The Mental Load

This post was originally written and posted on Emma’s blog. She gets full credit and my enduring gratitude for discussing something rarely talked about and very hard to put into words.

You should’ve asked

Here is the english version of my now famous “Fallait demander” !

Thanks Una from unadtranslation.com for the translation 🙂

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Beware of Free Stuff

 

You have the best intentions, I know this about you already but here is the thing…just because it’s free doesn’t mean you are obligated to take it.

Think about it…

conference pens,

obscure flavored tea samples that are given aways at grocery store openings,

10K t-shirts,

cosmetic freebies with the purchase of a new mascara,

taking something your friend or family is trying to get rid of…

and on and on it goes.

“Look at this! It was free!” Then a month or ten years later, that travel sewing kit still sits as clutter in your closet, because let’s face it, when are you going to repair a button on the road? Never.

Do yourself a favor and say no to begin with.

“Are you sure?” they’ll ask you.

“Yep.”

“But it’s free!” they’ll exclaim.

“Thanks, but no thanks,” you’ll say back.

They might give you a weird look but secretly admire your resolve. Just think of it that way and take care of your future self.

If you’re feeling agitated or angry– hit the pause button.

My mom reminded me of a piece of advice I’d given her awhile back. Do not make any big decisions when you’re angry or agitated. That is not the time. Wait it out, then see what you think.

If you’re yelling at the driver who cut you off in traffic or rude to the grocery store clerk who didn’t get things right, that is misplaced anger. If you’re slamming the kitchen cupboards (what did those poor cupboards ever do to you?), then it’s time to stop and take a good look in the mirror to examine what it is that’s really upsetting you.

No Thank You

 

Feeling angry is usually when you want to give someone or something a big, “No Thank You!” A line has been crossed and you probably expect the other person to understand that. My guess is that they don’t. The reality is, you’re in the driver’s seat. You have to teach people how to treat you, even when you think it should be obvious (it’s not).

The Johnny Paycheck

 

Before you give your boss, roomate, spouse, or whomever a Johnny Paycheck (he recorded the tune, “Take This Job and Shove it!”), give yourself a timeout. Anger is a sign that you need to give yourself a bit more care; take a walk in nature, go get a massage, listen to your favorite music or watch a favorite movie. Give a minimum of 24 to 48 hours to sleep on the problem at hand, as hard as that may be. This pause will allow you to figure out a strategy that works best for you. Ask yourself what do you need to feel better? Maybe you need to ask that person for an apology. Maybe you need to tell your boss that you’re not going to be able to give overtime next week. Whatever it is, you deserve to take care of yourself. If everyone took responsibility for their emotions, we wouldn’t really have as many problems as we do.

Feeling anger is natural

 

If you drive a car, at some point you will get cut off in traffic. Grocery store clerks and waiters at restaurants won’t always get things right. Get to the real bottom of your anger, so that these little things won’t upset you anymore. Let’s choose to be adults and take responsibility for our emotions and well being. It may be a little painful and scary at first, but eventually, it will make your life much better.

Don’t Let Perfection be the Enemy of Good

I have an aerospace engineering degree from Purdue University. I don’t say that to brag, I haven’t used it in eighteen years. My point is that most people who’ve been trained in engineering suffer from a serious case of perfectionism syndrome. After all, you don’t want your planes and spacecrafts falling from the sky. It’s essential that your engineers are smart, responsible, organized and detail oriented. I am just saying we are predisposed is all.

Nothing is perfect

Part of starting this blog is to help remind myself that in daily life, better is better. Nothing has to be perfect, I no longer design satellites.

Good enough

Yesterday, I was cleaning our oven by hand (my life is so glam now!) because when I tried to use the self-cleaning part, the oven caught fire due to a globbity mess on the bottom. So I began the tedious task of scrubbing (I used How Jen Does It). Needless to say, it was messy and took awhile. Some of that nasty, crusty, burnt stuff got on my kitchen floor. My thought process went like this…

“I need to sweep that ash up before someone (the kids) gets it on their shoe and spreads it to the carpet.” Sigh. “I really need to vacuum the whole house and I should start at the top (we have four stories) and work my way down because that’s how you’re supposed to do it.” Sigh. “Really, I should dust first, then vacuum, then mop. That is the right way.” Sigh. “But that will take forever and I’m already tired.” Sigh. “Okay Cari, get over yourself and just clean up this mess in front of you and that’s it. That’s good enough.”

Do you see? It took some convincing myself to stop trying to make everything perfect. I’m getting better, but as you can tell, it’s still a work in process.

Most people suffer varying degrees of this. How to you deal with perfectionism syndrome? Can you relate? Comment below!

Stop Buying for your Fantasy Self

I used to hike many of the 14,000 foot peaks throughout the state of Colorado. It wasn’t uncommon for me to spend every weekend up at altitude. The common question amongst my friends was to ask, “How many 14ers have you hiked?” Racking up the hikes became the goal, and enjoying the outdoors a pastime.

Back then

Once I married and had two kids, I suffered from plantar fascitis and two knee surgeries that quickly curtailed the high impact sports I used to participate in. Recently, I needed a pair of light hiking shoes. I no longer hike 14ers but I do like to hike the moderate foothill trails in and around the county. A pair of trail running shoes would suffice but once I went shopping, the lure of hiking boots and fantasizing about my old way of life became hard to resist. So I bought both. One pair for “light” hiking (included in my budget) and one pair for “heavier” mountaineering (not included in my budget).

Three months later, I had not even used those mountain hiking boots. Oh sure, I had visions of mountaineering again but that fact remains that most of my free time is spent on bleachers somewhere watching my teenagers participate in athletics.

My life now

And when I get the odd day off just for me, I generally want to stick close to home and not wear myself out by hiking up at altitude all day. So I made peace with the fact that I’m not a mountaineer anymore, returned the hiking boots and haven’t looked back since.

Are you buying for your fantasy self? What do you find hard to let go of? Please share below!