Negativity breeds more negativity, is what I’m hearing. Toxic people are negative people and no good will come from them.
Well I am here today to say that sometimes, we need to give ourselves permission to wallow in a bad mood.
There. I said it. Call it catharsis or whatever you want.
There are simply times when I just want to be left to it. Wallow, self-pity, woe is me.
I blame hormones. (But that’s another fun and exciting blog topic for another day.) 🙄
Look, we all could use more positives in our hectic lives. We’re constantly bombarded by media and the world around us with negative messages, images, video clips. It’s not easy to live like this unless we turn off the tv and the wifi.
Have you tried to get through the day without the internet? Just today I was commissioned to finish the tennis forms, and a kid needs a registration completed online, and there’s two bills to pay today…
Hibernation, or becoming a hermit does sound alluring at times…
I’m neither hibernating nor a hermit. I don’t have time…
What I’m saying is, when that bad mood hits and you know yourself well enough to understand that it’s a process you need to go through, well then do what you can to do exactly that. Go through the process.
I give you permission to let your bad mood simmer. Sometimes that’s the only thing that will make you feel better, afterwards.
But there are some common courtesies we should probably adhere to while we roll around in our deep, dark abyss. Like this one:
Don’t drag the family down with you.
This of course is easier said than done. Everyone has these moments when we are more than happy to point at their actions as the offending cause of our bad mood.
Bad moods don’t accept rationalization; instead, they emerge slowly, over a period of time. Maybe it’s the clutter and dirt that got dragged in and accumulated, maybe it’s a financial decisions someone maybe that has the budget upside down now, or maybe it’s kids ignoring your instructions. When the mood takes possession of your brain cells, you can dish out blame as much as you like, it won’t really make it dissipate .
But instinctively we should at least try not to involve them in our train-wreck journey.
So how do you do that? How do you save them from joining you in your mad mood?
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times my tweens accuse me of wrecking their good mood. They refuse to accept, for example, that schoolbags and unpacked lunch bags left on the floor at the entrance is the straw that finally broke the camel’s back, and not the main culprit of my instability. They don’t understand that I’d been dealing with any number of issues throughout the day. They were in school, away from me. They didn’t see the cumulative grief of my day.
What they do see is my reaction to something stupid like bags on the floor. They label my freak-out as excessive, which ignites their own bad mood. And it’s futile during those moments to try and defend myself. To explain that the bags are not the reason I’m pissed off, but they contributed to my already fragile state…
Kids in middle school are old enough to get it, they shouldn’t need repetitive reminders for executing simple, routine expectations.
But I digress. This is just one example anyway, and a minor one at that. (But let’s stick with that one, for now, for simplicity purposes.)
So what does an exasperated parent do in a situation like this?
Well, the wrong thing to do is to react, to lash out. To start yelling.
“How many times have I told you guys to pick up your crap?”
What I really WANT to do is hide in my bedroom with a glass of wine and the remote, or a good book. Ignore what I instinctively know will fuel my already raging emotional fire. I should escape, and deal with their stuff later, when I’m calmer, more relaxed.
But letting it go is often not practical. When their dad comes home he’ll be the one to trip over their stuff. He deserves some dinner when he gets home from a brutal commute, not a sprained ankle. Then, the kids have homework, and usually there’s activities to schlepp them to before, or after dinner. Not to mention that they too need to eat. Can’t have a kid collapse during a hockey game now, can we? So if they’re dawdling around with screens on the couch in front of he tv while I rush around making dinner, acutely aware of their scattered bags in my peripherals, this does not calm my agitated state. The state that was already agitated before they arrived home from school.
Having said all that, I don’t really want to encourage you to go through these dips in mood all alone. What I’m trying to say is that bad moods will come and go, and we are allowed to have them. Perhaps this is a way to manage stress, in some ways.
It’s all in how we deal with the bad mood.
The aim here is give us all permission to have those moments where the bad mood festers, and to allow us to travel through it. We may react wrong, make mistakes along the way, end up having the whole family involved by sheer blind rage over stupid issues that consume us but no one else, but we will prevail and take up the reigns again. After the storm, when it’s all over.
This could be a learning experience. A lesson, of sorts, of what not to do next time. (Bags on the floor won’t cause the apocalypse…)
Know that I often fail spectacularly in making wrong choices during my bad mood spells, especially in the parenting department.
But then, this is why I have a blog. 😉
So readers, tell me, what do you do when the shit hits the fan in your household and you can’t board a flight to Barbados to escape it all?