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How to Handle Life’s Mess Under the Rug

Hey, mama. You know those random moments of enlightenment that hit you out of the blue? Like when you’re going about your day, maybe doing something utterly mundane, and suddenly, an insight strikes.

Well, I had one of those moments recently, and it involved a rogue ice cube, a dusty floor, and a bit of introspection about handling life’s challenges.

A Tale of Two Problem-Solving Tactics

It started innocently enough. Picture me attempting to craft the perfect margarita on what might or might not have been a sunny Saturday noon. Our fridge, with its inconveniently placed ice machine at the bottom, decided to add an element of adventure to my quest. As I grabbed the ice container, a solitary cube slipped from my fingers and skittered across the kitchen floor.

I stared at the cube, contemplating my next move, and then, with a shrug, I nudged it under the fridge and went about my day. After all, it was just water—it would melt and evaporate, problem solved, right?

This got me thinking about the way we tackle problems. Some issues, like my fugitive ice cube, seem minor enough that we can “kick them under the fridge.” They’re the kind that, given time, will resolve themselves without much intervention.

But then there are the “sweep-it-under-the-rug” kind of problems. You know, when you quickly push a mess under the rug because guests are arriving and you can’t deal with it right then?

The problem with this approach is that the mess is still there, waiting. The next day, it’s as if the lumps under the rug have grown, becoming more of a hassle to clean up and taking up way too much of our mental energy.

From Literal Messes to Metaphorical Ones

This ice cube epiphany made me realize how these tactics apply beyond household messes to the way we handle bigger, more personal challenges—namely, our mental health.

As mamas juggling careers, kids, and countless other responsibilities, it’s all too easy to push our well-being under the proverbial rug. We tell ourselves we’ll deal with our stress, anxiety, or depression later.

However, just like that mess under the rug, our mental health issues don’t disappear. They fester, grow, and consume our thoughts, making it even more challenging to address them down the line.

When you’re not okay, don’t kick it under the rug. Address it. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

So here’s what I’ve learned: it’s perfectly okay not to be okay. But instead of kicking our problems under the fridge or sweeping them under the rug, hoping they’ll disappear, we need to confront them head-on. Whether it’s through mindfulness, exercise, reaching out to friends, or seeking help from a mental health professional, taking proactive steps towards our mental well-being is crucial.

When we take care of ourselves, we’re in a much better position to care for others. We can’t pour from an empty cup, and by ensuring our cup is filled—by prioritizing our mental health—we empower ourselves to be the best parents, partners, and professionals we can be.

So, next time you find yourself facing a “kick it under the fridge” or a “sweep it under the rug” dilemma, take a moment to consider its impact on your mental health. Choose to tackle it head-on, and remember, taking time for yourself is not selfish—it’s essential.
If you like more conversations about thriving and living fully as a working mom, check out my podcast, The Savvy Working Mom, on Spotify or anywhere you listen to your podcasts. We also talk a lot about prioritization, time management, how to be more fulfilled, and how to find peace in this overwhelming world we live in.

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed, follow these 4 easy steps to find some peace: How To Get Unstuck.