It was 10 am and I was still in my dressing gown emitting the pungent odor from my overnight breath. The morning had erupted into consistent mini-crises that required my attention, which meant no quiet time and an unfortunate lack of coffee. I was a mess physically and mentally – having a bad mum day – and the day just started.
My tattered to-do list was full before the day broke, and it now included unexpected work for my husband’s business that was needed sooner rather than later. Then while taking out the overflowing garbage can, I realized that the wind had demolished my greenhouse – along with the new plants I carefully placed the day before.
To make matters worse a 30-second bathroom break cost me a short panic after realizing that our mischievous mutt (who had several other infractions under his belt) found an opportunity for trouble. Noticing my disappearance, he helped himself to the remainder of the chocolate-covered almonds on the table. The human culprit that left them out is still unknown – no one would admit to leaving an open container on the table. Probably that mystical mystery child that shows up at our house creating havoc now and then. As I frantically researched the dog’s demise, a glance at the clock informed me that more than one kid would be late for their online school meet – again. By the way, the dog was fine (definitely don’t use chocolate-covered almonds as doggy snacks, though).
I was having a bad mum day and needed to take action to pull myself together and get back on track. The rocky start had shaken me and set the tone for the day.
On these “off” days it’s also easy to start focusing on the chores you can’t seem to finish; the difficulty you may be having with your kid(s); and, of course, the ever destructive comparison to other mums. These challenging days tend to be busy days that do not allow for free time. With that in mind, just try to attempt at least one activity to reset your day or change the tone when you’re having a bad mum day, even if done over lunch or as multitasking. If it can make the day go better then it’s worth a little time and effort.
Having a bad mum day? 10 ways to salvage it
Clear your head
Take a moment, even if you lock yourself in the bathroom, to sort out the remainder of the day and prioritize. This can help you feel more in control and focused.
Keep a Written To-Do List
Use a notebook, sticky pad, or jot it down on your phone. Just having your to-do list in writing, rather than in your head gives your brain a break.
Get the Kids Involved
Having the kids take on more chores and responsibility can lighten the load. It does require some teaching and modeling beforehand but can pay off on these overwhelming days when you could really use an extra hand. As you complete tasks on less flustering days, pick at least one chore that the kids can manage and teach them while you’re doing it. Model a few times, then let them at it if it’s something they can independently handle, then it is one less thing on your list and mind.
A few minutes of sunshine and fresh air can brighten your mood. Vitamin D is important so you are improving both your physical and mental health. Connect with nature and fully soak in and enjoy the moment of self care.
Leave some things
Prioritize what must be done then write down the rest and come back to it another day. Move on and don’t beat yourself up for not getting to everything on your list. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Laughing or commiserating with a friend can be a reward to look forward to at some point of the day. Carving time out of a busy day will be tough for you both, but sending a message ahead to find a good time for a short chat would allow for a mutually convenient time, and it sets the understanding that it would be a short conversation. Another reward can be grabbing a healthy snack. Crunchy pretzels, chilled strawberries, or a frozen yogurt – these treats can wake up your taste buds and your attitude. Keep some quick and easy snacks available to make the decision quick and easy.
Having some uninterrupted quiet time is important, even if it is 5 minutes worth. Close your eyes and take the time to sit still and just listen to your surroundings. With your eyes closed your sense of hearing will compensate for what you don’t see. The things you hear can take on deeper meaning and reflection; you may now hear birds happily chattering or find renewed delight in the tiny voices you hear in the background.
Music is Powerful
Lifting your spirits can be as easy as playing your favorite song. “Pleasurable music may lead to the release of neurotransmitters associated with reward, such as dopamine. Listening to music is an easy way to alter mood or relieve stress.” Heshmat, Shahram. “Music, Emotion, and Well-Being.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 25 Aug. 2019,
Have music playing in the background throughout your day. Keep playlists updated with your favorites — don’t forget the old school hits that bring back sentimental memories.
Cuddle up with a Book
Sometimes the simplicity of reading a children’s book is delightful. If the kids are older you can still read together, just different books. Reading in the same room gives you time with your older child (goodbye mum guilt) and you have the opportunity to dive into another world through a book. If you have time alone enjoy the well-deserved break by reading a good book and taking a breather from the day’s struggles.
Try Again Tomorrow
It’s a bad day, not a bad life. Even though it feels like it will never end, remind yourself that you can start over tomorrow. Don’t fall into doom and gloom negative self-talk (I’m willing to admit that I am much too familiar with this path). It’s toxic and can easily find fuel. Remember, we all have bad days and deal with them differently. Breathe deeply and remind yourself of all the wonderful things you’re doing and get through the day — hoping for a better one tomorrow.
Hello there, my name is Rhonda Ellis. I have three wonderful kids who call me mum; a job I never knew I wanted, but wouldn’t change it for the world. I am also a lover of the wind and little stinky feet. We live in a historical log cabin in a rural area of the U.S., but close enough to a grocery store that it’s manageable (with 3 kids I go a lot). My husband runs his own business, and I help as a bookkeeper, marketer, and any paperwork catch-all while currently teaching the kids at home (hence my site title – “Diary of A Weary Mom“). My hope is that you might want to nod in agreement to some of my ramblings, and find something helpful, encouraging, and maybe even funny along the way. Connect with me on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram.