Parenting Reboot


5 Steps to overcome a Miserable Parenting Day

NO one is happy. Everyone is crying. Someone hates you–they all hate you. You left the house a mess. You started off late, continue to be late and spilled your coffee.

It is OK to not be your best all the time. We all have those days — days when we would rather binge watch Netflix and eat M&M’s and Kettle Corn…(mixed together BTW).

If today is not turning out to be an award-winning, memory making day, hit the reboot button. Shift your focus–recharge, restore and renew. How does one do that? First, turn off the tech…(after you read this of course.) Next, focus on the golden nuggets that are hiding in the mess.

Here are Five simple things to turn your day around

NOTICE the Light

If you look at some of the great artists, like Rembrandt, his paintings are dark at first, and they could be called ugly. But, the beauty in a Rembrandt is found in the subtleties of light. If you observe the painting long enough you will see it: the very faint touches of light on the side of a face, on an arm, on a sleeve, or a piece of fabric. Rembrandt’s predominantly black masterpieces are a study of light.

When you take the time to see the beauty, you begin to notice the smaller things you may have missed if you had rushed by. As an artist I can tell you, those values are important to making a composition work — the contrast of light to dark. The darkness allows us to see the gentle light which we would not otherwise notice.

In life, there is always some light. Even in the murkiest of times, hiding in the muck, there is something that you can find to hold onto and give you hope. Hard days, just like difficult phases in life, are an opportunity to see situations with new light. We simply need to shift our thinking by weeding out the clutter. Sometimes, we have the opportunity to do that for ourselves, sometimes life does that for us.

One of the greatest things you can learn when you’ve been stripped down to nothing is that what’s left in front of you is often what’s most valuable. (from Crushed:When Parenting is Hard)

If life has hit you hard and you feel like darkness surrounds you, stop to notice — what do you have left? You have the gentle light — the small joys– that’s what is most important. If you’re too busy, you could miss those little morsels of gold. Choose to notice. Look at your schedule and cut out anything that isn’t a top priority today.

Start there today. Begin again. What is left in front of you is where you need to focus.


Are you holding your breath? Stop that!

Take some deep breaths — in through the nose [1, 2, 3, 4,] and out the mouth [4, 3, 2, 1.] Count 4 in, and 4 out until you feel yourself relax. Stress has an awful side effect that causes some of us to hold our breath. I noticed myself doing so when out older kids were teens, in the middle of the suicide cluster that hit our community and after our son’s night in the ICU from binge drinking. I had to intentionally recognize when I was holding my breath, and force myself to breathe. If you haven’t heard of the APP Headspace, check it out. I wish I had known about it back then.

Reflection and quiet are important for your outlook. Hard times or hard days, if you see them as an opportunity to readjust your sails, could end up being powerful and pivotal moments in your life. It is usually in the quiet that we give ourselves the space to learn. Stress is the pull from what our reality is, and what we are expecting it to be, reflecting on what our focus should be is very helpful. It’s human nature to learn from our wrong turns in life, so take advantage of the teachable moment for yourself. 10 minutes could redirect your whole day.



Get out of the house, change your surroundings. Go outside; go to a coffee shop, stop in church, mosque, synagogue, or the beach and say a prayer. If you’re at work, take a break and change your location. There’s something about fluorescent lights that will make you a little nuts. Keeping yourself if one spot for too long isn’t good for you. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that make you feel good! Boost them naturally, go walk. 20 minutes of walking makes a

Your body-brain connection is real. Be attentive to how you take care of your body, and ultimately how you feel. Exercise boosts endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that make you feel good! Twenty minutes of walking makes a HUGE difference in your brain function and how you feel.


Find Joy

It’s the small things. I’m sure you all saw the Chewbacca mom. Find joy: watch something funny or reach out and talk with an old friend! Jolting the good things in your life lets joy take over the negative. Do not keep to yourself. People are socially connected, we need one another. Reach out and make a connection.

Oxytocin is the relationship bonding hormone, and like endorphins, our brains need Oxytocin —  another “happy” neurotransmitter. It’s secreted during childbirth, nursing a baby, intimacy, and by simply laughing or hugging someone. A good long hug, 20 seconds or more, could change  your whole mindset. Try taking that kid, who is driving you nuts lately, (maybe even out of school) out for ice cream.

Sometimes our lives are so cluttered that we miss the small moments. We need to stop the full steam ahead craziness long enough to recognize the simple, small, golden nuggets in the day.


Be Grateful for Something

One thing!. Be grateful for one small thing. You may look around and see piles of mess or a laundry list of tasks, but be grateful for that one bowl that made it to the sink. It’s one less thing on the counter! Score! For me, I hate laundry. We have 10 people in our family…. I

For me, I hate laundry. We have 10 people in our family…. I really hate laundry (and shoes, but we’ll talk about that another time.)

An attitude of gratefulness can change a morning of mess into one of peace.

I had a mom who was about 10 years ahead of me in the family journey help me shift my attitude about my detest for laundry. She suggested that I pray for each child as I fold their clothes. She told me to pray for every aspect of their little lives; for their friendships, character, sadness, joys, and future. Slowly, folding laundry turned into a time to focus on the gratefulness I have for the lives of my children.

So GO! Take a break. Call a friend, go for a walk. Read that cranky kid a book, take the disgruntled teen out for food, put your feet up and breathe.


You will find yourself — Recharged. Restored. Renewed.

NOW it’s ok to turn off the tech.

More from Melissa:


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