An Excerpt from Less Stress Is More Happiness by Tiffany Tyndall — Most of 3. It Helps to Know, Going in, How It’s Going to Be

So I had a thought the other day, and I wanted to include that thought here because it relates to everything right now.  The thought is this: You’ve got to know going in how it’s going to be.  This is a thought that is helping me to cope with things—because it’s very stressful sometimes doing what I do as a stay-at-home mom who also has strong urges to write, and I don’t want to unravel any more than I need to as I attempt to do all that it is that I feel purposed to do.  I’m simply at a place where I’m ready to just lay it all out there.  I have come out of denial on so many things, and once I realize that something is a problem, I’m going to attack it and handle it and remedy it.  Denial is death.  And I want to live.

So this thought—I was trying to eat up some frozen fried rice this week (when I’m on a kick to do it, I like clearing out the freezer, fridge, and cupboards of food that has been sitting there a while (not expired, though), and I will end up having an interesting variety of food for lunches—since no one else wants it and I don’t mind eating what’s available).  And this fried rice is not what you would be eating from take-out.  It’s different.  At first I thought it was good, then on the second bite it was weird, then on the third bite it was gross.  But then I realized that there’s bacon in it.  Yes, there’s bacon in this fried rice.  I like bacon, but it’s just odd to have it in fried rice.  Once I knew that there was bacon in it, I was like, “Oh, that makes sense.”  So for the three or four days that I was finishing up this fried rice this week (this is the kind you get at the club stores where you get six steam-able packs of fried rice in one box), I had to remind myself before putting it in my mouth, “This has bacon in it.”  And guess what—it was fine.  It wasn’t gross, it was actually kind of good.  To the point where I even kind of enjoyed it and ended up looking forward to it.

So the same is true of anything else—especially with taking care of children or when doing anything else that involves a lot of stress.  You’ve got to know going in how it’s going to be.   It seems to help.  It certainly helped with pregnancy and childbirth.  It helps to know what’s coming.  What to expect.  What this might be like.  So, with things that are recurring, keeping this thought in mind is all the more critical to doing a good job.

At this point in my life in the adventures in child-rearing, we’re talking about things like knowing that my five-year-old is going to be slow in the morning getting ready for school.  You go in expecting it.  It helps.  We’re talking about things like knowing that this same five-year-old is going to come home from school and have some sort of meltdown (it’s tough having to spend all day at school—don’t you remember?).  You go in expecting this.  We’re talking about things like knowing that the day will contain, to varying degrees, frustration.  Some that I can plan for, some that I cannot.  You go in expecting this to be so.  And this is part of the magic of the metacognition of mothering.  Staying aware of what this is and what it is like and what it involves.  Thinking about thinking as it relates to this mothering life that I live.  These are the answers to life.  It makes all the difference—awareness, expectation, anticipation, preparedness, and response.

Less Stress Is More Happiness by Tiffany Tyndall is available for purchase here.

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