It starts with a feeling of panic, sometimes mixed with extreme irritability. You’re stressed out, touched out, and one more “no” from a toddler or kiddo yelling “Mom!” might make you explode. You woke up on the wrong side of the bed, probably because you woke up with a foot in your face if your children crawl into your bed at night (or still sleep next to you). You’ve barely been up for an hour and can already tell the coffee isn’t strong enough. It’s the start of a bad mom day.
Trust me, we all have bad mom days. Days when we’re frustrated, grumpy, and feel like we can’t take it anymore. Many things can trigger them. Like maybe you haven’t had a break in a while. Or maybe your baby is teething, so you didn’t sleep much last night (or the night before). The one thing bad mom days have in common is they usually come with a heavy dose of guilt. After we’ve overreacted or gotten frustrated with our kids, we wonder if we’re the only one who makes mistakes as a parent. But bad mom days happen to the best of us. And just because you have a bad day doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom.
What is a Bad Mom Day?
Seasoned moms can recognize a bad mom day from a mile away. They’re the days when you miss the mark. You might have raised your voice when you should have been patient. Or you spent too much time staring into your phone when you should have been present. We all parent a little differently, but we also know our own standards and can tell when we’ve had an off day.
A bad mom day can happen when you let your emotions get the best of you. When you have pent-up frustration, it may eventually come bubbling to the surface. Whether it comes out in your tone of voice or your attitude, it will come out. No matter what causes them, bad mom days happen.
You’re Still a Good Mom
Sometimes our children have bad days. On days when they wake up grumpy, nothing seems to cheer them up. Sometimes they misbehave and don’t listen to us the first, second, or even third time. But even when they struggle, we gently tell them mistakes are part of growing up and learning how to improve. When our children have bad days, we don’t believe they’re bad children. So why do we think we’re bad moms when we have bad days?
It’s easy to think that children can make mistakes but that we adults shouldn’t be allowed to. We should know better, right? But being a parent is tough, and we don’t always have it figured out. Like our kids, sometimes, we’re also learning. Instead of believing that being a great parent means being perfect, we can use our bad days as teaching moments. When you show your little ones it’s okay to mess up if we apologize and make it right, you’re helping them feel safe when they screw up.
Especially when you’re a new mom, you may feel like you mess up frequently or at least find yourself in a place where you don’t know what to do. But seasoned parents have bad days too, and each phase comes with new challenges.
Whether in the newborn or toddler phase, you might not always know what to do or how to deal with challenging parenting moments. That’s okay. It’s not the number of bad mom days that determines how great of a mom you are; it’s how you handle them.
How to Get Past the Negative Feelings
If you’ve had a bad mom day, own your mistakes, and apologize. Honestly, apologizing to our kids and admitting we were wrong can feel scary. But there’s beauty in that. When we admit we were wrong, it sets a positive example for them and gives them the confidence to admit when they’re wrong, too. After you’ve apologized, work on reconnecting with your kiddos and spend time being present with them. Give them lots of hugs and cuddles.
Bad mom days can sometimes feel like they multiply. When you have an off day, it rolls into the next day, over and over, until you’ve had a bad mom week. The best thing you can do to prevent this is to know how to stop bad mom days in their tracks.
Of course, there will be times when we have bad days, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them, but sometimes you can sense a bad day coming and realize it’s time for a reset. When you start to feel the beginning of a bad mom day, find a moment alone if you can. Take some deep breaths and do something you find calming. Examine how you feel to get to the root cause of your frustration instead of letting it fester. Even when you make a mistake, it’s not too late to restart your day and redirect.
Don’t let anyone’s social media feed fool you — we all have bad mom days. They happen more frequently when we forget we’re human and must care for ourselves.