I recently stopped taking antidepressant/anxiety medication. I was on the prescription drug Sertraline (Zoloft) for two years. While on it, the one thing I noticed most about myself was that things suddenly didn’t bother me. Like everyday issues that would make me tense and agitated wouldn’t. I was in a constant state of calm and lethargy. It was this constant feeling of shrugging everything off.
It was a helpful state to be in when balancing postpartum depression and a new business while being a stay at home mom. I accepted the reality that I couldn’t get everything done that I wanted to be done while balancing the two roles. I accepted that sometimes I dropped the ball while working and that was ok. I accepted that there were days I needed more help from my husband than usual. I was at peace with everything being out of my control.
It was clear to me that the world would keep spinning and tomorrow was a new day. Nothing was the end of the world.
Now since being off medication I am presented with the option of being grumpy in response to my circumstances. And Mamas you know for a fact there are some circumstances which warrants grumpiness.
I cleaned the house one morning while my husband and kids were away for the day. They came home to a place so spotless they gasped. And in just a few hours they completely trashed it. Everyone threw their jackets on the floor. The kids brought their toys out and scattered them everywhere. They had snacks and left crumbs and wrappers laying around. After asking them to clean up after themselves, I was met with moans and groans. I was in a rightfully grumpy state after this. I felt they didn’t care how much work I did.
At times like this I find relief in leaving the failures of one role to fine solace in another. So I glance at my work emails fishing for some good news. But at times I instead find that there’s trouble at work. Someone dropped the ball on a project for a client or I didn’t get something done at work because I was focused on cleaning and now there’s trouble.
Add to those circumstances, if the kids just won’t stop fighting for the silliest things. (They literally will just pick on each other for fun). Now I’m dealing with the noise of fighting kids, the tension of needing to get work done and the frustration of a messy home. I am in the perfect space to get grumpy and respond to everyone with an attitude.
At a time like this, if my kids come for a cuddle I will walk away from them. If my husband tries to be sweet with me and give me a kiss, I will push him away. When messaging staff members I can end up snapping at them. I’ll continue on getting things done. I’ll tidy up after my ungrateful family, I’ll sort things out with work and I’ll separate fighting children, but it will all be done in an agitated fashion. Cupboard doors may be slammed and I might raise my voice and say things I don’t mean- because I’m rightfully grumpy.
I’ve learned that each day in a mother’s life will bring issues that allow for a grumpy attitude. I can literally allow myself to continue on for the rest of my life being grumpy because of every small issue that comes my way. That’s a long time to be grumpy. I’m fine with feeling grumpy but I don’t want to just be a “grump”. It makes me wonder if perhaps Oscar the Grouch was just a guy named Oscar who had a bad day or two. But then he let it take over his world.
I’m figuring out how to have grace for myself without allowing myself to simply enter this state of grumpiness every time life doesn’t go my way. I know grumpiness will happen whether I like it to or not. With hormones and pms- there’s no way of truly putting a stop to being grumpy. But I’m learning that I ought not use grumpiness as a state of being.
Perhaps treat it like the flu. Try my best to prevent it but know that it happens. And when it does, it’s time to take a moment away from stressful situations. A simple small moment to breathe.
Preventing grumpiness is not something that I think anyone can do alone. I believe that taking time to seek counseling from a professional or even just to confide in a friend would be helpful. In moments when I feel like my life is falling apart, it’s helpful to talk to another mom who can remind me that I’m normal and this is just the way life goes for moms.
My husband has learned to encourage me to take time to be alone when I start showing signs of being grumpy. I’m very grateful for his intuition. Sometimes all it takes is some time alone to journal and pray.
These days when I’m going throughout my day alone with the kids, I monitor myself. I question moments when I’ve responded in agitation. Rather than simply blowing it off as, “Well I’m grumpy”. I ask myself why I feel grumpy. Am I hungry? Am I tired? Am I overwhelmed? Then I follow with the hardest part. I make a plan. Some times this plan involves taking time off work (and it hurts but it’s worth it). Some times it involves putting everyone down for a nap so I can nap. I realize I have to be proactive to stop grumpiness from taking over me.
This is something I’m working on right now. It’s not perfect. But I’m going to keep working at it because I’m not ready to have my kids know me as “grumpy mommy”. It’s my new year’s resolution.
How do you handle feeling grumpy?