The logical part of my brain knows that I’m not the only mom who has bad days. I don’t mean “the kids watched TV all day and the dishes didn’t get done” bad days, but “I fell apart/cried/screamed at my kids today” bad days or “I feel like a failure as a mother” bad days or “how could I have said that to my kids” bad days. It stands to reason that if I, a kind, loving, caring, attentive, semi-organized, thoughtful mother can have days like that, then most likely the other moms I know who are also kind, loving, caring, attentive, semi-organized and thoughtful must have days like that, too. At least, most of them.
Or maybe it’s only a few. Maybe I’m actually the only one. Although my wiser mind tells me that I can’t be, the fearful part of my brain tells me that I might be. I might be the only one. I might be the only one who doesn’t handle the stress gracefully. The only one who gets overwhelmed. The only one who has ever taken out anger and frustration meant for someone else in the direction of one of my kids. The only one who has ever said anything to one of my kids which shocked me and reduced me to tears. Maybe it’s just me.
But in case it’s not, on this day, which was a tough one for me — on a day when I let my irritation that came from dealing with grown up things come out towards my kids, on a day when I cried when I should have been comforting and when I growled when I should have been patient — I’m going to share some of the things that help me on days like these. I didn’t write them down with the intention of sharing them, I wrote them down with the intention of remembering them. I don’t usually remember these things until after — after I’ve gotten angry, or snapped at the kids, or raised my voice, or imposed an unreasonable consequence, or broken down in tears, or issued a threat instead of choice.
- I am a good mom.
- I am doing the best I can, and so are my kids.
- There is nothing more important than being kind.
- I have to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to keep a good attitude.
- I am almost never actually angry with the kids. I’m probably actually exhausted/stressed/irritated/frustrated/angry at something else entirely.
- This (whatever it is) is only going to last for a moment.
- Don’t ruin all the good moments with one crappy one.
- NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT than taking good care of my kids. Not chores. Not exercise. Not Dan. Not my to do list. Not philosophy or discipline. Not keeping my temper or behaving “properly” towards other adults. NOTHING.
- Whatever I’m in the middle of, I can take a breath and count to 10. Or eat a piece of chocolate. Or drink a cup of coffee. Whatever “it” is will still be there.
- Hugs and kisses help almost any situation.
- If I keep calm, there might be space for a learning moment here, but if I fall apart, there probably isn’t.
These are the things that I wish I could remember BEFORE. I never think of them until after, and they don’t help as much then. Today was a rough day. I wasn’t the mom that I am capable of being. Tomorrow I’ll get up and try again. Maybe having written them down will help me next time, or maybe it’ll help another mom who has bad days.