Today started with a weird dump of stress hormones. There was a server that blew up and required my husband’s attention before he could watch three of the kids while I took Katherine to her eye appointment. The calendar note wasn’t clear, so he didn’t make it home in time for me to get her there when I wanted to, plus I forgot her glasses. Not a big deal, but I’m learning these things sometimes have fallout beyond the moment. We got through the appointment, but the edginess stayed.

Today, it leaves me with a sort of tired-but-wired mind and body. I need a rest, I need a run, and I need to get some to-do items checked off. I have plenty to do, but I can’t seem to focus and pick the next one. Sometimes this happens.

And, because it’s my Writing Month, I’ll share my recovery plan in faith that somebody can use it.


Noticing is always the first step. I haven’t had this particular brand of stress in a while, so I saw it quickly and named it shortly thereafter.

Reaching out

I texted a friend. Told her my body was still flipping out and I was having a hard time recovering from the morning. She was busy and didn’t get my message until a few minutes ago, but that’s not especially important—I needed to tell somebody who would (eventually) ask the question, “What’s one thing you can do take it down one click?” She and I ask this of each other on the regular, so just giving her the information reminded me to answer that question.

Taking it down one click

Today, by the time I’d settled all the people enough to answer it, it was 2:30 and I hadn’t eaten lunch. That was my one thing. This usually is a physical self-care thing. I can take my stress down by reducing internal irritations like hunger or thirst or a full bladder. Bonus: I have a fair bit of control over those things!

Making a plan

Once I’d eaten some leftovers, I was in a space to take stock of what needed to be done. I needed some internal quiet and some external peace. The internal quiet takes a little doing: screen time for the girls, and a podcast for me. Not just any podcast, but Emily Freeman’s Next Right Thing podcast, which always points me toward peace, and the Prince of it. I folded laundry. I tidied. I hopped on the treadmill.

And that brings us here.

I’m still walking. My house is far from immaculate, but it’s no longer overwhelming. Between the quiet, the tidy, and the exercise, the stress hormones have receded and I feel both less tired and less wired. I feel like I can handle the evening. It’s going to be fine.

This post is part of a 31-day series called “Grace in Failure.” Other posts from the series can be found here.

31days of grace in failure 4-3



Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

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