If you’ve been a parent for more than five minutes, you know that some days are just crummy.
Sure, there are a bazillion books and blogs about how to turn the day around with prayers, exercise, snuggles, music, treats, sunshine, etc.
And I’ve tried a lot of it.
And at the end of the day when I finally collapse into bed, and I look back over the day, it was still a crummy day.
But on top of circumstances outside my control filling my day with crummy situation after crummy situation, I also feel like a total failure because I wasn’t able to dance/pray/snuggle the day into a better one.
So now, I’ve endured a day filled with a series of unfortunate events PLUS I have mommy guilt!
It’s too much.
So I tried a new thing the other day.
Within thirty minutes of waking up, I’d stripped a wet bed, started a load of sheets, bathed a kid, mopped the floor, fixed four bowls of cereal, swept up two bowls of spilled cereal, cleaned up a cup of spilled water, and begun airing out two library books.
I still hadn’t had my coffee.
Then I realized that I had about twelve errands to run and there was no Mother’s Day Out for my younger two.
Plus all of the kids had gone to bed late the night before and woken up early that morning, so everyone was cranky.
Some of the errands could be postponed (mailing a care package), but some I really had to do (grocery shopping).
As I was trying to figure out a way to cheer everyone up and turn the day around, I just stopped.
I decided instead to just have a bad day.
I still did the morning devotional with the kids, but I didn’t have any expectation that learning about Noah would change their grumpy attitudes.
We still prayed together, but I didn’t beg God to help us to all have a great day.
We loaded up in the car, and when they complained simultaneously about their car seats being “hot and burn-y” and the air out of the vents being “too freezy,” I just accepted it.
The day continued on in this fashion for its entirety.
The kids were cranky and tired and childish, but it didn’t bother me like it usually does.
I had no expectations of the day.
There were bursts throughout the day that were good – they ate their grocery store Goldfish silently and without any spills, no one stopped me in the store to tell me to enjoy my kids, quiet time was actually quiet, and Dax reminded us to pray when an ambulance passed by.
But for the most part, it was a crummy day.
All of my worries and concerns when I looked at the day stretched before me earlier that morning had been valid.
Tired kids, hot day, tons of errands, starting a new diet, and a tired mom all combined for an exceptionally crummy day. But my acceptance of it really changed my outlook. I didn’t spend all my energy pushing back against all the factors working against the ideal “good day.”
I was able to brace myself for the crumminess and move on.
Not every day is filled with rainbows and butterfly kisses.
Some are just cloudy and filled with poop and tears and chores.
And to constantly try to shape every day into the same “good day” mold is rather exhausting.
I had such a great attitude on that crummy day because I didn’t have a plan for a good day that was falling apart.
Instead, I fully expected the day to be filled with meltdowns and messes. So when those came, I was ready and accepting.
And a really cool side effect is that when the good moments burst through the cloud of crumminess, it was such a pleasant surprise. I was able to fully enjoy the belly laughs at dinner because there were just a nice little surprise instead of an expectation I’d been working all day towards.
Now I’m definitely not saying that you should live every day expecting it to be bad.
That’s no way to live.
But on those mornings when you realize your plan is shot and your day must go on, just accept it.
Accept that the day will be crummy. And then get on with living it. God actually plans for us to have crummy days so that we can appreciate the good ones.
“On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted.” – Ecclesiastes 7:14
If every day was sunshiny with a cool breeze, delicious calorie-free ice cream, and perfectly obedient children, we’d never appreciate it.
It takes cold, rainy, gain two pounds for no reason, running on three hours of sleep kind of days to appreciate the others.
So make your plans. Expect each day to be good, but accept when they aren’t.
The next time you see your day taking an inevitable turn for the worse, try leaning into it.
Try letting go of your plan for the perfect day and accepting that day will be crummy. Practice what Ecclesiastes says and use that time to examine your own conscience.
Do you only have a good attitude when things are flowing smoothly or can you still find joy on the bad days?
Let the knowledge that God arranges for us to have bad days to help us to appreciate the good ones set you free from the idea that every day is Instagram worthy.
Some days just aren’t.
But even on the bad days, you are loved by the creator of the universe.