5 Reasons You’re a Grumpy Mom (And What You Can Do About Them!)
Regret. You know the feeling. You wish you hadn't slammed that door. You wish you'd used a nicer tone of voice. You know you need to be sweet, but you're just not feeling it.
Some days everybody in the house is miserable just because you're a grump. You know it's you that's setting the unpleasant mood, but you're not quite sure how to pull yourself out of it.
Let's examine some of the common reasons a mom gets grumpy and then it will be a little easier to determine what you can do about it.
Your relationship with the Lord is suffering.
When you don't make time with the Lord a priority, your mood will sour in a hurry. There are endless challenges to be faced in a day, both expected and unexpected. When you meet those challenges with nothing but your own strength and wisdom, you are fighting a losing battle. How can you face the inconvenience of a potty training accident with patience if you haven't spent time in the Word and in prayer? How can you hold up under the stress of a rebellious teenager's antics without asking and seeking for wisdom from God? Motherhood requires complete dependence on God. But due to the busy, demanding nature of motherhood, many moms rely on their own strength without even realizing it. Duty calls! There is a long to-do list waiting to be completed! Instead of stopping to spend time asking God to direct your day and give you strength and wisdom for whatever you will face, you get right out of bed and start in on the things you need to do. When the pressures inevitably come, you respond with the wrong attitude because you are not strong enough to handle it on your own.
What you can do:
Make your time with God a priority. Guard it fiercely because your life truly does depend on it. I realize sometimes you can't ever find a quiet moment, so I've written some practical suggestions on How to Find Time for God When You Can Hardly Find Time to Breathe. When you make a conscious effort to invite God into your every day life, you will find His Spirit more than willing to help you be sweet when you're irritated, patient when you're rushed, and calm when you're frazzled.
Maybe there are more things that need to be done in a day than will reasonably fit into a 24 hour period. Maybe the kids are exceptionally hyper and are creating a less-than-peaceful environment. Maybe due to your busy schedule the house has turned into a disaster zone and you don't see how you can possibly pull it back together, especially when you're interrupted every few minutes by a voice from the bathroom calling “I'm dooone!” or a sibling arguing match that needs to be addressed. It all closes in on you and you find your mood darkening by the minute. You wish everybody would just behave and stop causing you all this trouble, and when they don't shape up and clean up and straighten up you are a little less than happy.
What you can do:
First, STOP. Retreat.
Tell everyone “Mommy needs 5 minutes in her room. You may look at books in your own room until I come out.” If you're feeling yourself getting grumpy, you need to get alone with God ASAP, even if it's only for a few minutes. Take some deep breaths and let your heart rate slow down. (I do not recommend giving your children chores to do while you're in your room. If they don't do them you'll only get frustrated all over again when you come out. Give them something fun to do and they'll gladly comply, but do make sure they have a specific place to be so they don't wreak havoc in the house.) Take just a minute to pray and ask God to help you with your attitude. Ask him for strength to get through what needs to be done. And ask Him for wisdom to understand what your priorities should be at this time.
Next, think about what can be eliminated.
Maybe you're rushing around to prepare for a specific activity and it's really gotten you worked up. Is it something that you have to fit into your schedule? If not, cross it off, and you've also crossed the overwhelm out of your day too.
Whatever you can eliminate, do it. Lighten your load, and you will remove the entire reason for feeling grumpy. Remove the cause; remove the effect. Problem solved.
Your family is irritating you.
Sometimes, in spite of every effort you've made to serve your family with a sweet attitude, they seem intent on making your day miserable. As you evaluate what you might have done wrong, you honestly cannot think of anything. Some days it seems like my kids have secretly conspired to disobey every command I give, cry every time they don't get their way, and have a contest to see who can come up with the most mischievous escapade. It almost seems like I should have a right to be grumpy on those days. But really, who wants to be grumpy? Not me! I would imagine you don't care to be grumpy either.
What you can do:
Sometimes your children are just craving your attention. Maybe your mind is too much on the housework and they're trying to say “Hello! Can you pay some attention to me too?” Sometimes they're tired or going through emotional changes. It's probably time to take a break from housework and go outside and play with your kids. When my children are purposely irritating me, the last thing I want to do is spend more time with them, but once I do it is the best thing for all of us. It usually helps their behavior, and if nothing else, it gives me some happy thoughts! I'd rather think about how cute the kids looked when I was pushing them on the swing then how badly their bickering is irritating me.
Do I really even need to explain that being tired makes a mom feel grumpy? But most of us are perpetually tired. It's a never ending job, this mothering thing!
What you can do:
Although it's tempting to stay up late when the house is (finally!) quiet, you”ll be glad in the morning if you just get some good rest instead. If you have kids waking in the night, chances are they'll wake up right about the time you turn off the light. You'll wonder why you didn't go to bed earlier so you could have at least logged a couple hours sleep before then!
Sometimes extreme, unexplained fatigue is the result of underlying physical problems. If you're experiencing this, it is not normal, and I recommend that you visit a doctor to get some help. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome several years ago and I can testify that it not only makes one extremely tired all the time, but it also negatively impacts your emotional well-being. (Praise the Lord I was able to find some good help and overcome these challenges naturally. See my book here.) If you're getting plenty of sleep at night and still finding yourself incredibly tired all the time, you should seek medical help.
Have you ever heard the term “hangry”? It's when you feel grumpy or angry because you need to eat!
If your blood sugar drops too low you may even start to feel shaky and weak. This is not a good position for a mom to be in, especially when you have a house full of other hungry people!
What you can do:
Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and be sure to eat plenty of food throughout the day. Keep a food journal so you can see exactly how much you're eating. When you're busy dealing with children it's very possible you're eating a lot less than you think you are! Keep healthy snacks on hand and never ever feel guilty about eating. Help your children understand how to be sensitive to the needs of others by allowing them to wait when they want seconds at meal times. Tell them, “Mommy will be happy to get you something as soon as I've finished my first helping.” If anyone needs to eat, it's you, mom! You can still serve your family without getting up from the table a hundred times. Feed your body plenty of healthy food and you will be able to say good-bye to some of that pre-dinner grouchiness.
What makes you a grouchy mom? What do you do about it? I'd love for you to share your thoughts in the comments!
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