When I sat down at the kitchen table this morning, I felt good. I knew I had some small plans and errands today, but the sun was shining, it was warm enough out to crack a window, and I was playing a good station on Spotify. (Indie Chill >> Covers if you were wondering) I made myself a cup of coffee and sat at the computer while Ryan ate some dried fruit in his jumpy. Instead of doing worky-things, I chose to peruse Forever 21 for some cute spring and summer clothes. And the everything went to hell.
It wasn’t just one thing. Cooper ate the last two baby pancakes I was defrosting off the counter while I changed a diaper. I stubbed my toe THREE times and slammed elbow on a corner. I forgot my sourdough starter was hanging out in the oven and turned the oven on to heat up the (now gone..) pancakes. Both Ryan and Cooper are in very weird, needy moods. The cat started to shred a roll of paper towels. There was an ant in the her food bowl. As I type this watching Ryan eat breakfast, he is essentially smashing it and pushing it off his tray, eating little to nothing.
What do you do when you’re having the kind of morning that makes you yearn for bedtime before 9 AM even hits?
These days happen to all of us. I’m sure as you are reading this, you are thinking about your last one. The mornings that never end. The afternoons where we look to our child’s nap as if it was water in a desert. The evenings where you hit all of the traffic in the world coming home only to realize you forgot to plug in the slow cooker that morning. The day when you want to crawl up in a ball and fall fast asleep just so you can start the day fresh.
As a mom, the option of taking a nap or doing something quick and relaxing to “restart” my day is no longer an option. Before Ryan was born, I would either sit and watch trashy TV for an hour or take a nap and when it was over, I felt better and my day felt new. But now I have a little boy relying on me to kiss his boo-boos and pay him attention and make him breakfast. And I love it and him so much, but when I’m having a morning where my chest feels like a vice from the anxiety of a bad morning, the love bites and (HARD) pinches on my legs in conjunction with screams and tears can just make my stress level skyrocket. So what do you do? How do you salvage a day when the wrong turn can make it plummet even further?
Recognize the source. Due to the fact that he has been drooling, biting everything in sight and refusing all but his favorites at breakfast, I’m pretty sure Ryan’s going through a rough patch of teething. Cooper was in the house alone for the better part of yesterday and is probably feeling a little cooped up. To be very transparent, I’m PMSing so everything feels exaggerated. Making a decision on “why” things are happening makes them easier to handle. I gave Ryan a cold, peeled carrot which seems to be helping, and I let Cooper play in the yard with a promise to play some frisbee during Ryan’s nap. We have a fenced in yard and I have accepted that sometimes I have to force Cooper outside (where he has bones, toys, water and shelter) every once in a while for my own sanity.
Rationalize. A stubbed toe and a ruined sourdough starter are small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. The cat tearing up some paper towels is honestly a little funny when it’s an isolated incident. A baby who wants little more than momma time is a gift when you realize your son turns 1 next month and the baby days are numbered. Looking at things from a different angle and through less stressed eyes makes concerns feel small.
Barter. I know I have a trip to Target on the agenda for today, so I have promised myself a treat as a prize at the end of the tunnel. I am not above bribery. Bartering with myself to make it through and get stuff done is one of my favorite ways to persevere.
Stick through it. Just get through it. It will not last forever. (This is my mantra.) Make a new cup of coffee, change the Spotify station to something more upbeat, have a dance party with the baby and get through it. Nap time is coming. The traffic will clear. You can always go out and grab a pizza.
Breath deep. Seems basic and silly, but I close my eyes and take three or four deep breaths and center myself. Each time, let your fresh breath get a little deeper. Clear out all of your stressed breath and refill with clean, positve air. I know this sounds so hippy-dippy, as my dad would call it, but just it a try. My college counselor taught me this and it always helps me see things with fresh eyes.
I’m pretty prone to anxiety, so mornings like this really can ruin my day if I let them. Sure, I can’t always think or breath or bribe my way out of a bad day, but I sure can try.
What are your go to ways to recover a bad day? Do you go the take a nap and restart route, or do you have some other way to get over the hump? Let me know in the comments!
edited to add: I am linking this post up to Running With Spoons’ Thinking Out Loud. Just found this and I LOVE the idea. SO perfect when I wrote this post this morning as a train of thought post.