The last month around our house has been a tad stressful. For me at least. The month started with a castle trip (fabulous!) and then a Special Olympics trip (good memories but blazing heat), followed by several weeks of revising a very-rough first draft manuscript, putting the polishing touches on The Author Toolbox blogs, planning the class I’m teaching next month, switching our family from cable to live streaming services (complete with a new internet provider and multiple hours on hold to cancel accounts), and several doctor’s appointments for the kids…plus a day job project that came along mid-month and a renewed determination to whip my body into shape before a family vacation rolls around.
To say I was stretched a little thin was an understatement. To say I was almost at a breaking point several times was more accurate. To say I learned several life lessons from a rubber band would also be true…and I’d like to share a few of them with you.
First, rubber bands come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There are the tiny neon ones my youngest son is supposed to be attaching to his orthodontic braces daily and the giant inch-wide variety that held together a stack of papers until my oldest son found it and launched it across the room. I’m unique and so are you. There’s a rubber band for every job so stop the comparison game.
Second, rubber bands can stretch further than we think possible. Just when you think you’ve reached the end of your patience or energy, there’s a tad more stretch to devote to the next task or next family member who crosses your path. And as moms, it’s usually possible to add one more thing to your already-never-ending-to-do list.
However, third, when stretched too far (or for too long), rubber bands break. So stop stretching them before they reach that breaking point. Duh. Take a nap. Go for a walk. Read a book. Listen to some music. With a little time off for good behavior, you’ll be re-energized and strengthened to get back out there and stretch again. (Oh, and dried out, old rubber bands are also likely to snap when asked to stretch, so make sure to hydrate along the way.)
Fourth, rubber bands are flexible. They can bend into all sorts of different shapes. And when you press on them, they adjust and move as the circumstances change. Rather than stick to a rigid set of rules or routines, rubber bands can go with the flow and adapt to a variety of situations…which is an important trait for working moms during the summer when baseball games get rained-out and then rescheduled onto a night you already had other plans or a looming deadline.
Last, rubber bands can be used to make music. Remember those rubber band guitars from childhood? Different thicknesses stretched to different tensions made different sounds when plucked. So when all else fails, use your life to make some music and cheer up someone else’s day.
What about you? Are you being stretched too thin lately? Are you flexible under pressure? Are you making music with your life? What other lessons can be learned from a rubber band?