Is it something for you?
Here I’d like to tell you why I named my blog JustRedefine and why so often I repeat that phrase. This blog is dedicated to mothers and housewives, especially those who don’t necessarily feel very comfortable in this role (yet!), but my redefining theory is very broad and universal – that’s why it landed on a home page. If you are interested who am I and want to get more info about the blog itself, please head to about me page.
I know I need it!
I started the whole concept with redefining after I observed that I have the tendency to create the problems I think I have. Now, let it sink in for a moment. The problems I think I have. It’s about growing anxiety that drives different thoughts particularly when it’s NOT the right place and time for that. It is worrying about retirement when you should be enjoying your summer vacation, it’s thinking about organizing the biggest wedding ever for your little girl while driving her to preschool first time in her life. Or you know, complaining about how terrible your new neighbors are when they just parked their moving-in truck.
I noticed that it’s not just me. It concerns so many women around me. Maybe it’s women in general? We are creating our problems. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, I didn’t do a lot of research but I have my conclusions and even some solutions. So please, stay with me a couple of minutes and let me introduce you to my theory.
Coffee cup disaster – the case study
This little story below (based loosely on true life) shows you the elementary level of how overthinking and the spiral of worrying begin. Don’t worry I kept it PG13.
It started so nice
I woke up early in the morning. Which is unfortunate, because I don’t like mornings. But I had a good night: I went to bed early, the baby slept nicely without any additional (not scheduled) feedings. Kiddos still slept at 6 am so I hoped to enjoy my cup of coffee, maybe read some magazine and start a day alone, in quiet. It’s so rare that I felt like I’m one of those people who gets paid for hugging a panda (totally a thing!). And then I got to the kitchen. And I saw it. My cup. My favorite coffee cup. Still in the sink. Not washed. And filled with something disgusting, probably from the pan that is laying on my cup.
Spiral starts spinning
Who put a frying pan on my cup? Why is it all dirty? Are dishes not done at all? Why is the whole kitchen not sparkling? This whole apartment is a mess. Nobody is cleaning! I carry all the load here by myself and there is five of us! We are not organized at all. It’s my fault. I’m raising my kids in this mess. Who will they turn to be? They will be slobs. Unorganized slobs! They will fail at school, they won’t get into college. What am I saying?! What college? We don’t have enough savings – how will we pay for their college?!
Related post: Time Management – Mommy Style!
And here he comes
As if nothing ever happened he comes to the kitchen. My husband all sleepy but smiley. Comes to the coffee machine and unaware of what’s going on in my head he dares to say: “Good morning Honey. Do you know kids are still sleeping? Amazing, right? Do you want some coffee?”.
“Ooooh, I will give you coffee, you arrogant slob! You better tell me why you didn’t set up the saving accounts for kids’ schools like I asked you ten years ago?! Are you aware that you are sending our kids on the streets? And would it kill you if you did the dishes once in your life? There will be no dinner tonight because I need to clean this place and it will take weeks! You hear me? Weeks!”
Can you imagine my husband’s face in that moment?
Am I crazy or is it science?
Does it sound a little familiar? If so, remember, to some point it’s not your fault. It’s our nature. I don’t only mean hormones, cycles and stuff. I mean the way our brains work. Have you ever heard of Mark Gungor and his Tale of two brains? When I heard him the first time and that was yeeeeeaars ago, he made me both laugh and think about the subject. Women’s brains are like non-stop working, wired machines. We constantly think about something and all our somethings are connected to each other. Just think (!) about it.
How many times you started your chain of thoughts with a shopping list and ended up with a crazy idea for your sister’s bachelorette party. Best part? Somewhere in the middle, you were contemplating the death sentence of Mary, Queen of Scots. You get the point, right? We think too much. Our brains get tired, cartoon-way steamy and then explode with huge overthinking. And the rest is just plain physics. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In this case overreaction. This process may be so advanced that sometimes in our heads only the outcome pops up. Maybe it’s evolution, but somehow along the way we can drop the whole process, there is no beginning, it’s just the overthought problem that you wake up with. And then – boom! – You are all pumped up, the spiral of worrying is turning. (Do you hear the evil laughter in the background?).
But please remember
In this moment, however, I would like to strongly highlight that overthinking and worrying to the point that it affects your decision-making process or rather inability to make decisions 1. can be a real problem, 2. do not apply to women only and 3. can be connected to depression. If you think that may be your case you should seek help in your doctor’s office.
There is hope.
Ok, let’s get back to the lighter tone and some methods how to deal with that monsters. Remember my ”once upon a morning” story and my husband’s shocked face? When I start talking really fast about stuff that might be a problem, but it’s all far in the future, he usually asks me to go to the ozone hole mode. What he means is that I should focus on some current real problems like climate warming or world hunger instead of creating new ones that don’t exist yet, like our financial problems or messy apartment, because that is just in my head (yeah, right! – but let’s leave it for now).
Everything has its own place and time
I should also mention it’s not that you or I have no problems whatsoever. It’s all about asking yourself is it the right time and place for it? Is it the right problem that I am now contemplating? Because your spiral is starting to work with the whole speed, so the question is: do you want it to happen here and now? Sometimes redefining what’s going on is the only thing you need to do. Use your overthinking powers and reflect on what actually happens with you NOW and what drives you. Take the situation you are in and define it again.
How to do that?
Whenever something comes to your mind and makes you feel like you will lose it, just stop doing everything and take a moment to define what is going on. Are you starting the spinning process of making one small thing bigger and bigger? Like a snowball effect? Because that is exactly “creating problems” and that leads only to frustration and being overwhelmed. Do you then get annoyed and probably kind of aggressive? And you snap at whoever is the closest? Of course, then you feel bad, because deep down you know it’s not right, but it’s too late – somebody just asked what is wrong with you today and… there we have it. Bring it on. Whole cavalry. Show them who’s the boss. Yep. Female tantrum in all its best.
Do you remember what triggered me in the story above? What should I do? Just stop and redefine. It’s not that worthless, shameless husband. Not poor, uneducated children of mine. It’s the 6 a.m.! I’m joking (or do I?). The real problem is that I didn’t do the dishes before I got to sleep. Or anybody else didn’t do it, to be fair. And it might not be because of the terrible organization. It might be because we all had a crappy day yesterday and were tired and went to bed early. There is no need to start exaggerating here.
Let’s look at the problem as an optimist would do. Redefine what is in our heads. The key is to focus on the important parts. It’s worth it to practice that. When you let your mind go wild and let the demons out too often, sooner or later you will snap on your kids, husband or your boss and it will hurt everybody around.
Redefining is a state of mind
My redefining philosophy doesn’t apply only to imaginary problems but also to all your dreams, plans, work you do, methods of dealing with basically everything. To make it simple – it is (in general) about keeping yourself updated and focused on what matters here and now so that later you can enjoy perfect you. It’s always good to redefine your life so it looks like you want it to be.
Related post: Best time for plans and resolutions?
And later we can go to town on tantrums in a different setting. I will get back to this, I promise, because let’s face it – sometimes it’s just fun.