The Day of Atonement
Yom Kippur is a Jewish Holiday also known as the day of atonement. We spend the day fasting and reflecting on the past year. We think about what we have done wrong this past year and we ask for forgiveness.
The good news is that until my headache came on at 3:30 PM, I found fasting this year to be pretty easy. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting, so my body is used to fasting every day. I don’t normally fast for 24 hours but this time I did to honor my holiday and the tradition and meaning behind it.
The bad news is, I didn’t spend the day reflecting like I should have done. I was pretty cranky and miserable this whole week. I’m not very proud of my moodiness. I can blame it on PMS (which is true), but I don’t want to make excuses for myself.
I have been an emotional wreck this whole week. If you’ve read my previous blogs, then you know that my middle school kids are doing full remote learning right now. They are home every day on the computer jumping from class to class. They are basically on the computer nonstop from 8:55 am until 3:35 pm with a lunch break in the middle of it. This has not been the smoothest adjustment.
While the middle schoolers are home Monday – Friday doing remote learning, my 7 year old is home Wednesday – Friday. There are times that I feel trapped at home. I try to sneak a walk in with my dog in the morning in between feeding them all breakfast and helping Lillie with her zooms or independent work. I tell the kids I am running to the middle school to grab work for Max and Ella and Ella calls me to tell me she is on her lunch break. She tells me not to worry about it and that she will make her own lunch. I tell her I will be home in five minutes, and she assures me she doesn’t mind making her own lunch. While I could have just been proud of her at that moment, my emotions went to a negative spiral. I felt completely trapped at home feeling that someone needs something every minute of the day and that I can’t go anywhere and can’t get anything done. I’m not proud of myself but this was one of those weeks where I would not label my coping skills as top notch.
I come home and Lillie paces until her friend arrives to pick her up. “What time did you say she’s coming to get me? When will they be here? I’m bored?” I felt like I was going to completely lose my mind. Wednesdays have gone from being my favorite day to my least favorite day. Lillie has school 8:45 am to 11:45 am on zoom and Max and Ella have an abridged version from 11:00 am – 3:45 Pm on Wednesdays. It’s a very long day and Lillie is usually bored out of her mind. I am beyond thankful that they are changing my middle schoolers Wednesdays to a check in and independent work. I couldn’t be happier about this. They definitely need a break from remote learning in the middle of the week.
I had a week of negative emotions. I felt overwhelmed, chaotic and unhappy. I couldn’t seem to find any time for myself. I was going from helping and waiting on children all day to driving them around to their activities in the evening. Where was the me time? I was grieving the lockdown and being trapped at home with nothing to do and no where to go. I was spiraling and spinning and wondering on a daily basis what was going on with me. The tears would come, and I would tell myself to cheer up and change my thoughts. Sometimes this would help and sometimes it wouldn’t.
I went on Facebook and found my friend’s post about her emotions. She described how I was feeling to a tee. She talked about the messes, the exhaustion, adjusting to remote learning, making meals, feeling cranky and having emotions all over the place. I took a big deep breath and smiled. Thank you to my friend. She made me feel understood and not alone. I needed that. It is amazing how much different we feel when someone understands us. We are not alone!
My fabulous husband has taken Whinypaluza to a blog, vlog, book and now a podcast. He is the wind beneath my wings, and he helps me fly. He has such a great head for business. We have had many conversations about my career. When I thought the kids would be in school five days a week this Fall, I was planning on starting to see clients and to start a Podcast. I didn’t know my kids were going to be home. I figured Seth understood how challenging that would be for me. I wasn’t going to put a halt on everything, but I certainly wasn’t full steam ahead as I had planned. My husband and his fabulous staff have a waitlist of 17 people wanting to be on my Podcast. I am beyond thankful and thrilled. He didn’t know booking me a couple podcasts in between PTA meetings and driving kids around was going to give me any stress. He says to me, “You can manage two Podcasts tonight. I did ten today!” At that very moment, I couldn’t have felt more misunderstood by my husband. My sweet, wonderful, caring, sensitive husband didn’t understand my life at all in that moment. Seth did ten Podcasts in his office at work with the door closed – without three children, a dog and two cats. Feeling misunderstood sent me over the edge and the anger and sadness brewed.
Seth and I went on one of our many walks together and saw a family painting their pink brick white. It looked amazing. I went from having a very rough week emotionally adjusting to remote learning to deciding to paint our pink brick gray. I explained to Seth that knowing how much Ella hated remote learning was taking a toll on my emotions. My empathy powers were in full gear and hearing my girl complain all day about how much she hated sitting at a computer all day was making me so sad. Between Ella being miserable, Seth making me feel misunderstood and Lillie complaining that she was bored, my mood was in the toilet.
I get these bright ideas and never realize how much work they are going to be. This tends to be my pattern. I thought Saturday would take a few hours to do the first coat of paint and that Sunday would take a few hours to do the second coat. Saturday was seven hours and Sunday was another seven hours for just one coat. The good news is that it looks fabulous. Bye-bye ugly pink brick color that neither of us liked. The bad news is I fell off the ladder, hurt my knee and we were both exhausted and sore. Let’s roll into our Yom Kippur holiday the next day.
All Seth could think about was taking a day to relax. I didn’t see that as an option. Today was shop and prep for a holiday dinner and take the kids to Temple. I didn’t have relaxation on the brain at all. While I was cooking and baking, I was also thinking about throwing together a family gathering and a friend gathering for Lillie next weekend for her 8th birthday. I had lists and lists going on in my head about what I had to get done today and tomorrow and relaxing was not on my list. While I don’t begrudge Seth time to relax, I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t feeling it and I also wasn’t reflecting on the year and repenting for my sins. I was too busy for that. I’m not proud of this.
I would like to give myself a second chance. I would like to first spend some time reflecting on the year. I would like to repent, and I would like to plan for the upcoming year. I would also like to prep to be in a better emotional state this week.
September literally kicks my a** every single year. It is my least favorite month of the year. September don’t let the door kick you on the way out this week. Peace out September. I won’t miss you at all.
As I think about October, it makes me think of my babies. Lillie turns 8 on October 2nd and Tanner our golden retriever turns 2 on October 3rd. It is a very special beginning of the month. I want to open my arms to October and to wish it to be a much smoother ride than September was.
Reflecting on the year:
• I’m proud of my family for growing closer during the quarantine and for getting through it together.
• I’m proud of my family for getting through Max’s Zoom Bar Mitzvah together. I’m proud of myself for rolling with the changes as best as I could and taking the lead from my son Max who was really doing okay with all of the changes.
• I’m proud of all the time I devoted to being a good wife, mother, daughter and friend.
• I’m proud of all the Whinypaluza work I did this year. I released my first book this year. This is a huge accomplishment for me.
• I’m proud of the 25 pounds that I just lost. I look forward to the next 25.
• I would like to ask forgiveness to anyone that I hurt this year.
• I would like to ask my husband forgiveness for every time I hurt his feelings and/or didn’t make him feel appreciated. I’m sorry for every time I take out my stress on him.
• I would like to ask my children for forgiveness for every time I wasn’t patient with them.
• I would like to ask myself for forgiveness for being too hard on myself.
• I would like my body to forgive me for not being an ideal weight yet.
What am I going to do differently this year?
• I am going to take advice from a great life coach that I had the pleasure of interviewing and I am going to learn to shift my expectations. I will go with the flow, I will be realistic, I will shift with the needs of my children, my husband, myself and of the day.
• I will build in more me time. The more me time I have the better I function.
• As I would spiral as a kid and feel overwhelmed, my mother would tell me to take it one thing at a time. She would assure me that it would all get done. 30 years later this advice still resonates with me. Instead of spiraling and feeling overwhelmed, I will make my lists and assure myself that step by step it will all get done. I will have confidence in myself. I will remind myself how capable I am and that I can do it. I will be my own cheerleader.
• I will focus on my body. I will get to my ideal weight and take better care of myself.
• I will take time to smell the roses of my amazing life.
It’s the time to wipe the slate clean. Whether you are Jewish or not, I invite you to forgive yourself and others. It is a wonderful burden to let go of. Forgive yourself, forgive the people who hurt you, and move on into a new year being a better you.
I’m not so proud of my September behavior. I’m not so proud of my cranky Yom Kippur mood. I have faith in myself that I will do better in October. I will continue to strive to be the best version of myself.
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R