I’ve been watching THIS IS US. One of the recent episodes was so relatable. An 8-month-pregnant Mandy Moore spirals into a hormonal outburst of exasperation with her husband, ultimately banning him from the house, only to realize after he’s gone that it’s his birthday. She feels instant remorse and goes to great lengths—duct-taping his flipflops to her swollen feet and walking to the neighborhood liquor store to purchase Twinkies and a banana muffin (a makeshift birthday cupcake)—to show it. Before exiling him, she tells him not to come back until he has a major attitude adjustment. She ends up in her unfinished nursery, after her adventure to the liquor store, in a rocker telling her unborn triplets that she’s not perfect, that they’ll have to take the good with the bad when it comes to her.
I identify with her so much. I’m not in a third trimester with triplets, but I’ve been pretty irrationally caught up in my own mini crises lately. My own list of miseries included a bill that was higher than expected, a severe social media hangover after over-indulging, and giving into comparison and judgement online and off. Last weekend, I threw a tantrum and tried to kick everyone and everything out until they’d had a major attitude adjustment.
Then I spent two days being an aunt-mommy to my nieces and nephew. I played, changed diapers, and cut up peanut butter sandwiches. I asked for good manners, read stories, and joined them for naps.
This was my realizing it’s my husband’s birthday moment. My version of remembering other people exist, that they’re pretty great, and worth duct-taping flip flops on for; or in my case, foregoing sleep and internet binging.
In the middle of the week, Mitch and I went out, feasted on fries and milkshakes, and rearranged our bedroom. We moved mancub’s bed away from the windows and closer to the heater, so we could store the extra space heaters we’ve been running nonstop. Maybe that’ll bring that electric bill down next month.
Our version of turning a banana muffin and Twinkie filling into a birthday cupcake.
The next day I went to the hairdresser and shed some heaviness in the form of a haircut. And one night, we had a dance party before going to bed early.
My version of sitting in a rocking chair realizing the ones I love “take the good with the bad when it comes to me.” I’m not perfect, yet some days I try something new, and I can choose to be playful.
I’m the one who needed an attitude adjustment.
So what am I learning? Sometimes the antidote to my irrational spiraling is a break. It’s getting too busy for my screens, and instead taping on someone else's shoes for awhile to get a fresh perspective—whether that’s helping someone else with their responsibilities, spending a little time with more playful people, or embracing change in my own appearance and space. It's then coming back with a little more empathy, a little more perspective, some playfulness. The bill was just a surprise. Instagram is simply cropped and edited expression, and people are too complex to judge.
P.S. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend devoting a little of your screen time to This Is Us. So good!