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Have you ever had a bad day?
One where nothing seems to go right.
Maybe the kids didn’t sleep well the night before. Or everyone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
On these days, one thing often leads to another. The milk spills all over the clean laundry on the table. The toddler has an accident. And before you know it, life feels completely out of control.
When everything is chaotically spiraling into despair, you don’t have to let the bad day win. You have the ability to rise above your circumstances and reclaim your day.
Here’s my plan of attack when I realize we’re heading for a bad day.
Stop and Get Your Mind Back in the Game
It’s easy to give in and turn on the television. Sometimes vegging in front of the television feels really good.
But, if you’re working at home, it’s not a very productive use of your time. So, before resorting to screen time, stop.
Take a minute to get your mind back in the game. During this time, I pray. I ask God for patience, strength, and wisdom. I know I can’t do it alone!
Do Something Wacky
Once my mind is determined to make the best of this day, I need to get the kids on board. I’ve discovered the best way is to do something wacky.
Here are some ideas:
- Have a backwards race
- Turn on some music and see who can jump up and down during an entire song
- Balance a hard-boiled egg on a spoon and walk across the room
- See who can go the furthest with a book or two on their head
- Have everyone get their pajamas back on and then fix their hair
- Look up jokes online and challenge everyone to not laugh. If you give them a joke and they don’t laugh, they get a point. If they laugh, you get a point.
- Play a quick game of Fortunately, Unfortunately
- Go hide and have the kids try to find you
These are all fairly quick, something we don’t normally do, and fun. When we do something crazy, the kids typically get very involved, because it’s different. They want to know what we’re doing.
It’s often enough to pull everyone out of the dump.
Have a Plan of the Day Meeting
Now that everyone is back on board, it’s time to come together as a team. We start every day with a morning meeting, where we lay out our plan of the day.
But, when bad days happen, we have a second meeting. We spend a few moments sharing about what happened. I listen to the kids share their thoughts and feelings.
And then we regroup. We talk about what we can still get done. I make it a point to cross off one or two things so we aren’t getting overwhelmed by a massive list with less time.
Use Your New Knowledge
Typically we jump back into our routine after our meeting. But, occasionally I’ll realize something bigger is going on.
I’ll see that the kids are all exhausted (which happens often when my little guy with special needs has a really bad night). Or see that a couple of kids are sick, and that’s why they’re having a hard time.
Sometimes I even realize I’m the problem. There are days when I really just need to get a little more sleep.
I take this information, and accommodate our plan. Quiet time can be moved up in the day, allowing all of us to get a little extra rest. Or I can have the kids who are sick get some books and spend some time resting on the couch.
Don’t feel like you have to return to life as normal when your bad day was caused by something atypical.
If possible, I schedule outside time on a bad day. The fresh air refreshes us all, and helps calm us down.
On these days, you may find me sitting on the porch with my laptop while the kids play. Or see us all taking a quick walk down to the creek for a game of Pooh Sticks.
A change of scenery does wonders!
Protect the Work Times
When you have work to do, you’ve got to protect as much as your work time as possible. For me, this means I make sure we:
- Have Family Writing Time
- Include free time in the new schedule
- Keep Quiet Time
Working during these times helps me get my work done. But, sometimes it’s not enough. Some days, I know I’ll have to stay up late.
Or I use my final trick.
Call in Help
When I’m not able to get my work done on a bad day, I call in some help. I keep my husband in the loop, and when he gets home he can engage the kids for a while so I can work.
Or I’ll ask Grandma or Grandpa to take a couple of the little guys for an hour. It’s amazing what you can get done in a short period of focused time!
How Do You Recover on a Bad Day?
When a bad day strikes, how do you reclaim your time? Do you use the tricks I shared, or do you have some of your own? I’d love for you to chime in below.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.