A few mornings ago, I was TRYING to unload my dishwasher.
For those of you without children, I realize that there is no “try” involved with unloading a dishwasher. You just do it. You just unload the dishwasher. You probably calmly sip on your HOT coffee while going about that, too. But that’s neither here nor there. (It’s definitely not here.)
When you have children though, you have to try. You have to REALLY TRY to make dishwasher unloading happen. You have to grit your teeth, brace yourself, and power through, because it looks more like, “turn your back and put one plate away, meanwhile another gets thrown to the floor. Frantically throw 5 spoons into the drawer, and try to get done quick enough to save your baby from smashing their finger in the dishwasher door that they are opening and closing. Throw a cup into a drawer…QUICKLY NOW…..because the three year old just grabbed a steak knife and is using it as sword. You know what? SCREW IT. Screw it all. I will come back to this once they are napping. Or in 10 years”. One time, I actually took my kids pacifier out of his mouth, threw it into the living room, and said, “go get it!!” (Think “go fetch”) just to buy myself an uninterrupted 45 seconds to unload.
Anyway…all that was happening the other morning, and I thought “my GOSH my kids are annoying. I just need five minutes. FIVE MINUTES, for the love of everything. But alas, five minutes was too much to ask of them, so I sighed, gave up, and went and played. And you know what? After about 20 minutes of good, quality time with them, I went back to the dishwasher, and accomplished my task, uninterrupted. Their (seemingly bottomless) love cups had been filled, and that was all they needed.
A vicious cycle of sorts had been occurring in the kitchen that morning, without me even realizing it.
It went a little something like this:
Need for love and attention and quality time>>>>Act out and be obnoxious and needy and loud and clingy in an attempt to get that>>>>>>>Mom is now super annoyed and in a bad mood, so the last thing she wants to do is spend time and play with us>>>>>>>Kids just amp it up even more. And so it went.
SOMEONE HAD TO BREAK THE CYCLE.
So I did.
I put down MY agenda, what I wanted to do, what was important to me (just unloading the freaking dishes…..for the love of everything), played with them…..and then was able to proceed with my task. A win for everybody.
It made me think though….there are a lot of cycles in life, and relationships, where ultimately, someone has to STOP. Or start, or whatever. Basically, take the first step.
Maybe in a marriage…
The husband has gone years without being emotionally available or responsive to his wife, and now she is not physically (um, that means sex) available or responsive to HIM. Which makes him feel hurt/angry/resentful, and so he continues to be emotionally unavailable and unresponsive. And so it goes. SOMEONE HAS TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP AND STOP THE CYCLE. (May as well be you, whoever happens to be reading this).
Or maybe in the cycle of addiction…
My sister was a drug addict for many years. Every now and then, she would decide it was time to stop. Time to begin living a healthy, productive, NORMAL life. She would try this for a while (like a few days) but the problem was that her addiction had produced so much CARNAGE in her life….broken relationships, poor health, zero money or resources, no real work experience, legal problems….and so ultimately, she would survey the scraps, conclude that it was all just a hopeless mess, and jump head first back into her addiction…because what else was she gonna do? This was her life, for over a decade. A vicious cycle. Until eventually, she just….stopped. (I don’t mean she just “stopped” like it was easy. More about that another time, though). And yes, that meant coming face to face with the realization that her life was, in fact, pure shite, but still, she stopped. Stopped that hopeless cycle, began to deal with stuff head on, and lo and behold, the pieces are starting to come together nicely for her.
What do you have going on in YOUR life, that seems like a hopeless cycle that can’t be stopped?
Because there may be a way to stop it.
It may look like this:
You. Stopping it.
It may look like this:
You. Taking the first step.
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? You might get OFF of the stupid cycle you’ve been on, the one that you’ve hated every moment of?
Sounds like an ok outcome to me.