4 Reasons You Might Be An Ogre Mom

why am i so cranky

My best friend and I are always swapping personal ogre mom stories. Stories where we yelled too much or didn’t have enough patience with our kids. It’s not something we are proud of, becoming an ogre to our kids, we just know we need to share the story so we don’t continue to beat ourselves up over our failures! We laugh at each other and remind one another that though we are fallible, we are still decent moms just trying to do the best we can.

But I since I didn’t want my ogre mom moments to go unchecked, I started searching for a pattern behind the ogre days. I asked myself, Why am I so cranky? And what I found was startling—the factors that created a perfect storm for irritability usually had nothing to do with the kids, it was ALL about me!

Here are some of the factors that I have noticed contribute to me turning ogre:

1. Not getting enough sleep.

Sleep is one of my favorite things, if only because it seems I never get enough of it! Sleeping is reparative for our body and minds and essential to functioning. Having a normal routine like wake-up time and bedtime will create a cycle for your body so it will be easier to go to bed when the time comes. If you are having trouble sleeping, think about your lifestyle habits that might be contributing. {Tweet This} For example, reading a tablet or computer in bed tricks your brain into believing it is still daytime because of the artificial light. Instead, stop playing on your tablet or watching TV an hour before you go to bed so your brain can release the chemicals necessary to go to sleep.

2. Eating lots of sugar.

Caffeine and sugar are my go-tos when I’m stressed or tired. Though the sugar does energize me, it is temporary and leaves me more drained than I was before increasing my irritability. Instead, I should find snacks that are filled with good protein like nuts, cheese, and meat. This will provide sustaining energy and vitamins that are beneficial for body and mind.

3. PMS, it’s a real thing!

Tracking our menstrual cycle is important not only for monitoring changes in our bodies but also gives us a heads up for when our hormones bottom out causing mood changes. Plan to reduce stressful activities during those few days. For example, if I’m in full on PMS mode, I plan playdates for the kids, or we all get out of the house by going to the library or the park. I have learned being at home all day overwhelms me thinking of all the things I need to do and increases my irritability. So I reduce my chores to the essential and spend the rest of my time avoiding the reality of housework!

4. Not having enough alone time!

When you can’t even go to the bathroom without having a child audience, having alone time seems comical. Yet when we don’t intentionally make time to be by ourselves, we become a ticking time bomb! So whether it’s after the kids go to bed, before they get up, or during nap time, find time to relax, listen to your own thoughts, read a book, meditate, or pray. And here’s a suggestion: Don’t take your alone time with Facebook or Instagram. Too often we look on those sites and compare ourselves which leads to more stress and irritability. Quieting our body and mind helps to refresh us and allows us to become more tolerant of stressors.

It’s natural to have good days and bad. But finding ways to make the Why am I so cranky? days happen less often will be something both you and your family can celebrate! Which behavior can you increase that will help decrease irritability?

Paige Clingenpeel is a licensed teen therapist and has worked on TV, radio, and web-based media. Her passion is creating health, hope, and humor for youth and their families.