Creating Space In a Crowded Week

This week has felt mentally crowded. Frank’s had to work late in preparation for the tax extension deadline so bedtime has been on my own. But what’s really thrown me for a loop is that Elle has decided to stop napping. Right when I thought I was going to have two mornings a week to myself and an afternoon of quiet, it’s become a battle.

IMG_0627I decided to handle this shift in routine like the mature and capable adult that I am. I grumped and threatened and got really, really annoyed. How dare my three-year-old ruin my ME time?!

Often, my go-to defense is to turn inward. I go into a self-sufficient mode, I don’t ask for help, and I don’t vent to my friends. This usually doesn’t help anything. I finally emerged from this space, went for a walk with a friend, Voxed another friend who has kids farther along than mine and gained some perspective.

I realized I need to recalibrate my expectations. Much like sleep regression, we need to start a new naptime training and move toward “quiet rest time.” Maybe on the days when it’s too much of a fight, we run errands or do other chores. Maybe we’ll go for a hike. I don’t know.

What I do know is that the woe is me feeling isn’t helpful. It has me reflecting on the ways life so often doesn’t go according to plan. I expect to enter a new season with grace and ease, floating through the transition beautifully. The reality usually is something quite different.

I hope what I’ve learned from this start-of-the-school-year nap boycott is to step back and assess what I can do when life doesn’t go according to plan. I know I can always throw a fit, but maybe there’s another way. Maybe next time, I’ll go for a walk first or Vox my friend with the gritty parts of life.

That’s what community is all about. I’m hoping that by leaning in, I find space to breathe this next week. That this crowded feeling eases and we move into a new rhythm.

How do you deal with the unexpected? What’s your best way of dealing with these crowded weeks?

Linked with Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “crowd.”

Crowd

Frank and I had been on two dates when I invited him to the Denver Chalk Fest. It’s an annual event in downtown Denver, a weekend when hundreds of artists create temporary chalk murals in the street. My dad had been participating several years and I thought it would be a fun, informal way for Frank to meet my parents.

When the chalk fest began, it was always held over Father’s Day weekend and it seemed to be the hottest weekend in the summer. (It has since moved to the first weekend in June…) Summer, chalk on hot pavement, and crowds of people pushing against each other to see the artwork may have made the days seem hotter than they were. I remember my mom and I were sitting in camp chairs, drinking cold Arnold Palmer’s, sweltering. My mom saw Frank before I did and she loved to tell how she first spotted his gigantic smile as he made his way through the crowds. I first spotted a man in nice jeans and a long-sleeved dress shirt. I wondered if he was crazy, but now I realize that’s who Frank is: A man who dresses up for an occasion.

He arrived late in the afternoon, just when my dad most needed a cold beer. He took a break and we gathered at The Market for beers with my parents and their best friends. Looking back, it sounds like a lot of close people early in the relationship, but it was a great, informal way for Frank to meet the important adults in my life.

Cold beers at the Chalk Fest
Cold beers at the Chalk Fest

Now, six years later, Frank is my dad’s assistant and they spend the weekend chalking together.

Linked with Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write for five minutes without editing.