The squeaky clunk of metal in rapid succession has become a routine part of my morning soundtrack. It is as if I am attempting CPR on the “Push for Signal” button, which metaphorically is not too far from the truth. I am trying to revive my morning by getting my kids to school on time by doing whatever it takes to make that taunting red hand disappear immediately. I am trying to erase the giant cup of coffee that I spilled all over myself and the eight minutes that it cost me to find another clean shirt. I am trying to get back the four minutes it took me to find socks that weren’t stringy on the inside (what does that even mean?!) for my six year old, and the thirteen minutes it took me to wipe down all the dog poo that my son stepped in and tracked through the house. My desperation to cross the street quickly may stem from trying to avoid the dreaded late pass, but is also fueled by my kids fighting over who gets to push the button next, which only adds to the squeaky, clunky morning serenade of that unyielding silver disc.
I have always secretly wondered if the mechanism has been programmed to wait even longer to punish impatient people like me who push it more than 10 times per second. I also simultaneously ponder if anyone has actually ever only pushed the button once and quietly waited—something I have yet to witness.
With the instant gratification that is permeating the culture as we know it, it’s hard to imagine anything slowing down. We send emails and expect answers within minutes. We order something online that has been manufactured thousands of miles away and is being shipped from a warehouse hundreds of miles away, and we demand that it arrive on our doorstep less than 48 hours after clicking “complete purchase.” The go-go-go mentality is as relentless as it is exhausting.
I recently attended a baby shower for a dear friend where someone asked us to go around a circle and offer a piece of advice to the gorgeous mamma-to-be. Something she could tuck away in the corners of her mind and bring out when she was feeling particularly overwhelmed in the midst of raising three children. Another dear friend shared a sentiment that her sister passed along to her when she was also pregnant. This pearl of wisdom was only comprised of three simple words, but they really stuck to my heart. She said, “Just add water.”
Take a bubble bath, go out into the rain, make yourself a cup of tea and feel the warmth of the steam as it whooshes out of the kettle. Pour yourself a glass of wine (okay that’s not exactly water, but it is a liquid) and sip it slowly. Dip your toes in the ocean or if you don’t have an ocean handy run through a sprinkler. Treat yourself to a good, guttural, cry and let the salty tears run down your face and soak your cheese as you enjoy the release they provide. Go for a run until your heart pounds and you feel the sweat on your scalp. We are, after all, made up of nearly 60% water and spend the first months of our lives (give or take) surrounded by fluid, so it makes sense that going back to this core could serve as a recalibration of some sort.
And let’s face it. Sometimes, we need a reset button—and sometimes we need to push that button 100 times per minute.
Marissa B. Niranjan is a mamma of three who is trying to wean off Amazon Prime and buy things the old fashion way. If you see her running with her children across the street at 8:45 a.m. braless, in her pajamas, and wearing UGGS circa Christmas 2013, please say hello and remind her to just add water. Also, please comment if you or anyone you know has ever pushed the signal button ONCE at a crosswalk.