I think some of my hardest days on this little planet called earth have been days home alone with my kids. Not because anything tragic happened. Not because we were put in danger. But because my heart, my hormones, even my body was just not cooperating and did not feel capable of being a parent that day.
Have you ever taken a sick day when you weren’t technically sick? You didn’t have a fever and you had no symptoms, but you felt empty, or sad, or simply done and had nothing to give that day. You spent the day in bed to just heal. Your heart needed to heal, or maybe your spirit. Your energy needed a reset. Have you ever had one of those days?
In parenting, there are no sick days. Whether you’re desperately sick and vomiting into the toilet or simply don’t have the wherewithal to just BE or DO anything, the parenting must go on. One of the hardest things for me is parenting when my spirit feels broken. The minutes feel like hours, my energy is zapped and I feel like a black hole of emotion. I look for anything as an opportunity to cry. Every spill, tantrum or fall is a reason to resign myself as a failure. I want to quit for the day, tell my boss to eff off and see if I still have a job to go back to tomorrow. But it doesn’t work like that. Not when your work is as a stay-at-home mom.
Yesterday I had a bad day. I felt melancholy, alone, and hopeless. I wanted nothing more than to just go back to bed. Maybe I could hide under the covers and sleep this feeling of depression and emptiness away. I thought about who I could spring my kids onto. I wished there was an on-demand daycare where I could drop them off. I couldn’t handle this day. Evening felt like a lifetime away.
I felt sorry for myself. I felt sorry for my kids. I cried.
But you know what? I got through it. I ate healthy. I slept hard. And today? Today I feel good again. I got that skip back in my step. I see the gleam in my kids’ eyes and my heart flutters again. I feel energized, and ready to seize the day.
The bad days are the worst. There’s no getting around it. They’re ugly and cruel and hostile. But the good days…. oh. There are no words. Those are the days of cuddles. Of smiles. Of giggles that make your heart want to explode into a million pieces. Days where you appreciate all you have, and you feel complete. Like everything you’d hoped for your whole life has accumulated into this single moment of contentment. Do you know that feeling? Those are the days where the tantrums don’t break you, and the spills don’t send your blood coursing through your veins in fury. You can conquer the world, and still have dinner ready by 6 p.m. Olivia Pope would say, “It’s handled.”
While I will never get used to the bad days, I appreciate knowing they’re only temporary. Sometimes knowing that is exactly what I need to endure to bedtime. Because a bad day means it can only go UP from here. And in parenting, the sky is the limit in just how amazing UP feels.