That is the moral of today's story.
Be forewarned - this post starts with a pathetic sob story, but stick with me. I expect it will be entertaining nonetheless.
Pea Pod likes to wake up every 3 hours during the night usually, which equates to at least 2 wake up calls in the night for me. The other night, however, he slept much better, so after going to sleep around 11:30 pm, I only had to get up at 3:30 am and then again at 6:30 am. Bean also woke up at 6:30 am, so we were up for the day at that point. That means I slept roughly 6.5 hours which isn't bad for me these days, but for some reason I was exhausted and really, really grouchy.
It didn't help things that Bean was also grouchy (again, for some unexplained reason). She was throwing screaming fits left right and center and refused to do anything reasonable the first time I asked. I seriously contemplated calling up our daycare provider and begging her to take my little toddler off my hands for the day just to preserve some of my sanity.
But I couldn't do that. After all, she's my kid. If I can't look after her when I'm feeling a little grouchy, what kind of a mother am I?
While I was feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, irritated, and all of those things, my sweet husband attempted to come to my rescue by granting me some alone time in the form of a shower.
Yeah - not so much. Little toddler Bean decides 3 minutes is quite enough alone time for Mommy, and trots into the bathroom and pulls open the shower curtain to tell me all about the "pictures" she can't find and demanding that I find it. (Yes, I said "it." "Pictures" refers to an iPad-like toy she got for Christmas that we hid from her because she was so obsessed with it that it was creating some behavioural issues.) I really wanted to tell her to take a hike, but I held my tongue and told her I'd help her look for it shortly.
Exit shower, Bean demands "uppie" as I'm trying to sneak upstairs to throw on some clothes. I bring her up to my room and proceed to get dressed while she tries to get into everything. Finally, as I'm about to go back downstairs, she decides she wants to play in her room and has a screaming fit because I won't stay upstairs with her. Bah.
Honestly, I don't even remember what else went wrong (so it makes for lame story), but I can tell you that I felt like I was losing my mind and that my daughter was the most irritating little being on the planet. And, I was going to have to spend the day dealing with her tantrums and whining as well as her rough love for her infant brother.
Finally, I had an idea - I was going to take them outside. I would strap them in the stroller and walk to the library to return the books and movies we had borrowed. Bean would be motivated to go because she likes playing with the trains there, and Pea Pod doesn't argue much these days.
I cannot even tell you what a difference that walk made. While I still had my kidlets close to me, I got to experience some real, good quality "alone time." I could think without being interrupted, there was no screeching or whining, and my head was clear. That walk was miraculous.
And now that the kids are in bed and I'm writing this post, I realize that my walks most often have this outcome. I can't think of a single time that I've gone for a walk and haven't returned feeling much better than when I left. There's just something about going for a walk on your own (or nearly so). For me, those walks bring clarity to my mind and sanity, too.
Physical activity is therapy for the body and mind. Even a simple walk with a stroller will do the trick. Believe me - I know.