Before I had kids, I coped with this seasonal moodiness by taking to my bed when it hit the hardest. I would get up and go to work, but otherwise I'd curl up with a pint of Ben & Jerry's, avoid any unnecessary social interaction, and wait for it to pass.
Now that I have kids, I don't have that luxury (such as it was). So instead I ... take natural supplements. Take not-so-natural supplements. Exercise. Rest. Eat well. Eat chocolate. Cancel social engagements. Get up and go to social engagements I'd rather cancel. Etc. That sounds random, perhaps, but it's actually a fairly scientific system derived from years of personal trial-and-error, not to mention the input of more than a few professionals of various disciplines. Often, it works.
But not always. And while you are most likely reading this from a safe distance, my family gets the privilege of experiencing my ups and downs first-hand.
My daughter is getting old enough to understand that it's not always her. Sometimes it's me. She will, on occasion, suggest that I go put on my Disney Grumpy sweatshirt. (Or, as we in this house call it, "fair warning.") On a particularly rough morning last week, she actually said: "It probably would have been a good idea to count to five before that last sentence came out of your mouth." And she was right.
Which made me think, again, wouldn't it be great if my kids learned only from what I say, and not what I do? Because it turns out they are always watching and listening, even when I think they're not. And especially when I wish they weren't.
Here are some of the lessons I fear my kids are learning from me:
On the other hand, if I were the perfect mother I sometimes wish I could be, my kids would miss out on some other important lessons. Things that I have probably said a million times, but that are so much more powerful when they are modeled. Things like:
My kids and I have a little running joke. When one of them is recounting a mistake they made, or worrying about their performance in some activity or other, I ask: "Do you have to be perfect?"
"No!" they say.
"Is anybody perfect?"
"No! Nobody's perfect," my angels respond.
"But wait! Mommy's perfect, right?"
At this, they dissolve into giggles. Oh, the hilarity that ensues!
Maybe that's the best lesson of all.