I can feel the symptoms rising up.
And the pantry in my kitchen?
It’s making me crazy.
The kitchen pantry is my canary in the coal mine, so to speak.
And when I hit Kitchen Pantry Irritability, I know it’s time.
Time to take a little time for myself.
I don’t know what it is about the kitchen pantry that registers as one of the final symptoms before I hit the wall. All I know is, when I’m stalking the coffee pot cup after cup and my ire keeps rising and rising that no one in my family can seem to remember that the sandwich bread goes in the pantry in the cute basket with peanut butter with the cute tag hanging from the handle that says, “Sandwich Makings” as opposed to being stored, say, randomly on a shelf with the bag open and bread slices fluttering to the floor of the pantry like gluten-laden feathers, well, that level of irrational rage tips me off.
Mama needs a time out.
A time out with other people who understand and esteem KPI (Kitchen Pantry Irritability). Or Laundry Room Rage. Or Take Out the Garbage Already Distemper.
Or whatever iteration of the syndrome you have.
It’s that one more thing.
Not anything huge, horrible, tragic, or life-altering.
Just that final little annoyance, that trifle that you’ve pointed out, coached through, asked for over and over. That gets ignored, bounced over, bulldozed.
I’m trying to take better notice now, before my personal case of Kitchen Pantry Irritability escalates to a full-on existential pickle. To take a breath and take stock before I blow up and stomp off. I’m working on recognizing earlier that a timeout in the form of a well-placed girls night out, women’s conference, fellow moms meetup could make a world of difference in my world.
And I’ve also learned there are some things that make taking a timeout with fellow women, moms, wives, sisters, daughters a far better experience that leaves me refreshed, inspired, and ready to jump back into the fray that is our family life.
1. Schedule events ahead…if possible, before you think you really ‘need’ them. But be sure and take full advantage of a great night out, even if it’s only just shown up on your radar.
I’m one of those people who will run full speed ahead, all cylinders at full throttle, without any scheduled breaks. I’ve made the same mistake as a distance runner. It was my running partner who taught me to walk through the water stops and to think well ahead about where to take breaks as we added more miles to our training. The same principle is so powerful within the race of our daily lives. Having time set aside on the calendar to attend that powerful conference, to have dinner with your friends, to take a breather of a day. It can have even more impact when you plan ahead. That said, grab hold of a great invitation that comes your way in the midst of the hectic pace of life. Sometimes, a night out when you’re least expecting it can be just the thing to clear your head and activate some joy in your heart.
2. Make sure your timeouts are about rest and growth.
I’ve made the mistake plenty of times in the past. I’ll schedule a time out for myself. But sometimes I’ve allowed it to be a dinner with acquaintances who make husband and kid bashing an Olympic sport. Or I’ll go to that movie or attend that lecture that are all about what’s wrong in the world, with very little focus on what is right. I leave these kinds of encounters even more depleted, with an even darker perspective. If you’re already running on fumes, don’t waste precious energy in events and social circles that drain your tank even more.
3. Make sure there is laughter.
Laughter is so incredibly good for the soul. Research study after research study reveals just how powerful a good, hard belly laugh can be. When you’re looking for a great lecture series or conference to serve as a break from dailyness and busyness, make sure there is a climate of humor. Your brain chemistry, not to mention your abs, will thank you.
4. Find the two or three things you’re going to carry with you back to ‘real’ life…and then do them.
I’m guilty of it. Maybe you are too. I attend a great women’s event, I’ve leave fired up…and a couple days later, I’m tempted to let a full case of Kitchen Pantry Irritability take hold again. Don’t just take notes at that great conference; transfer the two or three actionable things that are laid on your heart onto a sticky note you place on your computer screen or mirror. For example, let’s say that a great takeaway from an event is to invest in encouraging the relationships closest to you. So let’s put feet to that. Make yourself a little checkmark box on your calendar. Challenge yourself to give an encouraging comment to your spouse or child or co-worker every day. Track it. And make that time out you’ve taken an extended blessing to those around you.