I get pretty cranky with my kids around bedtime. I have even been known to tell them that I can’t be a mom after 9:00 pm because I’m off duty. Some days are worse than others, and I think I’ve finally figured out why.
Sometimes I’m just too depleted to be a mom.
I like to think that I have a “Mom Account.” And each thing I do throughout the day counts as either a deposit or a withdrawal into that account. That’s why some bedtimes are so much harder than others—my account sometimes gets overdrawn, and then my kids don’t get the best of me (or any of me at all).
How full my account is depends on the choices I make.
This afternoon I had to drive my daughter to her orthodontist appointment. That may not sound like a very big deal, but our orthodontist is a two hour drive each way. For obvious reasons, I make these appointments on my days off of work, and then I get really resentful that I have to spend almost an entire day devoted to the bleeping orthodontist when I could be getting so much done at home.
I picked Chloe up from school at 1:00, and before that time I’d already had a pretty account depleting day. It involved frantically texting Bria at seminary to tell her that the away cross country meet she thought was tomorrow was actually today, running around the house gathering up her uniform and other cross country needs, The Maestro taking the other two girls to say their last good-byes to a beloved elderly neighbor in hospice before school, the girls having emotional breakdowns, running as many of my errands as possible, getting the orchestra snack to the building before I left town because, even though my daughter was no longer attending orchestra due to a “surprise” cross country meet, I was still in charge of snack. And why do high school kids in a youth orchestra need a snack anyway?
To make a long story short (and to quit boring you with the details), by the time I got to the school I was a frazzled, depleted mom. I was angry about the lost time, because my to-do list was a mile long, and I knew I wouldn’t get to any of it. And I work the next three days.
But then Chloe got in the car, we took lunch to The Maestro, and started off to the land of the orthodontist. We started talking, and then I said something funny to Chloe and she said,
“Oh Mom, I just love you!”
And that made a little deposit in my Mom Account. I was spending some good, quality time with my daughter, and we were both enjoying ourselves.
The drive down was breathtakingly beautiful. I was wishing I brought my big camera, because my phone wasn’t quite capturing the gist. But it’s October in the Upper Peninsula, and there are no words to describe how gorgeous the autumn is here.
And the beauty fed my soul.
That beauty made more than one deposit into my mom account as I literally squealed with delight every time we passed a particularly beautiful display of color. We had to stop on the way home and get a few photos, even though my phone camera does a poor rendering of what we could see with our eyes.
Related: 6 Things That Help Moms Stay Sane
In the end, I came home replenished.
I had spent some wonderful time bonding with Chloe. We went shopping while were there (we always have to hit Target, since it’s the closest one to us!) and had a great time together, just us.
On the drive home I thought a lot about the peace and fulfillment I was feeling, and I started to make a couple lists. A list of mom account deposits, and a list of mom account withdrawals. I recognize that I am overdrawn way too much of the time. I’m spending far too much on overdraft fees, and I create a vicious cycle.
And the worst part is that my children are the ones who suffer when the account is empty.
So, let’s talk about the things that fill up or deplete my mom account (and possibly yours, too).
Mom Account Deposits:
Spending time in nature
Studying the scriptures
Eating healthy foods
Cuddling my children
Time with my friends
Extending myself mercy
Being present in my own life
Writing in my journal
Connecting with others
Mom Account Withdrawals:
Going to work
Staying up too late
Spending too much time on Facebook
Too much housework
All work and no play
Related: How to Say No Graciously
Today things worked out so that I have something left in my mom account. I’m not even annoyed that Chloe is still up and is just barely getting into the shower at 10:30 pm. Okay, so maybe I’m a little annoyed, but I’m not angry. And I’m not getting upset and impatient with her. I’m remembering that she’s a night owl, I would prefer that she shower, and she also had to spend a lot of her day driving to the orthodontist.
It’s nice when my mom account has funds available!
What’s your mom account like today?
This post is part of my 31 Days to a Happier Home series.
To see all the posts in this series, click here: 31 Days to a Happier Home
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