How to Save the Day by Starting Over

It was a weekday night, Doug had spent an extra forty-five minutes stuck in traffic for his daily commute, the kids were bouncing off the walls, and I, well, I was a desperate mother looking for freedom from childcare.

How could we make it through the rest of the night?

It was a make-it or break-it moment.

We looked at each other and made a pact: we decided to act like it was six o’clock on a Saturday morning, our favorite time of the week, instead of six o’clock on a Tuesday night.

It would only work if we did it together. Doug jumped in the shower, and I made a pot of coffee. Doug fixed breakfast for supper: scrambled eggs and thick cut bacon. We started to feel better already.

Sometimes starting over doesn’t require all of that, sometimes it just takes one of us saying, “I had a really bad attitude earlier. Will you forgive me?”

How do you give yourself a second chance on the day?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Oh boy have I had to do this a lot lately. I think you hit the nail on the head when you talked about everyone being on the same page.

    We all have to drop our to-do lists and expectations and just enjoy our family time.

    Shannon´s last post…Spring Clean Your Body With Real Food

  2. I love this post. You guys took responsibility for your own happiness, and put aside any – I am a victim of crabby kids and bad traffic. You turned a potentially nasty evening into a wonderful memory. And you made thick cut bacon . . . say no more.

    Glenda Childers´s last post…Gg is for go on a mission trip (part two)

  3. I can so relate. It seems like everyday my kids are bouncing off the walls and my husband works late almost every night. By the time he gets home, it’s too late to start the day over, although I do like the idea.

    I usually just end up leaving the kids for just a couple of minutes, locking myself in my room, sitting on the side of the bed, closing my eyes and just taking a few deep breaths. That always seems to renew me so I can make it through the rest of the night.

    Amanda @ Mommy’s Idea Book´s last post…Other Money Saving Tactics

  4. I find myself doing this with my kids often. Especially after a bad incident where my three year old has hurt my one year old, and I am so angry I could cry. Or, after my 11 year old has said something extremely rude and hurtful to me. This happens often during the “witching hour” (5-6 p.m.). After the culprit spends a short stint in time-out or in her room, I try to start new again with my children. This usually begins with a hug and I do my best to put my frustration aside and begin again. It isn’t always easy, especially when you vividly remember the incident, but it is necessary with children. They are human and forgiveness is a wonderful gift.

    Bren´s last post…Please Vote for Katey’s Poster!!!

  5. I love this. A lot of times I think the power of a bad attitude or bad day perpetuates because it remains something unspoken. The instant we make the confession, speak out loud the decision to begin fresh, the spell is broken and there is a sigh of relief. And freedom for everyone. I want to practice this more in my life.

    julie´s last post…springtime girl.

  6. What a great idea! It has been a long road for me – learning that when I find myself in crappy mood to just let go and start over. What an important skill or habit to have, though, and one that our kids will really benefit from too if we model it to them consistently.

  7. We haven’t quite worked this out yet. One bad attitude is a slippery slope to a night of fighting. I will think of this post the next time I get home from work and want to scream! :)

  8. Love, love, love this!!!

  9. My husband and I are pretty good at starting over once one of us apologizes. We can usually shake it off and move on like it didn’t happen (or at least pretend it didn’t happen until it does wear off).
    We don’t usually go to the same extent as you have, but it is a great idea to just move on and try to forgive and forget.

  10. This is fantastic! I couldn’t agree more.

    Just the other night I had a long day with the kids and the baby was really fussy and crying a lot.

    A few teenagers were meandering in our backyard (its wooded) with lighters (just being kids) but I asked (a bit too sharply) for my husband to deal with them. He growled back a bit.

    I decided to take a walk with the baby and give us a breather. During the walk I chose to THINK THE BEST OF HIM. To imagine how he felt at the moment and how I must have come across.

    When I returned he touched my back and apologized for being short with me (HE had also been thinking THE BEST OF ME while I was gone).

    It felt amazing to choose to love each other in the midst of feeling overwhelmed with life at the moment. It reminded me of how simple it is really to (like you said) start over!

    Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last post…At the Heart of Self Care

  11. love this -

  12. What a wonderful idea! Sometimes just re-centering your attitude can be tough, but by pairing it with physical actions of happier/easier times I can see how you could really make the change quickly!

    Jen´s last post…Cranky

  13. Denise C. says:

    I’m on a huge iced coffee kick (thanks to one of your previous posts). I have a glass of that, and declare quiet time, usually 30 min to an hour. I read, or rest my eyes and that seems to do the trick! ;)

  14. perfect- i would only add changing into pajamas too, since that’s how we usually are on saturday mornings, and getting into jammies sooner makes everything nicer.

  15. Thanks, everyone, for the encouragement. I broke down crying while on the phone with my sister earlier, and she prayed for me. That was the beginning of “starting over” for me, today. I decided to deal with one thing at a time. First, discipline my one-year-old for disobeying–yet again–but to discipline him without anger. Second, go grocery shopping instead of putting it off for yet another day. Third, lay down with dh for a little while and cuddle (he was home on his lunch break). Fourth, take some benadryl because I’ve been feeling really lousy all day and NOW, I’m going to make some coffee. Then I’ll take some time to read my Bible and “re-calibrate”, focus on His Will instead of mine. Finally, I’ll deal with the water seeping into our family room downstairs, which is what sent me into a tizzy in the first place (dh doesn’t know–I didn’t want to greet him with bad news on his lunch break).

    Your Saturday AM Start-over is a great idea, and I think we’ll give that a try next time we need a start-over at dinner time. Breakfast for dinner is such a life-saver on those nights.

  16. I love this post! Great idea and great attitudes. What lucky kids you have!

  17. I often feel this way, as much I love being home with kids, being home with 1 year and preschooler can sometimes be challenging.

    Other ideas that works for us;
    1. Go out for walk with kids. Getting sunlight of outdoor changes our food.
    2. Put some tapping, dancing music and go crazy dancing inside the home.
    3. Eat some fruits or healthy snacks. being hungry can also causes tantrum (in me too :-)
    4. All else fail, cry it out and then go back to being mommy again.

    Zengirl: Heart and Mind´s last post…Are you happy with your heart and mind?

  18. I find myself doing this in the middle of the morning on days when I feel overwhemed. I simply freshen up and start my routine over. (Or just start it…thats usually what overwhelms me most is not doing what I know will bless our family to begin with)So I simply start again. Great post, its a great way to turn the day around!

    jeana´s last post…Spring Mantel

  19. We have never done this at the end of the day – that’s brilliant… I have often done it mid-morning when school is not going well or not going at all … and everything is just grumpy… Restart… back into bed, stories to start the day, breakfast over and on we go!!! At the end of the day when the wheels come off I take out the flying blanket (any blanket will do… and toss it on the floor with a couple of books…) we can’t leave the blanket till everyone has had their story read…

    se7en´s last post…This Week At (5 April) At Se7en…

  20. Mornings are always better here. I can’t believe I never thought about starting the day over. What a great idea. Sometimes I have to take a walk around the house. I also sometimes think about those moments when she’s sleeping and I wish she was awake so I could hang out with her and how I feel during those moments. It’s those feelings that sometimes get me through.

    Jackie Lee´s last post…What’s in the Kitchen? Ham.

  21. What calming advice–I love it.

    Usually what it takes for us is a break of 2-5 minutes in separate rooms before one of us restarts things with a fresh attitude. I hope we’ll manage it as well when we add kids to the mix.

    Sally Parrott Ashbrook´s last post…My New Project (and a fabulous recipe to kick it off!)

  22. Great idea. We just kinda shake it off and take a deep breath and just move on to a fun distraction.

    Rana´s last post…Post it Note Tuesday

  23. I so looove this idea. I may just have to do this tonight, as today definitely did not go as planned.

  24. My goodness you must of known what I needed this morning.
    Sleep deprived, thinking of how the conversation went last night with my husband and then of how I was going to ask for forgiveness.
    What a fantastic way of changing your attitude.


  25. BRILLIANT! I cannot wait to use this piece of advice for our little guy (about to come any time now). Sunday mornings are my favorite morning of the week and always look forward to them and get sad when they go by so fast. I will try to make most of my days a Sunday morning! Your post made me SMILE!

  26. That picture is sooooooo cute!!

  27. I don’t get a break being a single parent but I’ve found a few things that help when we (my son and I) are on each other’s nerves or crabby.

    I look at what might have caused it, are either of us tired? if so we start working to go to bed.

    are we hungry? I make food or grab a snack.

    I have his toys put away pretty well so if its merely a re-focusing I’ll say “let’s do stickers” or “mr potato head” or something that isn’t done everyday.

    sometimes I’ll go into the kitchen and turn on my ipod and do dishes and tell him I need alone time. he’ll usually come in and play with magnets but it gives me a little alone time.

    we all have choices about our attitude. the other night he was having a fit and I started yelling, “stop having a fit” and thought how ridiculous I was for now having a fit myself. so I started laughing and he started laughing and then we went to bed.

    someone has been shooting people with bbs in our neighborhood so we can’t go out for a walk but we can go out back and do bubbles or get him in the tub and do them.

    I guess what helps me most is to have these options in my mind so in the heat of the feeling badly moment I can step back and come up with one of the above.

  28. Great post for me to run across today. It’s the last day of Spring Break. I am learning that not expecting a perfect day,perfect moment, or checked off to-do list helps me switch my attitude. And whenever I change my attitude usually that effects the attitude of my boys.

  29. Thanks for sharing such a great technique for a situation like that. We’ll definitely have to give it a try.

  30. What a great story, I think I need to use this technique much more often!

  31. I struggle with this, honestly. I tend to get in a bad mood and then be entrenched there, trying to get out.

    I love the idea of giving myself a “pass” to start over.

    Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists´s last post…Peeping Penelope: Home Office Before and After by Centsational Girl

  32. I love this!! For my husband and I, it is recognizing when the one of us is burnt out or stressed. We know that sometimes all it takes is that person helping them find their balance – whether it is taking our son and giving the other “me” time, or making their favorite dinner. It’s all about being a team and knowing we all need help getting through the day at times. Great post!

  33. I read a post called Taking Back the Day and mentioned it on second chances. I think it is an important skill to learn!!

    Jenn @ Beautiful Calling´s last post…Picture Issues

  34. Golly gee, I love this. It really goes well with the post over at You guys truly, truly did exactly what you could do – one little thing that changed everything. Thanks for the inspiration!

  35. I am going to try this next time I have a bad day… thanks :)

    angelvalerie´s last post…dreaming your dreams…

  36. Whenever this happens to me, I sit down and write a list. Just the act of getting things off of my brain and onto paper seems to help me from spinning in circles. Then, I do as you do, just jump in the shower & act as if the day has just begun. It works (almost) every time! :)

    Sofia’s Ideas´s last post…Happy Earth Day 2010