Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I recently had a really frustrating day, but after I reflected on it, I realized it came with lessons.

First, I went to bed way too late and woke up way too early so right away I wasn't doing good self-care. Then I forgot to eat or drink anything before preparing 4 kids for church and going to a very long service on my own. Then I showed even worse self-care, taking my shaking self down to the church basement and feeding all of us junk doughnuts and fake orange juice. Free food and I'm starving, right? *shakes head embarrassingly*

Suddenly, it seemed all the little trying things had to happen that day, such as DS2 pooping in his underwear while we were running errands and only at that moment did I realize I forgot to refill the diaper bag. DS3 leaked all over me, heck I leaked all over me because I forgot to put my little cloth boobie pads in (granted, those little heart pads crack me up).

I forgot to turn on the slow cooker before church so lunch didn't exist when we got home. The dog found neon green playdoh under the couch and gave me a gift of diarrhea all over the floor. And so on and so forth. Realizing how the day was shaping up, I decided to call in reinforcements. I'm never above admitting the need for help! But my trusted backups were all traveling or busy for the day.

So then I made perhaps the worst decision of all: I chose to stay home for the rest of the afternoon. Now, I don't have a judgment on staying home, whatever floats your boat. It's just that not only do I hate staying home, all my kids hate it as well. And they tend to get stir crazy. We tried to play in the backyard but we basically turned into hanging pork steaks for the mosquitoes. There was also the part where DS2 grabbed a stick and tried to impale DS1, and the neighbors looked quite unapproving.

To top it all off, we missed a party at DD's favorite place. (Chuck E. Cheese, yay, not lol.) It seemed an insurmountable wall at the time to take them to a birthday party at Chuck's but after an afternoon of destroying the house and having 4 kids fighting over boobs, I regretted not going.

Then as the night dragged on, the two youngest started to get tired. So I ended up tandem nursing the youngest two for a very long time, which if you tandem nurse you might realize is tough due to the varying range of discomfort from holding two, positioning, different suckling, etc. There I was, feeling defeated, tired, bored, very touched out and like a very bad mama who had ruined everything and sucks.

Here were my two youngest, peaceful and happy
after all that tandem nursing. How do we so easily
overlook all that we do?
My husband answered his phone to hear a very incoherent, crying wife on the phone. He tried to make it all better by reminding me that I'm 4 weeks out from birth and the kids are "semi sick" (runny noses). But in my state of mind, it made me feel worse. I sat there thinking to myself that 4 weeks is only 2 weeks from 6 weeks which means I only have 2 weeks to improve before I officially don't have an excuse of giving birth. Yes, that was my thinking! And the semi-sick comment made it way worse because I've done take out and treats several times for the kids so I'm sure that's why they have crud flowing out of their noses.

So....yeah. There's my negative journal entry. I don't usually take the time to write them out because it takes enough energy simply to deal with bad days. I noticed, though, that as I wrote out my terrible day, I was able to pinpoint some important things. I stopped my self-care practices of sleeping well, having quiet time in the morning, eating well and planning for activities. Each one of those is vital and ignoring only one could have created a bad day, and I ignored all of them!

Then as I began to feel the stress, instead of slowing down to process the negative emotions and restore myself, I pressed ahead, continuing to ignore my needs until things were so bad that I fell into bad thinking patterns. I should have encouraged myself with reminders that I'm still recovering from birth and learning to care for more children. Instead I used negative self-phrases. I should have given myself a break. Instead, I beat myself up more.

How is that helpful to someone who is struggling? Isn't that part of our gentle parenting philosophy, that when a child is having a bad time and feeling bad about herself, we want to be there to restore her confidence and encourage her to keep trying? We say that when a child feels bad, he isn't going to behave well, so making him feel worse won't resolve anything. How can I promote that way of thinking for my children if I start to talk poorly about myself and neglect myself more during times of struggle?

Why is it that we as mothers are so quick to turn on ourselves when we're having a bad day? What makes us so certain that the bad day is our fault and that we are failures and that because of a few bad incidents, our children will be ruined and our motherhood card revoked?

Even as someone who rallies strongly against that cultural behavior, here I was, having a bad day and falling right into parroting all of that negativity. I had to write out my day and read it to see the bad habit right in front of me, it didn't even occur to me at the time!

Negative inner talk and disempowering scripting are sneaky critters. They creep up on us at our weakest and they get past our best intentions and defenses. One of my defenses has been to primarily concentrate on happy, positive experiences and sharing those. I think it was a good idea to share about the hard and negative experience, to shake things up and re-evaluate. Heed a warning from my experience...take care of yourself, Mama! Be gentle to yourself so that you can be gentle to your children.

And don't let the dog wander free in the house while you're gone.

Your floors were clean so I fixed that for you! You're welcome!

Related

I'm a mom and I've had enough:
http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2012/05/im-mom-and-ive-had-enough.html

You aren't good enough:
http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2012/08/you-arent-good-enough.html

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