Everyone has bad days.
You wake up, and it starts – your day is on a downward spiral where everything goes wrong all at once; not only in your own life, but also in the life of every little person who lives in your house. Not to mention the computers, the pet dog and the sewage!
Yep. We all know bad days. It doesn’t matter what you have planned for your day it seems as if the world is conspiring against you.
The trick to turning these days around is to recognise what is going on. The quicker and the earlier you are honest with yourself about where this day is heading the better for you and for your family.
Recognise the bad day. In hindsight we are very clear what went on but in the midst of a bad day things are not that clear. It is helpful to think now, on a good day, what does happen on your bad days. Think about it and make a plan. What are your parameters for a good day, when does it cross over to a bad day? For me the number one bad day boundary is when I find myself yelling at the kids. Something has to change – NOW!
Get relationships right. Before anything else can happen in your day, people have to be loving towards each other – this includes me! To get relationships right there may have to be some time out from each other to work on attitudes, to be prepared to forgive and love, or there may be a need for a big group hug! Take as long as it takes, relationships can’t be rushed and yet they are very important.
Spend time with God. Depending on the ages of your children you may or may not be able to do this privately. There is great benefit in saying to your kids, “Let’s sit down and read God’s Word together” and/or “Pray together”. I have often found turning on worship music (not entertainment music, even if Christian, but music that helps you focus on God) to be a great calmer of the heat and confusion of such a day.
Ditch the day. To ditch the day means to re-write priorities for your day. What are THE most important things to get done today? First there is the relationships with each other, can everything else wait? Maybe and maybe not, but it is worth a quick review of your day to really find out. Believe me, the children are going to have a far better day if you take them to the park, go for a swim or the library than if you persevere with your plans when things are shaky.
Be thankful. Thankfulness is always a great attitude adjuster.
When we take that brave step and do something to fix the bad day often the circumstances don’t really change. The kids are still tired, the dishwasher is still leaking, the power is still out, and the fish are still dead! It is not about the circumstances, it is about our relationships with our children. We can rescue this day and, by changing our expectations and focus, make a day for the children to remember.
I am not talking about fancy parties, and memorable trips to the Theme parks. I am thinking more about the way that the children remember how their family deals with pressure. How their family works together and cares for each other in practical ways. How their family huddles together and comes out smiling. At the end of the day do you want to be talking about the tears over math workbooks or hearing “I love you” from each of the children?
Yes, bad days happen and they take their toll but if we are wise we can take control, and as a result – beat them!