by Shannon Penrod

Just so we are clear, I love words.  The word overwhelmed has come up so much in the last few days that I found myself wondering if it is possible to be simply whelmed, without being overwhelmed.  Which brought up the question, Is whelmed even a word?  I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m feeling whelmed.”  So I looked it up in the online dictionary, and it turns out whelmed is a word.  It means submerged or covered with water. Ah, well that makes sense.

As a Mom who works I often feel whelmed and lets face it once you are whelmed it’s a very short putt to overwhelmed.  A client needs something 48 hours sooner than they thought they needed it.  I start to feel whelmed, and before I can even acknowledge that I’m whelmed, my 4 year old decides that he is absolutely starving despite the fact that dinner is only an hour away. The phone rings as he pulls an entire bag of pears out of the refrigerator dumping them all over the floor and ladies and gentleman we have overwhelmed!

I have to admit that I am ashamed at how often and how easily I feel overwhelmed as a Mom.  Overwhelmed wasn’t even part of my vocabulary before I was a Mom, it was something I associated with being incompetent.  I always thought “What is the use of being overwhelmed?  It only slows you from doing the thing you need to do – focus and forge ahead!”  Ahh, silly naive thoughts, before motherhood.

I’ve decided I need a new association for the word overwhelmed, more fitting to its actual meaning.  From now on when I am overwhelmed I’m going to picture myself underwater.  Nice cool, quiet, blissful water, where it’s serene, no phones ring, no emails appear, I am light and buoyant and my breasts defy gravity.  It turns out overwhelmed isn’t so bad after all!