My daughter has been going through the "terrible tweens" for some time now. (In fact, it feels as though we came here directly from the "terrible twos." Do not pass go; do not collect $200.) She is often testy, sour, looking at the world as a glass half-empty. And, most of the time, I just let her be that way.
Oh sure, I try to help her put things in perspective ...
"You don't really hate school," I tell her.
"Your hair doesn't really look that bad," I tell her.
"Our rules about your iPhone aren't really so unfair," I tell her.
Now, however, I have something else to tell her. "Watch out, kiddo, because mommy's in a bad mood!"
As a mother and a wife and a business owner and an association board member and a writer and a sister, friend and daughter, it's part of my job to be optimistic and capable and responsible. Right? Not today.
I'm in a bad mood!
Despite my best Monty Pythonish efforts to "always look on the bright side of life," there comes a day when nothing is going to make me feel better. Today's the day. I'm in a bad mood.
It was the same old, same old getting my daughter ready for school. She was her usual friendly, affectionate self ... NOT. Most mornings, I let her surliness roll right off me, but this morning, I took it to heart. The last straw was catching her try to sneak her cell phone up to the bathroom when she went to brush her teeth. So, I was still in a bad mood.
As soon as she was out the door, I went for a walk. It was wet and grey, but — "supposedly" — the rain was south of us. "Supposedly," we wouldn't get any until late-morning. "Supposedly?" Yeah, right. Exactly two miles from my house (that would be exactly half of my one-hour walk and exactly the farthest distance from home), the heavens opened. I returned home, wet and (you guessed it) in a bad mood.
'Figured I might as well get my mind off of it by diving into work. And, how wonderful! It was only 8:30 and there were already 47 emails waiting for me. Fires to put out, last-minute changes, layouts to proofread, misunderstandings, requests for proposals. Plenty to keep me busy, but my bad mood will remain the same.
At lunchtime, I'll go to yoga. However, after years of mood-mellowing asanas, I now have to worry about someone I think of as ... Amazonian Yogini. Yes, there's a new woman in my yoga class and no matter how zen I try to be about it, she bugs the crap out of me. She is at least 6 foot two inches, and weighs about 125 pounds. No exaggeration. If she was on America's Next Top Model, Tyra would kick her off because she's too tall and too thin. She's very young and she's very pretty. None of this is her fault, of course; it's beyond her control. What is in her control, though, is her decision to do her own thing no matter what the teacher and the rest of the class are doing. So, for example, if I'm feeling a little too proud of my crow pose, all I have to do is glance over at Amazonian Yogini for a big bite of humble. She's already moved through that posture, into peacock. (If you're not familiar with these, you can Google them. The hunched over posture? That's me. The elegant gravity-defying one? That's her.) Buddha teaches us, "Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind." N'amaste, but being shown up in yoga does not make a bad mood any better.
As per usual, my 90 minutes of yoga will result in at least 90 minutes of frantically catching up on everything that went down while I was away from my desk. (Have I mentioned, my bad mood?)
But wait, there's more. I can also look forward to leaving work early so I can drive my daughter to a dressage clinic. A dressage clinic is when you pay extra fees on top of the already astronomical costs of keeping a horse so you can watch a renowned dressage expert instruct your daughter on how to move incredibly precisely and incredibly slowly around the ring. Meanwhile, you sip lousy coffee and stress about all the things you should be doing. I can already predict that I will be in a bad mood.
Once home, there will be lots of requests for homework help and likely leftovers for dinner. I've already watched everything I dvr'd earlier in the week and I'm reading a book that came highly recommended but is, I'm sorry to report, highly disappointing. It is doubtful that any of these evening options will alleviate my bad mood.
Okay, I give up. I am in a bad mood and that makes me a rotten moody mother.
Wait-a-minute though, I think once in a while I'm entitled. I'm going to allow myself this one 24-hour period of growling, scowling, pissed-off 'tude. Then I'll try to be in a good mood tomorrow.
After all, tomorrow is another day.