and Barbed Wire
Your home is not your own, and it is not easy being a wife, moth-
er, and childminder. It is not easy keeping on top of housework,
and the necessary paperwork for your business, and then opening
the door with a smile.
deep breaThIng Is helpful because it can create calm when life is
most cluttered and hectic. Cleansing breaths help encourage calm
and create space between you and whatever is stressing you out.
Sometimes life is overwhelmingly complicated and in your face.
Big and little stressors build until you feel like you are walk-
ing around with butterflies and barbed wire in your belly. Your
neck and shoulders ache. Your head throbs. Your chest tightens.
You feel empty or lost or about to burst or spent or exhausted or
apathetic or ungrounded or edgy or adrift or underwater or like
you just can’t take it anymore. Sometimes you might even start
thinking about trees.
“I knew I was losing my smile when I started thinking about the trees.”
After I give a talk about stress and burnout, I ask caregivers
and parents to share their stories and experiences.
“I saw them every morning in a big, inviting clump along the road
as I drove to work.”
The people sharing these stories often feel their smile fad-
ing and know it influences the quality of their interactions with