A bad day doesn’t make you a bad parent

A bad day doesn’t make you a bad parent

Everyone has bad days. Parents, children, teenagers, wealthy people, healthy people, singletons, the ones in happy marriages and every single other person who walks the earth. Bad days are, unfortunately, just a part of life. I had a bad day today. A really really bad day. It was one of those kind of days where you feel like drawing the curtains tightly shut, creeping back into bed and cocooning yourself from the world, along with all it’s frustrations and complications, in the safety of your warm soft duvet. Sometimes you have a choice whether to wallow in the hard times or muster some strength from within and move towards a better place. If you struggle with depression, sometimes it feels like that choice is cruelly being kept just out of reach, instead your mind keeps you captive in your house, convincing you leaving and breathing fresh air is pointless. Today I wallowed, I let mum guilt consume me for not being a fun mum for Alex and I had a cry, a rare phenomenon since I started on anti depressants. When I have bad days, times where my mood has a direct impact on the kind of day my kids have too, I end up feeling like the worst parent in the world. Well, amongst all the negative fog occupying my mind today, an epiphany managed to burst through – a bad day doesn’t make me a bad mum!

A bad day doesn’t make you a bad parent 

I should  explain why I had such a rubbish day. I am not sure if there is a single aspect of my life that is to blame or if it is just a culmination of lots of difficult circumstances we are experiencing at the moment, along with the usual anxiety and depression that, no matter how many times I tell it to, just doesn’t want to part with me yet. I didn’t get much sleep last night, the kids slept through but  I awoke around 2am and just lay awake for hours. Alex is teething so that’s not exactly fun and home life in general is seriously stressful right now; there’s stuff going on with Oli’s job that is making the future look pretty scary and uncertain. All of these things combined created a perfectly mixed cocktail of worries for my anxious mind to binge on, my negative thoughts shouting louder than normal, just like a drunk trying to get the bartenders attention in a noisy pub. It’s too crowded in my brain right now, stress has been able to take back the reigns and, today, the only way I could deal with it all was by staying inside, pulling the curtains tightly shut and cocooning myself (and Alex) in bed.

It didn’t take long for me to start feeling guilty. I had planned to take Alex to soft play, to maybe make Play Doh with him and to go for a walk to the playground. Instead, here was my toddler, sitting on the living room floor playing with his toys, being coaxed into a midday bubble bath with me and then, when he woke from his nap, encouraged to come and snuggle in bed with me for another hour. I felt so very guilty. I was stressed and unhappy and I was, unintentionally, taking it out on my baby boy by keeping him cooped up all day. This kid of mine is full of energy and staying indoors with him for a whole day, well, it is only going to end with the both of us feeling grumpy.

bad day baby in woods

I started telling myself that we should get out of bed and get up around 2pm, by the time an hour had past I managed to peel myself from the bed that, for today at least, felt like a safety net from the world. I got dressed, massaged some dry shampoo in my hair, coated my eyelashes is some mascara and took Alex and I off into the woods. I had spent the whole day feeling rubbish and allowing mum guilt to take hold and I realised it was time for me to take charge again. We were in the woods within 2 minutes and the effect the fresh air and the magic of mother nature had on my mood was almost instantaneous.

As I watched Alex run around, picking up sticks and inspecting the trees with the curious twinkle only found in a child’s eyes, my epiphany struck, bellowing above all the worries and smashing my negative train of thought to pieces. Yes, I had a bad day. Yes, I stayed in my pyjamas with matted hair and eyes brimming with tears for hours. Yes, my plans for a day of fun with my toddler came crumbling down all thanks to my low mood but, guess what? Alex was happy. He ran amongst the trees, his arms swishing around above his head, his eyes alight with excitement and a big smile plastered on his face. As he kept turning to me with his arms in the air, opening and closing his little fists in a plea for me to pick him up, I could tell that this boy of mine loves me no matter what. Just because I had a bad day, that doesn’t mean I am a bad parent. Crunching through the forest floor, with my happy baby on my hip, I felt like anything but a bad mother. I breathed in the fresh air, soaked in the beautiful woodland scenery and apologised to myself for giving myself such a hard time.

bad day

We all have bad days. Sometimes we might shout at the kids too much, we might mess something up at work or let a friend down. There are those days where it just feels like the whole world is against you and the occasions where, no matter how hard you try, everything just seems to go wrong. We all have bad days but it is important to be kind to ourselves when we do. You are not a bad mum if you lost your patience with the kids, let them eat fish fingers for tea or allowed the little ones to watch Cbeebies while you had a sneaky hot cup of tea in the kitchen. Similarly, you are not a bad person for allowing life to get on top of you and spending a day letting yourself just feel every negative emotion, instead of putting up the usual fight. Just as a bad day doesn’t make you a bad parent, neither does a bad week, month or year. Life is complex and though it may be full of lots of incredible highs and truly joyous times, inevitably there are some difficult roads thrown in to every persons journey too. Don’t let your bad days define who you are.

You’re not a bad parent, you just had a bad day. We all have bad days, remember?

Do you struggle with mum guilt when you have a difficult day? How do you cope when you feel like life is too stressful? Would love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments below.

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A bad day doesn't mae you a bad parent. An honest blog post about bad days, mum guilt and how to help yourself to feel better.

 

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30 Comments

  1. March 17, 2018 / 8:55 am

    Some days I feel like this: no energy, bad temper. I just don’t want to parent and want to hide in my bed. And I feel guilty too. But it is only a day. Not every day. So i think we are so much harder on ourselves than we should be #thesatsesh

  2. March 17, 2018 / 10:18 am

    It sounds to me like your very hard on yourself. We all have these days and you definitely don’t sound like a ‘bad’ Mum to me. It’s amazing what a bit of fresh air can do isn’t it. Keep up the good work #thesatsesh
    Five in the hive recently posted…Babies first steps – Look who’s walking!My Profile

  3. March 17, 2018 / 8:56 pm

    You are being far too hard on yourself. Single bad things don’t get me down but a culmination of a number of things makes me feel very much the same. You are not a bad Mim!

  4. Jenny
    March 18, 2018 / 9:20 am

    So so true. With twin toddlers I assure you bad days happen to all of us and sometimes the best cure is staying in your pjs!!

  5. March 18, 2018 / 9:58 am

    It’s good that you are aware that no-one is perfect or expected to be. Also that it’s ok not to be ok.

  6. March 18, 2018 / 10:44 am

    Some cute and lovely pictures here. I think this is really important for parents to remember – we all make mistakes and aren’t perfect but do a great job most of the time. Focus on the good days!

  7. Ger ( It's Me & Ethan)
    March 18, 2018 / 10:51 am

    Aw bless you , it’s such a hard job being mammy . Having a bad day is completely normal. You are doing great even on your off days xxx

  8. March 18, 2018 / 11:30 am

    Such an honest post and you are completely right that a bad day definitely doesn’t make you a bad mum. It’s hard when you are feeling low and you still have children to look after. I struggle a lot with the mum guilt thing and often doubt myself. I think sometimes we are our own worst critics. A midday bubble bath and snuggles with Mummy might not be what you had planned but I think that sounds like a lovely day. I’m glad you managed to find the strength to get out the house. I was feeling similar last week but a few hours at a local nature reserve on Friday with my littlest really helped. x
    Cardiff Mummy Says – Cathryn recently posted…My head feels like it’s about to explode from all the ‘family admin’My Profile

  9. March 18, 2018 / 11:56 am

    You are so right. We all have bad days at different ages of our lives. Abad day doesn’t mean you’re a bad Mum.

  10. March 18, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    We all have those days, trust me! Even harder when you have to be good cop and bad cop all rolled into one. Take the rough with the smooth and don’t be so hard to yourself, breathe, take 5 mins out and carry on chick xx Sim

  11. March 18, 2018 / 6:56 pm

    It sounds like a pretty good day to me – lots of cuddles and affection, a bubble bath, and even a trip out to the woods. I’m glad it ended well for you, and that you realised that you are a good parent. We all have bad days, bad weeks and months even! But we still love and care for our children, and that’s the most important thing x

  12. March 18, 2018 / 7:00 pm

    It’s a shame that we focus so much on the bad days, they stick out the most sometimes and it can taint the good days. We all have them though, it’s so important to remember that everyone, no matter how happy they might appear, has their bad days. xo

  13. March 18, 2018 / 9:29 pm

    You are so right – we are so quick to judge ourselves and to let this ‘blanket’ thinking take hold so it is good to challenge it. Well done for getting out and getting into the woods. Fresh air is like magic sometimes! #thesatsesh xx

  14. March 18, 2018 / 9:35 pm

    Yes! This is a motto I used to tell myself all the time, and that just because we had a bad day doesn’t mean that there wasn’t something good about it either. Parenting is a hard job, we need to remember how amazing we are!

  15. March 19, 2018 / 8:03 am

    This is exactly right, having a bad day doesn’t make you a bad day. But I also feel like you’re being too hard on yourself. Self care is important and if you are having a bad day, I don’t think your toddler cares either way so long as they are entertained. It’s true thatvgetting fresh air does do wonders for your mental health though , well done for getting out. I wouldn’t have haha!

  16. March 19, 2018 / 10:50 am

    I definitely struggle with Mum guilt on a bad day, as I’ve got arthritis. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in feeling this way!

  17. March 19, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    I can completely relate to this. We have all have bad days but we need to be kinder to ourselves. You’re doing an amazing job and the fact you got up and went out despite feeling so low shows that inner strength you have. I hope you can see that too xx

  18. March 19, 2018 / 11:28 pm

    I can completely understand where you are coming from on this. I tend to find several things combined quite often push me over the edge. Its normally when I have too much work on. the I chastise myself for doing it and not spending time with the kids. Sounds to me like you a great mum that took control xx

  19. March 20, 2018 / 3:46 pm

    Writing things out or talking about them with someone close and understanding helps. #THESATSESH
    Helena recently posted…How to Create Glitter EggsMy Profile

  20. March 20, 2018 / 8:18 pm

    You’re right we always judge ourselves to harshly and our kiddies love us no matter what. I’m glad the fresh air helped. It really is a miracle worker. I hope home life becomes less stressful for you soon. Xx

  21. March 21, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    I think we all have our ups and down, I just hate when I start to feel guilty about feeling guilty! As always friends and family to lean on help me tremendously.

  22. March 22, 2018 / 3:34 am

    Grief is the hardest and I guess the most common reason people wallow with their emotions. I have been there, I still wallow with the grief of losing my father and brother in such a close time

  23. March 22, 2018 / 9:38 am

    I have felt like this so many times. But you’re so right, a bad day does not make you a bad parent. I can’t even count how many times this has been me. We all need days where we just stay in our pjs and cry. But our kids are fine and they are happy. 🙂 x

  24. March 22, 2018 / 10:31 am

    I identify with this a lot. As a mum who suffers with depression the guilt can be strong. But it helps to know that you are not the only parent to feel this way X #coolmumclub
    mummy here and here recently posted…25 things to do when boredMy Profile

  25. March 22, 2018 / 1:11 pm

    This is so true. Eventually I managed to detach myself from the bad day…but it took a lot of practice to get there. Tomorrow is a new day after all…..Wise words hun for those days when everything feels like it’s going to s***! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub xoxo

  26. March 22, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    I’ve just come in from work having been at school from 7.30am to 6.30pm (don’t ask). I’ve dealt with 6 year olds all day and then I had to ‘find; my teenage son as he was somewhere in town with his girlfriend. I have just come in to a crazy house, no tea and the washing to do. This is a bad day. I feel shattered and I shouted at everyone. So yes, at this moment, I feel like the worst wife and mum in the world. But after making an omelette for everyone -my go to quick meal-I feel slightly calmer. Everyone has crappy days and that’s ok. Like you say Wendy, it doesn’t make us bad parents. I’m just hoping now that someone makes me a cuppa so the day doesn’t end badly too! #coolmumclub

  27. March 22, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    We have definitely all been there lovely – yesterday I was a totally rubbish Mum and after the kids were in bed I felt awful about my excessive yelling and lack of patience. We learn a little from those days though, and after all, the kids are allowed off days – so are we!
    Thanks for being so open and honest, and for linking up to #coolmumclub x
    MMT recently posted…#CoolMumClub Linky Week 96My Profile

  28. March 22, 2018 / 10:05 pm

    So true 🙂 I always tell myself that however bad today has been, we’ve all survived and tomorrow will be better. 🙂

  29. March 28, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    I would say lack of sleep has A LOT to answer for – it can over shadow everything and distort things and make little things into big things. I would also say that as a stay-at-home mum you’re there and engaged with your children and responding to their needs – like you did in this case – which is priceless even if you’re not in the best mood or mindset #coolmumclub
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…5 baby mattress rules you shouldn’t ignoreMy Profile

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