Ah the pitfalls of adulting well is that we forget that being a grown up doesn’t mean that we don’t get grazed knees in the playground of life every now and then.
Yes I can juggle content deadlines and shopping lists with seemingly effortless dexterity, I can get two boys under the age of 6 fed, dressed and out the door by
8.25am 8.35am and (sometimes) still maintain some air of elegance at the school gates. I can even keep on top of the never-ending laundry while making pastoral phone calls to check in on some lovely people.
But managing my own emotions whilst accomplishing good adulting can be far trickier.
As a part of the pastoral team I am told I am good at helping others to make sense of their feelings and helping them to put a positive perspective on their situation or circumstances. Helping others gives me the biggest buzz, and so much so that I recently signed up for and am halfway through a level 3 accredited course on Foundation in Counselling Skills.
Yes, I love to help others cope with the traumas that can disrupt daily adulting. I can sit with them, be a shoulder to cry on and help them process their emotional response in a safe way, but I wonder how often do I apply my studies to my own situations? How do I unpack and deal with my own emotions that fight for attention and threaten to disrupt my own neatly colour coded, good adulting process?
I have learned that we can only help others if we know how to help ourselves.I must admit that this has been a steep learning curve for me over the past few weeks as I have worked through my counselling skills studies and assignments. I soon realised that I can spin plates with the best of them, but you only have to lightly prod my neatly stacked boxes of emotions and the crockery will come crashing down. Why? Because sometimes we can cope with the every day practicality of adulting far easier than we can cope with processing our adult emotions. We can compartmentalise our work deadlines, our chores, our children and even – God help us – our faith, but emotions refuse to be contained, and if kept quiet for too long they threaten to burst forth in all their ugly detail, quite often at the most inappropriate time.
So how do we emotionally cope with adulting? How do we keep control of our inner emotional battles whilst keeping all the plates in the air at all times?
The honest answer is we don’t.
There will be times when the sweetest smile will falter, when the strongest resolve will dissolve, and the upright head will fall. That is when our faithful Saviour Jesus will reach for our hand and remind us that we are not alone in this. He will be the unshakeable, immovable rock that we can cling to while the storm passes, while the hurt subsides. And that is when our friends will rally round and scoop us up. That is when we will hear the many voices regaling us with similar stories that will reassure us that no one is perfect, not even the most put together momma at the school yard.
We were never designed to live in isolation, we were designed for love, friendship and relationship with one another, and so we shouldn’t try to live like a man on an island with the drawbridge up. Sure there are times when it really isn’t appropriate to open the floodgates, and no, Facebook is not the place to divulge your innermost struggles, but the old adage a problem shared is a problem halved has never rung truer than when I have poured out my heart to my girlfriends over a cup of tea.
When we unite, as friends, sisters, mothers and daughters we see girl power really come into its own, and I firmly believe that when we do life with a daily dose of the love, prayers, hugs and tears of our girlfriends, that is when we best learn how to cope with adulting.