Being Honest About Stress

A fellow parent and friend asked me yesterday morning how I dealt with stress. My first instinct, and my actual reply, was that I didn’t really get stressed. Not a very honest answer when I thought about it, not that it was a lie, but that I guess I kind of brush stress under the carpet. I treat it like it’s a dirty little secret, no one can see that I’m stressed, that side of me can’t be shown.

It’s probably not the healthiest way to think, but it’s that British “stiff upper lip” showing, I buckle under. I get through. I make it work.

Calvin is going through a very “interesting” stage right now. Most of the time he is his usual smiley, happy self. But, there are times right now that he really tests my patience with whining and tantrums. And even though I know it’s a phase, there are days when my eye starts twitching, my head pounds and my voice gets raised. On these days I have to admit that I’m stressed, even if only to myself.

I’ve not found a way to eliminate stress, but I guess I am handling it, if only with sitting down for a while during nap time, having a cup of coffee in the morning or taking an extra five minutes in the shower to just soak. Parenting isn’t easy, and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be. But I’m not in University anymore, dealing with stress by going to the pub at lunch time or cramming in the library at 3am, or hitting the club or student union on a Saturday night isn’t my coping mechanism now.

I’m aware that I need to work out better ways to deal with stress, to take a deep breath when the wall looks so welcoming to bang my head against. We all need to find a place or a way to centre ourselves, I’m still working on it.

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