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photography and camera

Inspired to actions: Being a good mom on a grumpy day

Posted by Elizabeth Terrian on April 9, 2012 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (4)

I had looked forward to Friday all week. A day off with the kids…I imagined we’d go hiking, read books, watch a movie, play games and just have a fun spontaneous day.

Instead, this ugly old ogre of a woman showed up at our house. Sadly, that woman was me. For various insignificant and inexcusable reasons, I started the day off on the wrong foot and stayed there.

I felt utterly introverted. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me, look at me or breathe in my general direction. Solitary confinement sounded dreamy. A trip to one of those “vow of silence” monasteries would have been ideal. (I may have even Googled to find one nearby.True story.)

Instead, it was me and 3 kids. All. Day. Long. And they were talkative. And energetic. And talkative. And energetic. And talkative.

Unfortunately, talking and listening were both scraping the bottom of my wish list.

What is a grumpy mama to do?

I’d like to say I prayed and opened my eyes with renewed vision and focus. But that would be lying.

I knew it was gonna be a blue collar day. If I was going to survive without adding to my kids future therapy bill, it was going to take nonstop prayer and a lot of work.

If you’ve ever had one of those grumpy days, you know what I’m talking about.

So, I came up with a battle plan, and in case you ever find yourself in the midst of a grumpy day, I thought I’d share it with you.

1. Warn ThemI made it very clear that Mommy wasn’t in a good mood and I needed their help and obedience if we were going to have a good day. In retrospect, I should have asked them to pray for me. I didn’t, but I’m writing it down so I’ll remember if I ever have a day like that again. (I hope not!)

2. Only life threatening misbehavior warranted my correction.I let them run around screaming outside. They shot each other with water guns. They tracked water into the kitchen. They left the door open. A lot. They bickered. And…I did nothing. I sat outside watching them, headphones on, journal and Bible in hand.

My theory was that I’d rather upset the neighbors than my children. I was in a nitpicky mood and I knew my words, should I let them flood out of my mouth, would not be a blessing. So, unless I saw them doing something that warranted a call to 911, I kept my mouth shut.

3. I Let Them Fend for Themselves.They argued. They came to me. I told them it was in their best interest that they figure it out themselves. And guess what? They did! While my response wasn’t ideal, it did allow my kids to rise up and problem solve to a greater level than they would have otherwise. I even saw them “parenting” one another; reminding each other of the rules so that they wouldn’t awake the grumpy ogre woman.

4. I Sacrificed Ideals for the Sake of Survival.I am pretty strict about limiting my kids screen time. On Friday, my idealistic self and my grumpy self were ready to combine to create a firestorm of “No.” No TV. No video games. No computer. No nothing. Ever.

Yeah, that wouldn’t have been helpful.

Instead, I let them watch a lot more TV/video games than I normally do. I figured it was better than yelling at them.

5. I Declared Ultimatums.If they wanted to play together, they had to work together and get along. Arguing meant they had to go to their rooms. They knew I wasn’t messing around, so they worked out their differences quietly.

6. No Media for Mommy.I was grumpy and I knew media wouldn’t fix me so I chose to stay offline until my attitude had improved. I limited myself to music, my Bible and my journal. I was ready to throw down my bad attitude and Facebook wasn’t going to help.

It was so good to spend the day just reading the Word, writing on paperand getting input from no one but God.

7. I Found a Distraction.Toward the end of the day we headed to the bookstore. The kids played more video games on the display tablets (oh yes they did), then they read books or I read to them. As sad as it is, I knew I would be kinder and more patient with my children in public than if I was lying on the couch at home.

8. Get HealthyA lot of times our grumpiness is physical. I wanted to do whatever I could to make myself feel better. I ate protein, took my vitamins, drank water and if I could have, I would have taken a nap.

Let’s Keep It RealI realize that if this post is the first one you’ve read on Inspired to Action, I might sound like an awful mom. I’m okay with that. I’ll happily sacrifice a bit of mommy pride if these ideas help another mom and her kids through a grumpy day.

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