Sunday, January 23, 2011

A bad parenting day is almost always followed by a better one.

Friday was one of those days. It started poorly and ended poorly. I woke up with the kind of feeling one has when they've drunk too much wine the night before, had their sleep interrupted several times during the night by crying babies, and been woken by a dozen roosters at five a.m. None of which happened to me. But it was a sign of the day to come. It was the kind of day that hovers around I-will-get-through-this-alive and occasionally drifts into actually-I'm-not-sure-where's-the-tequila?

By the time my babysitter arrived late afternoon, and because I had no clients at work, I found myself loitering in a bookstore, browsing the parenting section for some sort of advice. Any! Please! How do I do this?

I've been hankering after a book called "Buddhism for Mothers" by Sarah Napthali, ever since my blogger pal Mwa mentioned it a few weeks ago.

Seeing me tapping impatiently on the computer keypad, a sales assistant came up to help me locate the book. She snorted, when I told her the title. "Oh boy," she said "Couldn't we all have used that book, at every stage!". We engaged in a brief chat about the challenges of parenting young children, and agreed reassuringly that yes, parenting is hard, and yes, we do get through it.

It seemed obvious advice, but I needed it right then.

The next day was better. Maybe because it was the weekend. Or because of the wine I'd drunk the night before to soften the blow of the day. Or because some magical unicorns had flown down during the night and scattered their magical happy dust across the land while we were sleeping. 

Whatever the reason, the day was destined to be better. We spent it doing nothing complicated. And because the weather was lovely (a balmy zero degrees - whoo!), we took the boys and dog out for a walk in the snow. I'm not sure whether it was the fresh air or the sunshine on my face, but I felt a huge sense of relief as we walked.

Later that day, as I prepared dinner and sipped a glass of wine, I felt a deep sense of happiness. It was the roast cooking in the slow cooker and the vegetables steaming on the stove and the promise of a good dinner with my family. It was the happy shrieks drifting up from downstairs where the boys played. It was the slightly undercooked brownies in a pan on the kitchen countertop that I was sampling while I cooked. It was weekend life. And it was a relief from the week.

There'll be more bad parenting days ahead (and blog posts to document them), but at least I'll take comfort in knowing that the bad days are almost always followed by better days.

And if not, there's always wine.
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Mwa said...

Amen. This reads like a prayer for parents. It's good to remember that there's always better around the corner. I'm having a reasonable one today. Hurray! And I also have brownies to help.

I hope you find that book. It's great. x

WhisperingWriter said...

My brownies always come out undercooked despite my following the instructions on the box. Oh well. Gooey brownies are still good brownies.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I LOVED this. It's so true. We bounce back and forth. But the good days make every bad one worth it.

Elaine A. said...

Love that last line... ;) And Thank GOD they usually are followed by better ones. Whew!

Naomi said...

I am not sure if this is true but I think it is all down to your attitude and your mood. If you give time and patience to your children then they will be more relaxed. Children play us up when we aren't giving the attention they need/want or because of their feelings. I hope the book helps you. Happy reading.

Metropolitan Mum said...

The great thing about wine is that it doesn't care if you had a good day or a bad. It'll always be there for you.

Bear and Bones Mama said...

I had to apologize to my 6 yo son yesterday. I picked him up from school and promptly started to scold him. After a few minutes I realized he was behaving perfectly - I wasn't. I said I was sorry, I must be in a bad mood and didn't realize it. Moral (to me anyway): sometimes it's us, not the kids, who cause the bad day! I was the one who needed an early bedtime. And took it too.

anymommy said...

The cycle of parenting. Much like the cycle of life but without the depressing death at the end. I love those overcome with happiness moments.