps out some.


    Good luck, love. Sleep dep is AWFUL.