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Mom's Trickle-down Theory

Yesterday was a fabulous day. Today sucked.

Something set me off late morning and instantly, I checked-out and entered into a mental fog. All day long I went through the motions of life; fed the kids, decorated the porch for Halloween and counted down the hours till they’d be fast asleep and leave me to my much-needed solitude.

So what happens when Mom or the children’s primary caretaker has a bad day?

Well I’ll tell you what happened in our neck of the woods. My boys spent the entire day at each others’ throats and the girls screamed over shared Barbies and such. And because I hadn’t the wherewithal to referee these rounds of fights, the only “parenting” I did was make bi-hourly rounds around the house to grumble about the mess and shout out orders.

In the late afternoon, thankfully, Grandma came rushing over to yank me out of my funk, insisting we hit the pumpkin patch at the local farmer’s market. The skies were blue and the air was cool and crisp. It should’ve been the perfect pick-me-up. But, it was not; my head was still not in the (parenting) game. So the kids ran this way and that, whined for ice cream, hayrides and everything else in eyesight. And I watched them from afar, morose and unable to take charge or put order.

Thankfully days like these are once in a blue moon. But this “experience” did make me wonder: what if I was clinically depressed or stricken with some other debilitating mental disorder or chemical imbalance AND had children to look after under said conditions? Or alternatively, what if I had crappy days more often than once in a long while? How would that affect my parenting and alternatively, the kids’ development in the long-run?

Think about it: if we aren’t stoic robots who can aptly mask our personal despair, how can we effectively run our households and keep little kids in line?

I don’t know how other parents do it, quite frankly. Today I immediately noticed the ripple effect my bad mood had on my brood; undoubtedly, they too suffered from the negative vibration.

This trickle-down stuff is serious business. As parents our first responsibility is to our very own sanity.

Because that is the minimum, yet most essential quality we must possess to succeed at this job called parenting.