Life is absurd. And life is precious. Family is a lot of both.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Stress Relief Can Be Risky

The other day I ran across a pithy little on-line list of "Quick Ways to Relieve Stress". I found it hilarious. You will too if you have children. Or even hyperactive pets. Except that you can put them in a kennel. But I digress.

Here's what they promised would relieve your stress.

The advice: Take a 10-minute catnap. Lie down on the floor if possible.
Why it's funny: Lying down on the floor invites the pitter patter of little feet. On your throat. Sleeping would be downright dangerous. For that is exactly when they will stage their coup. You will likely awaken bound, gagged and friendless.

The advice: Visualize your favorite place. Imagine the sights, sounds and smells.
The funny part: Go ahead and close your eyes and imagine the snowy peaks of a mountain range. But good luck conjuring up the smell of pine trees and the sound of hoot owls over the wet dog and slamming doors/cabinets/toilet seats. You need to go to a quiet, clean place for this one. But, wait...then you wouldn't need it.

The advice: Vigorously massage your own neck and forehead.
The irony: Massage is great whether it's cheapo self-massage or expensive-o professional massage in a quiet, clean place. The massage is not the problem. The fact that the effects wear off about 2.5 seconds after  you see your children again is the problem.

The advice: Control your breathing by lying on the floor, closing your eyes, deeply inhaling and holding your breath for eight seconds.
The problem: See Tip #1 and add on the fun the kids will have popping you like a balloon when they jump on your stomach. I'll say it again: CLOSE YOUR EYES AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Last weekend I experimented with lying on the floor.
It took less than 30 seconds for them to attack.
The advice: Make up new ways to do old things to relieve both stress and boredom.
The so-stupid-it's-funny part: Um... parents don't get bored. Certainly not bored enough to make up a new way to do something. The goal is doing nothing. And the tried and true way to do nothing works just fine.

The advice: Sing in the shower.
The Do I really have to spell this out? part: The kids will figure out immediately where you are hiding and come find you. Gifted children will pick the lock.

The advice: Develop hobbies because feeling competent and in control is relaxing.
The part that still has me laughing: How silly. What's better for producing feelings of competency and control than parenting? Who could possibly handle more relaxation that that?!

The advice: Stretching exercises are good for relaxation.
And it all comes full circle: It's pretty hard to stretch without putting your head down. And if you put your head down, you might as well just go ahead, close your eyes and take a nap.

And we all know that what happens next is not exactly relaxing...

I can't believe they pay people to write this stuff. (The "Quick Ways to Relieve Stress" stuff. Not the blog stuff. Just want to make that clear.)


  1. Well said Susanna! Perfect read with my third cup of coffee this morning (and yes that means I have been up way too long already this school morning NOT closing my eyes:)Keep writing! Caroline

  2. Very funny! The author very clearly does not have little kids. Lying on the floor is the most dangerous place in the entire house!