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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bad Days

Even PAHM moms have grouchy times, or at least I do. One particularly long-lasting grouchy spell I thought would never end. And while I tried to be mindful of my responses and presence, I was still anything but fun. Honestly, it took all my energies to say "yes" and take deep breaths. Afterall, who wants to make big messes and dance around in circles when they don't feel good? I didn't fake it; kids "can smell a lie like a fart in a car," and I didn't want to complicate the already full emotional static in the air. I told Addi I wasn't feeling well, I engaged when I could, and I set up invitations: playdough, cooking, painting and finally a watercolor invitation that became a foot-mixing project - LOL

Yes, you can stand in the bowl

I set them up to both engage my emotionally responsive daughter and distract her from my mood. While she happily engaged in the invitations, she also checked in with a smile or an exclamation "look at this one, mama!" or a simple hug. Surely this beautifully intelligent child could pull me out of my mood? I wanted desperately for it to happen, but the more I resisted my mood the further I seemed to fall into my dark hole. Then while packing some boxes I came across a book I read this summer, "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv. It was just the reminder I needed of the healing powers in nature. So I stopped setting up play invitations and took Addi to the woods...

Yes, you can hike in a sundress

 She took her jacket off and RAN, stepping over rocks and roots and falling trees and calling out, "c'mom!" I ran along, a smile finding its way to my lips. She found her way to the stream, took her shoes and socks off, and waded into the water. She found sticks to throw and rocks to upturn as she looked for salamanders and crawdads.

Yes, you can take wade in the creek.

She stopped to sit on a log and look at the sunlight streaming through the trees saying, "let's sit and rest." She watched her furry sister TJ and asked, "what's she looking for?" I asked what she thought, then watched her think, both of us with smiles. She suggested TJ was just enjoying being in the woods and creek, "just like us!" she exclaimed.

Yes TJ, you can explore without your leash

While this wasn't a complete cure for whatever was ailing me at the time, I did find some genuine laughter as I raced through the woods singing songs with my fully engaged daughter. That evening I reflected on my somewhat lightened mood and knew the clouds were lifting. The combination of nature and my daughter helped me to once again find laughter and connection. I hope to remember this sooner next time.

I don't know what the overall message is here. Maybe there are several - don't beat yourself up for having negative emotions? Give yourself compassion? Remember the power of nature to recharge and reconnect? All parents have bad days? Maybe all of them. But I thought I'd share and hope you find something for yourself. -ab


  1. Such an important reminder that we need nature as much as our kids. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing honestly and not making it a neatly-wrapped package. :)

  3. after reading about amazing activity after amazing activity here (which i love), it is refreshing to hear that not every day is perfect. thanks for your honesty.

  4. I'm loving this post. I love reading this blog and get such great ideas from it but you all seem like supermoms who ALWAYS have it all together and it's nice to know you're human too.

  5. Yay, I'm with the Triplett Family on this one! It's always such a relief to read human posts once in a while amongst all the "wow we're just so cute and amazing, and so ON all the time" blogs. It's not such a bad thing to have an off day, but it is so easy to beat yourself up over it, particularly when everyone else seems to be so normal and happy. Thank you for your honesty and for reminding me to get outside on those days :)

  6. Thanks for sharing your feelings. I also have days like that and I can't help feeling awful for not being 100 per cent with my daughter all day, at all times. Furthermore, I agree with the previous comments, we all need to read about moms not being so perfect as they usually are. Taking a deep breath is what usually works for me as a first hand resource.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing so openly and honestly! It is soooooo nice to hear that you girls have tough times too, it does always appear that everything is so together all the time with you and if I ever have a rough day I feel so awful about it afterwards as I know I am better and bigger than that and shouldn't allow my emotions to take over when it comes to my precious children. I also have to remember that I am human and perfectly flawed as we all are and to be as kind and forgiving with myself as I am with my children. Thank you for letting us know you are "human" too and have rough times also! Not that I am happy that you had to go through that yourself, but it certainly makes others know it is okay to have a bad day sometimes and not to let it consume us. Thank you! xx

  8. Sorry I'm posting on this post but wanted to do it so you'd maybe see it. What exactly do you mean by "the invitation"? I see it mentioned when you set something up.

  9. I loved this post. Thank you for your honesty and reminder of... well, it all.

    Sorry if this is not the right place to ask this (I couldn't find another way to contact you), but I was wondering if you would be willing to guest post this on my blog: http://blog.kidletoccupation.com/index.php
    I am starting a "Just for Moms Mondays" feature, and this fits in so well.

    (Btw, my husband and I both snickered at your "smell a lie" comment. lol.)

  10. this was beautiful! truly. "honesty is the best policy" this is my first time on your blog, but I will be a faithful reader from now on because this is exactly what I needed to hear...or read.

  11. Thank you for this. As mom's we tend to forget to hug ourselves. Hugs to you.

  12. I try my best to follow my kids ques, but honestly, sometimes I just have to say no. I have to admit I would have said no to the standing in the bowl. Your better than I. 8-)

  13. I couldn't agree more with what Bec said. I have bad days and its refreshing to see that other moms I look to, do too. I hope you're feeling better *hugs*


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