Last year, I had a no good, very bad, ridiculous day with my daughter. But… it actually wasn’t terrible.
Here’s how it started: I was off from work that day so I woke up leisurely and made myself a delicious cup of my favorite fair trade coffee. Ahh.
Things started to go downhill. Fast. My baby daughter woke up and as I changed her diaper it looked like she had some redness. I decided to let her have “air time” – aka, time without a diaper. I put an absorbent cloth in her high chair and sat her down for some breakfast. Even though I was not working that day, I got an urgent work text, then email, and then call. I handled it as quickly as I could with my laptop perched precariously on the kitchen counter while I continued to juggle necessary morning tasks.
What’s that awful smell?
Yup, I burned the butter I was melting to make scrambled eggs. Not nice brown butter that is a culinary achievement. Gross burned butter. Oh well, that’s what happens when you have a phone in one hand and a laptop in the other, no more hands left to tend to breakfast. I salvaged the meal and moved on.
Oops, I left my mug of coffee a little too close to baby fingers and with one gleeful swish, my coffee was cascading down the table… and all over my daughter. Thankfully by this time it was totally cold. As I was rushing around to clean up the spill, I stubbed my toe… badly. Like, my eyes were smarting for 5 minutes because I thought my toe had been severed from my body. I shook it off and muffled my scream so I wouldn’t scare the little one staring up at me.
Then, just as I was feeling like I was as bad as a Harlem Globe Trotter, spinning multiple balls on my fingers with ease – balanced breakfast, eaten! Kitchen, mostly cleaned up! Baby, happy! It got worse.
I pulled my daughter out of her chair for a moment – to grab a washcloth and wipe off her face and hands from her messy meal and remove any coffee drips remaining – and it happened. She scooted her bare bottomed self over to the carpet and pooped. Yup, right there on the carpet. We don’t have very much carpet, mind you. But she found it.
I froze for a moment, not sure whether to laugh or cry, but there’s nothing to do but clean it up. So, I sprang into action. In the two seconds it took me to (carefully) scoop my daughter up and grab a spray and towel, my dog rushed over and… I bet you can guess what disgusting thing happened next: she rolled around in it.
It wasn’t even 9:00 am.
The next few minutes were a blur but somehow I grabbed a leash, tethered the dog so she couldn’t get herself or the house any messier, got the baby in the bath and changed into clean clothes. Next up: giving the dog a bath. I plowed through the gross task. Towards the end of the dog’s marathon bathing session, my daughter started getting really fussy, eventually screaming at the top of her lungs while I’m massaging yet another huge dollop of dog shampoo into my cocker spaniel’s curly fur. Jeeze, what’s going on? Oh right, overtired baby who needs nap time.
An hour later I was sitting in a quiet, (hopefully) clean house. Exhausted. Burnt out and delirious.
And then something weird happened. I got myself a glass of water, essentially forced myself to take some deep breaths and tried to relax. My mood lifted and I went along with my day. We ended up having a few other zany missteps and mishaps later – was it a full moon or something? I can’t remember. What I do remember is that somehow we not only survived but had a decent day.
Even though that whole escapade was a while ago now and we’ve had many crazy days since, I remind myself of it often.
Crap happens. You can’t control it. But you can control your attitude and reactions. You can try, anyway. Maybe I wasn’t laughing in the moment, but the ridiculously gross/harrowing moments didn’t define my day.
Let’s be real, I also find the inverse to be true. When I wake up on the wrong side of the bed for absolutely no good reason and pep talks don’t work to change my mood, I try not to force myself to achieve big things that day. Sometimes I don’t have a choice but if I can help it, I leave parts of my to-do list to gather dust. I forgive myself and know that my daughter will be better cared for by a low-key (though possibly still a little grumpy) mom versus a stressed out harried one.