What to Do when You're Reaching Your Breaking Point

Image: Ben Werdmuller/Creative CommonsToday is one of those days that as soon as I woke up, I already felt completely overwhelmed. I knew my to-do list was already excessively long, I was anxious about the rain that is headed our way because our basement hasn't stopped flooding yet from the last two rain storms we've had this week, and it's my son's seventh birthday. Mom bloggers, and especially ones that double as party planners, are supposed to have balloons ready to burst through the bedroom door when their child opens it the morning of their birthday, aren't they? Instead, last night my son asked me what I was bringing in to his class today and inside my head, I said, "Oh crap. I hadn't planned on that."

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Doing it All
It's not that I hadn't thought about his birthday at all. We have dinner plans with a friend to celebrate tonight, and I tried to get my super sports fan tickets to the Stanley Cup finals. If I hadn't been distracted by the contractor (our kitchen is undergoing a major renovation) at the exact moment tickets went on sale, and the tickets hadn't sold out in less than a few minutes, I would have been the greatest mother on the planet. Instead, I've got nothing, and I feel horrible about it.

So as soon as he got on the bus this morning, I headed off to the store and bought a watermelon (because we aren't allowed to bring cupcakes to school anymore) and after spending ten minutes in the flooded basement looking for a knife large enough to cut it, I sat on my living room floor (remember the no kitchen part?) with a cutting board and knife and sliced it all up to bring into school, all the while thinking of my long to do list. I could feel myself reaching my breaking point.

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But after bringing the watermelon to school, I finally sat down at my computer to start work. I was less than an hour late (yes, even though I'm a freelancer who works from home, I still keep myself to a schedule and consider myself late to work) which wasn't too bad, and the contractor came in to say that he was going to get the sump pump installed today so that the water should be under control before it starts raining too hard.

Our Best has to be Good Enough
I'm generally a glass-half-full kind of person, but I was struggling with it today. I fully believe that my problems are nothing in the grand scheme of things. I have much to be thankful for, but I was feeling maxed out.

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Then like a breath of fresh air, I remembered that we can all only do so much. If it's going to take two days longer to get the kitchen done so that they can work on the basement, it's not the end of the world. If I'm a little late on a deadline or if my son ends up not getting his birthday present until next week, everyone will still survive.

Too often we all try to be everything to everybody and live our days in extreme stress. Instead remember, that unless it is a life or death situation, it's important that we do our best but don't push ourselves beyond the limitations of the human body and mind. While it's good to challenge ourselves, we also need to learn to remember that we can only do so much and it will all work itself out. So go ahead, and let a few things fall off your to-do list today.

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