What in the world is that a picture of? Oh dear poopies, do allow me to explain! So, this morning I was a wee bit cranky. Didn’t have such a good night’s sleep…never do when Poopie Daddy is out of town. Just one of those things you get used to with a traveling husband. I awake to find the girls already up and in their rooms, sitting at their little vanity tables trying to put beads in their hair. Yes! They are getting along. Despite my fatigue, I say to myself, hey poops, at least you didn’t wake-up to fighting and screaming…today is going to be a good day! And then, I drag my tired ass down the stairs to the kitchen to make a seriously strong cup of coffee. And what do I find when I open the cabinet to retrieve the Starbucks Italian roast????
Yep. You guessed it. That lovely mess displayed above in Exhibit A. So here’s the thing: when I started this blog, I thought I would mainly keep my focus on motherhood. Hence, Poopie Mommy. But the truth is, I have also been Poopie Wife for almost 12 years now and I can tell you that, from time to time, Poopie Daddy can seem like a third child. I love him more than anything on the planet, I really do. That’s why I agreed to marry the man after only dating a couple of months all those years ago. I knew I would spend the rest of my life with him. The connection and chemistry were undeniable and I am more in love with him today than ever. BUT. And this is a big but…he can drive me ka-razy!!! And Exhibit A up there in the pic is a perfect example of little things Poopie Daddy does to make me insane.
I saw the mess of coffee grinds all over the shelf in the cabinet and it pissed me off. I’m not gonna lie. Maybe it’s because I’ve asked a million times to please be careful when making coffee. I’ve reminded him over and over and over again that the bag must be tightly and neatly sealed each and every time or coffee grinds will spill out and make a mess all over. I have even requested that once he opens a new bag he should put it inside an even bigger re-sealable ziploc bag to contain runaway grinds. Yet time after time, I end-up seeing Exhibit A in the cabinet, on the countertop or on the floor. What is a poopie mama to do? Now, I honestly don’t think he does this on purpose. Men are just wired so differently than women. Frighteningly different in fact. I have no doubt that at least half of my daily, detailed reminders and requests fall upon deaf ears. I get it. He’s in “work mode” and has so many other priorities on his mind. Understandable. I remember the pressure when I had a career and how I turned into a machine all day until everything on my to-do list was crossed off. It’s what makes him so good at what he does. However, when you work from home, like he often does, “work mode” man and poopie daddy collide and poopie mommy here isn’t always sure how to handle it.
On this particular morning, poopie daddy is out of town, so even if I felt like getting upset and confronting him with the coffee conundrum (again!) he is not physically around to hear it. Thanks to technology, I had an even better idea. I would take a picture of the evidence and send it to his blackberry. No words in the subject line and no explanation. The picture would speak volumes all by itself. I thought to myself, this will make him get it! This will make him finally listen to me! Since he started my day with this mess then I want him to know how much it pissed me off and feel bad about it! So I took the picture on my i-phone. I was about to send it off when A walked into the kitchen. She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Mommy, why are you taking a picture of the shelf?”
I couldn’t love her more for walking into the kitchen at that moment and interrupting what I was doing. Because, seriously, what in the world was I doing? What was I going to accomplish by sending that pic to my husband? What did I think I would achieve by aggravating him when he checked is inbox and saw the coffee grind mess? Why would I purposely stir the pot? Wait a minute! The pot…the pot…the POT! Ok, poops, I’m not crazy. I swear. Let me explain why I was so happy at that moment to remember the “pot.” This is something I have been trying lately that has really been working for me and I had just explained it to some friends over the weekend.
The idea behind the pot, once again, comes from a book I love called “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. In his chapter on parenting, the author talks about the concept of watching your own reactions in situations that annoy you or make you angry. Zinn says:
“Notice how even speaking of something making you angry surrenders your power to others. Such occasions are good opportunities to experiment with mindfulness as a pot into which you can put all your feelings and just be with them, letting them slowly cook, reminding yourself that you don’t have to do anything with them right away, that they will become more cooked, more easily digested and understood simply by holding them in the pot of mindfulness.Observe the ways in which your feelings are creations of your mind’s view of things, and that maybe that view is not complete. Can you allow this state of affairs to be okay and neither make yourself right or wrong? Can you be patient enough and courageous enough to explore putting stronger and stronger emotions into the pot and just holding them and letting them cook, rather than projecting them outward and forcing the world to be as you want it now? Can you see how this practice might lead to knowing yourself in new ways, and freeing yourself from the old, worn-out limiting views?”
It’s amazing how quickly my anger, frustration and annoyance with poopie daddy dissolved once I put my feelings in my figurative pot. I was just projecting my limited, myopic view upon seeing those coffee grinds on the shelf and, surprisingly, once I wiped them up myself (which took all of about 10 seconds by the way) I actually felt so much better. I’m kind of embarrassed now about how much energy I wasted on being upset about something so insignificant and even more embarrassed about the fact that I almost texted my husband a picture of our kitchen shelf at 7:15 in the morning on Tuesday just to prove some worthless point that needed no proving to begin with. This is the beauty of the pot, my poops. And it’s equally as applicable and effective with your kids or any relationship or situation you may encounter.
It’s not saying that your feelings don’t count or that you’re not justified in reacting a certain way to something upsetting, annoying or frustrating. What is does do, quite magically, is allow those reactions to simmer. It’s a phenomenal method for putting them aside and moving forward without drama, escalation or regret. It is now 4:25 in the afternoon and I can say with complete honesty that I have not thought about the coffee grinds all day until I sat down to write this blog. I am no longer annoyed or resentful of poopie daddy for ignoring my instructions regarding the coffee. Will it happen again? Perhaps. Is it worth how crazy I got this morning? Absolutely not. If I were to outwardly project in response to every single, nit-picky thing that doesn’t satisfy me around here, then I would be one miserable poopie mama. And that is definitely not how I want to live my life or have my children and husband see me. Ninety percent of what we react to should always be stored and simmered in that pot. Chances are, just like with the messy grinds this morning, when you go back to check on the pot at a later time, the feelings are so cooked that there is practically nothing left to be upset over.
I encourage all of you beautiful poopie mamas to try this method next time you find yourself getting all worked-up over nothing. Keep your poopie pots handy, and I promise you, those feelings and reactions will cook and simmer and by the time you go back to check on them, all that’s left will be a happier, calmer you!