10 Ways to Cure a Grumpy Mom

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Do you struggle with being a grump? Does your mood switch from sunshine and rainbows to a fire-breathing dragon in the blink of an eye?

My kids will give you the truth around here. I am a grumpy mother more often than I care to admit.

Today, I’ll share my tips for getting yourself out of a funk.

ways to cure a grumpy mom

1. Prayer
If I start my day in prayer, it’s like putting on the right shoes for running a race.

It’s not a special tonic that makes my entire day magical, but a reminder that in the grand scheme of life, many things that annoy me aren’t that big of a deal. Twenty years from now, I’ll look back on things like the Great Oven Incident and smile.

wooden rosary

I rarely get the opportunity to say an entire Rosary before the kids get up and rolling. Instead, my prayers are short and sweet. “Lord, give me the grace to make it until 10am.” or “Blessed Mother, please help me to follow your lead.

I lean heavily on my board of directors – saints that have a special significance in my life. Many of them have struggled with the same temptations and pitfalls that affect me today.

2. Exercise
Legally Blonde is not considered a film classic, but there’s a scene that sticks in my head when I consider the benefits of exercise.

Elle reminds us that endorphins make you happy.

If I’ve run 10 miles, my frame of mine is completely different from when I laced up my shoes. I feel powerful, I’ve had time to clear my head, and I’m too tired to pick a fight with my husband or kids. Win-win for everyone.

You don’t have to train for a half marathon Just find an activity that you enjoy and start sweating.
get out of the house

3. Get out of the House
This may seem a bit counter intuitive if you’re in a bad mood, but hear me out.

I never want to be ‘that mom’ — the one yelling at her children and making them cry. If I’m in public, there’s a better chance that I’m going to ‘fake it ’til I make it.’ In other words, I’m going to pretend to be a joyful mother until it takes hold for real.

Getting out of the house also offers you a change of scenery. Instead of looking at the 15 loads of laundry that need washing and folding, I can enjoy some sunshine and up my Vitamin D.

4. Lower Your Expectations
I’m the master of the month-long to do list.

Never heard of it?

That’s the one that looks like Santa’s list, only nothing ever gets crossed off as being done. You simply move unfinished items to the next day, over and over, ad nauseam. That’s so discouraging.

Instead, pick 3 tasks to get accomplished daily. If you get those finished, great! Move on to another one, or rest and breathe easy.

Looking for ways to tackle your to do list without throwing in the towel? I’m a big fan of the 3 in 30 linkup, or Money Saving Mom’s 10 in 10 idea.
say yes to your kids

5. Say Yes to Your Kids
If you’re in a bad mood, is it fair to ruin everyone else’s day?

Instead of snapping at your kids, let them loose. Encourage them to have some fun, instead of tiptoeing around a grumpy mom.

Watching and listening to my children laugh always puts me in a better mood.

6. Check Ahead and Dial it Back

Last week, I felt anxious and on edge, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. When I took a serious look at my calendar, I soon realized why.

We had sign ups for Rachel’s volleyball, riding lessons, a birthday party for my husband, taekwondo testing for the boys, and my oldest daughter’s high school graduation, all in four days’ time. It’s no surprise I was feeling frazzled!

Take a look at your calendar in a monthly format. For your sanity, you’ve GOT to build in some down time. You need days with NOTHING planned.

7. Get Enough Rest
I’ve burned the candle at both ends and worn it as a badge of honor for years. Looking at it realistically, it’s taken a toll on me, my marriage and my children.

If I’m short on sleep, that’s almost a guarantee that I’ll be a grump. Instead of staying up all night working, I need to focus on getting myself and the baby to sleep early, so that I can get up and start my day well rested.

It’s a work in progress, changing years of bad habits. But, I know I’ll feel better and be kinder to those around me.

Need some resources? Don’t miss the Hello Mornings Challenge, Andy Traub’s e-book or Michael Hyatt’s advice on becoming a morning person.

fruits and vegetables

8. Eat Right
I called one of my best friends in a panic about deadlines I hadn’t met, the giant list of things I still had to do that day, and how frustrated I was feeling. As we chatted, I realized I hadn’t even eaten all day!

No wonder I felt horrible!

As mothers, most of us are hyper vigilant about good nutrition for our kids. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your own nutrition.

Lean proteins, good fat, and plenty of water will help to keep you sharp and ready to tackle the days ahead.

Be sure to keep quality portable snacks on hand that you can grab as you’re running our the door. I’m a fan of almonds, cheese sticks or Clif bars for quick fuel.
time for yourself

9. Time Alone
If I’m feeling particularly out of control, I just need time by myself. I’m an extrovert, but I still need some time alone to decompress.

If I’m feeling particularly on edge, I know I should get away. If my husband is home, I know I can ask him to take over for 30 minutes while I head to the library.

If he’s busy, I sneak away to my room, putting Rachel in charge for ten minutes. Just being away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of my house helps to recharge my batteries.

10. Check With Your Doctor
Chronic grumpiness or feeling moody can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for years, and have learned that regular visits with my therapist are key to keep my moods on an even keel.

Talk with your doctor. You may need to have labs drawn to check for thyroid imbalances, anemia or vitamin deficiencies.

Do you have a great cure for the grumpies? Be sure and leave your thoughts in the comment box.


  1. Kara Fleck says

    Ah, saying yes to the kids more often. Always so hard to get myself in the mood to do it, yet it is SO good for all of us when I do. Good reminder ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      It makes it all worthwhile, no? I made my kids a cookie cake this evening, despite the dishes piled to the ceiling. For that, I got a million thank yous and no arguing about bedtime.

      Great to see you here!

  2. Great list! Yes, I can tell a difference in my days when I start my day with the Lord! And when I have enough rest, and eat right… but I’m so off track with the exercise thing right now! Gotta get that one going again soon.

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      Not exercise is making my mood rotten — I’m going to at least start back with yoga soon. Great to see you here!

  3. I needed to read all ten of these ideas today! Thank you!

  4. Thank you for those. All wonderful ideas. I would just add “coffee”. Coffee makes me happy : )

  5. Really good list. Thank you for writing it out! I need to put these on the fridge!

  6. This is just what I needed today! Thank you!

  7. Needed this today – I”m battling an ongoing cold – so I am not resting well. Trying to reduce my expectations and get rest when I can…unfortunately, that means saying no to somethings, but yes to others… Thanks for this reminder and for linking up at Ultimate Mom!

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      I love the Ultimate Mom linkup, and love to see you stoping by! Hate to hear that you were feeling bad! Big hugs to you !

  8. I have taken to having 20 minutes of duvet time when I can in the day. I stick a movie on and hide under the covers for a bit.
    Sometimes I pray sometimes I sleep but it helps me process, reset and recharge.
    I really notice it when I don’t get that time!

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      I love the idea of duvet time! It would take me 20 min to fall asleep, but I can totally see myself hiding under the covers and eating chocolate.

  9. Jen Stults says

    Great list of tips!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s how I deal with grumpiness first thing in the morning:
    My favorite is to turn up the tunes. Nothing beats a grumpy mood like some good, uplifting music! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. There are some really great solutions here. 3,4,5, and 6 are ones I try to practice as often as possible. I’m featuring your post this weekend on the Sunday Parenting Party. Thanks for linking up

  11. Adrienne @ Whole New Mom says

    LOVE this. Pinning. From Ahalogy. GREAT post! Off to exercise right now!

  12. Kristen Davis says

    One of the things I always try to do when I’m grumpy is to take a minute to play with the kids. Just today we played a game on the wii……they thought it was great and after we finished, I felt much better.

    Also, try doing something that the kids wouldn’t expect……this always cools me off. Today, I was out with my son and to his surprise, I said YES to a root beer float at lunch….although I was grumpy by dinner time, I surprised both kids with dessert before dinner! It made for an incredibly easy evening which helped me to calm myself down a bit!

  13. This is a great list. I have really been trying to say yes more lately. Sometimes it’s just so easy to say no without thinking, but saying yes can be a lot more fun (even if a little more work).

  14. Phew! I needed that list. Im so grumpy! I really try so hard not to be!! But… I need more sleep and to practice saying yes. And alone time, without my silly phone. Thank you for this list!!

  15. I think all of these are true! I think that at the top of this list, we should have โ€œrecruit help/delegate as much as possible.โ€ I know that most often, my crankiness is as a result of getting the point of experiencing burn out and that is almost always because I donโ€™t have enough help. I think it is very important for moms to have a full day off during the week to themselves to recharge and/or a couple of 1/2 days off during the week. This means husbands especially are taking a very active role in the family life and are counted on to care for the children as well. Taking quarterly retreats for a day or two is also a great way to really refocus and recharge. I leave the kids with my husband and drive a few hours up north to my parents house so that I save money ANG get some much needed rest with my close family. Big take away is that we cannot do this alone and we succeed in our roles as moms when we are proactively giving our spouse and other trusted family members regular and consistent opportunities to care for our children so we can care for ourselves.

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