“I’m Sorry I’m Grumpy:” Said the Mother to Her Baby

536659_3672287278117_866605873_nWhen we think of grumpiness and fussiness, we usually think of little children. Being a Mom or Dad is very hard work and on top of that work we are often sleep deprived and emotionally exhausted, sometimes even depressed. On our best days we are great parents who play with our children, laugh at everything and pour love out all over the place. Then there are the other days, the days that you just want to end. The day that your child woke up 50 million times at night, or the day that you threw out your back or have a head cold. How can it be that as parents we are expected to be nice and happy and fair and never take anything personally every single day? Well, I think we are human and absolutely never perfect. These are the days that we snap at our kids or roll our eyes when they throw fits or cry. The days that we refuse to play and we beg for that unconditional love we have in there somewhere. These are the days that the apoligies pour out.

“Mommy is grumpy, I am sorry.”

“It’s not you, I’m having a bad day.”

“It was wrong for me to yell at you, I’m sorry.”

“Mommy just doesn’t feel like playing ball right now, can we just cuddle or read instead?”

These are phrases that I have said when I am just being a plain old jerk to my kid; I mean just grumpy and not at all fun. If we are having emotions as adults, they know, they can feel it and I want to make sure to acknowledge that it is MY emotion and not theirs to worry about. I can’t possibly make myself a perfect Mom, never ever. But I CAN show my children that I am a self-aware Mom who will recognize when I am making a situation worse by lashing out emotionally instead of communicating my feelings. Some people say not to over talk about your own feelings with your kids and some people encourage this practice. My husband and I both agree that we want our children to live in a house where we openly express and discuss our feelings; I believe this relationship starts in infancy. These children are little angels and when they are having a hard day, it’s up to us to help them through it. In our house we take this one step further; we tell our son that “we take care of each other ” (it’s almost our family motto). This means that if myself or my husband are feeling “off” we will include our son and ask him to give hugs or even give space. It amazes me how he seems to understand this and on numerous occasions he has shown empathy beyond his years (though this is rare and more often he throws fits over everything, as toddlers do).  My short term hope is that my son will simply hear me apologize and perhaps forgive me for being grumpy with him. My long term hope is that any children I may have will be emotionally aware and capable of forgiveness.

If you have any helpful links about  this topic I would be happy to see them. I would also love to hear your thoughts on the matter. How would you talk to your kids about your feelings?


3 thoughts on ““I’m Sorry I’m Grumpy:” Said the Mother to Her Baby”

  1. So glad I found this post! I think that the decision of how much of our feelings to share with our kids must depend a lot on circumstances: age and emotional maturity of the child, the degree and nature of mom’s grumpiness, individual temperaments, etc. I find it’s a fine line between being honest and putting my son at risk for taking on too much of MY emotions. Taking ownership for my own behaviors and caring for my own emotions, myself, is my primary concern.

    I commonly say things like, “I’m not angry because of you, it’s because of me. I’m not being patient with myself.” I also like to remind him that “it’s not your fault” because young children tend to internalize what’s going on around them. I like the idea of taking care of each other, although I make a point of letting my son know that it’s not his job to take care of me or to help me feel better. That’s MY job!

    1. You are right that it’s a lot for them to take on our emotions adult emotions and our job to take care of ourselves emotionally and I would say spiritually. Thank you for your comment. I think one thing that’s important to remember is that our children experience our emotions even if we don’t talk about them. They are highly empathetic when they are infants and toddlers. A good place to start is to share from a more objective place: “Today I am feeling a little grumpy and I’m sorry that I am not being nice to you.” Instead of: “I am so, so sad and just feel like crying all day long.” Informing a child of your emotional state when it is leaking out onto them is the goal, over sharing would be too much for little ones.

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