Stretched thin and ready to explode — Mommy Daze

StretchedThinIt was time for the balloon animals to go. It had been weeks since they were made for our boys at a local restaurant's grand opening.

Weeks of hearing my 3- and 4-year-old fighting over who got to play with the Spider Man ballloon and who got to play with the motorcycle. Weeks of them bopping each-other over the head, then whining about it afterward. Weeks of hearing that incessant squeaking noise as they twisted the different pieces of the balloon figures to see how they would change shape. Weeks of just waiting to hear that surprising “pop” that I knew must be coming any time now.

But they hadn't popped, and these balloon animals were not looking so good. They had shriveled in size, various limbs and pieces completely deflating while others had expanded out of proportion. After putting the boys to bed on night, I picked up one of the dilapidated latex creations and stood there staring at it, scissors ready. I noticed how thin the balloon had become, stretched to its capacity for so long that all it was going to take was the slightest pin-prick and it would explode.

This is how I feel sometimes — on those days when nothing seems to go right. Those days when, if you have to deal with one more tantrum, clean up one more mess or hear one more nagging, whiny, drawn-out “Mooooooom,” you feel like you might just explode. Kaboom! All your stretched out, worn-thin pieces would go flying everywhere. But then you think, “Well shoot, then I'll just have to clean that up too.”

So I stood there, looking at this balloon, thinking about how instead of just popping it with the blunt tip of the scissors, I could instead gently snip the ends, just a bit. Then the pent up air would come easing out in a gentle whoosh instead of a loud pop. So I began to do just that, letting the air out of the balloon animals, watching them slowly deflate. I was surprised at how satisfying this was.

I think that's what I really want to do when I'm stuffed with emotion and over-stretched by the demands of my life. I want to slowly deflate, letting each thin, tired part of me relax and let go. Funny though, how my tendency is to explode. Those days when I'm so blown-up, all it takes is a tiny sharp nudge to send me into a million pieces. And it really does leave that scary, uncomfortable echo in the room afterward, with all eyes looking at me, shocked and caught off guard just like when a balloon pops.

I wish sometimes there was a magic pair of mommy scissors that we could pull out on those days when we're just stretched beyond capacity. We could gently snip away, feeling the anger, frustration, guilt, shame and remorse all come whooshing out, instead of exploding out of us. But as far as I know, no such pair of scissors exist. So until then, I think I'll keep this deflated balloon around, just as a reminder that I don't have to explode. I just need to deflate a little, then I won't feel quite so stretched. Because goodness knows, I have enough stretch marks to last this mama a lifetime!

Watts FamilyClick here to read more Mommy Daze.

Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 4-year-old James and 2-year-old Luke.

Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 4-year-old James and 2-year-old Luke.

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