I hate snow days. Detest. Loathe. Despise. Spit-in-the-face-of.
Okay, not that last one (Now it’s just getting weird).
We got the call last night that our 8-inch snow fall on Saturday was going to cancel school for Monday (icy roads and such).
And I sighed, knowing it was going to be a tough day.**
No school meant that I had to cancel a get-together with a friend because taking all four boys over to someone’s house is overwhelming.
I was craving Yoga but the YMCA childcare only goes up to age 8. And doing a Yoga video at home is anything but relaxing (“Look! Mom’s playing jungle gym again! Get her!”).
But after receiving that wonderful monthly visitor that all of us ladies know and love (not) after breakfast, I knew we had to get out of the house for the health and wellbeing of everyone who lives here.
I took two ibuprofen, drank a glass of water, and, despite the frigid temperature (a whopping 2 degrees), I loaded four kids into the car (I couldn’t find matching shoes for the toddler so he wore one croc and one Velcro shoe. I am that mom) and drove to the indoor playground at our local Mega Church.
We can do this. They can play for 2.5 hours and wear themselves out and then we will come home and eat lunch and I will not feel guilty for letting the big boys play on screens all afternoon while the little boys nap.
But as I pulled in the parking lot, I felt the familiar sinking feeling of mass disappointment that I’d come to associate with this day.
I got out to look at the sign on the door. “Closed due to inclement weather….”
How dare they close???? Don’t they know I NEED THIS PLACE TODAY???? PLEEEAAASSSE!!
I got back in the car, lower than low.
Now the kids were crying.
I wracked my brains for a few moments, trying to think of an alternative. Everything that came to mind was either closed, too cold, or too expensive.
So we went home.
My mood was beyond bad. I spent the next forty-five minutes yelling at the kids to CLEAN UP, desperate to control something in a day that had spiraled completely out of my control.
I couldn’t snap out of it, even though I hated how I was acting.
Do the things. My brain urged me. Take care of yourself.
But I didn’t want to do the things that would make me feel better. I wanted to be miserable and make everyone else miserable too because this was a miserable day, damn it.
But my kids….My kids…they were trying so hard to please me. I remember being a kid and trying to make my mom happy when she was in a bad mood. And now I am the mom and I get why moms get in bad moods. But as much as sulking felt like the justified response to this sucky day, I couldn’t stay there because…my kids.
I knew I wasn’t going to be cheerful today but I at least needed to get back to neutral, instead of negative fifty.
I needed to do the things.
I took a deep breath.
I said a prayer (a pretty unholy, unorganized prayer, but a prayer).
I drank some more water.
I ate an orange because low blood sugar means I am a wreck.
I did a little dinner prep.
I said “yes” to all the inconsequential things I was saying “no” to just because I was in a bad mood (Yes, you can have a fruit snack. Yes, you can watch Chuggington).
I refused to finish an article I had clicked on about trying to marry motherhood and academia because that topic keeps making me depressed.
I snuggled with my two year old and enjoyed his warmth and soft hair under my chin for a few minutes.
I did the things and my mood got better. It rose from negative fifty to zero.
I ate lunch.
It rose to 1, maybe 2.
Now the little ones are in bed and I am in bed, typing on my computer while my dog rests warm against my legs and my two older kids play the xbox (sure, why not? Knock yourself out—inconsequential things, right?) and my mood is hovering around 4.
I’m still exhausted, achy and feel slightly weepy (thanks, hormones) but I did the things, the things I know that help when I am completely losing my mind and making myself and my children miserable.
It’s crazy hard but so, so important.
Love yourself and let yourself be loved.
Bring yourself back up to zero.
Take care of yourself today, mama.
Why is it on the days when we need it the most, self-care is the most difficult to put into practice?
What are your go-to self-care practices?
**Why didn’t I send them outside? My nine-year-olds’ boots are too small this year and we don’t have the money right now to spend $50+ on new boots.
Plus sending my big kids out means that my two little boys weep and scream by the door while their brothers play in the snow, even though if I let the little ones out (after bundling them for 20 minutes), they would be weeping and screaming to come back in in 3 minutes because they are cold. #CantWin