There are innumerable things that go into how we feel on any given day. There’s chemistry happening in our bodies. There are environmental factors all around us – the sun, the rain, a messy house. There are days that mark sad and happy occasions. Sometimes there is just something absolutely unnameable that influences how we feel. You know those days – where no one can do right by you, including yourself. Or when you feel like the universe is conspiring in your favor – and no one can do any wrong.
So I was having an “off” day not too long ago. Couldn’t put my finger on it but I definitely felt an edge. I was bugged about being late, bugged about not knowing exactly how to navigate to my way to where I was going, bugged that I was being grumpy on such a pretty day. Roan chose this time to ask me the same question about one million times, (ok ok maybe it was only three. Could have been two) to which the answer was “No.” I then snapped before he could push the question out of his mouth out one more time – and said in a calm, quiet but very very stern tone, “Roan. Stop. Please.” And it wasn’t a nice “please” more like a “Bitch, Puh-leeeez“. Also, not what you would consider a blinding rage, but the words were spoken with the tone that every child instinctively knows means, “I am going to become a very bad mommy if you cross me now.”
And then Roan’s eyes filled with tears. And then I wanted to crumble into a million mean-mom pieces because I knew: I was totally out of line. I made quick work of apologizing to him, and told him that I make mistakes! Surprise! And this was one of them! Yay, a Learning Opportunity! Roan bounced back and was right as rain within 30 seconds. But I still feel guilty. And let me clarify – this was around two months ago.
It’s not that I don’t allow myself space to screw up. I’m self-aware enough to know that I need puh-len-ty of space for screwing up. I’m a mess a lot of the time. But I just can usually divert my bad behavior to a better target (Read: my husband Anson. Read: that’s just real talk. Read: It’s called marriage. Read: don’t kid yourself you’re no different.) When Roan gets the wrong end of my bad mood I just feel well…bad. Apparently the shelf life on that extends past two months, awesome.
My question to my people is this: when you are having a bad day or you are in a bad mood, how do you differentiate between it being you or it being them? And if you can figure out that it’s actually yourself, how do you keep it in check?