Did you ever have one of those days that starts perfectly pleasant but seems to spiral out of control by 2:00 in the afternoon. Suddenly you find yourself knee-deep in what we like to call “the cranks.”
It is that mom moment where, as if your own bad mood wasn’t frustrating enough, you find yourself responsible for the moods of two other little humans who have seemingly lost the ability to communicate without whining and have slumped into a heap on the couch. One wrong comment or look is all that’s needed for the whole crew to go up in flames.
Everything was going so well. The sun was shining, the kids were content and our bellies were full of burgers made on the grill.
It was almost time for my husband to leave for his baseball game and I asked the girls if they wanted to go watch. I got a mumbled “I don’t really want to go” response so we opted to stay home. As my husband pulled out of the driveway it was like a giant mope cloud came and sat on our house.
When kids and moms are already sitting under that cloud it doesn’t take much to usher in “the cranks” and let them set up camp. On today’s list, the neighbor kids weren’t home, it was too cool to go swimming and the free calculator my daughter picked up at a rummage sale yesterday broke in her sisters hands. And lo there was much crying, door slamming, and pouting. Not to mention the sound of my last nerve being plucked with the world’s tiniest tweezers until it finally snapped.
“That’s it! We are not all staying in this house moping and yelling at each other!”
It was time for the only solution I knew had any chance of saving our day. It was time to get our shoes and get outside where we could move in a space that was much bigger than our giant case of “the cranks”.
I got plenty of push back from my non-hiking daughter, who was also still mourning the loss of her free calculator, but I soldiered on and got the crew in the car. We drove out to the segment of the Ice Age Trail near Ottawa Lake to explore a trail we had never been on before. We started our journey into the woods leaving “the cranks” in the parking lot.
Within minutes of our hike I began to hear the giggles return and the mood of my tribe begin to lift. The girls took off running down the trail chasing each other and destroying any chance of us seeing any wildlife and I began to feel myself breathe once again.
As my mind began to clear I could once again see what was right in front of me. I forgot the millions of thoughts that so recently clouded my head. Without even trying, I found myself focusing on the leaves and the sound they made in the wind, the different shapes and colors of the wildflowers and the feel of the little hands holding mine before they ran off down the trail.
As we walked I thought about how I hope that this is a lesson my girls will carry with them. When life hands you a case of “the cranks”, don’t sit in the middle of it being consumed. Get outside and move.
Looking for trails to explore? Click below to search for guides to trails in your area.
Hiking not your kiddo’s first choice? Go on a Scavenger Hunt instead! This kit is great for getting them out on the trails.
It did our little trio a world of good and resulted in the sighting of a red mushroom, a cool red bug who was not happy getting his picture taken, and a discussion of how you would say ACDC in Spanish.
We returned to our house in a very different place than when we left and for that I am grateful. Had we stayed in the midst of our stress and frustration it most certainly would have boiled over and we would have missed out on a peaceful summer night of good friends, s’mores and sticky fingers.
Sometimes life hands you a full deck of “the cranks” but you can determine how you deal them out. The hardest part is making the decision to change directions, to move, to throw your brain and stress a curve ball. It only takes one step, followed by another and another, until you find yourself in a place that is bigger than yourself where you can let your mind go into autopilot.
Get lost in the practice of wandering and fill your mind with a few minutes of exploring.