A bad day parenting doesn’t have to stay that way. Here’s how I learned to turn things around (and why it’s never too late to do so).
Eight o’clock was bedtime—my saving grace. I was ready to call it a day and claim survival to yet another rough day. During those witching hours between dinner and then, I’d glance at the clock, oh… 67 times to see if I was any closer to the end.
It had been a rough few days. Kids were sick, extra clingy, and crying over every little thing. Dinners were equally rough. Normally easy eaters, my twins had been rejecting meals I assumed they’d eat or at least try.
Managing anger during a bad day
When I don’t catch myself, I get mad. I’m rude to my kids instead of patient. I get annoyed when they’re clumsy instead of comforting their cries.
And I assume it’ll be like this all the way until 8pm without even trying to turn it around.
“Why bother?” I asked. Had it been a “good day,” one where the kids ate their food and played quietly, a cry or a tantrum would be manageable. I wouldn’t react so quickly.
But a bad day? It felt like a lost cause. “This day has already been terrible. No point in exerting even more effort into putting on my A-game,” I’d feel.
After all, parenting is hard. Who has the energy to express empathy and speak calmly when you’re just so darn tired? It’s so much easier to focus on the clock and hope 8 o’clock ticks by fast enough.
Choose to turn a bad day around
It was during one of those times, when I was willing the clock to hurry (“How is it only 5:30?!”) that I caught myself. I saw myself frustrated and swept into the currents of a bad day instead of trying to swim to calmer waters.
I assumed because most of the day had been rough up to that point, that the rest would be just as bad. I’d already given up the chance to even try to turn things around. I instead allowed the past several hours to dictate how the remaining few would turn out.
How bleak to have given up hope instead of seeing where the rest of the day might take us. To plop onto your bed frustrated and spent, only to regret the way you acted.
It’s never too late
That day, I stepped back and started from scratch, even at the already late hour of 6pm. When my two-year-old got frustrated with a toy, I didn’t dismiss his emotions. I acknowledged how upset he must have felt.
When his twin brother threw the heavy toy truck, I didn’t yell. I managed to redirect him to the more appropriated soft ball instead.
And when my eldest took his time getting dressed, I found something more productive to do than rush him.
And guess what: the more in-tune I felt with my kids, the more compliant my kids were in return. We feed off of one another’s emotions, good or bad. When I chose good, the downward spiral stopped. Changing my mindset to a more positive one salvaged the rest of the day.
I still felt tired as can be, but the energy returned was much more positive. It’s difficult not to succumb to the wave of a bad day. I still look at that clock, especially when I want some quiet time to read, hop on the computer, use the restroom.
But when I catch myself getting upset, I remind myself it’s never too late to turn a bad day into a good one.
Get more tips on how to overcome a bad day:
- 6 Ideas to Pull Yourself Out of a Bad Parenting Day
- Parenting Tip: Be More Carefree
- You’re Not Alone: Parenting Bloggers Don’t Always Follow Their Own Advice Either
- How to Change Bad Habits Effectively
- How I Failed as a Mom… and Why It Wasn’t as Bad as I Thought
Your turn: How do you cope with a bad day? What are the triggers that set your day with the kids down a negative path? What reminders do you tell yourself to stay positive? Let me know in the comments!
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