We were out of milk.
Right there, I knew it was going to be one of THOSE days.
You know – the ones where you start off on the wrong foot and never seem to get your balance. One of those days where you feel like you’re completely failing as a mom.
And sometimes it can start with something as simple as a lack of milk. No milk meant no Nespresso for me and no cereal for my preschooler. No cereal meant a preschooler who had porridge (and was grumpy) and a mom who had tea instead (and was very grumpy). Throw in a toddler who seemed determined to be grumpy just for the sake of being grumpy and you’ve got the makings of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Luckily for us, the day took a turn for the better. A grocery order with milk arrived (thank goodness I had placed an order the night before) which provided the much-needed latte. The preschooler was able to have a second breakfast of cereal and the toddler was able to indulge in one of his favourite pastimes; raiding the grocery bags for fruits and vegetables and taking bites out of them.
However, not all bad days are so easily salvaged. So, what DO you do when you have a day that has just gone awry? How can you reset yourself and your family when you feel like you’re failing as a mom?
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Get Some Space
Take a step back and give yourself (and your kids) some space. This may mean putting on a short tv show for the kids and sitting down and having a coffee break all by yourself. Do something which relaxes you and brings your stress level down. This is not the moment to load the dishwasher or take out the trash (unless that’s what you do to relieve stress). Have a shower if you haven’t had one yet today. Do whatever it takes to centre yourself.
Using affirmations may seem a bit corny but they do work. And, if there were ever a time to use them it’s when you’re feeling like a failure. You need to remind yourself that you are human and not superhuman. Think of it as rewriting the script inside of your head.
You owe it to yourself to remember that parenting is tough and you’re not always going to get it right. Become your own cheerleader and drown out those negative thoughts inside of your head.
Often I find that people print out their affirmations and place them in an obvious place such as the bathroom mirror or the fridge door.
When you find your day going off the rails go to your affirmations, take a deep breath and repeat the affirmation to yourself. It may not feel like it’s helping but it is SO important to try to reframe your negative thoughts.
Now that you’ve had a chance to catch your breath and calm down it’s time to try and change the mood in your household. I’m the mother of two little ones so dance parties (often to Raffi) are a big thing in our house. Maybe you decide to clean the bathroom another day and play outside with your kids instead. A few hugs and snuggles can go a long way to changing the mood as well.
Take the easy route
You know that huge to-do list that you were going to tackle today – you might want to postpone that for another day. I know that there may be things on your schedule which can’t be dropped but take the easy route where ever possible. Grab something from the freezer for dinner or serve up eggs instead of whatever you were planning. Postpone any non-essential tasks for another day.
Say You’re Sorry
I know that on my bad days I yell at my kids, especially my daughter. I’ve been making it a priority to apologize to her for my behaviour. It usually happens at the end of the day when I’m able to take the time to snuggle with her. I’ll tell her that I know I yelled a lot today and I’m sorry about it, that I’m not perfect but that I don’t want to deal with my frustrations with yelling and that tomorrow I’m going to try to be better.
Plan For A Better Day
If you find yourself constantly struggling in the mornings then it may be that you’re in need of a morning routine. I’ve taken Crystal Payne’s Make Over Your Morning and Make Over Your Evenings and HIGHLY recommend them. While they don’t guarantee to completely get rid of your bad days I have found myself being more productive, less frazzled and overall more present because of Crystal’s advice.
When I’ve had a particularly rough day I often spend some extra time in the evening planning out my next day. I make sure I actually do my evening routine which I know will set me up for a much better morning. I also mentally plan out my next morning, often blocking out a little more time to be intentionally present with both my kids when they wake up. Tomorrow is always a new day but it doesn’t hurt to also prepare for a better day.
Looking for more parenting tips? Check out my list of parenting podcasts for Moms.