Have you ever had a moment when all of your kids are fighting or complaining and unhappy, and you start to feel desperate as you realize you cannot calmly and rationally meet everyone's needs, and all you can think about is escaping somehow and... eating lots of chocolate?
I had a few of these moments today.
I have been trying to snack less lately (to save my teeth*, though I know there are many other benefits to this) and I have been noticing that as soon as one of my kids starts fighting and another makes a big mess or one child starts whining while another child needs my help, that I immediately feel overwhelmed and crave chocolate. And I mean, crave. Ultimately, anything with sugar will do, but my initial synapse in my brain requests chocolate - in a powerful, almost tangible way. I have recognized this before, but have not experienced repeatedly throughout one day the huge effort it takes each time to ignore the request.
It was painful each time.
Yet another personal insight into how difficult it is to change behavior, unhealthy habits, etc. The reasons we do things are so complex. I heard a neuroscientist say today, we are our experiences. I have allowed chocolate to sooth my frustrations and boost my ability to cope with sibling rivalry, messes and craziness, and overall fussiness - for years and years. How on earth do I undo those now, or rewind and rewrite them? Of course that is impossible. But, how can at least start, when it seems like I'm fighting against a giant?
I guess today I feel like I can better understand addictions and how people struggle to overcome them (on a much, much smaller scale, I'm sure.)
(*Yes! I had another fun trip to the dentist! I will spare you the details. But, on that note, apparently I am not the only one who thinks about ways to steer my children towards dentistry. At dinner tonight, my husband said to my kids, "Yes, kids, yet another reason to not become doctors when you grow up... be dentists!")