Frenchitude Lesson #41: Accept that On Ne Peut Pas Tout Faire

Some nice calming poppies

The moving chaos had begun in earnest.

The painters have invaded La Maison des Chaumes to finish off the trim and the shutters and get rid of the candy floss pink walls in the girls bedroom.

We have yet to send off our boxes to Canada, I have a gazillion decorative projects I need to get done before the house is rentable for our first clients who arrive July 18th, and we are trying to do all of this with a 17 month old underfoot. Plus almost every night this past week one of the girls says to me around 7:00pm, “oh by the way Maman, I need a cake to bring for school tomorrow.”

I just talked to my Mom on the phone, and told her to get the straight jacket ready for me on my return back to Canada.

The stress has gone over the edge from productive stress to just really wretched-feeling stress which for me means I am plagued with my old companion – the ubiquitous panic attack.

Just for the record, my panic attacks aren’t the kind where you stop and think, “Gee whiz…I feel a little flustered. I wonder if that was a panic attack I just had?”.

No sireeeee Bob.

My panic attacks are gold medal winners if there was such a thing (and maybe there should be) as a Panic Attack Olympics. They are the humdingers of panic attacks, the kind where one feels like they are suffocating, dying of terminal cancer, having a massive coronary, and going crazy all at the same time.

I have enough experience in the anxiety arena to know that they are a clear sign that my stress barometer has gone into the red zone.

Several times over the last week I have been rushing around like a fart in a mitt, trying to do five things at once (often in the midst of a panic attack), when Franck takes me by the shoulders and says, “Laura, on ne peut pas tout faire!

I stare at him in incomprehension. What do you mean I can’t do everything? I should be able to, for God’s Sakes; I know that at least. I mean, I am supposed to be superhuman, aren’t I?

And if I fail to tout faire, then it is essential to feel guilty about it rather than just shrug and put it out of my mind entirely like my husband and many other French people seem to be able to do.

But over the past few days I have begun to wonder…maybe this has something to do with why I am the one having the panic attacks in our house.

On ne peut pas tout faire. On ne peut pas tout faire. Maybe if I chant it enough times I may actually start to believe it.

If not, I can stare at this photo of our future bedroom in the house we will be renting when we arrive in Victoria. Oui, that’s the ocean! I feel a bit calmer already.