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I’ve been thinking about writing this post all week, so of course this has been a week FULL of opportunities to turn a bad day around–meaning we’ve had our share of bad days around here. Lots of whining, lots of fighting, lots of unknowns, lots of this mama feeling overwhelmed. Are you there, too, stuck in a bad mom day?
Let’s not stay here. The days are too short to let the bad days take over. Whether it’s 8am and you’re about to lose all sanity or you’re ready to start the bedtime routine and call it done, it’s not too late to reset your bad mom day and start again.
1. Take a mommy time-out
When you’re about to lose it, just step away. Go outside, sneak away to your bedroom for a minute, go to the bathroom. Even if it means putting a show on to distract and entertain, in these moments your priority is to reset yourself. Take a breath, say a prayer, just be quiet for a moment.
In our kitchen we have a really convenient (and a bit strange) walk-in pantry + laundry room combo, but it’s actually the perfect place for me to take a mommy time-out because it has a door. There’s no lock, but my kids pretty much know that if I go in there and close the door, mama’s going to come out calmer.
We all know what it’s like to think we get a minute to ourselves in the bathroom only to see those chubby little fingers under the door. I sometimes see those little fingers under our pantry door, and I just say “Mommy will be out in a minute.”
They might wine, yell, knock, or otherwise protest your mommy time-out, but stick with it. Of course first make sure they will be safe if you remove yourself for a minute or two, but aim to train them to stay put and allow mommy one or two minutes uninterrupted.
You can sit down with them in a calm moment and explain that when mommy closes the door (insert your time-out location), mommy is ok but needs to have a couple minutes of peace and quiet. Explain that their job during these moments is to play quietly or read a book or watch a show if that’s what you choose to put on.
It’s not going to work like a charm right off the bat. It might take some time for everyone to get into the rhythm of mommy time-outs. But these moments can really serve to reset your bad mom day and give you a do-over right away.
2. Get down on the floor + make eye contact + cuddle
When emotions are running high and tempers are flaring, everyone needs to reset. You know your kids and how to best calm them down so that you can calm down, too. Sometimes it’s removing yourself for a mommy time-out, but sometimes the opposite is needed. Sometimes it’s leaving whatever task you were hoping to accomplish, your messy floors or unfolded laundry or kitchen clean up, and simply being with your kids.
What would happen if you plop down on the rug with a book and just start reading it? Will they stop the screaming and fighting and come over to where you are, to join in what you’re doing? It could be that they’re acting up and driving you absolutely crazy because they’re longing for your attention (Ouch! I’m so guilty of this).
Sit down on the floor and look them in the eyes. Say something like “We all need a reset. Let’s do (fill in the blank with what your kids are into: play with legos, read a book, build a tower of blocks, build a puzzle, etc.)
If you have cuddly kiddos whose love tanks get filled with affection, pull them close for a squeeze or a tickle attack. Laughter can have amazing affects on grumpy moods.
3. Phone a friend
It’s no wonder this was referred to as a “lifeline” on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” They knew just what a mama needs on our worst bad mom day. We need each other.
In your moments of “can’t handle” and “going crazy”, PLEASE for the love of all things good DO NOT go on Instagram or Facebook and scroll to see all your “friends” and their perfect lives and perfect pictures and perfect kids who do perfect things. Seriously, save yourself from this trap that is just waiting to eat you alive in your most vulnerable bad mom day.
This is in no way a knock on social media. I really like Instagram and post fairly often (Because: Chat Books). I go back and forth from loving facebook and swearing it off forever. But mostly I love it. This isn’t about using social media. This is about allowing social media to create discontent in you.
Related post: There’s No Such Thing as Supermom
The last thing you need when you’re having a bad day is to see everyone else’s good day. Instead, you need a trusted friend with whom you can be honest and real. Reach out. Ask if they’d lift you in prayer. Ask for help finding a new perspective or see if they can join you for an impromptu play date. Sometimes a change of scenery is needed for a reset.
4. Choose a different perspective
I’ll be honest. This isn’t a fun one or an easy one. It’s not a quick fix. Choosing a different perspective to reset a bad mom day actually takes work.
Do you ever find yourself thinking no one understands what my day is really like, or how hard I work, or how unappreciated I feel, or how tired I am, or how difficult it is to handle everything. I think these things all.the.time. I know how to throw myself a really great pity party. Except it’s absolutely no fun at my party. You would not want to come to my party.
We all know motherhood doesn’t come with vacation days, performance reviews, or raises. Raising kids is hard work. We give, and then give some more, and then when we’ve given everything we can possibly give, we are asked to give more.
But a change in perspective can transform everything. Our job becomes our calling. Our tiredness becomes our sacrifice. Our exhaustion becomes our crown. We are called to be their moms. We’re blessed to get to be with them day in and day out. We have only to be thankful for these long days that are going to become short years. This is our time, mama. Let’s reset now because really, we won’t get a do-over when they’re grown.
5. Pray for Holy Spirit help
I saved the best for last, you guys. Honestly, if all moms are super heroes (we kind of are, right?) this is 100% my super power.
A couple years ago I heard a message from a pastor that has undoubtedly helped me as a mother more than any other book or class or anything else ever has. It was a message all about how the Holy Spirit is often over-looked and not called upon in our daily life, when really it is the role of the Holy Spirit to be our constant helper.
The pastor started giving different scenarios for when you’d ask for help. After each one he very emphatically cried out, “Holy Spirit, help!” It shook me. I was not in the habit of asking for help in my hardest mom moments. But after hearing this message I started “trying it out” and I was blown away at how the power of the Holy Spirit was exactly what I need to reset my bad mom day.
Think of your very worst mom moment.
Everyone in your care is screaming at the top of your lungs. Your kids are fighting. No one is listening. Everyone is melting down. Whatever your moment might look like—put yourself there. And in that moment, utter these three words or just say them in your heart: “Holy Spirit, help”.
Time and time again I cry out and the Holy Spirit helps. An idea will pop into my head from out of nowhere on how to diffuse the situation. I’ll receive instant peace in the midst of chaos.
Here’s an example: a while back my oldest son skinned his knee, but he might have lost a limb for how hysterical he was. I tried everything I could possible think of to calm him down. I reassured…offered so many band-aids…offered an ice pack…encouraged him to be rough and tough. Nothing was calming him down.
At a complete loss, I asked the Holy Spirit for help, and I am not kidding you, in the next instant, I heard the words “Hug him.” I’m so embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t even thought of hugging him (he’s not a super affectionate kid). I listened, and hugged him, and the reaction was immediate. Total calm. No more tears. I was overwhelmed.
Reset Your Bad Mom Day with Coffee
Lastly, I wanted to throw this out there for those “last resort” kinda days. We all have them. So this is my advice because I have been there and done it: load ’em all up, put on a CD they like or a DVD if you have that fancy technology in your vehicle, and drive to your nearest Starbucks for a treat for YOU. Reset with caffeine (or no caffeine) and enjoy your contained and entertained and (hopefully) quiet children!