I’ve had my fair share of rubbish days as a parent.
I’m living through one right now, given that Georgia is ill with a mystery virus making her grumpy, tired and waking through the night like a newborn.
But what makes it all enjoyable and worthwhile are the smug days. Or more accurately, the smug glimmers in a day. The glimmers that make you feel like you’re winning at parenting.
Unfortunately, having a whole day like this is like gold dust unless your kids are angels. Let’s face it, not many are!
Rubbish days make me question my parenting decisions and make me feel like a worthless parent. “I must be doing something wrong”, is a thought I often have on these days.
They make me feel isolated and do nothing for my self esteem. They’re also the days that I think… “one is enough right?”
But it has made me realise the truth about parenting.
There are three sorts of days that you have, the smug ones that you’ll often see moments of on Instagram, the crap ones where nothing seems to go right and of course the normal days which are a little from column A and a little from column B.
Here’s what those days look like for me:
When I’m having a smug parenting day, she’ll wake up at a normal time.
She’s recently started to shout “I CAN SEE THE SUNSHINE!”, speaking about her Gro Clock having turned from blue to yellow at 6.30 am. We’ll go downstairs, play for a bit and skip along for the rest of the day as a happy family. We’ll go out, do fun activities, laugh a lot and really enjoy ourselves.
On these days, I could be on top of a mountain. They’re just great. But they don’t happen enough.
Let’s face it, anything less than 100% Smug isn’t enough. These days are the ones we live for. The ones we cling to.
It’s rare that the golden smug day actually gets to be played out but that’s my intention every morning. It’s just that worlds have to align and blue moons have to rise for that to happen.
What normally happens is that she’ll wake at the right time, then we’ll have to compromise for the rest of the day.
“I waaant to dooo thiss” You know, the long drawn out words of a moaning toddler who isn’t getting their way.
We’ll fall out a few times through the day too for silly reasons – like me telling her off for wanting to jump from something, or because we can’t go to Peppa Pig world on a whim – which turns what could have been a smug day into a normal day.
Or her taking her socks off for no reason. I mean… why do toddlers have an aversion to wearing socks? Sure she’ll pop a bobble hat on in 25 degree sun, but no way wants to wear a pair of socks on a drizzly day.
Crap days happen far too regularly for my liking.
They’re the ones that you just want to write off.
I’ve realised in the past few months that crap days can be caused by quite a few things… for me at the very least.
Sometimes it’s a crap day because she woke at the wrong side of CBeebies turning on (anything before Show me Show me is TOO early) and threw off the entire day, making both of us not really know what we’re doing for the duration. They leave me shrugging my shoulders and generally spending the day feeling confused and running in circles.
Although a whole day is rarely a complete washout, a few crappy elements can sneak into a normal day without it becoming crap.
It’s the reality of parenting.
A golden smug day only needs a few tugs with menace on your luscious locks or a few tantrums to turn that day into a normal day. It then only takes a couple more to make it a crap one.
But what’s interesting is that each parent has a threshold for the level of crap they can deal with before you officially write it off as a crap day. I think mine is about 3 fairly big-ish things before that seesaw teeters over to crapville.
Unless I wake up on the wrong side of 5am that is.
But each time I wake up (after 6am), I think of the day as a new one with optimism. What happened the previous day is done and dusted and today could just be one of those smug days.
I’ve lived through enough days of only getting 2 hours sleep to know that I’ll make it through the other side. It’s okay. Yeah, those days aren’t the best and it’s completely okay to write them off.
Everyday isn’t going to be sunshine and fairy tales. Just as long as some of them are.
How do you look at parenting with positivity?