Mommin’ ain’t easy. You know it, I know it, the neighbor that can hear you yelling from across the street knows it. Some days are light and airy, with snuggles and perfect Instagram pictures filled with natural light. It’s like the world sees all the hard work you’re putting into your family and decides to throw you a little party. Other days, you wake up with a dark, moody cloud over you and the kids. It seems you’ve taken a few giant steps back on all the routines and behaviors you’ve been working so hard to set.
The kids are bored. They’re moody. They’re fighting. Tempers are hot. Feelings are hurt.
I’ve had so many days like this. Days when I’ve reached my personal breaking point long before lunch, or even the end of my twice-reheated coffee to be honest. I’ve felt completely defeated thinking about how hard I pushed to be home with the kids more, and here I was blowing it. I’ll say it, I’ve had moments on these not-so-Instagramable days when I wonder if the kids would be happier at daycare, where their routine is perfectly predictable.
It wasn’t until we had dug into a particularly deep hole one Monday morning that I had an epiphany.
I’m steering this ship.
I’m at the wheel here. I’m “Mom.” I’m (gasp) an adult. I literally looked around my house at the mess and the moody, crying kids and realized that no one was going to swoop in and save the day. No one was going to notice my pity party and turn a key to change things for me. It was just, me. The rest of the world was busy with their own day, and I was solely in charge of how the rest of ours would go. I knew if I didn’t act at that moment, we were just going drag on down our same, miserable path. So I made a move. It took effort on my part, and a little “fake it til you make it” magic. But lo and behold, I manually reset our day. I couldn’t believe it.
So I began working on my bag of tricks for days like this. Because it doesn’t matter how many parenting books I read or meals I prep (cough, I don’t do much of either of those, cough) these days are just going to happen. Here are 4 ways I turn the day around when no one’s going to do it for me:
Hit the floor
I’ve found that I hit my breaking point most often when I’m trying to accomplish something (housework, a quick work email, a phone call.) When I’m lose-my-mind mad at my little people, I stop what I’m doing and get down on the floor with them. Even if they’re being rude, they’re fighting when I told them not to, they’re acting like jerks. What they need is my attention, my presence. I lay down right there on the living room carpet and ten seconds later they’re on top of me. It’s pretty hard to be angry when I smell their baby hair and feel the weight of their tiny bodies on mine. Giggles usually follow.
Dance your face off
Nothing like some endorphins to pick everybody up. When we’re overly tired and majorly whiny, I turn up the music and start dancing like I’ve lost my mind. At first, the kids just stare, and sometimes my oldest even begs me to stop (it is my honor and privilege to embarrass you, beautiful child). But by the end, we’re all dancing to our heart’s content. Toddler dancing can boost even the heaviest of moods.
Just add water
I wish I knew the source of this infinite wisdom. I’ve heard it mentioned here and there, and it’s held so very true for my kids. When there’s trouble, just add water. Slow down and get a drink. Help mom with the dishes. Take a warm bath. Wash the car as a family. Play in the sprinkler. There’s something so simple and therapeutic about H20. It seems to have magic powers to reset us when we’re in a funk.
Change the scenery
When all else fails, get out of the house. This one is my absolute go to, hands down. Take a walk. Take a drive. Run an errand. Go get a coffee or swing by the Target. Drive to a park you’ve never been to before. Yes, there’s effort required to get cranky kids out of the house, but it changes our mood almost every time. There’s something about a change of scenery and change of the air everyone’s breathing that’s so good for the soul. Many, many times we’ve gotten in the car with nowhere to go, but off we went.
Moral of this story, it’s never too late to change the tone of your day. When you feel the day swallowing you, don’t forget this: You’re the captain of this ship. Wash your face, get some coffee, and show your babies that they can come back from any moment, mood, or mistake. They’re looking to you, mama.