December 10


Dealing with the Un-Ideal

By Jessica Allen

December 10, 2022

A silly story, and a heavier thought.

We’re a music family so we’re thick in the two weeks of December where there’s a performance every night. Usually right at dinnertime and bedtime. With two little babies, this is definitely an opportunity for deep creativity and wide patience.

By our 4th performance last week, I watched my new-walker scoop raisins off the school cafeteria floor into her mouth and eyeballed my preschooler zooming his balance bike from one end of the hallway to the other as I sat on the ground in the back of the room and applauded my budding musician on stage.

I got my fair share of judgy looks but I just can’t care. And tbh I think the last lady who looked down her literal nose at me as she carted out her crying toddler was actually jealous instead.

I don’t think anybody ate a single vegetable for 5 straight days. Not sure when the big kids bathed. Something’s gotta give. Not all seasons are like this. It’ll pass. (They’ll all turn 18 at some point.)

And this season isn’t even something to complain about. I’ve been through some other seasons too:

Seasons of grief. Seasons of depression. Seasons of doubt. Seasons of stress in my marriage. Seasons of broken-heartedness. Seasons of illness. Seasons in the faith wilderness. Seasons of financial worry. Seasons of fear.

And the worry and strain in those seasons makes floor-raisins-for-dinner seem like a ridiculous non-problem.

So how do you deal when things are less than ideal? When your eyes are puffy from crying because the diagnosis is bad or the bank account’s empty or the problem feels bigger than you are and you have absolutely no idea what to do next?

Some tested and proven ease-it-now tips:

😴 SLEEP when you can. Seriously.

🥰 Remember who you are: made in the image of the Creator, designed for a purpose, and loved beyond measure. No matter how the world is trying to convince you otherwise.

📋 Prioritize and shove every single non-essential task off the list.

🥡 Take shortcuts (order carry-out).

👯‍♀️ Ask for help. Kids can do a lot. So can friends. You’re not inconveniencing anyone.

👩🏻‍⚕️ Talk it out – whether it’s with a spouse, friend, therapist, or journal.

🚫 Ditch the worry about what other people will think. They’re a mess too.

💆🏻‍♀️ Remember you can only survive in survival mode for a limited time. Create pockets of rest, care, relief, and levity where you can.

🌱 Focus on the “right now” and slow your mental ticker. Constant obsessing adds more stress than we realize.

However you deal, just make sure it’s leading you through this season of survival and toward the light at the end of the tunnel. Even the worst seasons even out, I promise. You’re stronger than you think, but it’s not because you’re supposed to be Superman. You’re stronger than you think because you’re never out of choices and you’re never alone.

HP, J ❤️

Jessica Allen

About the author

Jessica is a writer, musician, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. Jessica's mission is to write "real" - shining light into the dark places of the tough stuff we all experience. She and her husband Jack live in Houston, Texas and have weathered the storms of grief, infant loss, adoption, and a marriage that almost fell apart. Jessica and Jack have four children: LJ in heaven, Grace, Jackson, and Elisha.

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