Whenever I need to take my children where there is bound to be lots of screaming kids, I take an Advil before I even go. Not only am I less likely to get a headache, I am less likely to spend the whole event thinking that I am going to get a headache. Thus the Girl Scouts indoor pool Beach Bash with 200 screaming girls in an echo chamber becomes a piece of cake. Amusement park? Preventative Advil. Birthday party? Preventative Advil. Chuck E. Cheese? Two Preventative Advil.
I have another two-word phrase in my bag of tricks for after the event is over.
When I get home from one of these events, I am officially done. (In fact, “I’m done” is another two-word phrase in my artillery, as I use it to my family to indicate, without question, that my role is now over.) In The Handoff, I turn my children over to my husband to feed, get ready for bed, run around the block, whatever it takes. I find that after being with lots of children for an extended period of time, I just need to be in a room where my children are not.
The Handoff even occurs if my husband is not home. Then they just go to my favorite babysitter, Nickelodeon. They watch TV for an hour, I get my head together, and we’re all happier for it. Depending on how traumatic the event was for me, I might read a book (children’s birthday party), hop on the computer (Girl Scout bowling), or flip channels on the TV with a Corona in one hand (Chuck E. Cheese).
Take care of yourself, and you will be better able to take care of your children. You may even use a phrase to let your children, or your spouse for that matter, know that you need your space. You have given all that you can in service to the team, and now it is time for a break. You are welcome to use mine.