We’ve all been there: those days when you lose your keys, someone parks in your parking space, you run late for a meeting, you get your wrist slapped (figuratively) at work, you snap at your spouse, your toddler goes into hysterics over some minutiae, you have a healthy dose of hormone-related emotional turmoil, and then, to add a totally bruised cherry on top, you give yourself a black eye with your own laptop (if you’re wondering if this is a true story, trust me—truth can be stranger and more annoying than fiction).
Don’t ask how it happens, but somehow turmoil creates more turmoil in its wake, until you just want to go back to bed and do the proverbial scream with your face in a pillow.
Well, fellow parents and friends, on those days, there’s a solution. It’s called vodka.
I’m kidding (mostly).
There’s no real, foolproof solution to the kind of day I call an “Alexander day.” It’s terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad. Things go from bad to worse, and a one-way ticket to Australia is nowhere in sight. You can try deep breathing and meditative thoughts and checking your thresholds. You can try a hot shower and a good cry. You can try blasting music and blowing off steam. You can try exercise or chocolate…or both. But sometimes the only thing to do is to 20-mile-march through it: put your head down, hit it straight on (the day, not the laptop), and just get through it, no matter how many more hurdles and obstacles plant themselves firmly in your path.
So, on those days, remember: you can do it. You can make it through without challenging your child for the right to lie down in the aisle at Target and lose your composure. As bad as it seems, there’s hope and light at the end of the tunnel, as these quotes can attest:
“There is nothing more subversive for a woman to do than believe she deserves to get what she wants and to recognize in herself the willingness to fight to get it.” —Rufi Thorpe
When you feel like you’re spending your days fighting The Man, remember this. Remember you deserve to move forward and upward and onward, but it’s not always going to be easy. Swimming upstream never is. However, if you have the strength and the dogged determination to fight for your desires and beliefs, something valuable will come from it.
“Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Let’s just take this quote totally out of its political context. It still has strength and meaning for each of us as we go through our everyday activities. We persist. As women, we persist in loving, in giving, in nurturing our families, in growing our careers, in planning for the future. A bad day, even an epically bad one, cannot hold us down because we will keep working to do what is right, what is best for our families and for ourselves. We persist, regardless of the obstacles in our paths.
“I get by with a little help from my friends.” —The Beatles
We will totally blow by—um, I mean—gloss over the fact that the next line of this iconic song probably explains a little more about exactly how the Beatles actually got by. Instead, we shall keep this nice and PG and point out that having that one friend who will hear you out on your bad, bad days, is priceless. And if that friend schedules a playdate or pedicure or Girls’ Night Out to help you deal, even better. The laughter, bonding, and conversations that make your best friends so special also make it easier to get through hard times and not feel alone when you face an especially strenuous situation.
“I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable, I am an original.” —Aaron Burr, Hamilton: An American Musical
There’s only one you. If you’re having one of those truly awful days, you’re probably glad that no one else is going through the frustration and annoyance and drama. However, the fact that there’s only one amazing, unique you means that each and every experience really is making you stronger, adding to your store of wisdom (hopefully not not your stock of grey hair and wrinkles!). You can’t control what happens to you, only how you react to it and how you use each opportunity to learn, adapt, and—maybe—use the knowledge that comes from frustrating situations to be a better person or help others.
“After all, tomorrow is another day.” —Scarlett O’Hara
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” —Anne Shirley
Poor Scarlett. She finally figured out her own husband was the love of her life, right on the same day he decided to leave her. And then there’s my girl Anne of Green Gables (who you’ve possibly heard me wax eloquent on before), whose early life was riddled with her silly schoolgirl mistakes. Somehow these two heroines with totally different experiences come to the same conclusion: Tomorrow isn’t just an inexorable inevitability; it’s an alluring beacon of promise. No matter how bad today is, you have a fresh slate tomorrow and the next day and each tomorrow after that. To that very end, I keep a sign from a dear friend in my office from that says “Every day is a second chance.” It’s a reminder that you have possibilities and opportunities ahead of you, especially if you don’t let the storm clouds of today blot the sunshine of the next morning.
“My mom says some days are like that, even in Australia.” —Alexander
Alexander days stink. There’s no denying it. But the good thing is, they’re just “some days”; they don’t last forever. There’s always something pleasant, something to look forward to, further down the road. So, when you feel down, just remember: it happens to everybody, so you’ve got a crowd of sympathizers and well-wishers around you, and you’re amazing, and you can make it through. We, your fellow moms, all have faith in you.