When Mom has a bad day it can show what kids are made of. No?
We’ve all had really bad days. (Aren’t they fun? Ha. Yeah right.) I had a real doozy recently and was pretty much counting the hours for when I could legitimately go to sleep and end said ‘really bad day’ once and for all. Nothing life-threatening happened, everyone was safe, but it was one of those days that went freewheeling downhill from the moment I woke up. I blame Friday the 13th. (Because it was Friday the 13th…)
Keep in mind, I’m usually not one to say an entire day is ‘bad’ — I tend to brainwash myself into bouncing back from life’s dips and curves on account of just recognizing things bad ‘moments’ (rather than whole days). But like I said, this day was a doozy. It was like a bad moment after another after another… like that.
The day kicked off with a morning argument with someone I’m very close to (I’ll never tell who, so use your imagination: my husband, my sister, my mom, my friend), about a topic that seems to resurface it’s ugly head repeatedly. I then dropped my girls at their schools… and subsequently cried upon saying ‘hi’ to a mom in the parking lot on account of being already emotionally spent at 9am. The day then continued to provide more disappointments via email and a significant misunderstanding with someone I’m working with on a special project for my book (my heart and soul these day). And then there was my lack of sleep from the two nights before that colored the whole day into a tailspin of mental and emotional sedation on another level.
Feeling broken, deflated, frustrated and just plain cranky and mad, I picked up my girls from their schools that afternoon and carted us all straight to one of those loud indoor play places so they could run and jump and climb like wild puppies while I sat in the corner with my laptop to try and spin the remainder of my day into something positive and productive.
My big plan to bounce back didn’t work. (Dammit. And here I’m supposed to be an authority on resilience through parenting?!?!) I was fighting a fabulous fight, but my efforts were not yielding results. The barrage of noise from the indoor play place was starting to wear on me. We packed it up.
We all went home. I started making dinner. As I stood at my counter and chopped the red bell peppers to toss into the corn salad I was making, I just stared crying. I am done with this day. Tears dropped out of my eyes and onto the cutting board. I tried to keep it quiet. My girls noticed me from the floor — they were happily drawing pictures while mommy was chopping vegetables and having a meltdown.
My 6 year old went first. “Mommy, why are you crying?” she stood up, came straight to me and put her arms around me. I bent down to the floor. The little one (the 4 year old — almost 5) followed suit, getting up from her spot and shuffling to me to throw her arms around me too. I was a little shocked how swiftly they reacted to my emotional scene — they were like small women, rallying to support one of their own. Three emotional women sitting on the kitchen floor, hugging each other.
“I’m not having a very good day today,” I told them. “You girls have been so good, but I’ve had a hard time with some friends today. And sometimes it just makes you feel better when you cry, right?” I explained just enough to make them know that I was not crying because of anything to do with them. They understood. Their little arms wrapped around me tighter and squeezed more.
“Don’t worry Mommy, everything will turn out okay,” said the 4 (almost 5) year old. I almost busted up laughing when the words came out of her mouth. “We’re here for you,” my big one chimed in.
And then I laughed. Who are these women?!?
“I feel better now. You girls are the best. Thank you!” And then I stood up and started rolling our enchiladas for dinner. They went back to drawing. I really did feel better.
And that was that. Because moms need to cry too sometimes, and it’s okay if our kids see it. And, your meltdown might just show you the type of small people they really are… which can feel fabulous.