Honestly, I am really, really good at staying in a bad mood. Sometimes I can get so flustered about something that I stay flustered but don’t even remember what originally set me off. It’s something I’m working on.
In teaching, I decided not to be this way. I knew too many teachers who ran into traffic on the way to work and then were short tempered with students all day long. That wasn’t me. But at home I could keep a bad mood going longer than most.
As I watch my son, though, I see how foolish I am. He gets in bad moods sometimes, but usually it takes a little distracting, maybe a little soothing, and worst case scenario, a long nap, and he is back to his cheerful self. A rousing round of “Rise and Shine” has headed off several bad moods today.
Why do I waste time and relationships staying in bad moods? Is it so I can punish the person/people who invoked my wrath? Is it so I can show people my true feelings, much like a child would hit another child who took his toy? Is it so I can justify my feelings?
I often feel entitled to my bad mood. It seemingly affirms the legitimacy of whatever set me off. It gets me sympathy and attention sometimes. But it is ugly.
My baby won’t waste current playtime by thinking of his past bad mood. He is distractible in a good way. Though a diaper change in the middle of his play may have annoyed him, he can bounce back quickly. I need to be more this way. There are legitimate things that will frustrate and annoy during the course of the day, but I can choose not to let the day be defined by those. Like a child, I can choose to bounce back. And sometimes, maybe all it takes for me is a song or a long nap, too.