19 answers

How to Not Be So Grumpy

Here is my dilemma by 8 o'clock i seem to turn into a witch. I work full time and get home in time to be pulled in every different direction and i find myself yelling at everything and wanting the kids to go to bed. I hate the fact that I don't see my kids most of the day then they seem to get the worst part of me and that isn't fair to them. I ask for a mommy time out but that doesnt seem to last long and I shouldn't have to remove myself from the kids when ive already been away from them all day. I hate feeling so grumpy and exhausted. My husband is currently one of the many looking for work so there is that stress on top of everything (so a weekend getaway is out of the question due to money) I can't seem to relax.

What can I do next?

More Answers

Schedule, schedule, schedule! After work is the "Second Shift". There is work to be done, things to put in order, and tasks to accomplish. Don't just resent it - streamline it.

Start a load of laundry when you get home. Takes 2 minutes.

Tip#1: The Blitz. Everyone helps to clean up after dinner, for 10-15 minutes (hubby too!). Wipe off counters, sweep floor, get dishes in the dishwasher, wash the pots n pans. No one is inconvenienced for 10 minutes, and it's nice to not feel like you are working alone. Kids can clear tables, put silverware in the dishwasher and pick up stuff off the floor. We set the microwave timer and try to "beat the clock."

Tip #2: Pajama Time. My kids are in pjs *before* dinner. They want to eat, and I hate fighting them to get into PJs. Since dinner is one of the last things we do, there's no need to postpone hopping into nightware. Avoid the pj struggle by rearranging and motivating. "Hurry! We have chicken dinner waiting for you!"

Tip #3: Story Time. Get that one-on-one. I would start the 4 yr old on a picture book while you put DD down. Or split the responsibility with your honey. Two kids, two parents. Snuggle. Ask about their day. Try not to fall asleep on their bed.

Loves, kisses, good-night! Pick up their laundry on the way out.

Switch laundry, start a white load soaking.

12 minutes to fold.

You've just had a positive end to your day. The kitchen is clean, the dryer is running, kids are in bed, happy to have had your attention, and you have enough energy to vacuum the tv room, watch The Office, and stare at a blank wall.

3 moms found this helpful

You are definitely not alone!

Just some simple advice...
Take it one day at a time.
Take vitatims (sounds corny, but I swear by them).
Just talk to your husband about how your feeling - as women I think we all try to do it all ourselves, and we often need help. Even if the routine at home doesn't change - "venting" and sharing might help.
Finally, in the car, or as you are lying in bed - remind yourself by listing the things you are greatful for in your head. Health, a good husband, a home, a job... although times are tough now, and it may seem it will never be better - we often overlook the blessings we have at that very moment. Sometimes, taking a few minutes each day to remind yourself of yours does wonders for your mental state.
Hang in there- you will get though - and you are doing a great job filling all of the roles that you do. Take a few minutes to be gentle with yourself.

2 moms found this helpful

S., if it helps any, you're a member of a very large club! Isn't it in a mom's job description that she be tired and frazzled? No? Well, it seems that way!

I hope you get a lot of helpful advice. I'm a grandma now, but when my children were growing up I was increasingly aware of my grumpiness (so were they!). I just didn't know what to do about it, and I felt rather in a grouch trap.

Looking back, I see a number of possible causes. Those causes do not include my children and my husband, although I don't think I realized that at the time. Since I'm the only one who can really make me happy, I'm the only one who can really make me grumpy, right?

But I know I was tired. And I know I wasn't eating properly. So I suggest that you take a look at what is going into your mouth. No matter how busy you are, you need to eat, and what you put inside you needs to be what nourishes you most efficiently (your body needs enough water as well). See if you're getting enough proteins and good carbs, and not much (if any) in the way of junk calories. That may help your energy and, actually, your mood.

Relaxing can be incredibly difficult. Sleep is good when you can get it, so try! My religion teaches me to turn my cares and my stresses over to God, and it's very helpful because He's a whole lot smarter than I am. It also reminds me that I'm not the center of the universe, even at home. I don't have to keep my family going! I just need to do my part as well as I can, and that's a big enough job.

Some other things I do include stopping once in a while just to breathe! That banishes the emotional cobwebs for a bit. I look for anything (and I mean anything) around me I can smile about - anything funny or pretty or whatever. It takes me out of myself and I need that.

Here's something else, and you know it already but we all need to be reminded. Life is hard and tiring, and a lot can go wrong. Children don't understand their mommy's need for time to herself, and sometimes husbands don't either. We are often working on overload, and it's natural (though not good) to take it out on those closest to us.

But those people are only on loan to us. Tomorrow they might not be there; no one knows what the future holds. Try to get your mind off yourself and put your stresses on hold for just a while, even a minute (believe me, they'll wait), and on to those you love. Every time you look at them, remember how blessed you are to have them. And let them know! The world will not fall apart because you hug your kids, focus on them, spend some fun time with them, say "I love you" over and over. It may feel like stealing time away from the problems of the world, but go ahead and do that kind of stealing! For five minutes, it's actually more important for you to remember how precious they are, and to share that with them, than to know where your next meal is coming from. Give that to your children every day as a present. It's better than any toy you can or can't afford.

They will not be able to do that supportive sort of thing for you, but then, you're the grownup. You don't need that kind of payback from your children.

Hope this helps a little.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
It sounds like you are feeling stressed, tired and maybe a little guilty about being a working mom. I am lucky enough that I am able to only work outside the home part-time, but I know how hard that can be and I have nothing but respect for you moms who do it full-time. It can be really difficult to switch gears from being a mom in the morning, getting everybody ready and where they need to be, to being an employee, then back to being a mom/wife. Working and raising kids is tough, and add to that the stress of having your husband out of work, and honey, no wonder you are feeling this way!

I'm not sure that I have any life-altering advice, but whenever you can, cut yourself a bit of slack. It is okay for you to need time for yourself even when you've been away from your kiddos all day. It doesn't make you a bad mom, and its not a reflection of how much you care about your family. In fact, you may find that you are able to be a better mom if you take a little time to take care of yourself everyday. Take a bath, take a walk, call a girlfriend, whatever works for you, just make yourself a priority everyday. I know this is tough advice to follow, but I think it might be the first step in changing your outlook. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

S.. Your post could not be more timely. I just wanted to say - though I don't have a clean-cut answer - I have so much compassion for you as I am going through the same thing myself currently. My situation is slightly different as I work from home - however - having been laid off in January, I am on the scramble to create two separate businesses from scratch while my husband works two jobs to keep us in food and shelter. Between money stress and time limitations, we are both at the end and finding it difficult to have anything left for our daughter. Fortunately, I have an incredibly wise mentor who is now in her 60's and has spent a lifetime as a single mother. I go into her office, exhausted and frustrated and near tears once a week and the thing she says over and over is that I can't possibly expect myself to be available to anyone else if my cup is already overflowing with responsibility. Though I once found it really annoying when someone would look at me blankly and say 'You just need some time to yourself.' because it seemed so impossible to get with little money and few babysitting options - I have realized that if I take 30 minutes EVERY DAY to myself to unwind - that I don't end up so cumulatively exhausted and don't seem to need that entire WEEK off. So there's my advice, just try it out.

Every single day - when you first get home or maybe before you even pull into the driveway - go and sit in a park and be quiet and breathe - or go for a quick walk - give yourself some nurturing first so you can be available to your kids and your husband.

There is a Japanese philosophy called 'Kaizen' which basically counsels people to take very small steps toward their goals. I think this is really applicable to parents who are tired and overwhelmed and no longer have big blocks of time. I have really found in my life as a parent, if I take these small steps - they make so much of a difference.

Best of luck with everything.


1 mom found this helpful

HI S.,
I can so identify with your situation. We function on high speed through so much of our lives. You are right to listen to yourself that you are feeling loss about not being able to truly enjoy your children. And I hear you noticing your needs are not being met when you cruise straight from work where you are meeting so many needs all day to home and meeting everyone else's needs. Where's the time to fill some of your own personal needs? It's there.
I was able to change this cycle by getting Marshall Rosenberg's book, Nonviolent Communication. It's a great way to get a grip on holding 'all needs' equally important. Including your own!
Best of luck to you finding the key to your happy life.

1 mom found this helpful

It is very understandable that you are grumpy and exhausted. I am in the same boat of working full time and only seeing my son for a couple hours at night, so I do whatever I can to try to make that time enjoyable.
I would first look at why you are grumpy. Stress, guilt, tired, etc., etc. and acknowledge and validate your feelings. See if there is anything you can do for some of these things. If you stress about dinner, work with your husband to plan menus, can you get to bed earlier, etc.
See if you can get a little after work schedule going. Decompress in the car, make your transition from work to home while driving, and don't bring work home with you (mentally speaking). When you get home, do you need 5-10 minutes to change, use the bathroom, after kissing everyone hello? Do that, then give your all to your kids while they are up. I'm assuming that at 8 is when they go down? If not, you may want to look at their routine too. Then you can have some downtime with your husband and tell him that you feel grumpy, cranky, bitchy, whatever. I'm sure that you are probably taking it out on him too, so talking it out, can help get some of his support.
I'm not really sure that this is helpful, but know that you aren't alone.

I am not one to say go get a prescription, but after years of resisting, I started taking an anti-anxiety med and it makes all the difference. I have been on Celexa and am now on Zoloft. I only take it once a day and if I forget, then I feel the anxiety rising up in my stomach and can't control the grumpy/cranky side of myself. I thanked myself for finally doing it years ago and so did my family and friends!

I find after working all day I can be the same way. The "What's for dinner?" question is very aggravating to receive upon my arrival. As soon as I get home, I try to take about 10 minutes and just relax on the sofa in front of the TV. I find the mindless activity helps me regenerate and helps me be personable for the evening. Maybe you could try this and have your family sit back with you for this time? Snuggle time on the couch is quite nice. :)

I feel like I am reading about myself in your message. I have had the same problem and was really frustrated with it. Everyone is different, but here are some things I did that worked for me. One thing to try first is to get your thyroid checked, it seems to be a growing problem these last few years in women after they have had children. Even with slight hypothryroid problems, you can have mood swings, being tired quite a bit, not much appetite but sometimes gaining weight and low sex drive. Anyway, with some people it takes just a slight change in TSH to have symptoms. I did a detox just recently for 30 days and that worked a ton, felt like myself again for the first time in a few years. Another homeopathic remedy is Sepia. If you buy the Bioron one, you take half the bottle of them at one time (about 20 pellets). You can't have caffeine or cinnamon for 24 hours after taking...which leads to the final, coffee and sugar, these can take any small problem and gradually over time build them into more. This depends on your tolerance for the two, but they can be very bad for an overworked mom that just needs kid time.

I hope that helps, good luck with everything. Maybe when your husband is back to work, you can start working 4 days instead and have a mommy day each week. Take care.

Eat all your meals on time.
Just let stuff go at 8pm....when my kids make me frustrated, I just tickle them!

Get a massage. Massage envy does massages an hour for $39. Well worth it. You'll be happy all week :)

Is it possible to take a few moments in the car before entering the house and just relax yourself? I find that when I am being overwhelmed I gather the kids into their playroom and go to another room and just breathe. It helps to center myself and relax my body.

Having 4 kids (ages 6 1/2, 4 1/2, almost 3 & 9 1/2 months), I understand the craziness of being pulled in all directions because that's what happened to me when I was working out of the home. Now I work from home and have certain time set aside for my business, but I also make every effort to be there for my kids when they need me.They are happier and easier to handle now that they have me home all the time.

Good luck handling your situation. If you are able to, please go to the library and get the book 'The Secret' by Rhonda Byrne. It is a GREAT inspirational, helpful & calming book that has helped me get through many hard times.

Make it a GREAT weekend!


I know your husband has been home with the kids all day already, but would he be willing to take care of dinner so you can have calmer time with the kids? After work, my husband does bedtime with the kids, one at a time, as his quiet time with each of them. I have the others who aren't already in bed. You could have dinner ready to throw together really easily to help with it. I do that anyway for myself, so each night I only have one thing left to do. My husband will make Hamburger Helper type things if I leave hamburger already cooked up. Or put a casserole in the freezer that only needs to be thrown into the oven. I leave a note on top of what time to put it in the oven at what temp for how long. Doesn't take a lot of effort or knowledge or ability for him, but it's a quieter dinner time even if I've been out all day. I know you said money is tight, but my mom and I have talked a lot recently as to how she survived with no help. One of her tactics was dinner out as much as possible as then everyone could relax and it was a nice, quiet time. We even did homework in the restaurant sometimes as it was hectic when we got home. That's what made me think maybe if hubby wants to do that, it might help. When my husband's out of town for long periods, I often don't clean up dinner other than to put away food that would otherwise spoil until after the kids are in bed. (Of course, dinner sat out for 3 days when I had to take one of the kids to the hospital one night, but I'm sure that wouldn't happen too often.) :) I hope you get some good answers. I think working with balancing family is one of the most difficult things to balance. I hope he finds a job soon! GL!

You've gotten some great responses. I think the most important thing to do is Self-Care. How can you possibly be a loving Mom unless you take time for YOU? You DO need to remove yourself from them, if only for 30 min so you can rejuvinate your energy so that you WILL be able to give back. Please be more compassiate & generous with yourself! I love the post from the Grandma. Some good wisdom there.
My Best to you. B.

I feel your pain. You and I have a lot in common. I too work full time and have kids the same ages as yours. I also find myself yelling/raising my voice more than I would like to. When I find myself doing this I try to remember that they are just little kids and how are they supposed to know what to do/how to act if I don't teach them. Sometimes we are with adults all day that we expect the same cognitive levels from our children. It also helps that my husband helps out a lot with the kids and around the house. I have also learned to let somethings go. So what my house isn't spotless and some laundry needs to be done. Am I spending time with my kids? And it doesn't have to be a long time, just a walk/ride around the block and the kids are happy. The other day I laid down on the sidewalk and let my daughter outline my body in chalk and then I did the same with her. She drew funny faces on them and I went back to my yard work. All of us were happy.

I don't know if anything I have said helps, but I hope it does helps to know you are not alone out there.


Hi S.,

I can relate to you on so many levels. And there are times even I get a bit overwhelmed with it all. You have many great suggestions below, but from my perspective, it's a matter of teaching people how to treat you. Now, with little guys, that's a little easier said than done, but with a little patience and training, it won't take much time for a new routine to be established and a little more peace for you.

I'm sure you have already, but if not, you need to have a heart to heart with your darling husband. Explain to him that you support him so very much and are so grateful that he has this opportunity to have this bonding time with the kids. It makes you so happy to know that the kids are spending the day with someone who loves them and wants to be with them. Also address the fact that you appreciate so much how stressful it can be to hang out with two toddlers all day long and that he's probably so very excited to have you home so he can get a much needed break...and he deserves it. Then talk a bit about how you're frustrated with how you've been feeling lately and that you'd like to work out a solution where between the two of you, you guys can work out a routine that will help everyone feel less stressed. Be very frank and as unemotional about it as possible...guys need facts, not tears. Explain that you are excited to come home to the family but at the same time you are feeling overwhelmed with the pressures of work and home life and would appreciate the opportunity to have 15-30 minutes to yourself to decompress and be in a position to give the family your very best, because you can appreciate how very much he needs that time too.

So what could the routine look like? Why not, when you come home, your darling gets to "escape" for about 30 minutes so he can decompress. Maybe he can have dinner started before you get home so all you need to do is the finishing touches. While he's in his "time-out" BE with the kids. Play with them. Get down on the floor and tickle them. Ask them about their day. Hug and love on them...they miss you and this time will mean the world to them. Then, after his 30 minutes are up, it's dinner time with the family and then it's your turn to take a "time-out." I would encourage, initially, if you can, get away from the house. Go take a walk or something. Have a phone date planned with a great friend...anything that will help you wind down. Guard it as sacred. If you can't get away from the house, go to your room or somewhere where you can be alone. If the children try to interrupt, have a deal with your hubby to help you with this. No need to yell...just simply say, "mommy will have more time to play as soon as mommy has her alone time. If you continue to interrupt me, there will be no time left for mommy to play with you. Love you," and send them on their way.

It will take some trial and error...but you'll get the hang of it. A great resource, if you don't already have it, is "Parenting With Love and Logic." Great book with amazing suggestions on how to help your children listen to you and honor your requests.

My Best,

Something that works for me is just deciding to be patient. That may sound naive, but what if you simply decided that no matter how crazy things got, you would just take a deep breath, smile, and give your kid a hug instead of "turning into a witch"? Sometimes it helps me to imagine how I would feel if my kid died tomorrow. Would I be satisfied with our last day together? You can put up with a lot more of the stressful/negative parts of mommy-hood if you remind yourself of the privilege it is to BE a mom.

One more thing... Quit your job as soon as possible. Maybe that means waiting until your husband finds work, but I firmly believe kids need their moms at home with them. Then you won't be giving your kids the "table scraps" of yourself at the end of the day, but the best of yourself all day. Best wishes!

I have the same problem. Since it sounds like you are the one who has to work perhaps you can work out a schedule where you have Me-time on certain days. My husband works nine hour days and then comes home and sits at the computer for a half hour because he needs a break and I guess I don't. Anyway, a schedule should help, when I come up with a good one I'll let you know what it is!!!!!

I'm with Heather. I started taking an anti-depressant for PMS, and it helps keep me somewhat sane - although I only take it one to two weeks per month just prior to my period.

This is my bad week, and I could have written your post myself. Although my husband is working, I almost wish he wasn't, since I make enough money for the both of us. He comes home exhausted, and watches TV most of the night to unwind, and I just go, go, go and find myself snapping at the kids all night. Anyhoo, don't want to hijack your thread, but wanted to mention I feel your pain!

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