When a bad day strikes, you may just want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over your head. Unless you are on a moms-only vacation, staying in bed is not a likely option. Somehow, mom must find a way to make it through the day.
There are many things that can drag a mom down. But momís misery cannot be a roadblock to our mothering responsibilities. We all have bad days. We receive bad news; we wake up on the wrong side of the bed; we are worried about one of our children. Itís important to put a wall between our own unhappiness and our children.
Did you ever notice that when you are having a bad day, your patience is limited? You snap at your children and feel nitpicky about the tiniest things. Your husband can do nothing right, and suddenly everything feels stressful and overwhelming.
Being a good mom on a bad day is difficult but possible. It is in these moments that it is essential to take care of yourself, employ your stress management techniques, and call on friends and family for support.
Allow your children to see your emotions but do not let it impact your relationship with them. This is a good learning opportunity for your children, and you donít even need to create a lesson plan. Let them know how you are feeling, that you need a little space, or that you are down in the dumps. Just donít expect your children to cut you any slack. They are not likely to change their actions on your behalf.
Anticipate the normal sibling conflict, noise, and disruptions that typically occur in your house. What you can change is how you respond to it. Lighten up on the house rules. Donít force them to make their beds, for example, or let lunch come from the microwave.
Itís a good time for children to practice their independence or have a day to ďdo what they wantĒ. Let older children stay on the computer for longer than usual. Younger children can watch more than one TV show. Stretch nap time or quiet time in their rooms a little bit longer. Set your children up with activities you can easily monitor with a quick peek.
If your period of Ďbad daysí is extensive, get the help you need to get through and over it. Donít ride it out alone. Long-term depression can have an impact on your children, and getting help will ensure that your bad days are limited.
In the meantime, donít hesitate to rely on friends and family. Call a friend if you can handle having people in your home. Sometimes we just need to be alone, but sometimes itís easier to have a friend nearby.
What activities refresh you and offer you comfort? If you do not already have the answer, spend some time exploring various alternatives. Will a catnap help? Do you like to journal? Morning meditation? A walk in the woods?
When you are experiencing a bad day, end the day early. (Iíve been known to set the clocks ahead an hour in our house so I can tuck my children in early.) Skip showers and save cleaning up until tomorrow. Hop in bed early or spend extra time unwinding from the day.
Most importantly, if you are having a bad day - be kind to yourself. Moms spend so much time taking care of others that we canít even stop to have a bad day without a huge amount of guilt. Bad days are going to happen, and difficult moments are going to come our way even if we have children to take care of. Dig your heels in, persevere, and you will get through it.