“Isn’t she just a tall drink of water?”
“He’s a breath of fresh air!”
“What a mover and a shaker!”
At just 18 months into this (27 months if you count pregnancy!), I’m obviously still very new to motherhood. I’m even newer to motherhood of two. So far, all the cliches have proved true: It’s hard. It’s the best. The days are long, but the weeks are short.
When an ordinarily long day with two pre-verbal babies becomes extraordinarily long (because of a broken lamp, let’s say, or because of crying in stereo, both of which occurred yesterday), I usually do one of two things: Either (1) I lose my head or (2) I remember my idioms.
Not for nothing do we compare appealing people to a glass of water, fresh air or exercise — all three actually make us more appealing. Try it the next time you’re on the verge of a breakdown, when, you know, you’re physically trembling and mentally spinning and emotionally snapping and spiritually rebelling. Ask yourself three questions: (1) Have I had a glass of water lately? If the answer is no, drink a glass of water. If the answer is yes, move on to the next question: (2) Have I been outside lately? If the answer is no, step out onto your porch or your balcony or into the city street. If the answer is yes, move on to the final question: (3) Have I exercised yet today? If the answer is no, you know what to do.
Incidentally, according to the author of the book my dad is currently reading (Brain Rules), exercise ranks even ahead of sleep on the list of practices that keep a brain sharp — and, unlike sleeping, exercise is very compatible with caring for toddlers, who love to move and shake!
Of course, there are a myriad of other ideas to try, from the basic (take a shower!) to the indulgent (eat dark chocolate with bare hands freshly moisturized with peppermint-scented lotion, a tip I actually read in a magazine recently!), but I like and return to these three because they’re easy and can be tried with some immediacy (no waiting for your babies to nap or procurement of peppermint-scented lotion required!).