Monday, October 25, 2010

Off day.

Ferris Bueller: The master of the good kind of "off day"

Do you ever have a day where you just feel kind of "off?" Like for every sentence someone speaks to you, you say, "huh?" or "beg pardon?" because you're zoning in and out? You do? Yeah me, too.

I call them "off days."

Here's what I have discovered about such days: I can feel them coming like the aura before a migraine. I try to pack too much into one small suitcase of time and the end result? Nothing is exactly right. It ends up being an off day.

And so, yesterday I felt all of the trimmings and trappings of an off day coming together. The preceding week had been bananas, and right on the heels of it was Zachary's birthday on Saturday. Soccer for both kids that same Saturday morning, necessary special-ness for our newly minted 4-year-old to make up for the no birthday party, and then a Halloween costume party that afternoon. We ripped. We ran. We finally got home at nearly 8 PM and had even more excitement when my mentor-slash-friend-slash-fellow Grady doctor, Neil W., came over with his family to wish Zachary a happy birthday. (This was great considering Zachary ADORES Neil and Tamara W.'s ten-month-old, Matthew, who Zach has renamed "Baby Mackey.")

Anyways, soccer + special-ness-for-birthday-boy + costumes + careful-balance-of-special-ness-for-nonbirthday-brother + "Heeeeeyy! It's Baby Mackey!" = One tired mommy. When the kids finally closed their eyes at 10:30 p.m., I was spent. Sho' nuff spent.

When I awoke on Sunday, it already felt like it could be an off day in the making. It started when I couldn't get my act together enough to get the family out the door to church. (And believe it or not, my church has a way to watch the service online, which I couldn't get my act together enough to do either.) Realized that I'd forgotten creamer for the coffee when I went to the grocery store earlier. And. The kids seemed to have forgotten every last one of the things we'd done the day before:

"Hey, Mom! What are gonna do that's fun today?"

"I thought we had fun yesterday."

"But I'm talking about today-fun not yesterday-fun, Mom."

Fake enthusiasm: "How 'bout we go out back and play?" Big smile with jazz hands.

"Out back? That's not fun."

"How 'bout we do nothing and have zero privileges?" Even bigger and very much sarcastic smile, now with wiggling jazz hands.

"Okay, out back, Mom." Smart kid.

Out back we went. Not their first choice, but better than nothing and zero privileges.

As I sat on the steps watching the kids play in the yard, I took in the beautiful day despite my feelings of blah. I'll admit--it was lovely. I'm talking autumn in high definition, and air with just the right amount of crisp in it. Way too nice for a sourpuss attitude. But I was tired, for real. Harry was going to the Falcons vs. Bengals game, and despite his sweet-yet-rhetorical question: "Do you want me to just stay here?" -- I knew that this off-day-in-evolution was going to be all mine.


Such a pretty day. A shame to waste it on blah-ness. I should be driving an hour somewhere to pick apples or frolic in pumpkin patches like my friends are doing with their kids. But I was spent.

After getting good and dirty (and good and tired/hungry) the kids came inside for lunch. Zachy announced that he was going to have "quiet time." (Yes, my 4-year-old announced his own nap.) It was definitely an ultra-twilight zone moment when Isaiah cosigned, saying, "Yeah, and then we can wake up and so something really fun." This had to be God telling me that He was giving me a few moments to get my sourpuss-blah-bleccchhhh act together.


And so they napped. I knew I should be napping, too, but I kept thinking, "I'm tired, but not sleepy-tired." Anyways, I started to blog but then fell asleep after all. Guess I needed an equally solid hard-drive reboot of my own. I woke up before the kids, took a nice hot shower, and then got myself dressed. (Yes, at 1pm.) I shadow-boxed in the mirror and told myself to get it together.

"Kids shouldn't be affected by your off days, lady," I said to my reflection. (Yes, I talk to my reflection quite regularly.) Then came the affirmations.

First a text message from Harry that read: "I'm really happy you made me get my tickets. Thank you for being so thoughtful. It makes me really happy." Harry considered not getting his Falcon's tickets this year and I'd urged him otherwise. Hmm, that was sweet.

I shadowboxed some more, and made up my mind that this would no longer be an off day. No way. No how would I waste this glorious day on negative energy. Despite how tired I told myself I was feeling.

It worked. When the kids woke up, we read a few books and then headed out to do "something fun." On the way to an indoor play center that the kids requested, Isaiah pointed out a festival going on right in our very neighborhood.

"That looks like something fun!" he announced.

Interestingly, my Grady doctor-friend, Lesley M. called shortly after and was on her way to the same festival with her own 5-year-old son. Aaaah. It was meant to be. I made a U-turn and headed over.

And I am so glad I did. We had an absolute blast. Cotton candy. A rock-climbing wall. A jumpy castle. Right in our very neighborhood. Good times, man.

Who knew?

Here's what I am reflecting on right now: Good days and bad days are totally up to us. Deciding that it's an off day is a self-fulfilled prophecy, so I've decided that I'm going to avoid declaring my days as such. Making it a great day is the same way. If you keep saying it's a great day, eventually the heavens open up and get in cahoots with you.

I'm also reflecting on how critical it is to save a little of ourselves for ourselves. Otherwise, you get so spent that you have nothing to give the ones who love you and need you. At least, that's my take on it.

And. You never know what blessings await you. Turns out that two months ago, I feared that I would be tired after Zachy's birthday weekend. I had asked to have Monday off -- so I didn't even have to work today. (I didn't even realize it until around 10 last night!) Go figure.

See what I meant about the heavens being in cahoots?

The off day that I fought off made way for a real off day I needed. From now on, that's my kind of off day. :)


  1. That cotton candy is BIGGER THAN THEY ARE. Haha, so cute!

    Yay for days off. Especially after off days.

    As we consider when we want to start trying to start a family, that's one of the things that worries me about motherhood--how to still be a mother when I'm feeling like that. It's encouraging to read posts like this about how women deal with that.

  2. Kelly, from what I read on your blog, you'll be an amazing mommy someday. (Especially if you keep cooking like you did on that last post! Mmmm mmmm!!)

    Thanks for reading as always!

  3. I had one of those off days yesterday. I'm going to decide on something different today:)


  4. I'm not disagreeing with you, but I would like to point out that you can't have up without down, good without bad etc. Negative is setting you up for the positive. And although you don't seem to have this problem, my wife likes to point out that boredom is what comes just before inspiration. You are very fortunate to have gratitude and appreciation and seem to be passing it on. What a gift.

  5. It's very difficult to have "off-days" with young children, and I would imagine doubled with boys. They happen, though. How can they not? Thing is, children learn even from off-days and learn how to "Plan B", punt, keep on keepin' on, take a day off--whatever fits the situation. Thank God for serendipity and neighborhood festivals! :>)

  6. Silliyak and Distracted, I think y'all are right--we do need our off-days sometimes. . . but tricking yourself into a good mood is an awesome exercise. . . .even if it works only 50% of the time for me! Karen, you'll have to let me know how yours worked! :) Thanks for the comments!

  7. Your perspective is exactly what I needed right now. Thank you!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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