How to Not Let a Bad Parenting Day Make You Feel Like a Bad Parent

Bad parenting days. We’ve all had ‘em. Those of us who’ve been at this motherhood gig as long as I have have not only had bad days, but weeks and months. (Come to think of it, 2007 was a particularly bad parenting year for yours truly.)

But there’s a difference between having a bad parenting day and being a bad parent. The trouble is that sometimes the line between the two can blur.

You might find yourself caught in the comparison trap (The other moms at daycare have it all together!) or you may wonder why you seem to be only mother on earth whose baby isn’t sleeping through the night (trust me— you’re not). You might lose your temper or call your spouse in tears, or even catch some Zs on the sly during your lunch break.

I’ve been there more times than I can count.

I’ve thought of some techniques to try when you’re feeling this way. I hope they’ll help you see that a bad parenting day is just that…a day. A whole other one starts tomorrow when the sun comes up.

Remember Other Bad Days and How You Got Through Them
It might sound strange to think of bad days when you’re, well, HAVING one, but my point is this: you’ve had plenty of difficult moments in your life and you got through them. Stressful days at work. Fights with friends. You’ve dealt with bad days of all sorts and that didn’t mean that you were a bad employee or friend or student. Use the same skills that helped you cope during tough times of the past to help you cope now.

Think of One Thing You Did Right
Even on the worst of days, SOMETHING goes well. Maybe you got some silly smiles from your baby over breakfast. Maybe you can pat yourself on the back for getting on the floor and playing with your children even though you had so many other things to do. Think of one thing you did right and allow yourself to celebrate that brief moment!

Call a Friend
If you’re like me, sometimes you just need to talk. Call a friend and let her know what you’ve been going through. More than likely she’ll tell you about a bad parenting day of her own and you won’t feel so alone. Another benefit of letting someone know what’s going on is that you might be experiencing something more serious and reaching out to another person might be an important first step in addressing it.

Take it Easy on Yourself
Lastly, try to remember not to be too hard on yourself. Everyone has bad days sometimes, and one bad day of parenting does not mean that you’re a bad parent— just that you’re a normal one.

Photo Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr

Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. She writes about all things toddler at Babble’s Toddler Times. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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