Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Coping Strategy Cards

I pulled these cards last night. Along with my hubby, I interpreted them for my situation, which is being at home all the time with my very moody, pre-pubescent daughter. My main issue is that she's very, very independent, and resists suggestions to go to a lot of things. And, like what happened yesterday, even if she wants to go, she often seems moody and unbalanced. I'm working on things from a number of angles, from tweaking her diet to giving her as much space as possible, to coming up with activities that would be interesting but not overstimulating for her.

Like me, she gets overwhelmed kinda quickly. So a day chockablock full of chaos and activity can prove to be the opposite of what is needed many times. This is something I've noticed from being her mom the past 8 years, anyway! As a kid, I often felt overwhelmed and like I had no way to escape that feeling being around lots of people, both peers and also just in general from being in a big family. And, I was bullied for many years in school, until I left for college. So, I am trying to approach this issue with empathy for my daughter if she is feeling stressed and overstimulated, even if it doesn't seem to make sense.

At the same time, I am letting her know our boundaries as parents, when things are not acceptable (such as being rude to us), and other things where we have to draw the line. I find things do tend to be easier at home. She is more self-directed and content, and she is able to regulate her moods and do what needs to be done to feel better (usually). But when we're out she tends to be irritable, easily upset. I do remember many of these feelings from my own childhood. I think she may be fairly empathic, like I am. It's not easy to be sensitive to people and things around you.

Please note that I am not mentioning the good things that happen (and there are many), but I'm simply troubleshooting and listing things that I see, though I'm being general because I don't want to spend this entire post complaining or overly focusing on this issue. I just wanted to show these cards!

So, the cards here are Pail, Bag, Teapot, Grapes, Mice, Purse.

My husband and I went with what we thought when we saw the cards, and there are always additional things that you don't see until later, but basically:

Pail: This is a card I've seen a number of times referring to getting away quickly from something. It came up when we had several houses fall through during our house hunt 2+ years ago. Whenever I drew it, directly after the house would not come through--an offer was not accepted or something. In this case, referring to summer time with my daughter, my husband saw it as me getting time away from my daughter. Having a ready escape where I can go do something on my own for a bit every day. Obviously this is perfectly do-able as my husband gets home fairly early from work. So, that's something I should always keep in mind.

Bag: This card is usually about having a job, commission, or other occupying task. I've been saying to my husband recently that part of my issue in feeling not so grand this summer is that I don't have any sort of interest going on that's truly calling to me. No consuming creative focus like I usually do. Besides blogging, which I don't consider to be a consuming hobby, as it only takes me about 15 minutes. The Emptying the Bowl™ process has lead me to throw out things that I was previously doing that were just kinda "MEH"...which is good! But, it left me with a pretty empty bowl.  Of course, you could say my daughter being with me 24/7 is a hobby, but well...err. It is something that is a consuming task that takes up most of my time, but at the same time, I really, really benefit from having activities and focused interests that I can do away from my daughter, even if for short periods of time. So, I think this is highlighting me finding something to do. It doesn't matter what it is! I just need to find something I'd like to do. It doesn't matter the duration of the task, either. It can last a few days, or a week. Or several months. Etc. I KINDA hate to admit it, but I'm far more motivated to do something if I get money for it, so I may be looking for ways to make a little bit of cash. I guess that's normal.

Teapot: I think this is mostly about me connecting with friends. Thankfully I am doing that! I have a couple get-togethers planned, and I've been more social than usually the past few months, largely thanks to a beloved local friend. I have to keep on top of socializing and not give it up out of laziness and blahness. It is very crucial to have a social outlet of some sort. We get so much validation and support (and also connection), from having friends and getting together with them. I have some friends in Colorado Springs which I may see again this summer, and a long-time friend who used to be a neighbor in Wyoming who I haven't seen this year and I was thinking of visiting in July.

Grapes: I think this goes with the Teapot card, but also to have fun, whether it's with friends, family, my husband or myself. I need to prioritize fun when I'm feeling stressed. Otherwise my anxiety level continues to rise and I'm at great risk for anxiety attacks. And I refuse to take medication. If I need to I'll take supplements for that, but what I've found is it's far more valuable for me to address the root of my anxiety rather than cover it up with drugs. Fun is the best kind of drug!

Mice: This just reminds me of the stress of juggling a child who is feeling a bit moody, I think. It could be other things that I'm not aware of yet, but there's that 'discord' part. The little nibbly mice may try to nibble away at my sanity until there's nothing left, but I am going to put a stop to it, by trying to stay focused, stay empathetic to my daughter, remain aware of the best ways to entertain both of us (and give both of us space), as well as nurturing myself with friendship, family, time away, and other things.

Purse: This one makes sense to me. It's about being careful about money. We do not have any extra money right now. We have enough to pay the bills, which is very good, but we have no savings (something we are trying to remedy), part of why I'm more motivated to make money, but not in a way that makes me feel cranky or put upon. I want it to be a natural extension of who I am. I don't mind focusing my energy and working on things, but only if it's something that at least somewhat appeals to me! I know that, when we are short on cash, things feel more stressful, and so my husband saw this as a caution to be mindful of the outflow of cash, so we aren't left with 2 bucks for the rest of the week before payday, and a cranky child who wants to do things I can't afford to do. It's just a matter of budgeting, balancing, planning and looking out for opportunities which may generate a little bit of money.

Anyway! This post was way longer than my usual posts. If you got to this point, congrats!

Lotsa love to y'all,


  1. It's so nice that your husband understands and supports your need to get out and away for some time to yourself, and your thoughts about socializing are great. I also have to make it a priority or it's very easy for me to just let it fall by the wayside. You are also absolutely right about getting on top of the anxiety before it starts to manifest as full blown panic attacks. I have to manage mine that way too. I've gone the pharmaceutical route, and that creates almost as many new problems for me as it addresses. So, just sending you a "high five" and a "you go girl!" xoxo

    1. Thank you for understanding, and I know you do! Lots of love and self care to you as well! :)