There have definitely been more than a few times where I have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. As moms there are a number of factors that can contribute to this. Do any of these sound familiar:
*The kids were up all night and so were you*
*the to-do list seems overwhelming*
*You wake up to find that, somehow, a tornado destroyed the kitchen that you worked so hard to clean the previous* night after dinner (and by “tornado” I mean husband on his way to work)
*The kids are particularly rambunctious and you haven’t even fully woken up yet*
The list goes on and on!
We are always trying to do the best we can for our kids and we don’t want to take our grumpiness out on them when it isn’t warranted. And why would you want to spend your whole day feeling terrible anyway? That’s why it is so important to turn it around as soon as possible. Try these tips for the sake of your sanity.
Get Out Of The House
I find that a change of scenery can really do wonders for my mood. It also seems to be good for my kids. It keeps things interesting for them. This doesn’t have to involve travelling anywhere. I have found that even just going from inside my house to my yard can make a real difference. Sometimes all you really need is some sunshine and some fresh air and you will feel so much better. You can also go for a walk around your neighborhood or go to a local playground or park.
If it’s too cold to be outside, try to find an indoor play place. Fast food restaurants sometimes have indoor play places that you can use, though I definitely do not suggest eating there. If you choose to go there, make sure you bring your own snacks. Most times, they will allow you to use the play place without buying anything.
You can go anywhere, but I would suggest a place where the kids can burn off some energy, which is good for everyone involved.
Have Some Alone Time
If getting out of the house is not an option, I would suggest making sure the kids are safe and then going somewhere that you can be alone. You don’t have to leave them alone for an extended period of time, just enough for you to take a few deep breaths or do something else that will calm you down. Find an activity that you know will keep them engaged for a little while so you can take a few minutes for yourself.
If you have to, put on a TV show so you know they will stay in one place. I am not a huge proponent of TV for kids, but I think that watching a small amount of TV while you take a few minutes to relax, is less damaging than dealing with an angry parent. For myself, a nice hot shower is what really calms me down. If you don’t have time for a quick shower, try washing your face instead.
When I am not feeling my best, there is nothing like a good cup of coffee or a piece of dark chocolate to help cheer me up. Don’t over indulge because then you will just end up feeling worse. Whatever your treat is, be sure to really savor it and make it a multi-sensory experience. Sometimes I combine this with alone time. I will go to my room and enjoy a square of dark chocolate.
Lower Your Expectations
This goes for the expectations you have for your kids and yourself. If you are just having one of those days where you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, give yourself and your kids some grace and lower your expectations as much as possible. Are the kids fed? Great! Are they safe? Perfect! As long as everyone is safe and their core needs are met (food, clothes, and shelter), you can let go of everything else. So what if there are dishes in the sink and the kids play area is a mess? If doing the dishes and fighting with the kids to clean up their own mess is going to cause you more stress, just wait until later. For now, focus on the things that are going to make you happy and work on those other things when you are feeling better. I guarantee they will be waiting for you when you are ready.
They say laughter is the best medicine and I certainly think this is try when it comes to turning a bad mood around. If you are feeling grumpy, do something that will lighten the mood. Start a pillow fight, tickle your kids, do a goofy dance, or start talking to your kids in a silly voice. There is nothing that puts a smile on my face quite like the sound of my children’s laughter. I also find that this tends to give me an energy boost which is an extra bonus.
Preventing Bad Moods
The best thing you can do for yourself to improve your mood, it to try and prevent yourself from even getting there in the first place. Of course, we are all human and there will always be days when we are not at our best, but it is still important to make sure we are taking care of ourselves so that most of our days our good ones. As mothers, we tend to put the needs of everyone else in the family before our own. Motherhood is a 24/7 job with no breaks and if we put everyone else before ourself, we will eventually crash and burn. For the sake of your family, it is very important that you put yourself as your number one priority. You are absolutely not being selfish. Think of how important your role is and know that you cannot do it to the best of your ability if you are not taking care of yourself first.
One of the main reasons we moms may not be in tip top shape is due to lack of sleep, especially is your house is your kids are still young. I struggled with this a lot. My first baby started sleeping through the night, 8 straight hours, at 2 weeks old! Can you believe that? I thought I had this baby sleep thing down. Boy, was I wrong. By second baby would not go to sleep unless he was held and if you put him down after he fell asleep, he would wake right up again. The few times I did get him to sleep in his crib, I was lucky if he would stay asleep for 1 hour at a time. Eventually we discovered that he was lactose intolerant and when we removed dairy from his diet, his sleep improved dramatically. I was finally sleeping through the night again and we brought my third baby home. She started sleeping through the night right away and I thanked my lucky stars. Well, that was short lived because at about 4 months, she started waking up Every. Three. Hours. She is now 18 months and she just started sleeping through the night about 2 months ago. That’s over a year of extreme sleep deprivation. That was rough, and if you are in this position right now, I feel for you, I really do. I want you to know that you are strong and you can make it and it will pass. hang in there mama!! I also want you to know that, because of this, it is even more important for you to take care of yourself in other ways so you can be the mom you want to be.
I find that when I eat foods that are not good for me, my mood matches the quality of my diet. Try to start the day off on the right foot by eating a healthy breakfast. Try to stay away from processed foods like cereal and pastries and stick to whole foods like eggs, fruit, veggies and nuts. If you’re in a rush a banana with a handful of almonds will do the trick. Its okay to enjoy a treat once in a while but try to make sure that at least 80% of the foods you eat are healthy choices. Make sure that you are also drinking enough water, at least 8 cups per day. I find that on days that I have eaten more junk food than I should have, I am much more irritable and have much less energy.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of finding some type of release for the stress that you encounter on a daily basis. Moms deal with quite a bit of stress that can become overwhelming if you do not find some sort of outlet. It can be as simple as a phone call to an understanding friend to vent your frustrations. You could also find some sort of activity that you enjoy that you can do regularly such as going to the gym, taking a yoga class, meditating, or engaging in some sort of creative activity. Whatever your thing is, find it and make sure that you do it regularly.
We moms have a lot on our plate that can easily overwhelm us. We are always want to put our best foot forward to ensure the well being of our family. None of us are perfect and we all have bad days, but, as the saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” This is why it is so important that we take care of ourselves first to ensure that we are able to be the best version of ourselves for our families.
What works for you when you are having a bad day? How do you change your mood? I would love to hear your advice and any other tips you have to share!