I've found that my toddlers do not give a fuck when my mood is darker than the bottom of a crone's cauldron. I mean they really, really do not care. They still push every boundary they stumble upon, require constant attention and care, and have this pesky habit of eating regularly. I'm still their mom no matter my emotional state or level of control.
Everyone is entitled to a bad day, a bad mood, or a ride on the struggle bus. As complex, emotional creatures, it is literally impossible to NOT have a bad day once in a while. However, what we are not allowed to do is punish those around us for our bad moods. At least that's what I was always taught. You have to deploy your coping mechanisms or else warn your family and friends that your hold on rationality and reasonable response is limited at best.
But what happens when a Mom has a bad day? There is little way to escape and decompress. Again, kids don't give a fuck. And if you work at home with the family or your job is home-based, there's is even less a chance you can get people to leave you the fuck alone. And so it is down to coping mechanisms. We overcaffeinate, order pizza, turn on the movie that keeps our kids the most occupied and begin counting the hours til bedtime.
Naturally it is those days that the minor inconveniences start piling on. Little things that by themselves would be ignorable add up to be this overwhelming crush. The laundry soap was lower than you expected. You ran out of your favorite coffee creamer. Your kid wants to wear the shirt that he mercilessly destroyed with pudding the other day and it's not yet clean. Small things all. But enough to drive your mood further down into the pit.
And then the piece de resistance of the whole emotional black hole a bad day creates, is we can't even vent about it. We have to put a brave face on for our kids and then get absolutely no release with adults.
"Your kids shouldn't have to deal with your emotional baggage. It's not their job."
"If you couldn't deal with the strain, why did you have so many kids?"
"Just shake it off. It could be a lot worse." (This is my personal favorite.)
I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, we need to normalize when a Mom has a bad day. It's absolutely fine if your kids see you in a moment of vulnerability. Yes, I let my kids see me cry. Why? Because I want them to know its okay to cry. I also want them to see that it's possible to be sad, have a cry, and be okay after that. I know not all things are resolved with a good sob but some are and those are the ones I let my kids see.
I'm a big fan of teaching through the failure method. Letting my kids fail, even if I see in advance this is going to be the outcome. It helps boost problem solving and coping skills. Sometimes the failure is their own. Many, many milk puddles that could have been prevented have been mopped up in the interest of letting them learn how to pour their own milk. (This applies only to my eldest at the moment - but the cycle will be repeated with the tiny ones as well.)
But sometimes the failure is mine. I snap at them needlessly, and sure I feel bad about it. To be frank the mom guilt tries its damndest to eat me alive in this moments. Thus, I apologize to my kids. They see Mom own up to her mistakes and, hopefully, learn to apologize for their own later.
Moms are allowed to have bad days. It doesn't make you a bad mom. It makes you a human. And it gives you a chance to show your littles how to handle bad days. They'll have them too, not to mention overwhelming emotions. Developing good coping mechanisms and giving yourself permission to feel is critical to being a good mom.
Sometimes good moms break down in the kitchen. And sometimes good moms tit up and get on with the day. Sometimes good moms pray a telemarketer calls you that day so they can lay into a human being without shame. Let's normalize that moms are people and we don't have to be perfect all the time.