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Today was a hard one. Mia fell asleep pretty late last night and then was awoken two hours early this morning by a leaky diaper I pulled her into bed with us hoping she would at least lie quietly for a few minutes and let me doze a bit more before facing the day. And she did, for a little while. And I even thought, briefly, that she had fallen asleep. But then I felt a little hand on my cheek, and then she started rubbing my hair and then my back, the way I do to her when I am trying to quiet or soothe her. That stretch of three or four minutes was one of the highlights of my entire life.

It went downhill from there. This morning she fell and bumped her head lightly on a carpeted floor. This is the kid who cracks her head into a table so hard you can hear the thump in the next county and then collapses in hysterical giggles about it, but instead she collapsed into tears. It took 15 minutes of patting and singing and hugging a sobbing child to quiet her down. She was whiny and impossible.

A trip to the pool improved things, but once we got home it was back to the lousy mood. And then, right after her nap she had a major wipe out on the sidewalk, resulting in two skinned and badly bruised knees and the insistence that "Mama hug" for the rest of the day. I couldn't put her down, she would not leave my lap, and eventually not even my lap was good enough. The only thing that would make her happy was me carrying her around the house. It was like she was a month old again and I spent a couple of hours walking the same path I used to walk with her two years ago.

I didn't handle it well. I snapped at her and told her to just stop crying and dumped her on Chris the second he walked in the door and ran to hide in the kitchen.

Bedtime finally came, and with it hysteria. After 5 minutes in her crib she was so freaked out that it took 15 minutes of rocking to calm those awful gasping, halting, hiccupy breaths. I rocked and I rocked, and I rubbed and I patted, and I sang a vast swath of my repertoire of Paul Simon songs, and she finally fell asleep in my arms, her head snuggled into my neck, her arms wrapped as far as they would go around my waist.

I sat there thinking that I didn't do a very good job today. She was too tired to deal, and I was too tired to deal with her, but I'm the adult and ought to be able to fake it better. It makes me feel better to know that, even on my bad mommy days, I'm still the one she wants, I'm still the one who can make it all ok for her. That she'll give me the chance to do it better tomorrow.

Comments (28)

It must be in the air b/c Michael had such a melt down tonight. He threw himself on the ground and screamed the most riddiculous sentence over and over again. I couldn't handle it so I put him to bed 30 minutes early.

It's nice that she wants you, Michael only wants Daddy.

And don't beat yourself up. You are a fabulous mom.

it's consoling to read someone else's take on a day like that.

it's funny, when you describe it, i think to myself "gee, she sounds like a great mommy!" yet, when i'm having that exact same kind of day, i have those exact same guilty thoughts.

You almost made me cry. I had a similar, although not quite as rough day (but with twins! so that's rough, right?) -- constant neediness, constant whining, non-stop clinging, irrational crying. (But who am I to ask two-year-olds to be rational?) And I had to keep reminding myself that I'm the grown-up, the one with the capacity to be patient and bite my tongue when I feel like snapping at them. Argh. It's rough.

Oh my God, you have yourself a bona fide two year old. Welcome! May I get you a glass of wine?

She finds so much comfort in just being with you and that speaks volumes about the bond between you. I've always thought that Mia was such a lucky girl to have you for a mom. Hearing how you handled as exasperating day as this one only makes me more sure.

Riley always, always wants his dad in those situations. Sometimes I find myself dealing with an impossible, horrible-mood kid who is just screaming "DAAAADDY" over and over, instead of taking comfort from me. I wish that weren't always the case, it sounds wonderful (if tiring for you) that Mia is so attached to her mom.

Also, your "bad mommy" day sounds more like a "challenging kid day" to me.

"bad Mommy days"

We all have them.

I've never heard it put so eloquently.

There must be something in the air this week; Monday was my worst parenting day in the 2 1/2 years I have been doing it. When I say there was screaming involved, I don't just mean the toddler. It happens to the best of us!

I feel guilty reading this... Lately I find myself yelling more and more for Sully to just 'stop crying!' because I don't know what's wrong with him. Nothing makes him happy. It's like a switch. One second he is happy, one second he is angry/sad/frustrated, and then the next moment he is back to fine. I think my hormones are starting to get the better of me and it just makes me feel awful.

You are such a good mommy, even on your 'bad' days. :)

Awwww. Don't be too hard on yourself. We all have those days, in a perfect world we wouldn't, but this is reality. :)

Hey, noone is perfect and there is no need to expect that of oneself either. Your love for Mia oozes from all your posts, so as far as I am concerned you're already a brilliant mom!

This day is over and tomorrow will be different again.

And yes, that wine sounds like a good idea. :-)

The thing is, you got through it and you did okay. Mia is in one piece and so are you. On days like that, after you get her settled in her bed, put your feet up, get a glass of wine and breathe.

I am sorry for your bad mommy day, Beth. She will give you the chance.

Sometimes my bad mommy days outweight the good ones. They do always give you another chance, I just hope I don't dissapoint them. It is hard.

We all have them!But you did a good job.

Did you bust out your Ergo at all? Sometimes that is the only way for me to get D. to sleep. Which is awesome when it is 90 degrees out...

Oh, I've had way more bad mommy days than I can count. Yet, the kids still love me and I'm the one that want to run to when they are hurt or sick.

You're doing a great job. When you lose your cool because you've hit a breaking point, you beat yourself up over losing control. Other people, on the other hand, are impressed that you kept your cool for as long as you did when faced with a challenging parenting day.

The best part, is these little ones are so forgiving.

i sooo have been there. it sucks. i'm's hoping today's a better day for you and for Mia!

It's incredible how forgiving they can be, even w/having a bad day.
Nothing beats having them hold on tight as you rock them to sleep, though.

You will not find one parent who hasn't had a day like that. Best wishes for a better tomorrow. There's always a better tomorrow after a day like that.

(side note, my boy acts that way when something changes around the house. have you started boxing things up?)

Days like that is why I have a fully stocked bar and wine (or I call a whine) fridge.

LittleMan just turned one and he is doing the 2 year old behavior, and some days I think I will go batty, but thats when I count down the hours to bath time because then bedtime is only minutes after that.

Oh I know those days. They seem to have multiplied in the last few months. This was such a wonderful post and I will always think of it when we have one of those days. Thanks for giving me a different perspective.

I hate those days and I really love them. During the day it feels like the World is being shaken like a kid holding a marble, but at night when I put Peanut to bed and he is finally asleep I realize how small he is and that even on our worst day we still love each other more than anything.

They should fine a good remedy (other than 3 pots of coffee) for tired. It knocks us off our routine more often than anything else.

Does Mia have all of her teeth yet? I ask because my daughter Piper has been behaving similarly lately... and I couldn't for the life of me figure it out until I had a flash of brilliance and looked into her mouth. Turns out her two-year molars are coming in (she's only 17 months so I thought we had a little more time.... guess not).

Just a suggestion... hope today is a better day!

Aw, sorry Mia (and you) had a bad day. That freaks me out, when babies cry for no apparent reason. Oy.

I just wrote about this today. About how I read my baby the riot act and told him to stop crying. He is 13. It still happens.

It must be in the air, because the Mini and I were the same way today. Today was just one of those days where he was really easily rattled and it took forever to console him. And I was tired. And less than patient.

It's a tough job and we're only human.

We all have bad mommy days and kids have bad kid days.

It's hard when the two happen at the same time.

You're doing fine.

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