This has not been an ideal day, although it started out fine enough. I woke up at the right time, brewed a cup of coffee in my Keurig, and sat down to work.

I had planned to write, but had important emails to attend to, so I answered those. Then I connected in an early morning call over Skype with a client. We wrapped up our conversation when my sweet Natalie woke up earlier than usual.

We dove into our morning routine of showers, breakfast, and getting dressed (wait β€” I packed lunches and didn’t eat.)

And then Maggie resumed the complaints I’ve heard since school began:Β I don’t like school. I don’t like when people tell me what to do. I don’t like being quiet. I don’t like following the rules but I don’t want to get in trouble. I don’t want to go to school.

I am a mom first!

After tears and tantrums, we finally got into the car to travel to school.

When we arrived in the parking lot, Maggie refused to budge from the back seat of the van. She insisted that she didn’t want to go to school. I had to pry her from the car, and she continued to cry. Once inside, her anxiety accelerated. She kicked and screamed, and ran from the classroom. Parents, teachers, other students watched her unravel.

I knew I could not give in. School is a non-negotiable. And yet, I want to be sensitive and helpful to her in the transition. I let her calm down in the bathroom with a glass of water, and I settled in, waiting, in the school lobby. She emerged from the bathroom, wild haired, with red swollen eyes.

I told her I would sit with her and her teacher brought some school work. I got a Jolly Rancher from the principal and she sucked it happily while completing a math worksheet.

I started answering work emails. I answered a call from a friend, who prayed for God’s peace. I reminded myself that I’m a mom first β€” the work will always wait.

Suddenly, she seemed calm and happier. We walked down the hallway to her classroom. She sat in her seat, grabbed a sharp pencil, and started her work.

I kissed her goodbye, and now I am calm and settled in my home office. Pandora is playing a peaceful song, and I am still sipping the mocha a good friend brought to me at the school.

It is not an ideal day, but I am doing what is needed, and all will be well.

Here’s why: I am attending to the most important things. Top on my list is this: being available to and present with my husband and daughters. Next, serving my clients and team.

If I can stick to those most important things, even the worst days will turn out okay.

Tell me something!Β What are your Most Important Things? How do you turn a bad day around?