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How to Shake Grumpy Mom Syndrome

6 ways to get a grip on your frustration with your kids.

Grumpy Mom Syndrome, How to Shake It
Credit: Getty Images/BananaStock RF

An elderly woman in the grocery store smiled at my children and sweetly said, “Aren’t they just precious.” Through clenched teeth, I smiled back and said, “Thank you!” But in my head, my answer was, “No. No they are not!”

My cherub angels melting the hearts of strangers were quite the opposite of precious that day. They’d tested the boundaries of my patience so severely, that my sweet mama voice had transformed into sounds straight out of The Exorcist.

I love them. I know this. But those fuzzy feelings had gotten buried under frustration, fatigue, anger and other emotions that made it difficult to be the mother I want to be that day. I was suffering from Grumpy Mom Syndrome, or as I call it, GMS, and I needed to get it under control. So when I feel myself in its grip, these are some of the things I do to shake it off.

1) Pray.

Taking a moment to pray in a quiet place and collect your thoughts is always a great thing to do. But often I’ll ask my boys to pray for me. I let them know I’m having a hard time and I could use some intercession. It helps them understand that I’m human. I’m flawed. It allows them to know it’s okay to ask for help when needed. They get to witness my faith when I say I know God can make it better. Usually they’re happy to take part in being a solution to my problem, and after I hear their sweet voices speak to the Lord on my behalf, my restoration is already half way there.

2) Get Silly.

When I find myself barking off a list of instructions, sometimes I’ll just go into a Scottish accent. I have a variety of accents I pull from, and soon enough, saying “Put on your socks, go find your shoes, pick up your toys,” doesn’t make me sound like such a nag anymore. They’re cracking up, I’m chuckling at myself, and they’re doing as they’re told so they can hear the next instruction in “Valley Girl”, “Old lady from Jersey”, or “Southern Belle”. It’s hard to be a grump when you’re being a clown!

3) Dance it out.

Sometimes I’ll put on some fun music and dance around – release those endorphins (chocolate helps too).  Turn clean up time into a dance party or a game with your kids. Commit to just turning the atmosphere around and have fun with it.

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4) Make some “me time.”

Instead of a quick shower before bed, draw a bath and light some scented candles for a bit of aromatherapy. While this is much harder to do with a newborn, when they’re older, make sure you carve out quiet time for yourself to decompress and de-stress before falling asleep, to ensure you get a higher quality of rest and wake up feeling refreshed.

5) Ask for Help.

Reach out. Don’t isolate yourself and try to do everything on your own. Let the people in your life help you with the areas in which you’re struggling. I’ve learned that most people are not just willing to help, but happy for the opportunity to be a blessing. Go ahead! Make their day!

6) Make a Life Change

If your GMS is chronic, it might be time to step out in faith and make a radical change in your life. After a career change last year, my life drastically changed for the better. It was a scary move, but it taught me that sometimes playing it safe is often more dangerous for you and your family than taking a chance. Seek outside help to get to the root of what’s keeping you unhappy and come up with a plan for how to change your life for the better.

Grumpy Mom Syndrome will happen. We won’t always respond to our children in ways that make us proud. But we must also remember this – we are not alone. We need to forgive ourselves ask our kids for forgiveness, and keep moving forward. With a little patience and grace, we’ll remember that even in those moments when our children don’t seem so precious…they absolutely are.

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