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How to Stop Being a Grumpy Mom

How to Stop Being a Grumpy Mom

I was feeling frazzled and impatient this morning — ready to throw in the towel and lose my temper. Kind of ironic because I just wrote a post about finding more S-P-A-C-E yesterday, I know.

But I’m just keepin’ it real here. And it was one of those days.


We had a long day yesterday and were gone most of the day.

When we got home last night, we went pretty much straight to bed instead of staying up and going through the all mail and packages that had arrived (it was a pretty massive pile yesterday!), finishing cleaning up the kitchen, working on the laundry, or unloading the car that we’d spent a lot of time in yesterday while driving to various locations all over Nashville for different things.

This meant that I woke up feeling behind. Plus, for some reason, my alarm clock didn’t go off this morning and I overslept, too. Which didn’t help me feel any more calm.


To add to that, there were some attitude issues that flared right off the bat this morning and some little people who didn’t want to help or focus or do what they were asked to do.

This morning, of all mornings, of course. I said to myself in frustration.

Being a Fun Mom Always Wins

By about 11:15 a.m., I had had it. It felt like nothing was going right, my anxiety level was rising, and I knew if I didn’t do something quickly, it was going to go from bad to worse really, really quickly.

I went out into the garage and called Jesse. He listened to me rattle on about how frustrated I was feeling. He encouraged me and by the end of the phone call, I was feeling somewhat better.

But I knew I needed to do something more, something tangible, to help turn the mood around in our home. Well, and mostly, to help turn around my mood. 🙂

So I called the kids into the living room, apologized for how I’d acted stressed this morning, and then told them we were going to pull out the puzzle we’d gotten at a White Elephant gift exchange the night before and we were going to stop what we were doing, set the timer, and work on the puzzle together until the timer went off.

How to Stop Being a Grumpy Mom

They were all thrilled with this idea — especially because it involved mom working with them on something that they love to do.

And I was amazed, because within 5 minutes, not only did I feel so much calmer, but I was actually really enjoying being down on the floor working on the puzzle with them.

Being a fun mom instead of a grumpy mom always wins! 🙂

Related post: How I Stopped Yelling At My Kids

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  • aleise says:

    Interesting idea. I will have to try doing something fun (the opposite of what I’m feeling like doing) the next time I am feeling that way. 🙂

  • says:

    Great post. I love this idea. Sometimes it can be hard to turn things around and snap out of the funk when the day is not going well. Also a great reminder about the benefits of being mindful and paying attention to our children!

  • Lindsey Swinborne says:

    Have you been spying on me today? I had the exact same kind of day. My kids were all super-ungrateful and negative and although I worked hard to make the day pleasant (making pancakes, giving extra encouragement on schoolwork, buying favorite foods on my grocery run) they were driving me crazy! My once-clean living room errupted into a paper tornado, a kid took 45 minutes to do 8 math problems, one kid spit soup all over my dining room floor, etc. etc. I had to apologize for yelling at the spitter and completely wigging out. I wish I’d thought of doing a puzzle! I did let them color vehicle pictures (Melissa and Doug’s vehicle coloring book is a hit with boys!), and make princess crowns (my girls) while listening to The Secret Garden on audiobook.

    • Jo says:

      I’m so, so sorry you had a hard day, too. Here’s to hoping BOTH of us have a better day tomorrow! {hugs!}

      • HappyMama says:

        This was my day too! My kids were super fussy today (I think maybe not feeling the best). Well I was making breakfast and they were at the table fighting/fussy, and I was desperate to get them to stop, so I quick said, hey kids lets sing some Christmas songs. That definitely made a quick turn a round in the atmosphere in the kitchen (especially after telling them to stop was not working)!

  • Chelsea says:

    Way to go! Great post- thank you.

  • says:

    Love this! Thanks for sharing. Sometimes the concrete examples and ideas stick in my head and come back on future occasions when I need ideas of how to deal with rough situations, so I always appreciate people’s honesty and taking the time to write out details! (I can also identify with calling my husband and feeling better after just talking through stuff. Mine often says, “Well, what do you want me to do?” and my response is usually “Just listen” 😉 He does that really well and often that’s all I need!)

  • anita c says:

    Thank you for being honest in situations like this. My day went much like this and didn’t end much better. I am so grateful for these reminders that I’m not alone in the bad times and for the encouragement that can offer. Thank you thank you and here’s to a happier tomorrow!

  • Joy says:

    At school, we call this “redirection.” LOL. But yes, I have had a lot of these days lately. Seems like these type of days increase around the holidays. Our kids know we are stressed to the max already and they are competing for our time because fun family time is now taking up by holiday obligations.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I love how honest this is. It is sometimes discouraging to see everyone else’s days are rainbows and butterflies and mine so often are not. What a great idea to change the mood of the day.

  • T says:

    I just want to say I’m with you on the pulling the plug on electronics things. We pulled the plug in early November (we’ve taken a summer off before but this time it’s for at least a year, maybe forever). We already don’t do video games, but this was TV/Movies. Computer is used as a tool, like to make Christmas presents or whatever, not a toy, so I’m not really including that. The change in our home and family has been amazing. I’m keeping notes for myself and so far just in a month or so I’ve noticed:
    – Cleaner house
    – More peaceful home
    – Less fighting (maybe. They still fight but I send them to their rooms for 20 min and that has worked. Then they get along.)
    – Incredibly more creative play
    – Less asking for TV/movies (they’ve pretty much stopped asking). There was very little resistance.
    – More interest in reading, especially the Bible (!)
    Anyway, I’m glad to hear we’re not the only ones doing these crazy but (incredibly rewarding) things! 🙂
    Have you read Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne? I think you’d like it. It’s not at all from a Christian worldview, but it’s right up your alley! 🙂

    • Jo says:

      That’s AMAZING… and so inspiring!! Thanks for sharing!

      And I’ve not heard of that book; just added it to my list. It looks SO good!

      • Tracie says:

        It seems like the more I try to unplug the more my kids want and obsess over the tv. (That’s all we have now but they want to watch it for hours on end) My oldest tells me what shows he’s missing, what’s going on in the shows and constantly remind his two year old sister of the shows she likes as well. I don’t give in but they do watch more TV than I’d like them to!

  • says:

    I do the calling my husband and venting to him too! I just wrote a post called “GRACE for the Stressed-out Mama” that addresses some of the real-life ugly issues that we moms face and what to do about them () Because let’s face it, I get all worked up WAY too easily sometimes, and then I’m irritated at myself for being such a grouch. I love the fact that you set a timer because it gave you a chance to fix the attitudes of yourself and the kids without making yourself more stressed about spending an indefinite amount of time away from things you needed to be getting done. I’m definitely keeping that in mind!

  • says:

    This post was great and I found it just at the right time. We have had quite a few mornings recently that have turned super stressful and the kids have almost been late to school. Although I might not have time to do something fun with them right then, I could do something fun after to turn around my attitude for the rest of the day. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration.

  • says:

    Great post! Thanks for being real and sharing the not so good parts of your day. By being humble and transparent with the situation you were able to disciple and encourage others. I am always refreshed by coming to your site!

    Thank you again!

  • Su says:

    So, I don’t comment too often because I see that you gets lots of comments. That being said, I feel it is on my heart to thank you for continuing to put real life, I have those days too posts. I really to not have any friends and to hear other moms have struggles some days is a true comfort to me. Thank you! Merry Christmas(early)

  • Amber W says:

    That was my day yesterday..maybe it’s this gloomy Nashville weather we’ve been having! 😉 Yesterday (actually, the last several days) I was getting frustrated and losing my temper over the silliest things. I was never “that kind of person” until I had children.

  • says:

    I always find that doing something fun with the kids makes such a difference in my attitude. One of my favorite things when I’m feeling overwhelmed with a messy house and not having a good attitude is to read a chapter of a fun read-aloud, have a 10-minute cleaning time as a famly, and then read another chapter. Yesterday, we did this while reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

    I think having a list of ideas for those moments when attitude stinks helps me so much. I shared some ideas of what I like to do to turn things around with homeschooling here:

  • Natasha says:

    I love ideas like this! I’m so glad it worked so well for you. The most frustrating pay about liking these ideas so much is that I struggle to implement them in our home. Our eldest is almost 9, the next has just turned 7, the third is 4.5 and the youngest is 2.5 and I find it really difficult to find activities that they can all do together. If I go with something the younger ones can do the older ones complain and refuse to do ‘baby’activities. But if I select something for the older ones the littles get bored and wreak havoc. Sigh! I know it won’t be this difficult for long and I know you shouldn’t wish your lives away but I am really looking forward to the days when this get easier!

  • says:

    Love this! I think I might need to print that picture with the “fun mom” quote on it out and post it somewhere to remind me about that. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • says:

    I can definitely relate! And I’ve noticed that very, very often trials and stress will often hit the area that I’ve really been trying in or blogged about or mentally applauded myself for doing better in. I’ve learned to pray against it before it happens. And also, knowing and recognizing that this is life here on earth and the bad days are going to come, even though I don’t want them to, helps me when they hit. Knowing that we will walk through it and it will get better. Maybe in an hour, maybe tomorrow or maybe longer. But God is faithful. Hooray!

    Praying a wonderful day over you and a blessed Christmas season. {And for women and mamas everywhere!}

  • Kelly Hess says:

    Last night I was feeling so frustrated. I came home to a messy kitchen and had to quickly whip dinner together. I then ran my oldest and had to take the baby with me to karate, which is always fun to chase her around. By the time I got home I was burnt out. I was feeling very grumpy when I put the kids to bed and I knew I would take it out on my husband. So once the kids were in bed, I grabbed my kindle and walking shoes and went on the treadmill for 30 minutes, exercised and watched an episode of my favorite show. WOW – I felt 100% better and then could carry on a normal conversation with my husband.

  • Crystal says:

    Thank you for posting this! Things have been very stressful lately and it really meant a lot to hear someone else say its okay to be feel behind and miss the alarm going off, but also to give an idea of how to change the mood. Sometimes we forget that its okay to be behind and feel overwhelmed; we just need to stop for a few minutes and spend that time with our little ones.

  • Kathy says:

    Every once in awhile when things around here are super stressful and I am about to rip someone’s head off, I take all the cushions off the couch, pile them on the floor, load on a bunch of blankets and we all take turns diving into the pile. The kids LOVE this and we all end up laughing our heads off. It’s the best. 🙂

  • says:

    Thanks for reminding Crystal! I needed this suggestion at this phase of my life.

  • I am trying to get in with someone to check why I was billed on 12/5 for the blessings journal. The copy was never received nor was I sent any type of tracking email.

    This is my third attempt to try to get in touch with someone. I am extremely bummed as this was a gift for a friend.

    Billing address: Sarah Beckman
    Mailing address: Ashley Whittier

    [email protected]

    • Jo says:

      I’m so sorry you’ve not heard anything… what emails were you trying to us through? As far as I know, we’re completely caught up on customer service emails, so if you could let me know, that would be very helpful.

      And you should be hearing from Matt either tonight or tomorrow. He’ll let you know the status of your package. I’m guessing it must have been delayed in transit, but he’ll take care of you and make sure that your friend gets her journal ASAP.

  • says:

    Funny, it was one of those days around here on Monday. I had prayed for patience that morning and as I am jokingly told often, “Be careful when you pray for patience because God will give you something to be patient with.” 🙂

    Today the boys were feeling a little “winter stressed” so I ignored the dishes, forgot the laundry and played trains with them. Everyone was calmer, happier and more peaceful after a while. (Of course, I also had a latte in my hand. That may have helped me as well.) 😉

  • says:

    As the parent, we set the emotional climate of the room. If a little sunshine is needed, we need to bring it out.

      • says:

        Not only do parents have to set the tone emotionally for the household, but I think the primary responsibility lies on the husband/father. We are more prone to being “ogres” or “tyrants” than are women, and that can launch emotional storms. What do you think?

  • says:

    This is a really great reminder – thank you!

  • Allison says:

    Wow right on target for how I felt tonight. It is 4 days till Christmas and I feel like I have nothing done, I am exhausted from working 10 overtime hrs last week and not looking forward to working overtime this week. I was focusing on what was wrong instead of focusing on what was right here in front of me. My awesome husband and beautiful 3 year old daughter. Starting tomorrow I am going to be a happy Momma!

  • Erin says:

    Thanks for being real with us Crystal. And for adding to the fun mom population!!

  • ISBN says:

    Thank you for this. Made me teary. I had two days in a row of screaming by 1 PM, unable to stop the crankiness even though I knew it was making things worse. This is a great idea. I have three kids under five who are all home for the summer, and we are ALL adjusting. I think I’ve asked them to help me adjust (well not verbally) instead of me helping them do so. I love your blog!

  • says:

    I can totally relate. There are times when I can’t help but react to such trying situations; only to regret it after. I make sure to apologize to my daughter when this happens, and try to revert back to fun-mom-mode as soon as I can! 😉

  • says:

    Absolutely fantastic idea. The reason we have those children is not to mow them down in order to accomplish our to-do lists. Children are real, eternal beings, and they soak up our actions. You taught them something so important – that they are your priority. A timer was genius! What a great read!

  • says:

    I might give this a try myself. Summer time seems to have a lot of frustrating moments!

  • AEJ Mama says:

    We do Pandora Kids Bop dance parties!!! It always puts mama in a good mood! I love my life…(that’s my mantra)!

  • Dawn McCoy says:

    OMG. I kind of just did this. The kids have been pretty good actually. My 9 year old just asked me to go down in the basement to watch him play video games…..(I despise video games) uh. I was just getting ready to make dinner and do this and that but instead I said sure. I popped a couple of baked potatoes in the oven and headed down to sit with the boy. He’s giving a bunch of love. Then I politely asked him if I could walk on the treadmill while he played. He said , “sure!”. Win win.

  • Cecelia says:

    Clearly you’re speaking to ALL MOMS because we’ve all been there… Generally within the past 48 hours. I’m going to put this into practice immediately.

    Oh yeah, loved the acknowledgment of your stress level & apology. Definitely something we can’t forget.

    Thank you!

  • Mymiksam says:

    You have no idea how many times I have said out loud or in my head, “I’m always the bad guy”.
    I hate always feeling responsible for everyone. I think I need therapy. I think I’m going nuts.
    Why do I always feel like everyone else can do as they please and I have to make site stuff is done, clean, paid, safe, ect.

  • Sheena says:

    I’m just revisiting my make over your mornings course and up to Day 4 where I’m trying to find some simple and practical things to rewards myself with – food and tv are my usual go tops and they are out at the moment. I’m really struggling to find any rewards apart from being productive and knowing what to expect in my days and having purpose. I just read this post and it reminded me that I really like doing puzzles – that’s a relaxing fun thing to do so thank you for the reminder ? blessing to you xo

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