I had a meltdown a couple of days ago.
The worst part was my kids were watching.
In my defense, I had good reasons.
Here I was last week, out doing my usual errands, and getting constant texts to pick up extra food.
Which I did.
Even though I already had a decent stash.
Look. I’m pragmatic. I thought by buying some extra whole oats, a few extra bags of beans and lentils, and a few containers of soup broth would help me make quick and nourishing meals during an apocalypse.
Yes, I have some extra flour in the house (I usually do, I make pizza dough for my teenagers regularly).
I have quite a bit of extra pasta (but usually do) and canned sauce or tomatoes (which is a regular, and versatile staple in this house to feed sporty teens).
I have enough rice, which at least one kid isn’t crazy about eating, in the house to keep us from impending starvation.
Still, the texts kept coming.
After I finished my meltdown and decompressed for a day, I approached him and explained what I thought had happened.
“When you texted me over the past weeks to remind me to buy extra food and toilet paper, I did. But I did so with future meals in my head. I did so without turning into a raving lunatic. I did so without emptying an entire shelf leaving nothing for the confused senior on a fixed income and no space to hoard a dozen packs of toilet paper.
When I got home from the last trip and you left to do more shopping yourself, without even looking at what was already in house, nor consulting with me about a list, IT MADE ME FEEL INADEQUATE.”
That’s exactly what it came down to. Inadequacy. Not being able to meet expectations. Or, feeling like what I did wasn’t good enough.
I’m not good enough.
But here’s the thing. As is usually the case, there are two sides to every coin.
My sense of inadequacy, of implied inability to measure up, that is my problem. Not his.
My meltdown, lashing out at his panic buying and smuggling endless packs of non-perishables into the house and garage, it didn’t help matters. And it set a poor example to the kids.
Sometime over the past few days, I came across an article that talked about the psychology behind panic buying and preparing in the event of a major crisis. And what it comes down to is quite simply this:
A sense of control.
I remember the feeling of lack of control after my first baby was born, and a more severe case of spiraling out of control after the second one came. Partly it was due to the ongoing issues with the house. There were other issues which is neither here nor there at the moment.
After the birth of my children, which simultaneously birthed, and cultivated, my feelings of inadequacy, I should have seen the signs more clearly in recent days when family members reacted to the way they did.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
Now, with this social distancing, unknown factors of short- and long-term effects of coronavirus, and an abundance of media bombardment, anxieties are running higher with each passing day.
I told the family at dinner last night that I am comfortable making do with what we have. Technically, if we only eat once a day, the stash of food we have currently will easily last us for the next half year. (Which isn’t practical – we all know that we eat when we’re bored. And we all know how much teenagers eat, and how often.)
Point is, we’ll be fine.
I know this. So my job going forward is to not let other people’s reaction affect me negatively while at the same time allow them to do what they need to help them feel in control.
One final note: if this is the last post you’ll read on my blog I was likely pelted to death by 17 thousand pounds of macaroni. 😂
Stay healthy, and sane.