While something can be contained within something else, it is a often its own entity, able to stand and exist separate from the thing that once encased it. Like the visual spreading of fingertips on an iPad screen, a small thing can be expanded, opened, widened and run off all on it own. I suggested a small list of things to do when anxious:
- personal grooming
- spring clean
- cook from scratch
- contemplative tasking
- move it, move it
These are not compulsory events. You can go without plucking, shaving and exercise. It is easy to fall into the myth that “fast food” is faster than homemade food. And when we live in a fast paced life, it compounds our anxiety. The rush cranks us up. But few things can be easier than making a PB&J. And frying an egg or making a grilled cheese are close runner ups.
When you have the edginess and fretfulness, when you feel like you are shaking and rattling inside, when you are on the verge of destroying the pickle aisle at the local supermarket…. it is take the time to Mommy yourself.
Mommies serve their children. Now, one might argue that some mother’s should be stripped of their rank because they are harmful to their offspring. Indeed, when you strap you toddler into their car seat and then roll the car into the lake…..your right to claim motherhood is canceled….unless you are truly mad and IN THE CAR WITH THEM. But, if a child was once in you and then came out of you…you get autoadmission to MOMMY. If you opened you heart wide and folded some other woman’s infant or child into your world and ironed out the seams that delineated their genealogy; if you adopted another person into your world and made a space for them that as not embryonic, then you get promoted to rank of MOMMY, too. I actually think adoptive mothers are unique and miraculous. They create love ON PURPOSE. And while we all selectively chose to love our spouses, loving a child once carried within you is cellular. And somehow, adoptive mothers transform loving their adopted children as if they labored and birthed them, too.
We all have a Mommy within us. Once, we all had a Mommy. If there was no tangible mother, we shared with Cinderella and all the other fairy tale princesses. We imagined a Fairy God Mother. But now, when we are grown and way past pretend play and dress up, there are times when we really need our mommies. We want scraped knees Band-aided. We want our crusts cut off. We want someone else to trim our fingernails and toes. We want someone else to put on the Solarcaine after we sunburn. Now that we are big girls and boys competent and able enough to fend for ourselves, we still occasionally need our mommies. So, when we start to rattle, we have to go back to basics and remember the soothing, tender, cooing safety of “Mommy”.
Lesson #4 Be your own Mommy: This is partly tender loving care and partly plain old pampering. And it has ALOT to do with food and feeding yourself. Skip the choke and puke fast food drive through and go home. A PB&J doesn’t have to be JUST a PB&J. Add thin slices of fresh apples or raisins.
Make the grilled cheese, but use that expensive Jarlsberg. Add a thick slice of Black Forrest ham or a juicy slice of tomato. Improvise. Dice the grape tomatoes leftover from the salad you made last weekend. And make an open faced melt with aged cheddar cheese. Have a crunchy dill spear with it. You could just have a bowl of cereal, but channeling Martha Stewart for a moment is a Good Thing. Go ahead and buy the Salad-in-a-bag but consider adding bleu cheese and bacon crumbles. Flair and panache make life sweeter and frankly…..more fun. Food is the avenue into our soul. It comforts and chimes back to a time when we were more protected. Comfort food does not have to be fattening or lethargy inducing. It just has to be mindful. When you do your grocery shopping, splurge on some finer things. It is the art of a well-stocked pantry: good balsamic vinegar, a extra virgin olive oil, a high quality cheese to slice, fresh nuts, a loaf of bread from the bakery and not the bread aisle. Buy the random jar of pickles or cured olives. Get a small jar of peach preserves or orange marmalade and skip the grape jelly. It is all about anticipating your own needs. That’s what Mom did. She was prepared. She had band-aids and Mercurochrome for the scrapes. She had tweezers and a magnifying glass to pull out splinters. She had a little bag of tricks to sooth you. So sooth yourself. Anticipate that one day you will want to eat a whole tube of raw of Pillsbury cookie dough. If allowed to go wandering around the grocery store, you are sure to succumb to the impulse. Instead, make cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it. It will be waiting for when you want warm cookies one evening. Slowly, you regain that childish eagerness; you know a treat is coming. In desperation you may eat a whole bag of Chips Ahoy; you will do it mindlessly and gain no pleasure or benefit. You’re just stuffing anything into that gaping maw to drown out the chatter. But if you have little scoops of homemade cookie dough tucked into the freeze door, you can treat yourself. Do what a good mommy would do and sooth your own ruffled feathers.