Dealing with my inner Grouchy Mama

“Why is Mom so cranky?” I overheard my then 4 year old middle child ask his sister in the kitchen, as I sat on the couch working.
“She is tired and stressed that’s all. Just leave her alone for a little bit.” my daughter replied
“Yeah. She needs a nap!” He declared and marched outside.

I am not proud of it🙈, but in the process of trying to do all the things, to keep us all happy, healthy, fed and with a roof over our heads, I had become a cranky so-and-so, ready to explode 🔥at the drop of a hat.

Maybe you have done this from time to time too?

In my mind I start formulating all the ‘good’ reasons why I was so quick to snap. Excuses like:

--- My to-do list is long and needs to be done; on top of that I work a full time 9-5 outside the home and I’m working on growing a business as a Mom Strategist as well as a thriving magazine so by DOING all the things, I can GIVE my kids all the things. Also, I have a lot on my mind like paying bills and paying off debt and keeping us from living in a box under a bridge. Not to mention, I have to clean the house and deal with kids that don’t want to listen, have their room a mess, keep fighting each other and if I just had some freaking help around here, I wouldn’t be so cranky? ---

Sound familiar?

I used to lie to myself and make excuses saying that I wasn’t grouchy ALL the time and that it was just that one particular day; that it was something passing through. But here is the cold hard truth that stung me to my core when I saw my oldest son, speaking to his brother, the way I do when I am cranky and grouchy...

One bad day here or there, I get it, we are human. We will NEVER be happy and carefree everyday. But what I realized when I let myself be a grouch day after day, after day and the days turned into weeks and was behavior my kids were adopting for themselves was that my crankiness was no longer just a bad day...I was leaving a legacy.

😣OUCH!😣

That was then and I have grown so much since that day years ago, and I have strategies to beat the grouch in me.

1. Get thee behind me Satan/ Bye Felica. Byyyeee Felicia!

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If you, like me have fallen into the pattern of being a chronic grouch, it is not too late to reinvent yourself. Here is a strategy that I learned and that I use everyday. It’s the Bye Felicia or Get thee behind me Satan style strategy. When our kids irritate us and get on our nerves, they are not really the enemy. At the end of the day we love them fiercely and we are bonded for life. But they, just like us, have bad days too. So…

When my boys wrestle in the living room and knock over my tripod and cause the remote and Xbox controller to fall on the floor. I take a deep breathe and tell my inner grouch -

“Get thee behind me Satan. Bye Felicia. Byyyeeee Felicia.”

When my husband says dumb thoughtless things, or forgets to get the milk...again. I take time to remind myself that he is not the enemy and I tell my inner grouch -

“Get thee behind me Satan. Bye Felicia. Byyyeeee Felicia.”

When my teenage daughter rolls her eyes or gives me attitude. I must remind myself to stop and think before I speak and tell my inner grouch -

“Get thee behind me Satan. Bye Felicia. Byyyeeee Felicia.”

Is this a full proof system, no, because I am only human and I slip up sometimes, but this simple phrase, these simple few words have saved me from speaking rashly and hurting the feelings of those that I love best. This simple strategy has helped me turn my legacy around and has helped me model a better way for my kids to deal with their own inner grouches when they inevitably rear their ugly heads.

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2. What world do you want them to live in?

As moms we all mess up. We all get it wrong sometimes and hurt our babies feelings in the process. Sometimes because we are so busy, or we are so tired from weeks long diaper duty and being woken up by one child or another every 2 hours, or hormones rear their ugly head or we just want some peace and quiet and 10 minutes where we don’t have to be ‘On” and responding to the never ending mom, mom, mom, the responsibility and the sacrifice that comes with the territory of being a mom.

So sometimes, when I slip up really bad, I have learned that one of the best things I can do is apologize to my kids for reacting so poorly and hurting their feelings. From time to time I have to show humility to allow grace back into my home. It also teaches my children the importance of admitting their mistakes and teaching them to apologize when they are wrong too. It reinforces that I am not perfect and that they are not perfect either and that I don’t expect them to be.

For the first few years of your child’s life YOU are their world! So knowing that, take some time out to think about this, What type of world do you want your children to live in?

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3. Is this age appropriate? 

Sometimes I get grouchy. I admit it, as a mama, I am super cranky from time to time. Why? Because Sometimes the kids get at each other’s throats and fight only the way siblings can, sometimes they make too much noise, they drop things and make messes, they step right over the dirty clothes on the floor as is they do not see them and I have to tell them to do things half a million times!

I knnnnooowwww I am not the only one!

Before I react, I have to ask myself if this is age appropriate behavior. Kids are kids and so naturally they will be just that...kids. There are a lot of things they don’t know, there are things they are yet to learn and as their mom I need to cultivate patience within myself and teach them.

They will squabble, they are siblings and it is inevitable and...age appropriate.

They are learning hand-eye coordination and balance so they will drop things, they will fall and smack me in the face with things, which is, age appropriate.

When they complain about what was made for dinner and want to eat the same thing night after night, and they do everything they can to buck the system sure it annoys me, but it is also age appropriate.

Most of the time our kids don’t do these things out of spite. They are not vindictive A-holes actively looking for way to irritate us. A lot of the time, they are just acting their age and looking to us to steer them, teach them and guide them in the way they should go.

Our kids are not puppets, they are humans, imperfectly perfect like we are and as Mama’s we have the incredible responsibility (and joy) of teaching them what to do and how to navigate the world.

So let’s try, instead, reacting to them from a place of more compassionate grace and less grouchy punishment. It makes YOUR life easier in the long run too.

From this mama’s heart to yours…