It’s like when your baby brother spits up a clam-chowder-like concoction all over your neck and shirt and over your shoulder onto the carpet. You are revolted but you’re the only adult at home so you know you’re going to have to clean it up sooner or later. A sour milk smell is rising and he’s bawling in your ear and you can feel the slime oozing under your shirt and drying, making your shirt stick to your skin and you just stepped in a chunky puddle and how is he still spitting up?!
You could abandon ship. Drop the baby and rip your shirt off and run and take a shower and pretend nothing’s happening. La la la, I can’t hear you, I’m safe.
Or you can deal with the problem. Allow yourself a moment to accept reality and maybe get some paper towels or something. Yes, now you’re the adult in the situation so you have to figure this out. I suggest lots of soothing and scrubbing and possibly some scented candles.
But. In that moment, when you take on the spit-up:
“How can this smell so awful? What are those chunks? Why am I doing this? Why did this happen to me? Why don’t I just leave this alone and let someone else take care of it? This is never going to come out of my clothes. I won’t be able to shower off the smell until Mom gets home. Why am I doing this? This is disgusting! It doesn’t make sense! I don’t want to deal with this it’s not my fault can I please just deal with someone else’s problems…”
In that moment of facing your problem, you are heroic. You are invincible. You are perfect.
Spit-up is like depression. You’re the only one at home, so even though the situation’s beyond horrifying and definitely not your fault, you’re going to have to clean up the mess sooner or later. To be honest, I’m still scrubbing, and while I find the task uncomfortable, I refuse to abandon ship. My brother is counting on me.