We have a phrase around here, and I am not quite sure how it came about, but I say it all the time. When Jude is whining and moping around or the inevitable toddler tantrum comes out, I always ask him if he needs a reset button. Or sometimes it comes out as “Where’s your reset button, Jude?” or “Look, let’s do [insert fun thing here] and push the reset button.” I’m not sure he really knows what it means, but it totally works.
We have lots of reset buttons – walks in the neighborhood (which I miss with this winter weather), reading a favorite book, dancing to music, digging out a long-forgotten toy, a spontaneous trip to the library…..
Lots of things can reset the tone for the day and work as a distraction from “the grumpies” as I affectionately call them to Jude.
I might not cry loudly when I don’t get my way or throw myself on the floor in a crazy fit or hit my favorite toy when it’s not working the way I wish, but sometimes I desperately need a reset button, too.
Usually little things work for me – cooking a favorite meal, taking a long bath, crafting a little while on something, watching a television show uninterrupted, reading, listening to a really great song on repeat a few times. Sometimes though, my funk calls for more, and I bring out the big guns – a solitary trip to the bookstore, an evening out with girlfriends, an indulgent purchase. This weekend I pushed the big buttons for sure.
When I was a teacher, I was lucky enough to have some great colleagues I adore. Sharing my humor and often my perspective, these girls heard me whine and complain about many a bad day. Disciplinary problems? I talked, they listened. Scary parent conference? They commiserated. Dry and boring lesson? They offered ideas. I loved that we had a “crew,” and we all knew someone was there to defend us or encourage us. I also loved that we had a bi-weekly (sometimes more often than that, maybe?) margarita date that was a sacred hour nobody could dare contend with. For years you could find us on most Thursday afternoons, sitting at the same table and probably laughing at some of the same things over and over again. I don’t want to know how many pounds of guacamole we’ve eaten over the years or how much of my paycheck has gone to that establishment, but I’m sure it was cheaper than therapy and way more fun. It was the ultimate reset button. I’d walk in on Friday morning a new woman, and a better teacher, than I’d been the day before.
But life gets busy. I quit my job, obviously, so that bi-weekly date wouldn’t happen for me anyhow. Plus budget cuts and longer hours and all that comes with it doesn’t allow for as much socializing as it used to for my former colleagues, so it’s been a long time since we’ve sat at the same table and shoveled queso in our mouths as we ordered a round of drinks and commiserated about something. Or laughed about something as it usually goes.
And last weekend? We made time for it again after a much-too-long absence, and I drove away feeling a little lighter than when I arrived. Happy hour with old friends is a rest button that solves almost any problem. Some of our conversations have changed, but much of it is still the same, and I love that.
Then Saturday morning I waved Jude and Scott off to Gymboree so I could indulge in a facial, and if you live in the Atlanta area, you have to make the trip here. I drove about forty minutes north, and it was worth it. Rebekah totally knows what she’s doing, and it feels so good to take care of yourself sometimes, you know?
I think as moms (or wives or friends or students or daughters or whatever the case may be), we sometimes forget that you have to fill the tank to run somewhere. So much of my life is reacting and comforting and fixing problems, and I love that role. The changing diapers, the wiping a nose, the cuddling and rocking to sleep – those things are beautiful and fulfilling in their own way, but it also takes a lot from you. I sometimes push aside my own need to reset and think oh, I don’t need to do that or I should be doing this instead or the ever-present I don’t need to spend that money when I am not bringing any money in. But if we don’t fill the tank, we run on empty. And for me, that doesn’t lead to anywhere good.
So I finished this weekend feeling happy and content and full so that I can give more happiness and contentment and fullness to my little family. Do you have favorite ways to fill your tank? What’s your reset button?