My Preschooler Showed Me Our Terrible Day Wasn’t So Bad After All


terrible day perspective - Boston Moms

“We’re having a great day!” 

“We are?”

My question back to my 4-year-old’s declaration was posed with exhaustion, defeat, and total surprise. It had been a rough day. Make that a rough week. Make that a rough month!

This past winter, our family of four was getting over a stomach bug that was preceded by a severe cold the two weeks before. The sickness had thrown our kids’ sleep schedule way off, and since then they’ve been having trouble sleeping past 5:30 in the morning.  

To make matters more interesting, my car battery died the day before my husband left to work out of town. Along with physical fevers, we were also suffering from cabin fever as we were stuck at home until my husband returned from his business trip. 

But this day in particular, my kids and I had been cranky from the get-go. The day had been filled with sibling quarrels, beginner scissors being used to cut through a sock, one child refusing to eat anything but snacks while the other demanded to eat every hour. Four (count them) loads of laundry were waiting to be put away, and the floors could surely have used a good vacuum.

Over-tired tantrums came from all three of us, if I’m being honest. 

My daughter’s opposite reaction to the day challenged me to pause and look at things differently. I asked her, “What was great about today?” She enthusiastically responded, “We got to color! And do yoga, and watch TV!” She bounced up and down with each highlight of her day, and her face beamed as she shared her joy with me.

The pure excitement in her eyes as they looked into mine told me my perspective of the day was missing the bigger picture. 

She was right. Despite the hard points of the day, there were so many innocently sweet victories I did not want to forget. The couch snuggles, make-believe play, an indoor picnic, playing on the floor, making a healthy dinner, and keeping the kitchen clean — which should always be counted as a major win. 

The work of parenting is hard. The days can be frustrating. You might even feel like a failure some days.

But you’re not.

You are most likely much harder on yourself than your children will ever be. If you don’t believe me, just ask your kiddo what was great about today. Feel the truth to their answer and learn from their perspective as they wrap those chubby little arms around your tired neck.

The goal each day is not perfection. Exhale. Tomorrow, we start fresh.