1. You are not allowed to define yourself as a mom based on this day. Bad days happen. A bad day doesn’t make you a horrible mom – it’s just one day in the series of days that define us as moms. So I’m repeating it – you are not allowed to attach any definition to yourself based on this bad day. No horrible mom, no mom with the screaming kids in Target that everyone stared at, no mom whose house looks like a bomb went off, no mom who wore her flannel pants to school and they were so late she had to walk in, no mom who yelled no one say mom for the next ten minutes (okay, yeah, I’ve done that), no mom who can’t keep it together — none of it. You’re being a mom. And surviving.
2. Don’t make gigantic life decisions on this day. Like cutting, coloring or doing ANYTHING with your hair. Just leave the hair alone on the bad days. When my girls were little I decided on one of those horrible toddler days that I didn’t want long hair anymore and my hair met my scissors. Yes. For real. You can paint your walls, but be pre-warned that color might not be what you love and even though brushed sage looked awesome in Home Depot your entire living room might look mint because you choose poorly based on lighting and excess caffeine. Big decisions need to be pushed aside. This also applies to what you write on Social Media. It’s not the time to announce things or to lament things. And just stay away from Amazon – even with the free shipping. I own just one too many bad day purchases. X out of Amazon now. Find the boxes and let the kids play with them instead.
3. Your own rules can be broken so you can survive. Like the media rule – sometimes Netflix is simply our friend. Or Amazon Instant Video – I know this is a dichotomy, based on our stay away from Amazon, but the exception is putting on an instant video to create an illusion of silence. Remember – rules can bend. Bedtime can happen early, ice cream for dinner is allowed and you can watch Modern Family on HULU if you want. Again, sometimes we just need to get through. Also throw out the healthy food for dinner rule. Pizza can be ordered. Popcorn or cereal works. Your goal is to get through. Not be supermom on the bad day. Save that for the awesome days.
4. Don’t believe everything you see on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram…maybe Snapchat. (I say maybe to Snapchat because I’m above 40 and I’m like a Snapchat wannabe but still can’t get myself to taking selfies, drawing with a colored pencil thing and sending it to friends. I try friends, I try.) Because chances are, on the bad overwhelming can’t seem to get it together days of motherhood the highlight reel of social media will enforce things that will make your day worse. You’ll see threads about everything controversial, the weather, the end of the world, that someone else got a Stitch fix and it all worked perfectly for them and you’ll be well, left with Ben &Jerry’s and kids upset because you followed rule three and put them to bed. And no chocolate (please see the critical note at the end regarding chocolate).
5. Know that this will be the day where all issues will come to the table. Bite your tongue. Or at least try to. Because, if you’re like me, the rational part of thinking tends to get pushed away by the other parts and things come out of my mouth where I’m like what in the world was that? So as hard as it is – try to wait. And write down this reply can we talk about that tomorrow? In fact, I think I need to practice that reply on normal days too. Hmmm….maybe that is a good thing for all of us to remember that bit of a pause. Or else I’ll be volunteering for everything, ordering from Amazon too much and will have caused a ruckus because I didn’t like something ridiculous.
6. Recognize it as a bad day. You know the book Alexander and the Horrible No Good Very Bad Day? Well, I think that book is telling kids that those kind of days are, well, normal in the trajectory of life. Sometimes I pick up my kids from school and they have had a bad day – the worst thing for me to do is to not acknowledge that part. So give yourself some grace, maybe a bad day pass, and move on. Just don’t martyr. We’re not going there. No no no martyring.
7. Know that now is just a spot in time. You’ll get through. Tomorrow will come. The mom mom mom mom cries may be getting under your skin and the coffee may be gone and the bills piling up and all of it that makes you want to scream enough! will end. And you will have a good day again. In fact, chances are if you won a million dollars and the guy showed up at your door with all those balloons that in 95% of our life cases the bad day would be fixed. Even if for a moment. Remember that. It’s just a day in the blip of days that we get to mother. And honestly, expecting that they’ll happen makes the day when it happens less horrible. We can be like, nice try bad day, I knew you were coming and well, I’ll get through.
You can do this.
Ah yes, and the critical chocolate rule for the bad days is as follows: Find the chocolate that you hid. If it’s not in emergency stash one. Look in the second spot. If it’s not there feel free to get the bittersweet cocoa powder out. Just add sugar. If that’s not there, message a friend. If that doesn’t work, feel free to now do a status update with bad day. no chocolate. send in reinforcements. If that doesn’t work, pack the kids up and get some chocolate. If that doesn’t work we need to work on our chocolate for bad days plans.
And if that doesn’t work. Do one thing that will make you happy. Just one.