So maybe I am the only mom out there who has to deal with this, but some days – probably more than I care to admit – I come home in a funk. I am stressed and moody. I feel like I am drowning in my to-do list, and I only have my eyes on bedtime and what it takes to get there. Anyone who stands in the way of these chores is likely to get a mouthful.
I recognize it. I know I need to stop acting like a three year old not getting her way. I know my family does not deserve another afternoon of moody mom, or as my husband sometimes jokingly calls me, the mama monster.
But the pity party always seems too inviting. Playing the victim can be so much easier than bucking up and getting things done, mentally and physically. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even have the energy to fight it.
Moms, I know many of our feelings are warranted. They are our reality and it is hard not to focus on them. It is hard to put our tired run-over attitudes on the shelf and play the Leave it to Beaver mom.
And while I am not necessarily asking you to put on the gingham dress and white apron, I do want you to think about ways you can shake off that funk and focus on better things – like the actual human beings in our families and not just the responsibilities we have in caring for them.
So, the other day I was feeling convicted about my afternoon moodiness and started making different choices. I must say, I did not regret it. I think my kids loved it, and we had a much more pleasant evening as a family.
Here are some ideas to shake off of that afternoon funk:
My three year old daughter loves to sing. In the car, she often asks for “her songs,” a station we have set up for her on Apple Music that plays children’s songs. So, many afternoons I am listening to “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Daddy Finger.” I find on the days that I am most distracted or aggravated, it helps to sing. There is nothing like “Five Little Duck” or “Monkeys on the Bed” to help me remember why I do what I do, why this stage in my life is really great.
Now, if you don’t have small children, or your older children may think you are off your rocker if you jam out to “Daddy Finger,” putting on praise music is even better. Find your favorite song, the most uplifting song, and turn it up. But you need to sing too, not just listen. It’s not the same thing. Listening is good, it can help. But there is something about opening your mouth and singing those words to God, that makes all the difference.
Don’t worry about how you sound. I sound awful. I actually think I increase the pray life of my children when I sing, so really it is a win-win.
Psalm 13:6 tells us “I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.” Even on our worst days, He has dealt bountifully with us, and there is nothing like belting out some tunes to Him to help put that all into focus.
2) Jump on the trampoline
Okay, okay, I know that is not possible for everyone, but let’s be honest, I think it is physically impossible to jump on the trampoline and be in a bad mood at the same time. Anytime I jump with my kids, my mood instantly improves.
But it doesn’t have to be jumping on the trampoline, just play with your kids. I mean really play with them. Get down in the dirt, put on the dress-up outfit, help Barbie get ready for the ball… whatever it is, get down there and play.
I love playing with play-dough, and I had forgotten how relaxing it was until my second child came along. We have so much fun making our culinary masterpieces with play-dough, but there is also something so relaxing about mushing and mashing and rolling that dough in my hands. As a matter of fact, even if you don’t have small children, I recommend buying play-dough. You will be surprised at how much it helps…
But playing with your kids will again refocus you on what really matters. It also helps you have a mental vacation from all the stress of the day. It is hard to think about the laundry piling up when you are protecting Minnie Mouse from an alien attack.
And I don’t know about your kids, but mine are hilarious. I never know what they will say. Their humor while we spend time together is enough to help me shake my mood.
I am a runner. I do love to run – okay, no I don’t. I hate to actually run, but I love the feeling I get after running. I love the way my mind begins to clear and work things out after I hit my second wind. They say running is cheaper than therapy and for me that is so true. Running allows me to work out all the stress and frustrations I am feeling.
If I can get a run in, then I can shake my afternoon funk.
But, you might not be a runner. Do what you enjoy. Crossfit? Zumba? Yoga? Whatever… I recommend finding some sort of physical activity you can do to work out some of that negative energy.
And running also gives me some time to be alone with my thoughts. Not only do I get a physical break from everyone, but I also get a bit of a mental break. So, maybe even if you aren’t a runner or the thought of exercise leaves you stressed, just take a walk. Alone. Around the block. To the stop sign. Whatever you can manage. Just take a few minutes to get away and get your body moving.
4) Read the word
I know coming home after a long day at work is not the most ideal time to have your quiet time. I am not saying that. And if I am being honest, when I am in my funky mood, I do not want to open the Bible. It is too intimidating, too correcting, too right. I know my heart isn’t in the right place at the moment..
But, I do love to look at Pinterest. More than once, when I needed a little pick me up, I would just search something like “uplifting scripture” and scroll through all the pins. And it really did help my mood.
As a matter of fact, I have started a board “Positive Reinforcements” just for that purpose. Now I can go to that board and look over all the verses and quotes I have pinned. I know it is crazy, but even through Pinterest, the Word does not go out void.
Maybe you have a short daily devotion you can read. Our church provides some great devotions like Journey that would be perfect for these mood-boosting moments.
And if you have none of the resources, definitely open the Bible. I like to go to Psalms for moments like this. You don’t have to read long before something in that book hits the mark.
I know to us, our afternoon funk may not seem like a big deal, but to our kids and spouse, this is who they see. They missed the moments when we were perky and cheerful at work. They only get to see what is leftover.
And sometimes that can’t be avoided – even though we know they deserve better. So work to give them a little more. Work harder at shaking off that afternoon funk. Make the mood-boosting activities a family affair and help everyone out along the way.