It doesn’t happen often. I consider myself a very agreeable, patient person. It takes a lot for me to be grumpy, to set me off or get me worked up. Sure, I can get irritated by my kids or the stressors of adulting, like everyone else. I can lose my cool for a moment.
But it was nothing like this morning.
It could have been because of the rain. Dreary mornings can add an unruly unseen fog over my mood.
Maybe it was because I’m pregnant. 30 weeks pregnant. Being moodier than usual is just a natural symptom of the third trimester.
It couldn’t have been my sleep. I got to bed at a decent time and slept well.
Whatever the cause, I was irritable. Grumpy. Out of sorts.
I felt the grumps poised and ready to go like a runner at the starting blocks. Just the fact that I was grumpy made me even grumpier. I’m not a grump by nature. Having to battle this on top of everything else in my day-to-day made matters worse.
And once I noticed the grumpiness, everything annoyed me. The shoes piled up at the door when each pair had a better place to be. My hair being disagreeable and disobedient. The random toys and water bottles and wrappers strewn about the house. This all on top of the less-than sunny dispositions my children woke up with. It was all spelling disaster.
It was my 4-year-old daughter’s screech that did me in. I blew my top. I screamed at my son for something he didn’t do. As soon as the first shout came, I couldn’t stop. I shouted about the shoes and the water bottles. I grumbled outwardly about the toys and the fact that it was like pulling teeth to get my kids to talk nicely to each other.
Then I sat down. And I felt even worse. I took my mood out on my kids. I’d projected in a selfish way.
The excuses are many. I could sit and list all the reasons why I had “justification” in my momentary temperament. But they’re all just that. Excuses. It shouldn’t ever be okay for me to yell at my kids just because I’m feeling a little grumblier than usual. They’re kids.
On this gloomy morning, I had to halt everything I was doing for a moment in an attempt to decompress and recompose. I couldn’t allow it to go any further. It wasn’t until then I realized I really didn’t know what to do to get back to my cheery, upbeat self.
Everyone operates differently and has different mechanisms to help right themselves. But there are a few things everyone can do to hop off the bad foot and onto a good one. And the first thing is being mindful of the irritability to begin with.
You can’t begin to fix the problem if you don’t even know it’s a problem.
Being able to step back and see what you’re doing, to see the spiral you’re currently careening down is the first step to decompression.
While identification is necessary, it’s sometimes the easiest step in the process. Because you now face the task of figuring out what made you irritable in the first place and rectifying it. The cause may not be easily pinpointed as some instances could be a build-up of a number of things.
If the cause is a singular, easily distinguishable factor, do all you can to put it behind you as long as possible. At least long enough to right your mood.
Self-care is also incredibly important when it comes to fighting off unwanted irritability.
Many people stretch themselves thin or bury their issues deep down. It’s vital to give yourself time where you can take care of yourself. Soothing baths, trips to the store alone, quiet time to read a good book – even if it’s in the car while in the pick-up line at school. There are little chunks of the day when we can give ourselves some attention. Put your phone down and do something that is good for your soul, even if it’s only for a short burst.
Most importantly, take ownership of your grumpiness. Apologize to anyone you may have lashed out at. Teach yourself how to identify and correct your mood and behavior as quickly as possible. Find what helps you get back to your normal, happy self.
Don’t forget, it happens to everyone. And everyone is entitled to bad days. Just try to minimize the damage in your wake.
For more tips on handling grumpiness, check out this link.
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