the worst of days, the best of days

October 22, 2013 |  Category:   life outings seasonal









Fall isn’t quite the same without a drive up to the Hudson Valley – and specifically the town of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. At Washington Irving’s cottage we watched a shadow puppet rendition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and took a walk around the grounds with a fantastically animated storyteller who retold Irving’s “The Devil and Tom Walker.” Basically, your perfect mid-October day in the way that only the Northeast can do. Why is Halloween SO fun? Fall is the best time of year, especially around here because the NE basically owns Fall as far as seasons go. The abundance of activities, harvest festivals, holiday paraphernalia and the anticipation of the actual holiday itself rivals Christmas at this point.


It was a much needed break and a really great Saturday. But then the next day the girls and I had one of the worst days. I don’t want to indulge in a pissing contest about how hard things are because everyone has their own issues to deal with, but it’s been rough around here I’ll tell you that. It’s pretty naive to think that if you take on too much, nothing will suffer, but something usually always does. In this case it was family because I placed work first. Sometimes it’s a choice that you feel you have to make, however, because there is something to prove, lost time to make up for or money that needs to be earned so you feel like you’re making the right choice. I felt like I had won at life when I successfully juggled clients and had a great design review at a presentation last week after being concerned that I had taken on too much, but I pretty much lost it Sunday in a swirl of stress and pressure and sleep deprivation. In the end, I didn’t win at anything.
I remember the first time I saw my mother cry. It was sort of terrifying and for a kid, the world became a little more confusing. I suppose it’s for that reason I try to hold it together – and I’m not saying that I am stronger than my mother; our circumstances in certain ways couldn’t be more different, but I do remember at that young age how heavy life suddenly felt. Some days prove to be too overwhelming though and it takes very little for things to crumble. So your children see a side to you that you never want to show, but it happens sometimes. I don’t think it’s bad, but I don’t think it should happen often.
Today felt like the first day in a long time where things felt less hectic. There was still a lot to do, but the pace wasn’t urgent and deadlines weren’t stifling. I helped C with her math homework after the girls came home from school and then ate dinner with the family rather than at the computer as I have done many days before. Afterwards we lounged on the bed and we talked. This is the kind of day that you chase after, the balance that is often elusive. The girls and I put Sunday behind us (them a little quicker than I). You move on and accept that there are good days and bad days and hope that the next day will be a good one.

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  • Hannah October 22, 2013 at 8:32 am

    I’m really sorry you had a rough time on Sunday. I’m on the other side of the world, and I’ve never met you so I’m not at all sure what to say – but I guess I just feel like saying something because if this was an email from a friend rather than a blog post I wouldn’t keep quiet. I continue to be bowled over by the love and commitment you have for your family and the generosity you have in sharing some of your experiences and feelings here. Knowing a little bit about how others’ lives are going, and how they are navigating through, is inspiring and reassuring. So thank you, and I hope there are many more of the kinds of days you chase after ahead. x

    • Jenna October 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      Thanks Hannah

  • Myla October 22, 2013 at 8:40 am

    As always, I love how you keep it real for all of us. Our kids are sometimes there to keep us in line when it comes to what matters in life. From reading your blog, I think that you are doing an amazing job juggling everything and constantly reflecting on what could be done better. Hang in there as I am sure there are better days ahead!

    • Jenna October 22, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Yes, today was also a pretty good day. The good ones always outnumber the bad.

  • chiara October 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you for sharing and making me feel like I’m not the only one. This just struck such a chord with me – after a long string of those ‘bad’ days. Thank you. It was just what I needed to read for right now!

    • Jenna October 22, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      I’m glad to hear that Chiara.

  • Clara October 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Your post was so inspiring on the challenge we jungle with as a women, a mother, a spouse and a human being. Life with kids is so short… my firts kid went to college and each of us feel a emptyness …i’m looking at him and my others kids hoping that they always feel my love… ( sorry for my poor english writing!) Have a beautiful day!

    • Jenna October 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      That’s beautiful what you wrote about your kids going to college. I’ve been thinking about it too. It’s 9 years away and I know those 9 years will go fast.

  • Sarah October 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Jenna, this is so beautiful and true. In a world of constant beauty, perfection and besting one another, (it seems at times), an honest voice is so valuable, and beloved. Thank you for this beautiful, if a little painful, reminder that we’re all human. x

    • Jenna October 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      thank you sarah.

  • Soo October 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    We all have good days and bad ones, and it’s a lot easier to share when they are good. So I thank you very much for sharing the difficult ones too. While you might not realize it sometimes, your thoughts and posts are greatly appreciated. We all find comfort in sharing our dark moments.. Thank you again!

  • Bethley October 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Thank you for being an authentic voice for mothers, daughters, and income earners. I go through the same thing with my husband and daughter. Just when I think it’s all going so well, a day knocks me on my ass and we all feel it. Sometimes I feel like I have to keep my emotions more in check now that my daughter is getting older. When she was a baby I could let my emotions fly a little more. I think you’re completely normal, or at least you’ve made me feel completely normal.

  • Jesse October 22, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    we all have our bad days, that is certain. i think you’re right that we need to learn from them, but i think your girls are right to, to move on from them. it’s important to find that balance and to try and be gentle with ourselves.

  • Jocy October 22, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Those bad days can be rough. I just had one – but i remind myself that it’s important to keep going.

  • Renita October 23, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Will creating a 2014 calendar help towards a good day? 🙂 … It would make mine

  • Cristina October 23, 2013 at 6:18 am

    oh…I do sympathize with what you write…Being a working mother is just so tough. I feel like I’m carrying oh so many things at the same time too…pretty tough indeed. So, you’re not alone, and I’m sure you do your best like we all try to do…

  • Lulu October 23, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I feel for you Jenna, my boys are the same age as your girls and i was naive to think that as they age, things will be easier. They are actually harder and with more math homework!

    • Jenna October 23, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      It’s harder in different ways, yes. And yeah…the math homework!!

  • jen October 25, 2013 at 12:11 am

    i could have wrote this myself if i knew how to write as elegantly as you. i would however say that you shouldn’t feel bad about crying or being emotional in front of your kids. it’s actually good for them to see this and better if they see how you deal with it. it’s a real learning moment that even as adults we get frustrated, angry,sad, emotional and that’s ok.