08/02/2012 02:22 pm ET Updated Oct 02, 2012

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


To all the other parents who wish they could turn back the clock and start today over again,

I know you're out there somewhere and your day has been as crappy as mine.

You woke up with an emotional hangover from yesterday's fight with your partner, which drained whatever energy you might have had from your fitful five hours of sleep.

You ran out of milk, burned the pancakes and no one wanted toast for breakfast.

Your kid got distracted playing and forget to poop on the potty, ruining another pair of underwear and reminding you that no amount of soap gets the smell off your skin.

The dog also had tummy troubles and the living room carpet has a few new stains. You may or may not be able to remember what color your rug was when you bought it.

You yelled at both of them even though you know you shouldn't have. They're little and they had accidents, but somehow, that didn't matter.

Mid-morning you realized you were hungry and crabby, so you had a double chocolate chip muffin and a pound of bacon to make yourself feel better. It didn't work, but you knew that before you started eating. Now, even your sweatpants feel tight.

The weather was gray and rainy, despite a week of reports guaranteeing sun. The day of fun at the pool was replaced by a hodgepodge of activities, hastily thrown together and ultimately unsatisfying.

You were so tired, you let your kid watch three hours of TV while you tried to label his clothes for summer camp. You couldn't find the labels you ordered and had to make do with a Sharpie. The fumes made you sick. You're also not sure anyone will be able to read his name because Sharpies are not made for teeny tiny preschooler clothes.

There were four loads of laundry to do. You did one. You may have accidentally shrunk your partner's favorite linen shirt. Accidentally. And yes, it is possible that it was a mistake even though this was the third laundry mishap you've had in as many months.

You aren't feeling well, and it's likely that you're coming down with the cold that has kept your kid's nose running for the past week. That, or it's all the nitrates in the bacon.

The project you promised your boss still isn't done and you don't know where you'll find the time to finish it. It's hanging over you like an executioner's ax, reminding you again that work/life balance is largely a myth.

After tripping over the dog, you banged your knee against the table and hit it right in the spot that radiates pain all the way up your leg and leaves you limping for an hour.

You planned on tackling a slew of chores today, including grocery shopping, gardening and cleaning. You only got to the grocery shopping and now you're staring at a list that you can't get to until next weekend when it is twice as long. You also just realized you forgot toilet paper and fruit snacks.

By dinnertime you haven't cleared the air with your significant other, and after the day you've had you're kind of OK with a stalemate if it means you can watch TV in peace and try to sleep off your hideous mood.

Bedtime turned into a horror show with one meltdown after another and you didn't have the patience to be all Mother Teresa in the face of a tantrum, so you turned out the lights and left the room and hoped that your 4-year-old would stop crying before your ears started to bleed.

Today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. The kind of day that makes parenting and marriage seem like a whole lot of work.

Not "battling chronic illness" or "death in the family" or "just lost your job" bad. Not "wondering how to feed your children" difficult. We all know the difference between inconveniences, irritations, frustrations and real hardship. I'm not talking about that. I just had one of those days that bangs me up a little bit. For the past 24 hours, I've failed at every turn to be the kind of parent and partner I want to be. I wasn't as patient, understanding, forgiving, loving, focused, organized or attentive as I intended. I aspired to be June Cleaver. I fell somewhere between Roseanne and Peg Bundy.

I've been there before, and I'll be there again. Probably sooner than I'd like. I try to remember that not all days are like this. Some are sunny and full of perfectly cooked breakfasts and family activities and snuggling before bedtime. Some are filled with moments of wonder that stop your heart and send you racing for the camera to capture the image you never want to forget. Those are the good days.

Maybe tomorrow will be one of those days.