This article came about after a morning that ran as follows…
The baby would. not. sleep.
As the baby grizzled, the preschooler descended into a 40-minute tantrum about the socks she was wearing; apparently she really, really needed to be wearing the socks her brother was wearing. Meanwhile, her brother had grabbed a carton of milk off the bench. It then ricocheted off the floor, sending milk everywhere.
No use crying over spilt milk, right? Well, there is when it is dripping off the ceiling.
Once I had changed the toddler into dry, milk-free clothes, we attempted to go for a walk (to the shop for milk, because no milk meant no coffee for Mum). Mr Toddler Milk Man then proceeded to tantrum on the driveway because I dared asked him to use his own legs to walk.
I wish I could pretend that such a morning was a freakish, one-off event caused by planetary actions. Unfortunately, that would be a lie.
I have many mornings where it feels as though things and moods are spinning out of control, kind of like a Small Kid Snowball Effect — and then the vicious chatter inside my head starts.
“The day is well and truly falling apart. You may as well give up now. Is it nap time yet? You should have just given her the socks. Why didn’t you try and put the baby to sleep earlier? What was the milk doing so close to the edge of the bench?”
When that chatter starts, I know it’s time for something I like to call a “circuit-breaker.” Something that can help shift moods, shift my thoughts and help me regain control of my day.
Here are five ways I get back on top of a Bad Mum Day when it feels as though things are completely falling apart.
1. Shake It Off
Tay-Tay was onto something. Music and cheesy dancing are an instant mood-booster.
When the bad moods are in full Snowball Effect, I put on some tunes, turn the volume up and bust some moves. All those schmaltzy greeting cards are right — sometimes you’ve just got to get your groove on and dance like nobody is watching.
Alternatively, I’m also a big fan of the old Car Karaoke session. After a fraught preschool drop-off last week, I got in the car, turned the radio up and belted out some power ballads. Other drivers may have been slightly alarmed, but I instantly felt better.
2. Get Outside
You can never underestimate the power of a change in scenery. Sure, sometimes it can be an absolute battle getting everybody out of the house (Driveway tantrum, anybody?), yet I’m always thankful for how a bit of fresh air and a hit of sunshine can really turn things around.
3. Embrace the Silly (AKA ‘Fake It Till You Make It’)
When you’re in the thick of a Bad Mum Morning, I know that acting like a goofball may be the last thing you feel like doing, but sometimes having a laugh is just what is needed to break the tension and dispel the bad vibes.
We embrace the silly at ours by talking in funny voices, making up our own language or “running around like maniacs.” (This is a game devised by the preschooler that simply involves running around the living room making loud noises.)
4. Get Creative
You know when you’re in a stressful situation and people advise you to “just breathe”? I mostly want to poke these well-meaning people in the eye with a fork when they advise that. (Not very zen of me at all.)
I’m well aware that connecting to your breath, and just slowing down, can help to centre you. To do this, I find a way to connect with my kids through being creative. It’s often something as simple as all of us sitting down at the table with paper and pencils. As we sit and draw and chat, we reconnect, our breathing slows and we’re ready to move on.
5. Scroll through your photos
Looking back over joyful memories can help to release lots of feel-good hormones into your system. So, even if your child is screaming like a banshee at this very moment, you can at least recall their more angelic, less-banshee moments and know that this will pass.
And if all else fails, I’m a passionate advocate for coffee and cake.