As adults, we talk a lot about what triggers bad behavior in kids. Changes in their schedule, unexpected delays, hunger, tiredness. As adults, we should also know what triggers the yucky side of ourselves. And not surprisingly, I think we have a lot of the same triggers as kids.
An analysis of all my snippiness with Dan, all my tears, and all of our arguments usually comes back to three things for me. Hunger, tiredness, and unexpected changes in plans. Recognizing this has been big for my ability to stay pleasant and flexible.
(And I think I related to kids so well, because I recognize how similar to them I still am!)
I am usually able to control hunger and tiredness. I make certain to eat when I am hungry. And I anticipate when I might get hungry. If we’re leaving the house for an extended period of time, I bring a granola bar or banana.
To curb tiredness, I make myself get as much sleep as I know I need. And I take naps when I know I need them (and I’m able). When baby R was with us most recently, I was not always getting as much sleep as I knew I needed. To be more pleasant when Dan got home from work — instead of melting in a puddle of tiredness at his feet — I sometimes took naps when R did.
Unexpected changes in plans still get me from time to time. We forgot to mark a meeting at church on our calendar. Or Dan forgot to tell me that his friends from school are having a party to which we are invited. A friend is in town and wants to have lunch.
I try to anticipate these as much as possible. I encourage Dan to remind me to use our shared calendar. I encourage him to put things down as soon as he learns of them. Sometimes, it’s just not possible, though. Since the start of our relationship, I’ve grown a lot in being flexible with these unexpected commitments that come up. But man, I still have a ways to go.
I want to always be my best for Dan. It’s not possible. But I have discovered a few things I can do to stay enjoyable to be around. Figuring this out has been great. And knowing my triggers allows me to be a better friend, wife, and soon, mom.
How do you handle unexpected changes in plans? What triggers the yucky side of you?