Hmm, was that me last week, waxing rhapsodic about that great “back to school” feeling? So, here we are, near the end of my kids’ first week back at school, and I have to say: What was I smoking?
Yeah, it’s lovely to get out the pencil cases and pick out the first-day outfit and meet the teachers and see old friends and try to spot new ones. But it’s also a flat-out crazy week of adjusting to new routines, getting back in the groove, filling out more paperwork than anyone should have to deal with in this electronic age and, oh yeah, getting to work more or less on time.
Unsurprisingly, I find all this a bit stressful. (Can I get an amen?) And that’s why it seemed like such a great idea last week to promise that I would interview an expert on stress, and then let you all know all the great things I learned.
Only here’s the thing: I was too stressed out to get it done. Sure, I could tell you that her book didn’t arrive in the mail as quickly as it was supposed to (which it didn’t), and that therefore I didn’t get back in touch with her publisher to set up the interview before the long weekend (which I didn’t), and that then I came up with a backup plan (which I did) to interview someone else (which I didn’t), but essentially that all boils down to the adult equivalent of “the dog ate my homework.”
So, look, I’m sorry, and I promise – I swear – I more than swear, I’ve told my editor! – to have real information on dealing with stress next week. But meanwhile, let’s just talk about stress for a quick minute. I’ve told you some of mine, but here’s a more complete list:
- Taking care of a teenager and a 6-year-old
- Working full-time-plus at a job that requires evenings out fairly often, and even the odd weekend
- Trying to hold the family finances together in spite of some real (and private) challenges
- Resolving some seemingly intractable problems in a key relationship (also private, so I wouldn’t even mention it but it’s a huge stressor)
- Learning to navigate this strange new electronic world we all live in – and, for example, figuring out those lines between public and private, to say nothing of taming an email inbox that daily threatens to crash from its own weight; this sounds trivial compared to everything else, but it’s surprising how much angst it causes
- Wondering how I’m ever going to fix up the “charming,” “needs TLC” old wreck I live in, enough to either be happy in it or put it on the market
- Fretting about my health, not just the tired old song-and-dance you’ve been hearing about my weight and cholesterol and so forth, but also that funny-looking mole on my back
- And did I mention the three dogs and the gecko?
The good news is that the kids seem pretty happy and well fed, the job is mostly fun and I’m pretty good at it, I’ve made an appointment for the funny-looking mole, and I've even managed to keep Agent Sticky supplied with crickets, so I guess I’m dealing with the things that really need to get dealt with. But I could really, really use just a little more time to breathe.
So here’s hoping that the stress expert can help with that. And if you’ve got any stresses of your own that you want help with, just let me know.