Friday, August 5

the enemy of the good

I've been dropping the ball on breakfast lately. On a good day I'll have something small when I first get up, like a bowl of cereal, and some tea while my son plays, and then have something more substantial later. These last few days, "later" has been more like "never". And so the other day, while Silas was napping mid-morning, I found myself again standing in front of the open refrigerator door, staring blankly at its contents, and getting more and more angry.

It's a blood-sugar thing for me. If I'm low on fuel, I get irrationally emotional. Used to be I'd get weepy and confused, unable to process information. With the postpartum hormones, my depleted state has devolved to anger. Wild, hot-red, scary anger. I've taken to call it the "angry hungry mama syndrome." It makes it very difficult to deal with my son in the kind and compassionate way that I usually aim for. It has led to a few regrettable episodes that I'd rather forget--the angry, yell-y kind.

The problem is: when I get in that depleted hungry state, I can't think of a thing I'd like to eat. The more hungry I am, the less likely I am to decide on something to eat. When this happened before I was a mama I had the "luxury" to moan and whine about it, usually until my husband took charge of the situation. (Isn't it funny what now passes as a luxury?) These days, not so much. For my son's sake and my own, I cannot afford to give these episodes any foothold, and I need to figure out something. Quick.

Cue back to me in front of the refrigerator door. My mind spins: I need protein. Can't be bothered to cook an egg. Yogurt's not enough. It's too early for a sandwich. And so on and so forth. But it's then I remembered a phrase my hubby quoted to me once, which is a veritable mantra for motherhood: "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."* In that moment, I didn't need the perfect, balanced little meal or snack: I needed something quick and reasonably healthy to get me over the hump. I could always round out my protein-carb-fiber balance later. (Did I mention my son was napping? Time was a-wastin'.) So I made a smoothie. It hit the spot. I calmed down. No more scary, angry-hungry mama.

For sure, the best scenario is to start filling up on a protein-rich breakfast early, so as to prevent such episodes from ever being an issue. But when the problem arises--and it will be again, no doubt--it's good to be able to recall that mantra, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good", and reach for whatever will quell the storm, before either my son or I starts crying.

What about you? When have you found yourself in that depleted state, and why, and what brings you back? And what are some of your fall-back, go-to small snacks or meals that you turn to in a pinch?

*This quote is attributed to French philosopher Voltaire, who wrote "The perfect is the enemy of the good", according to Wikipedia.

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