We were running behind - as usual. We'd spent the weekend traveling the state, visiting family for the holiday. We were all tired and having a hard time getting back into the routine. I had to stop and get gas before getting the girls to the babysitter's house and Peanut had already putzed around eating and struggled to get dressed.
While pumping gas, I got a Facebook message from a friend who is deployed in Afghanistan. He had helped set up an interview for the newspaper I work for with the commander of a brigade that lost three soldiers in a suicide attack last week. So while I am pumping gas and dropping off the girls, I was messaging him and calling the office making sure we had someone available to do the interview.
Here I am, carrying both girls - one under each arm - with their lunch into the babysitter's (while wearing heels). Peanut didn't have shoes on because she scraped her toe while running around barefoot yesterday. She is very sensitive to injuries so we scrapped shoes (despite the 40 degree weather) to avoid a meltdown. While I carried them, I was getting messages from a war zone.
I started thinking about how I handle the different aspects of my life.
After (almost) 10 years in the professional world, I feel like I handle the stress and pressure much better. Setting up a last minute interview with a colonel in Afghanistan while dropping my kids off at the babysitter seems normal to me. I might get a slightly feral look in my eyes when I'm juggling a bunch of stories, deadlines, responsibilities, etc. but at the end of the day, I can get the job done without too much stress.
But if my kids are cranky and I haven't had enough sleep, I crack at home. After having three Easters in as many days this weekend, the kids were overtired. Peanut was pissed about everything and Gizmo wasn't far behind her. After numerous fits, I told the husband Sunday afternoon it was time to go home and got teary in the process. I hate seeing my kids upset. I hate feeling like they aren't listening to me (even though usually I'm the one not listening.)
At work, I feel in control (most of the time). If news breaks, I can handle it. I know what to do as things pop up.
At home, I don't always feel like that. I don't know why Peanut says she wants something and then throws a fit five minutes later when I give it to her. I can't explain to Gizmo in a way that will make her happy that she can't do everything that her big sister can. It is a daunting and frustrating task at times.
Maybe I've just learned to hold it together better at work. Maybe I feel more relaxed at home so that I can show my emotions more. I just wish I could get to the place where stress at home doesn't bother me as much.
Do you handle stress at home and at work differently?