Every once in a while, I just have one of those days.
It has nothing to do with the kids. No, this is not a whine fest about what I wish they would or wouldn’t do. The kids are busy being kids, and for that I will never fault them.
I’m talking about those days when emotion overwhelms me, for reasons I can’t quite describe.
When the to-do list threatens to completely occupy my thought process.
When the long-term goals become short-term obsessions.
When the laundry piles up, the shopping needs to be done, and kitchen drawers could really use some organizing.
Every once in a while, I have one of those restless days, powerless to quiet the racing thoughts.
Call it overwhelmed. Call it exhaustion. Call it mom guilt.
Call it all of the above.
Once in a while, those days just happen.
I could feel it the minute I woke up this morning. I carried it with me throughout the day. I fought a silent battle in my mind to just keep focusing on the happy moments. The to-do list will be checked off. The laundry will be done. The drawers will be organized, for a minute at least.
Yes, I spent the day quieting the senseless thoughts that only emerge when I’m focused on bigger things. Things that are just out of reach.
I coached myself to just slow down. Appreciate the small moments. Find the happy.
I did just that.
I watched my son paint a picture. I found myself smiling as he mixed paint colors, a look of pure wonder on his face as new colors emerged.
I shared secrets with my daughter. I wrapped my arms around her as we created stories and wrote our own endings.
I worked on a dream and took notice of the fact that with each moment spent working, that dream becomes just a little bit more attainable.
And then…I put strategy into action.
For years I have taught clients to end the day on three good things. To find the good, write it down, and rest on happy thoughts. No matter the day, no matter the stress, no matter the circumstances, good things exist. The scent of a fresh cut flower, a strawberry so sweet that it tastes like candy, a mug of hot tea on a cold rainy day. These small moments are everywhere, provided that we choose to see them. These small moments can make one of those days into just one of those days. These small moments can turn things around, if we let them.
Three good things
The wonder in a three year old’s eyes as colors change right under his brush.
Secret stories shared in hushed tones that end exactly the way we want them to.
A small step toward to reaching that dream. The one that keeps me up at night. The one that sends me to another place. The one that has been there all along.
Three good things.
I will rest peacefully on my good things tonight.
What are some of yours?
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Katie is a Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist/Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA. She has a five year old daughter, three year old son, and a rock and roll husband who makes her life complete. Katie has a parenting advice blog, Practical Parenting, and can be found on Twitter. She also writes for moonfrye.