Under Pressure

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I hate those blogs and websites that start playing music automatically (I’m looking at you, Disneyland, and not just because I can see your fireworks from my back porch). So rather than that, I’m putting you in control of the music! Press play and then continue reading…

This week’s Spin Cycle over at Sprite’s Keeper is about stress, and you know, everyone talks about stress like it’s a bad thing. Because it is. I mean, every mom is intimately familiar with stress, and the mere mention of the word tends to force litanies to spew forth from maternal mouths everywhere about how, well, stressed we are. Not to mention the havoc it wrecks on our bodies. We get stomach aches and headaches (or worse–migraines!). In a cruel twist of irony, stress begets insomnia, robbing us of precious sleep just when we need it the most. The irritability, moodiness, frustration, overwhelmed feelings, and often depression makes us perfect candidates for “asking our doctor” about that drug with the peppy name (what was that called again?). Or my personal favorite–canker sores, not to be confused with cold sores (canker sores are not caused by a virus and are the ones that happen inside of your mouth, often brought on by stress). I could go on and on, but instead I’d like to talk about a different effect of stress–stress that brings out the best in us.

Are you enjoying David Bowie, by the way? Thank my friend Colette.

Anyway, I’m going to take a moment to brag here and just say that I am awesome in catastrophic situations–earthquakes, tornadoes, house floods, that kind of thing. I’m not so great at ordinary, every day stressors, but if a plane crashes into your living room, I’m the gal you want doing triage and crowd control in your driveway. No, really. Like remember Y2K, the Disaster That Never Happened? Well, it didn’t happen to most people, but my parents were vacationing in Australia and right before the clocks flipped to midnight and a new millenia began, the water company servicing their house cut back on the supply, so if the world ended or if their electronic equipment failed, they wouldn’t all drown. Or whatever. But then, of course, they turned the water full-force back on, which blew a gasket under the bathroom sink of my parents’ vacant house and proceeded to flood their unattended home for about 10 hours before I happened to swing by.

I’m glossing over the part of the story where I actually lived out of town but was down for the New Year, and was so horribly hungover I decided to go crash on the couch at my parents’ empty and quiet house and watch the Rose Parade or something.

Instead there was a flurry of excitement as I got a neighbor to turn off the water main, called the fire department and then one of those cleaning crew people, and dialed my parents in Australia at whatevero’clock in the morning to say, “Hi Dad! Happy New Year! Now don’t panic–I just need to know who your homeowner’s insurance agent is.” And once the crisis was solved, I patted myself on the back, took some ibuprofen, and took a 12-hour nap at my friend’s house.

A pressure cooker, for when you don't have all day

You know, when a disaster happens, some people completely flip out in the moment, and others jump into problem-solving mode, get sh*t done, and freak out later. I’m the second kind. So is my mother, actually. Maybe that’s where I got it from.

But I’ve also found that a lot of moms are the second kind.

Yes, we’re stressed. Yes, little things can get to us. Sometimes our lives get so overwhelming. Sometimes we’ve been up with the newborn for so long it’s impossible to tell who is crying harder–Mom or the baby. Sometimes we scream at bystanders (varying degrees of innocence) over what seem like truly minor things. But when push comes to shove and everything goes to hell, you know who I want by my side? A mom.

Also, emergency personnel. And my husband.

But definitely a mom. Because even if we can’t fix everything, and we really can’t, no matter how hard we try, moms know how to pick up the pieces at the end. And this, I think, is what stress brings out in us. That ability to weather a storm and still have a tissue to share and a shoulder for a friend to cry on. Moms get stressed, but we also thrive and sometimes do our best work under pressure. I think that’s one of the true talents of a mom.

So if you’re rattled by an earthquake or just watched a tornado pass by or your house has flooded, give me a call. I’ve been there, done that, and I’m great under pressure.

The Scrivener

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7 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Beth Bryson. Beth Bryson said: Under Pressure « Gen X Moms – Life as a mom after 30: I mean, every mom is intimately familiar with stress, and th… http://bit.ly/ciAUgF […]

  2. You know something? I used to think I would be no good in an emergency, but it ended up that I was. I think every mom could be counted on in a stressful situation that required immediate action, especially when her kids are involved. Great Spin on stress! You’re linked!

  3. I’m the opposite. I’m generally pretty relaxed, but in a crisis I kind of stop functioning. It’s like my brain just can’t process that this is really happening, and I kind of go brain dead. My husband Jimmy, on the other hand, is totally scattered and freaked out by every daily stress – a total Woody Allen. But hand the man an actual, real crisis? As cool as a cucumber. Weird, right?

  4. Yep, definately have a mom ofr the crisis–also for the breakdown afterwards. Great spin.

  5. I’m learning to try and deal with the everyday since I tend to handle disasters quite well. Perhaps what is happening is that those who deal with disasters know what to focus on, but in everyday life you don’t know what to focus on (which can be stressful in itself).

    Thanks for a great spin,

    • That’s a good point, Christopher. It’s easier to prioritize in a disaster but every day can get so overwhelming! I never thought of it that way but I think you’ve got a great point.

  6. I’m like you in that I can jump in the the problem solving get sh*t done – then have my freak out moment after it’s all be taken care of. 🙂 Great spin!

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