Yesterday was one of those days. A rough mommy day. We’ve all had them. One of those days when you feel put upon, underwater, exhausted. A day when your temper is a little quicker, your patience a bit shorter. You know it. The day when you can’t seem to get ahead of your emotions, and you snap too quick, maybe say things you don’t mean, maybe raise your voice louder than you intended. Yesterday was one of those days.
I know myself. My introverted, Scorpio self. Stay at home mommyhood and I are good friends, until the moment when I can’t take a second more of being around people. When my need for solitude has been thoroughly sacrificed, and I have no more compromise to give. I know myself, and I know what to expect. So yesterday was one of those days.
There was no particular trigger. We woke up, too late in the day for normal people, but not really for us. I made eggs, spinach, and grits, while the big kid made fruit kebabs for everyone. We all made plates, varied for our particular tastes. Normal stuff. But I was irritated. I can’t really explain why; there was no exact reason. The big kid asked for a cheese quesadilla, and I was annoyed. I mean, this is par for the course for him, it’s just kind of who he is, but *seriously, I just cooked food for everyone, and now you want something else, what are you talking about?!* And when I wanted to make dinner, there was just not enough eggs, so I thought of something else to make, and there was no basil and *what the heck, why don’t we have anything in this house?!* I went to take a long shower, because that’s my quiet place but *omg, why does this kid keep running in and out of the bathroom, this is not a play place, can’t I have 2 minutes to myself?!* Then I went to grab a dress and *did this hanger just break?! just like that?!* Yes, one of those days.
I used to beat myself up about these days. I used to feel awful, like a failure as a mother. I would really get on myself; my inner judge would go to work. What is your problem? You have wonderful kids! You are able to stay home with them and soak up all of their awesome! You made this choice, get it together! But when has that inner judge ever been really helpful?
Other times, I would wallow in that feeling. I would create a self-portrait of myself as a martyr. Does anyone ever not want a piece of you?! How are you supposed to do everything by yourself?! Noone appreciates you! Not only was this not helpful, it was not a remotely accurate representation of our lives.
But what I’ve learned over the years is that it’s ok to have bad days, and it’s ok to be compassionate with myself in those moments. When the kids have bad days, I can show them compassion. When my husband has a bad day, I try to create space for him in that moment. Why was it so hard to do the same for myself? So I have learned to be present with my feelings, but only so long as I am working through them. I have learned to forgive myself for the moments when I spoke in anger, too sharply, too loudly. I have learned to ask for the help and support I need, because I have learned that it’s always present for me. Most importantly, I have learned who I am and what I need, so that I can work on anticipating bad days before they happen, and try to stem the coming tide in advance.
I am not perfect; there is no perfect. But I am the perfect me for my family. So even on a day like this, we ended cuddled in bed together, watching videos, reading books, meditating, and making an “even if” list. So I know that my kids will love me, even if I’m having a bad day. And they know the same is true for me.