What I tell myself when I have a bad parenting day

My husband starts a new shift this week, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but the long days of solo parenting are something I’m still adjusting to. Last week, after a couple of days where I didn’t see my husband for more than 12 hours, I had to give myself a parenting pep talk before I hurled myself into the pit of despair. (Okay, I know that last part is straight stolen from The Princess Bride, but seriously, isn’t that an apt description?)

Here’s how it goes. Maybe you need to hear this, too. megaphone

Hey, Mom.

It’s okay.

You’re tired after a 12-hour-day of parenting, and that’s okay. You want your kids to go to bed at 6 o’clock so you can finally have a minute or two to think before you collapse from exhaustion? Yeah, that’s okay, too.

You’re frustrated that the kids won’t listen and you just want to scream? That’s okay. Because it’s frustrating that neither one wants to take a bath until you flip a coin and someone loses the toss and now both kids want to take a bath at the same time and you have two naked children running through your house. Find someone who wouldn’t find that aggravating and then hire them to watch your children while you sneak out of the house for some “me” time.

I know you feel bad that you aren’t “enjoying the moment” while your kids are still young, but after changing a dirty diaper three times in less than 30 minutes at bedtime, “enjoying the moment” isn’t high on the list of feelings.

And you don’t want to complain because you have two kids and some people have none, and your kids won’t battle hunger, thirst or disease on a daily basis, and other kids on the planet will. But hear this: you’re human. And God understands. He’d rather hear you whine than pretend everything is peachy.

You may¬†feel like a bad mom because your family has eaten leftovers peanut butter and jelly for three nights in a row because that’s all the effort you can put into dinner, but remember that your kids love PB&J and probably think you’re the coolest mom ever. You’re doing fine.

Above all, take a deep breath and remember that you are not alone. Moms everywhere get frustrated and impatient and tired. You aren’t superhuman. Heck, some days you barely feel human (Mombie, anyone?) and no one expects you to do it all and perfectly. (And if there are people who expect that of you, you have permission to write them into a novel someday as the villain.)

Tomorrow is another day. Yeah, that’s clich√©, but it’s true.

For now, quit beating yourself up for all that you’re not and remember all that you are.

Beloved. Chosen. Redeemed. Work-in-progress. New creation. Forgiven.

Also, you’re a damn good mom. Even when you don’t believe it.

The same goes for you.

Whatever kind of day you’re having, whatever your motherhood circumstances, give yourself some grace to get through the day.

And if you find yourself in the company of a stressed-out mom, find a way to encourage her.

A little bit goes a long way.