"Those" days come for all of us, but how do you handle them? Megan Swaim offers a prayer and some tips from the trenches.
Do you ever have those days? You know the one I’m talking about: the one where you aren’t even sure it’s a different day than yesterday on account of how many times the baby was up, and after a blowout and a spilled breakfast you’ve also got a plumbing issue resulting in a minor flood which needs to be cleaned up, to the tune of the crying baby, and even though all you want is to close the door to the bathroom and leave it for your husband when he gets home, you have to clean it because you just remembered you have a big meeting at work this afternoon and the babysitter will be here in an hour and the house is a disaster and you have nothing to wear that both fits and is clean and THERE IS NOT ENOUGH COFFEE IN THE WORLD FOR THIS!!!
(Please, please, tell me you’ve been there too.)
I wish I could say that I handle those days well. But I don’t. I give up on the housework, lash out at my husband, hand him the crying baby, and then storm around the house complaining about all the things that made this the “worst day ever” … while looking for chocolate.
Have you ever sat in the quiet at the end of the day and wished for a do-over? Some nights, as I nurse or rock the baby, I whisper in her little ears, “I’m sorry, sweetie. Mommy kind of lost it today. Can we start over?” And then to my husband, through tears, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”
Sometimes I wish I had a reset button, something to take me back to the beginning and do it all over with more perspective, patience, and love.
If only that were a real thing! But there is something that produces a similar effect. I’m finding that a nightly examination of conscience (coupled, of course, with regular confession) is as close to a reset button as I’ll ever get. No, I don’t get to restart the day, but I do have the chance to examine it with a little perspective, to take an honest look at what presented itself, and more importantly, how I responded. I end with the Act of Contrition, asking for forgiveness and the grace to do better.
The key, though, is not to use this examination as a way of beating yourself up or berating yourself or falling into despair. No. Just take each thing, each moment that you wish you could do over and give it to Jesus. Ask Him to undo and heal any hurts you’ve caused, to make things right again in your heart and in your family. Give each of those moments of weakness to Him, name them, and ask for the grace to do better tomorrow. His forgiveness is freeing.
I’m also finding it helps to make a specific resolution for the next day, especially if it’s one of those days. Sometimes it’s as simple as “eat a better breakfast,” because I know that I can handle a naptime battle much better on protein than carbs. Or to answer emails in the morning when the baby is happier so I won’t feel so stressed later when she needs me and I need to work. Or to make daily Mass the only priority of the day, no matter when it is that we go. Sometimes the smallest adjustments make a world of difference.
Yes, those days happen, sometimes back-to-back. And no, there is not magic reset button, but for this mom, a little perspective, prayer, and minor adjustments for tomorrow go a long way.
(Today was one of those days…so now I’m off to put it into practice! I’ll pray for you, too!)
How do you hit the reset button at the end of a bad day?
Copyright 2014, Megan Swaim
About the Author
Megan Swaim is an Indiana girl on an east coast adventure. A former high school youth minister, she now gets to minister full-time to her three young daughters and her husband Josh. Megan spends her days homeschooling at the kitchen table, drinking iced coffee, and exploring coastal Virginia.