A Mom Sets the Tone

Mom Sets the Tone--5 Ways to Reset Your Mood When Anger Strikes

Though it has been a few years, I can still remember the conversation like it was yesterday.  In one of our marathon phone sessions, I poured out all my frustration to my sister:

Chuck is such a jerk!  I’m so tired of feeling like I can’t do anything right!  And the girls are driving me absolutely crazy!  No sooner do I get one mess cleaned up than they make another one.  Annie still won’t sleep through the night and Maggie refuses to sit on the potty and they both just won’t. stop. whining.  I feel so tired and crabby and angry! I just want to scream!

Although she was 3,000 miles away, her response stopped me dead in my tracks, and she may as well have slapped me across the face.  Six years older, with kids that were now in high school, she had already made it through those exasperating preschool years.  She quietly said, I know how hard it is, but you have to remember that a mom sets the tone for her household.  The mood of your family will ultimately reflect your own.  If you are crabby, they will be too.

My kids are a little older now, both potty trained and sleeping through the night.  They pick up after themselves, at least some of the time, and I’m not quite as exhausted as I was when they were babies.  While I still struggle with crabbiness far more than I would like to admit, over the years I have discovered a few surefire ways to improve my mood and my attitude when I am feeling on edge.  They might just work for you too:

  • Play a game.  I can honestly tell you that there is nothing I feel like doing less when I am crabby than playing a game with my kids.  Even so, I have discovered that there is nothing that will reset my mood or snap me out of a funk quicker than a rousing game of hide-and-seek.  There is just something so silly about a full-grown adult trying to squeeze into a tight space!  Other games that always seem to get us laughing includeSpot It and Go Fish.  (Or check out our other favorite family games here.)
  • Clean something.  I don’t know about you but I get some of the best cleaning done when I am really ticked off!  If you really feel like you might explode, why not channel all that anger into a power Speed Cleaning session, something that will actually make you feel a whole lot better when you are done rather than something that will make you feel a whole lot worse, like yelling at your kids or husband.  If you haven’t already, try creating a cleaning schedule that works for you, or use chore cards to make cleaning a game the whole family can play.
  • Breathe.  I love yoga, if for no other reason than it has taught me the importance of learning how to breathe.  The next time you feel tense, try this exercise:  Close your eyes and take a long deep breath in through your nose, then exhale very slowly through your mouth.  Do this ten more times, or until you have calmed down.  I’ve also discovered that this is a great exercise to teach your kids when they are upset!
  • Take a time-out.  If your kids or husband are truly driving you nuts and you feel like you might snap, do whatever necessary to remove yourself from the situation.  Put your kids in their room for quiet time, take a hot bath or a long shower, or go for a walk around the block.
  • Give yourself grace.  None of us are perfect.  Every mom gets angry sometimes, and we all make mistakes.  Acknowledge your feelings in the moment, tell yourself, “I am angry right now, and that is okay,” then also give yourself permission to let it go and to move on.

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Do you ever struggle with anger towards your husband & kids?  How do you reset your mood when anger strikes?

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Originally published at The Better Mom; as part of Grouchy to Great: Finding Joy in the Journey of Motherhood.

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{ 22 comments… add one }

  • Holly January 21,

    I so, so, sooooooo needed to read this today! Thanks Ruth!

  • Darlene January 21,

    Gotta love a sister for telling it like it is! Loved this post.

  • Anonymous January 21,

    So true. My oldest of 3 is 19 now and I remember those days of preschool age:). It’s just a different kind if stress. Great message:)

  • Carrie January 21,

    Forgot to leave my name above… Oops:)

  • Taylor January 21,

    I literally had a “moment.” I read your post and thought to myself…those aren’t her girls’ names. Bahahaha! So used of you calling them Princess and Trouble, that it completely caught me off guard!

  • Jessica Cali January 22,

    I never actually thought about it that way!! I guess maybe I should start “checking” my attitude before the kids & husband get home from school/work so maybe everyone will be happier!! Thanks for this post.

  • Jenn Porter January 22,

    This is so true. I can literally feel my mood radiate through my house! If I am mad, the little ones act crazy and fight and my big one sulks around. If I’m happy, the kids get along SO MUCH BETTER and they laugh and play well. I have to remember to check the attitude!

  • Kiki @ Choosing to Cherish January 22,

    LOVE this. Thank you for sharing!

  • Crystal Beamon January 26,

    This post was so encouraging to me, Thank you for reminding me of the accountability I need to have when it comes to my attitude. Right thinking ,Right Receiving

  • Marina January 27,

    Thank you. All struck home almost too true. Needed to hear this.

  • Felicia Nelson June 12,

    Exactly what I needed right now, trying to potty train my 3 yo son while he is going through a defiant stage and refusing to obey, feed himself (which he did very well for several weeks), and help dress himself (also did it for a while then quit).

  • amber July 7,

    Found this on pinterest and i loved it what a good reminder! When i a really slipping in to a bad mood we turn on some music and have a dance party nothing like dancing and a little work out to get my mood up but watching my boys dance :) nothing better!

  • Janelle @ MommyLivesClean August 6,

    I LOVE this post Ruth! I was just explaining this to my husband. I read a post on a popular mommy website about a woman who wrote how her toddler ruins her day. I wish I could explain the idea that your household is a mirror of your attitude. Treat a tantruming toddler with love and patience and see how quickly they turn around. I appreciate your tips to get into a better state of mind and will be using them! :-)

  • Jayne August 6,

    Prayer. I spend time in prayer. Or I pick up my Bible and just start reading. I also sing a praise song. It’s amazing how a song can change your mood. Spending time with God gives me a whole new perspective on the situation and myself.

  • Flashcom Indonesia August 7,

  • Betty August 24,

    For about a week, I have been feeling angry and sad. My 3-year old is whining as soon as she gets up, and by the time we have to eat lunch I am so ticked that I could go off like a bomb. I needed this post, I will remember in the morning that mom sets the tone and everything reflects if I am all upset.

    Thank you ladies.

  • Brittnay September 17,

    This is what I needed today! I had a crazy day with the kids and next time I will keep all these tips in mind!!

  • Devon November 10,

    We like to have a “Dance Off”! We turn up the jams and everyone cheeres on one another as we sing and dance

  • Dana January 1,

    I try to remember the old adage, “If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” My husband and I say it jokingly but it is absolutely true. When I am upset or stressed everyone in the house mirrors me. Sometimes it is frustrating bc I am very vocal about my feelings but it is something to keep in mind.

  • Natalie May 21,

    Oh will you look at that-the very first most recent pin on my home page/news feed (whatever it’s called), as I’m still clenching my jaw from all that the 2yr old has managed to undo in the past half hour (one thing after another every time I turn around). Thank you. And thank God for the reminder that just because my children don’t behave the way I would like and I get frustrated, doesn’t mean I’m a failure-I just need to honor Him in how I respond to the situation.

  • Val May 29,

    I know when I’m upset my kids feel the negative energy I feed them; it piles up on them and bounces back on me again so I throw it back at them etc. It’s all about being conscious of the energy we let out and the reasons why we’re upset (most of the time it’s a mix between having to clean up the house or lunch and being tired right). Nevertheless, they don’t deserve to feel our anger… they’re innocent and they don’t understand. Plus, we feel super bad when they’re silently asleep, all cute looking and all! Remind yourselves how lucky we are to have children – gifts from life, the joy they bring us, and remember they look up to us. xo


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