Just like Alexander, we all have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days from time to time. (Here’s a link to Alexander’s story.) While we may not wake up with gum in our hair or be faced with lima beans at the dinner table, we each have our share of daily difficulties.
Maybe you packed yourself a healthy, delicious lunch for work only to leave it on the kitchen counter during the morning rush out the door. Perhaps the car didn’t start or had a flat tire. Or the baby wakes up with a fever on a day you have an important appointment. And the milk is spoiled or gone. Sometimes, just having your favorite leggings in the dirty laundry is enough to send you over the edge.
The adult world is full of obstacles, and sometimes they get the best of us. I know that I’m guilty of letting the gloomy happenings crowd over me and put me in a rotten mood.
When that happens, I want to tell everyone to stay away from me. “I’m having a terrible, horrible day,” I want to shout. “Watch out!”
It seems that anyone who crosses my path on those days is in the line of fire. Too often, it is my sweet son who is fired upon needlessly. Taking my frustrations out on him only makes my day—and his!—that much worse.
But How Can I Stop Myself?!
Unlike Alexander, the answer is NOT to move to Australia and leave your life behind, even if it sounds like the perfect solution!
First of all, I’ve learned to be honest with my son. From a young age, children can understand if you’re upset, angry or sad. Naming our feelings goes a long way in not only making ourselves feel better, but also in teaching our children how to name and process their own feelings.
If I honestly tell my son, “I’ve had a hard day. I’m angry that the car is in the shop again. I’m trying to get my mind off of it and on our home time,” it can make our day really positive, even if I’m not feeling like Suzie Sunshine.
Other Ways to Fix a Horrible Day
Sometimes, what I really need is a few minutes to myself. I like to take a mommy time out in the bathroom. I use five minutes to take some deep breaths, wash my face, and set my feelings down for a bit. Even a short break can do wonders for my outlook.
My son has a gift of helping me out of my bad moods with his silly smiles, stories and laughter. I choose to play with my child. We tell jokes, read a funny book or have a tickle fight. Before long, I find myself laughing along, genuinely enjoying myself. Children have a natural way of spreading joy to those around them.
Consider taking the shortest path to bedtime. The maze of dinner eating, bath taking, tooth brushing, hair combing and story reading can be overwhelming on even the happiest of days. This may be a good evening to let my son skip a bath or not wash his hair. If it won’t make a difference tomorrow, I can skip it, and fast forward to bedtime snuggles.
I sometimes yell at home, and tend to overreact. I’ve had a lot of practice apologizing to my son after I’ve let my own negative moods get the best of me when he is just being a kid. Learning to apologize well is a great skill to master. Our children learn by our example, both good and bad.
If all else fails, order a pizza, turn on a movie, and hope for a better tomorrow!