Morning grouch with a toddler


#1

I’m not trying to be funny here, but I am SO grouchy and introverted some mornings, I find it almost impossible to parent. I have books and Elmos shoved into my face by my toddler and I say “No!”; it makes me so irritable. And then of course I feel guilty. What is with morning crankiness, what causes it, and how do you remedy it? I get enough sleep. That’s not the problem most of the time. I just don’t want anything to do with the world until NOON. Till then, I feel like I desperately need to be left alone. I need help. What’s the key to being refreshed and cheerful in the morning!?

(I am bipolar which may or may not have to do with it.)


#2

I can't speak to what being bipolar may or may not have to do with it.

In general, I'd say make a decision to be nice regardless of how you feel.


#3

I’m thinking the bipolar probably does have something to do with it. At least talk with your doctor or counsellor about that.

If you’re getting plenty of sleep, though, maybe it would help to get up earlier and have some time to be alone, meditate, or whatever. Maybe you need some time before your child is up to “set your noodle” for the morning. One of the things to set is the expectation on what is yours to do in the morning. Most days, being entirely alone is not going to be one of them. You may have to confront that reality every morning and give it as an offering before you try doing it. Whatever we have to do that is hard, it never hurts to give both our willingness and our weakness to God and then ask for the grace to do His will.

The other thing you might try is to have a morning schedule with your toddler that* you* set. At such and such a time after breakfast, it is “quiet time”, where you get your newspaper and your child gets something to do on her own devices. First, we resent things less when we choose them. Second, your toddler will ask for less when the expectations of what happens in what order becomes more and more clear. If there is a dependable “Elmo time” or a “Jonathan-choice time”, or whatever, then you’re less likely to have him always at you at other times.

You might also have a regularly-scheduled “Mom Day” in which you actually do get an uninterrupted morning–or a big chunk of one–to yourself. This may involve going to a Saturday night or a noon Mass, and having your husband have some of that precious one-on-one “just me and DAD!” time while you lock yourself in your bedroom with a cup of tea and a book.

The thing is, think of as many possibilities as you can, and then try some of them.


#4

I hate mornings.

My way to cope is to get my coffee and my iPad and take the kids outside, where I pull up a comfy chair, sit in the sun (or shade) depending on the weather, and let them play. (I grab a few breakfast “snacks” for them to munch on like cheese sticks or fresh fruit, and they play and munch outside before we go inside for the real breakfast.)

When I’ve had enough “me” time, then we head back into the house and things are cheerier.

On rainy days when we can’t go outside, I take my coffee and my iPad to the den and have my “me” time while the kids play across from me in the toyroom. I only use TV to babysit them if it’s a REALLY bad day, because starting our day with TV ruins the kids’ behavior for the rest of the day. I don’t know why, but we’ve noticed it and the TV stays off in the AMs.


#5

Karen any chance you can create a small amount of time or space for yourself to recharge your own batteries? Surely there is some little creative way you can rejuvenate a little before facing the world and your toddler. Can anyone think of how…and yes, there was a time when I had three pre-schoolers from morning till night so I know it can be hectic, even with just one.
Is there such a thing as playpens as there once was?

Occasionally, I had to put my adorable boys with snacks, toys, safety, each other, for a little while to make time for a coffee and a page or two of a book, until a tussle broke out, but that small time, more or less to myself, was restorative.


#6

Thanks for the suggestions. I tried praying first thing in the morning, yesterday, and that might have helped. I was less cranky today as well, but still not motivated to do anything. Coincidentally I had a doctor's appointment yesterday, and I'm in the middle of a medication switch, so we'll see if new meds help me out in the way of motivation. I just feel so blah.

I do force myself to be nice when I feel overwhelmed with the prodding of my toddler. The most he's gotten from me is a whiny "No!" but no yelling or anything like that. I just wish I could be up and at 'em, and taking him places and things, so he has a rich environment and day. I am too much of a blank (or a grouch) to accomplish that in the mornings. I lie back and stare at the ceiling a lot. By the time I'm somewhat motivated, it's already time for his nap.

I am afraid if I got up earlier, the day would seem to drag on for longer. :(


#7

I hate to say it but you will learn how to deal with this as you mature. I’m not saying that you are immature, I’m just betting that you are in your early to mid 20’s. As you mature, you learn to deal with stuff like that. You learn to just keep your mouth shut and smile until you are ready to speak. I am not a morning person at all either but I’ve learned how to deal with it. Also, a nice cup of strong caffienated tea helps a lot too. (I’m not much of a coffee drinker).


#8

[quote="noclevername, post:7, topic:214175"]
I hate to say it but you will learn how to deal with this as you mature. I'm not saying that you are immature, I'm just betting that you are in your early to mid 20's. As you mature, you learn to deal with stuff like that. You learn to just keep your mouth shut and smile until you are ready to speak. I am not a morning person at all either but I've learned how to deal with it. Also, a nice cup of strong caffienated tea helps a lot too. (I'm not much of a coffee drinker).

[/quote]

:banghead:

Okay, twice it has been suggested that I pretty much need to "be nice" or "keep your mouth shut and smile". People, that's not my issue. I ALREADY fake niceness. I ALREADY "deal with it" and smile. There's a big difference between what I feel, and what I actually do the vast majority of the time.

I want to know how to manage being and feeling cheerful in the first place. I don't want to FIGHT grouchy tendencies, I want to REMOVE THEM and AVOID FEELING grouchy. I want to wake up feeling great and cheerful like people who don't have this problem!

And I'm in my late thirties.


#9

[quote="Karen10, post:8, topic:214175"]
:banghead:

Okay, twice it has been suggested that I pretty much need to "be nice" or "keep your mouth shut and smile". People, that's not my issue. I ALREADY fake niceness. I ALREADY "deal with it" and smile. There's a big difference between what I feel, and what I actually do the vast majority of the time.

I want to know how to manage being and feeling cheerful in the first place. I don't want to FIGHT grouchy tendencies, I want to REMOVE THEM and AVOID FEELING grouchy. I want to wake up feeling great and cheerful like people who don't have this problem!

And I'm in my late thirties.

[/quote]

Well my grouchiness usually starts in the afternoon (and heaven forbid if the kids aren't asleep by 9, grrrrr). Granted, I work in childcare so I really don't have relief from children, but I do get irritable plenty of evenings (and hide it well). Overall I'm pleasant, but sometimes I just want space. I use to sleep 10 - 12 hours a day, and I love kids, but sometimes I just want to be like the old commercial and say "Calgon, take me away".

One thing that helps me with my irritability (especially with dd who has been testing me quite frequently) is remembering those who have lost children or who can't have children or children who are neglected or abandoned by their parents. I know that may be a terrible way to approach my grumpiness, but in reality I am blessed and sometimes I forget that through the nagging, sassing, etc. Also, I remind myself that if I feel crabby, imagine how God feels everytime I sin, or am ungrateful, or do not recognize, acknowledge, and joyfully praise and thank God for all that he has given to me (even what seems like the bad). I do all that I have mentioned at least once per week.


#10

[quote="Karen10, post:8, topic:214175"]
:banghead:

Okay, twice it has been suggested that I pretty much need to "be nice" or "keep your mouth shut and smile". People, that's not my issue. I ALREADY fake niceness. I ALREADY "deal with it" and smile. There's a big difference between what I feel, and what I actually do the vast majority of the time.

I want to know how to manage being and feeling cheerful in the first place. I don't want to FIGHT grouchy tendencies, I want to REMOVE THEM and AVOID FEELING grouchy. I want to wake up feeling great and cheerful like people who don't have this problem!

And I'm in my late thirties.

[/quote]

You don't think there are actually mothers out there who wake up and continue to feel great every day and don't ever feel grouchy, do you? I thought not. OK. Even St. Therese of Lisieux, the "Little Flower" herself, did not always feel like being cheerful. She did not always enjoy the other nuns. She had to train herself to look at them with the love Jesus had for them, and when she didn't have that, to maintain the pretense that she did. She was sometimes in a lot of pain and felt like complaining. She chose not to, but not because she didn't feel like doing it. She even made it a point to remain cheeful and to smile when she was being judged unfairly by the other nuns or enduring unfair grumbling from an older sister she was trying to help. Do not beat yourself up because holiness is difficult, then! That is the nature of holiness. Finding it hard to persevere is nothing wrong with you!

Still, it is fair to ask how to feel better about doing the right thing. I'd say: Do what you'd teach your kids to do: Get enough sleep, exercise, and recreation. Eat right. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Find any little trick you can that makes a bad situation better and a dreaded situation more fun. Learn what helps you to get out of a negative funk and into a positive outlook. Look at the funny side of things. Learn to have an affection for the little foibles of the people in your life. Look for ways to enjoy life with your family. In other words: Give yourself every chance for success.

Otherwise, you're doing the right thing by biting the bullet and just doing what you ought instead of what you feel like. That's OK. That's the way saints act!


#11

[quote="Karen10, post:8, topic:214175"]
I don't want to FIGHT grouchy tendencies, I want to REMOVE THEM and AVOID FEELING grouchy. I want to wake up feeling great and cheerful like people who don't have this problem!

[/quote]

That's a great desire, and I hope you are able to make it happen.

But please don't feel like a failure if you don't. I don't know many people who are naturally cheery in the morning! :p


#12

I hate mornings too. I change bums make breakfasts and then get myself a big ol cup of coffee and put the toddler in front of cartoons while I drink it and wake up. My toddler is only allowed 1 to 1.5 hours of tv a day and 45 minutes of that is first thing in the morning while I wake up and deal with the baby! After my coffee I feel more refreshed and ready to get started with the housework and childcare.
ETA: also, an earlier bedtime for me helps me wake up in a much better mood. The amount of sleep one needs really varies from person to person. Maybe you need more than the average person?


#13

Mornings aren't always so pleasant, I guess some sunshine greatly helps though!

Also a nutritious dinner may help with mood!


#14

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