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When You’re a Spoonie Who's Come to the End of Their Spoons

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If you are familiar with the impending, looming sense of dread heaped upon you at the mere mention of one more stop on the way home, you might be a spoonie.

If you have ever cried upon being asked “Are we going anywhere today?” by your children, you might be a spoonie.

If you have ever eyeballed the distance between your vehicle and the entrance to Target, determined it insurmountable and headed home, you might be a spoonie.

If you have ever awoken to a sound you were certain was a full-on robbery and wished they’d keep it down, you might be a spoonie.

More specifically, you might be a spoonie who has come to the end of their spoons.

I don’t think there’s any question in my household when I’m running on a spoon or two and I’m certain there is a look in my eye, a desperation that crosses my face as I hand over my final spoon to the forces that be. If only I could teach my 4-year-old to recognize it, or to understand what it meant when I said, “Mommy’s all out of spoons right now. Can you go ask your daddy?”It was fitting this morning when I dragged myself to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal before hurling my body back in the bed for a day of post-holiday recovery. I poured my cereal and milk, sleepily opened up the silverware drawer and sure enough, no spoons.

It’s true. The season of no spoons is upon us. Just last night my husband asked me about some Christmas decorations he wanted to bring in from the garage. He wanted to know where I wanted him to put them. The answer I gave him is that I didn’t have that — the decorating — to offer at the moment because, you see, I was fresh out of spoons. (And also, the real answer about where he could put those decorations was X-rated and would have been the lack of spoons talking.)

So what do we do when we find ourselves fresh out of spoons?

Rest: This seems self-explanatory and yet you and I both know it is often the last thing we do. Instead, we try to push through. Because, inevitably, running out of spoons will come at the worst time, such as the day of the holiday party, before company arrives, when the shopping needs to be done, etc. But we’ve learned the hard way that forging ahead on no spoons will only damage the motor further. Time to listen to our bodies, and they say rest.

Pace ourselves: We know that there are many meaningful traditions that we are going to want to take part in. It’s up to us to decide which ones and to what degree our bodies can really handle and schedule accordingly, to the best of our ability. If we know that preparing for the party will take approximately seven spoons, we probably shouldn’t schedule a 12-spoon event the next day, but maybe instead a 12-hour nap. “What are you doing today?” “Making up for lost spoons, you?”

Ask for help: “Hey Bob, do you think I could get two or three spoons’ worth of help preparing for the party on Friday? I’m trying to save a few of my spoons for the concert on Saturday night. You can? That’s awesome. Thank you so much.”

And lastly, when you run out of spoons, let people know. This way they can support and encourage you. Missing out on special days because you’re spoonless can feel pretty crummy. Being honest and up-front about it helps prevent misunderstandings and also helps us feel less alone in our spoonie world.

From my home to yours, may you have a very special, spoon-filled holiday season. Don’t get all the spoon stuff? Read here.

A version of this post first appeared on Chronically Whole.

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Originally published: November 22, 2016
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