A Lesson from Barbie: Screw Bad Days and Move On


Note: This is a post from Courtney Baker, chief seller and long-time running wo-man of MvD.

Yesterday, I was startled by Milli screaming at one of her dolls.

“You don’t do the right things.” “You are BAD.” “AHHHHHHHH!” Stomp! Stomp! (She throws Barbie.)

Completely consumed by anger, Milli gives Barbie an earful.

After some discussion, I learned that Barbie wouldn’t sit up the way Milli wanted her to. Her shoe wouldn’t stay on. And her arm wasn’t bent enough. She genuinely felt that this inanimate object was being mean to her.

It was failing her. Why won’t it listen? Why won’t it do what I want?

I pulled Milli onto my lap. We adjusted Barbie’s extremities so she’d sit up the right way and placed her shoe on her foot. I showed Milli how Barbie’s arm also moves at the shoulder socket.

Milli let out a deep breath, finally letting go of all the anger.

She’s still a good kid.


Today, I woke up late.

I stayed up until 1 a.m. last night (for the second night in a row), and I completely ignored my alarm.

I had great plans for today – like walking to preschool, then to a haircut, then to the grocery, and back home. I was going to put a dent in my 10,000 steps all before noon!

Now, I was six minutes late, 20 by the time I could get the girls out of the house. “They’ll probably cancel my appointment.” “I get zero steps when I drive!” My perfect morning plan was ruined.

And then Milli refused to get out of bed. Now I’m angry.

I patiently enticed her with, “Your friends are already on the playground, we’d better hurry” and “I bet you can’t get dressed faster than me.” I ended with, “If you aren’t out of bed in two minutes, I’m going without you!

(Why I threaten this, I don’t know. At four years old, she’s figured that out I’m not leaving her. In fact, I think she’d like to explore the house without parental supervision.)

Only one leg is out of the bed. I’m fuming and cursing in my head.

I genuinely felt that she was being mean to me and pushing me. She was failing me. Why today? Why now?

I stepped into the other room. Logic rushed back to my brain. Four-year-olds don’t get dressed quickly. Preschool won’t shun us for being late. Being late is better than being angry.

I rescheduled my appointment, grabbed Milli some clothes, and then hugged her through the comforter. She conceded.

I let out a deep breath, and let go of all the anger.

I’m still a good mom.

Screw bad days, embrace bad moments

I allow small failures to completely derail me. I forget to track my spending, so I quit for the rest of the month. I eat junk for lunch, so I’ve ruined good eating for the rest of the day. I’m in a bad mood in the morning, so I’m in a bad mood the rest of the day.

I stumbled across this nugget or wisdom a few months ago, and it has radically changed how I handle small failures.

“There are no bad days, only bad moments you’ve allowed to become a bad day.”

We all have bad moments. Traffic jams, long lines, kids behaving like … aliens. Let it go.

Sometimes, we cause the bad moment. We avoid someone, are impatient, or lose our temper. Apologize, and let it go.

Zig Ziglar passed away last week, so I can’t miss an opportunity to toss out my favorite Zig quote.

“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.”
– Zig Ziglar

Let it go. Screw bad days. Embrace bad moments. Bounce back.


Are you suffering from a bad moment right now? Are you ready to say “screw it” to bad-day thinking?

What are you going to let go of today?

Comment and tell us!

23 thoughts on “A Lesson from Barbie: Screw Bad Days and Move On”

  1. Valerie Vierengel

    Exactly what I needed. I’ve been chalking up 2012 as an entire ‘bad year’ (and yes, actually convincing myself that life will be magical and wonderful at 12:01 am on 1/1/13). Plenty of bad moments but I’m pretty sure there were even more wonderful ones. The tiniest of which was just this morning when I didn’t get angry at having to wake my 8-year-old for the 3rd time — a rare, wonderful occasion of mindfulness. Thanks for your wisdom!

    1. Hey, you took the first step to a better day! And you probably felt in more control too. Ironic isn’t it? You want control of a situation, so you raise your voice or try to be more agressive. When really, you get the most control by being mindful. Being a parent is exhausting! 😉

  2. Pingback: Weekly Review – 12/3/2012 - Shea Laughlin

  3. Thanks for sharing this post. It’s so easy to think you’re the only one when you have a bad day, so it helps to read this. I love how you said being late is better than being angry. Great quote from Zig Ziglar!

  4. If you aren’t out of bed in two minutes, I’m going without you!” (Why I threaten this, I don’t know.

    Ha! I find myself saying things to my kids I swore I would never say! They come out of my mouth and I think “Wow, I cannot believe I said that!”

    “Do you want me to turn this car around right now?” Ya, that’s what I’m going to do on my way to work…..

    1. I hear ya.

      I’ve been working on setting up consequences that are actually actionable. Like “you have three chances to (do this) or (insert consequence).” And now, Milli, will say to me “you have three chances to …” HAHA! Oh, the joys of parenting.

  5. Hi

    I will try to be polite to the subordinates, which I am currently not because of the hectic schedule. I will try to calm down and give them time for the deliverable.

    Thanks for wonderful advice.


    1. I find that the more compassionate I am with Milli, the better she responds. I’m curious if it would work the same way with your co-workers.

      I’m sure you did a great job today of letting go. Now, how about tomorrow? 😉

  6. Fabulous! And so true! It’s so easy to get derailed by a moment that isn’t going the way you want it to. Bedtime does this to me so many nights with the kids. They delay and get mischievous and delay and think it’s so funny, when I’m just trying so hard to get them to sleep. *sigh* I know I should let go, let it pass, and be able to see the funny in it, and definitely not let that moment ruin the rest of the evening. Letting go! So important!

    1. I struggle with bedtime too, because the lollygagging is invading my “me” time. Sometimes, when I’m really struggling, I think about how one day I’ll wish I still had rotten munchkins in the house to put to bed.

  7. I like your point about remembering that they are just ….years old. It is easy to just expect them to act and think as an adult would, rather than remembering what is age appropriate and acceptable for say a 4 year old. When we start to feel that way, sometimes we just have to stop and close our eyes, take a deep breath, and remember what a blessing it is to have them.

    1. It’s so easy to think of them as older people! They do something advanced for their age, and all of a sudden that becomes the new expectation. Guilty, as charged!

  8. BAM! I’ve had this email in my inbox for a few days and read it at the exact moment I needed it. I woke up irritated about 1 little thing, and allowed it to make me snap at my boyfriend, and actually stomp around like a child….gut check! Thanks needed that.

  9. Pingback: Link Love 12/7/12 | Cordelia Calls It Quits

  10. True, Courtney. It is so easy to allow “small failures” to get to us. We often forget the bigger picture. There is always so much we can learn while dealing with kids. Like your “Eureka moment” was a product of your interaction with the four-year-old angel in your house. Thank you for sharing the story.

  11. Pingback: Weekend Roundup! Let's get inspired! - MoneyMasterMom

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll to Top