I read several parenting and life improvement blogs as often as my schedule allows. I’ve seen a common and recurring theme throughout several posts, statuses, tweets, and comments and I wanted to address it.
People get stressed
Jobs, children, financial troubles, health problems, and relationship issues are some of the biggest stressors out there. Times are tough for almost everyone and things can get to the point where the pressure becomes too much. Some of us turn to God. Some of us turn to alcohol. Some of us unfortunately think about turning to the edge of a blade. I concede that stress can sometimes make us feel like we have nowhere to turn; but things are not as bad as you may think.
Not all stress is bad
The same spine compressing pressures we face at work or in trying to raise our ungrateful, know-it-all, ‘eight-going-on-thirty’ year old little heathens can push us to the breaking point. Those same stressors, however, also make us perform at levels we otherwise would have never thought possible.
Meeting high-stress work deadlines elicits a level of focus that we tend to forget when we’re trying to get our Santa’s list of honey-do’s completed on our weekend work releases. The daily battle of getting our spineless little jellyfish out of bed to get them ready for school forces us to grow six extra arms—arms that fix lunches, dress them, feed the dog, grab a cup of joe, pick up the trail of discarded toys and ‘please can I take this to school’ items, and run a brush through our own hair before walking out the door in time to make schedule. Finding mommy and daddy time is a never ending quest that causes us to compartmentalize our lives into bite size chunks and savor every fleeting bite.
Trust me, I’m an expert!
If you have read my blog, you are well aware that I am in the Army. I’m not going to get into my job, but I will tell you that I have been deployed three times and am staring down a fourth. In doing this, I have seen and experienced the gambit of emotion, and I have an excellent grasp of human ability.
Case in point—this past week, we began conducting a field training exercise that will continue for another couple weeks. We were camped in an open field in tents with borderline substandard heating equipment. The temperatures stayed in the low teens and single digits, yet, we managed. We battled through the freezing temperatures to do our assigned jobs, not because we wanted to, but because we had to. Other Soldiers relied on my unit to keep them fed, deliver their fuel and water rations, and to maintain parts and supplies that enabled them to do their jobs. Am I better than anyone else because I put my body to the most extreme tests in order to perform as expected? Absolutely not!
We’re all Soldiers in theory
We all have the ability to push ourselves past our perceived limits and perform well. I am expected to punish my body and mind in order to do what needs to be done. Whether you know it or not, you also possess these traits. You push yourself daily to maintain your home and perform your job in order to bring home a paycheck. You deal with exhausting, yet necessary situations in order to raise your children to be good, decent, and functional parts of society. You may still feel like it’s just too much during the rough patches, but did you notice that you make it through every time? Life is a pendulum, swinging in perpetual motion from beginning to end… regardless of how bad things get, there is always an equal upswing.
…and damn it, people like you!
You are tough enough.
You are good enough.
You are able.
You are doing just fine.
I may be a complete stranger to many of you, but I know you. I understand and can appreciate your struggles.
I also know what you can truly take. I know what physical and mental levels you can push yourselves to and not break.
Sure, you may need a little help occasionally. You may need to talk to someone. You may need to just cry it out or laugh it off. Remember this, though: child rearing never killed a parent and no bill ever caused bodily harm worse than a paper cut (mafia and gambling debts not included, of course). No matter what, you will endure. No challenge is too great for you, because you are resilient beyond what you may realize.
So pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and take an assessment of what is positive in your life. Now, square up your shoulders, drop your chin, put that confident grin back on, and show me your war face! You have brothers and sisters in arms that rely on you. Take up your figurative arms and get back into the fight, Soldier!
Soldier image used under Creative Commons guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.livingthejourney.com/2011/01/04/day-four-hebrews-124/