Before I even begin, I need you to know that you are NOT alone. Every good parent has had the thought my child is making me miserable. Raising children is no walk in the park, so it’s completely normal to feel like your kiddos are to blame.
Although this feeling is normal, it’s not actually true. It’s not our child’s fault that we are miserable. We are in control of how we are feeling and how we respond to any situation.
But, I need to be transparent with you. After having my second daughter, I actually typed in “my child is making me miserable” into Google because I had no idea what to do. This thought scared the crap out of me… and I really thought I was a bad mom because of it.
My hope is that this post will help you feel (a little more) normal and will give you the tools you need to find peace even in the most stressful moments of parenthood.
19 Ways to Feel Better When Your Child Is Making You Miserable
As I’m writing this article, I can feel the guilt, anger, and even rage that can come up when we feel like our child is making us miserable. These emotions are really uncomfortable to sit with.
I want to applaud you for noticing this thought and wanting to take the necessary steps to find joy and contentment.
But before I get into all the tips, tricks, and tools that can help you to be happy (even after a hard parenting moment), I think it’s important to know that this advice is coming from a mama of 2 and a parenting coach (in training). Basically, I’m in the trenches with you, but I also have the knowledge that can help you to break this cycle.
Like I mentioned earlier, this is a thought I’ve struggled with in the past…. and truthfully If I’m stressed out… I find myself falling back into this mindset. So just know, I’m with you and I totally understand where you are coming from…… and I THINK YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOM.
Alrighty, let’s get into all the practical ways you can find peace when you feel like your child is making you miserable!
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1. Pattern Interrupt
After dealing with tantrums, accidents, and breaking up sibling fights, sometimes all we need is to get a change of scenery. Many of the tips on this list can be used as a pattern interrupt; taking a walk, going for a drive, or just moving to a different room.
The goal is to give everyone a quick change of pace so that you can “reset” yourself.
2. Go Outside (or go to a window)
Whether you step outside for a moment, gaze out the window, or even head outside to let the kids play, nature has a way of grounding us.
After my second daughter was born, every evening I would watch the sunset. This quickly became a daily ritual that I looked forward.
Sometimes when the kids are really loud and I’m feeling a bit overstimulated, I just step outside on my patio for a minute.
If you have a baby who’s really upset, try taking them to a window. I can’t tell you how many times I used this little trick in the winter. Sometimes, I’d even open the window a crack to let some fresh air in.
3. Take A Walk
Getting out for a walk is my favorite way to feel better. Right now, I put them in the veer wagon stroller with their favorite snack… so I know that I can get a few minutes of peace and quiet to reset.
If your kiddos are old enough to walk, let them run around and get some of their energy out too!
4. Go for A Drive
Especially when the weather isn’t ideal, going for a drive is (almost) always an option. Sometimes I even treat myself to a coffee!
I know many moms who’s children fall asleep in the car, so I highly recommend going at naptime if this helps your babies sleep! I was not lucky enough to have babies who enjoyed the car, but now they like it.. so I take advantage of this when I can.
5. Put on Dance Music
In the moment this is the LAST thing I want to do when I’m feeling grumpy, but it’s one of the most helpful things! I’ve actually created a playlist of clean, happy songs that make my girls want to dance and they usually put a smile on my face.
The key is to dance all your grumpies out and dance like a kid! The more you can let loose, the quicker you will start to feel better.
6. Wiggle Your Body
This one is similar to dancing, but when you don’t have music available, wiggle and shake all your grumpy feelings away. Sometimes my girls and I sing “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift, which makes it even more fun!
This was actually a trick my husband taught me, while we were dating, when I couldn’t get out of a bad mood. It usually works wonders and helps me leave what’s happened in the past and enjoy the rest of my day.
7. Give yourself a Hug
This butterfly hug has been so helpful for me when I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious. The key is to sit down (or stand still) for a few breaths.
This has been an important part of my self-love and compassion journey. I encourage you to try this anytime you are needing to calm down.
8. Ask for a Hug or Snuggles
Honestly, physical hugs are a game-changer for me! Although science shows that we only need 5-10 seconds to feel a mood boost, hugging for 20 seconds was shown in this study to lower stress levels.
After a really long hard day, I love to snuggle my husband.. even if it’s only for a couple of minutes! If my older daughter and I have been working through big feelings, I will often ask her for a hug as well (although she sometimes declines). If she doesn’t want to, I will do the butterfly hug I mentioned above.
If you have a little baby, spend a few minutes snuggling with them or even breastfeed! Nursing your baby will help you to produce oxytocin which will help to lower your stress (read more about how here).
9. Play a Game Together
There is almost always laughter when we play games together! I’ve found this to be a great pattern interrupt for everyone. My oldest daughter is three, so we play simple games like matching and candy land!
This time helps me to regroup and reconnect with my little girl as well!
8. Create a “Special” Bin to Take Out
If you are someone that needs alone time to feel better, I highly recommend putting together a “special” bin for your child. I actually made one of these for my (at the time) two year old for when I was nursing my baby.
I filled it with all kinds of fun toys and activities for her to choose from. Because everything was new, it kept her busy for a while. I highly recommend keeping one of these on hand for moments like this!
9. Prioritize YOU Time
To piggy back off the last tip, make sure to carve out YOU time. I know this can feel impossible when you are in the thick of motherhood, but this article from Dr. Christina Hibbert explains the importance of it!
By the way, YOU time is not scrolling through Instagram reels.
Some examples are hobbies, spending time with friends, or even going out by yourself. The goal is to allow your mind time to not be in mom-mode.
Sitting down to write out your feelings can be INCREDIBLY helpful. This is often very difficult to do in the middle of the day if you have younger kids. That’s why I put it a bit lower on the list.
Even if you can’t do this in the heat of the moment, I recommend journaling in the evening to help you process through everything.
I notice that this helps me to leave my frustrations and wake up feeling ready to parent again!
11. What is Your Child Needing?
One of the most helpful things I’ve learned about since going to Parenting Coaching school is that a child’s behavior is always linked to a need. Figuring out what they are needing in the moment can be difficult, especially if you haven’t done this before.
I loved the book “Beyond Behaviors” by Mona Delahooke. It really helps you to see past your child’s behavior and to start looking for what they are needing in that moment.
If you are overwhelmed or maybe just want an outside opinion, having a parenting coach guide you in identifying your child’s needs will help you to become more aware of ways that you can support your child. In the end, this will help you to feel more compassionate and empathetic toward your child’s emotions… which will in turn help you to feel more joy and contentment.
12. What do You Need?
Obviously, if our kiddos have needs, we also have needs that aren’t being met. Maybe this is burnout, marital struggles, or even childhood traumas that are resurfacing. No matter what the trigger is (we will get to this more in a minute), you need to be filling your cup.
It’s impossible to be there for our children and parent with compassion and understanding when we are trying to do this from an empty cup.
You may be thinking that this tip is similar to #9 Prioritizing YOU Time, but I think that this is different. These “needs” are not necessarily alone time, it could be seeking counseling, prioritizing time with your husband, or even finding ways to help your body to feel safe in that moment.
13. What’s Triggering You?
Can you recall any moments that made you feel miserable? Maybe it’s that high-pitched scream, that tantrum in the grocery store, or when your baby wakes every 30 minutes in the night (yes my 1 year old just went through this ugh.)
When you identify what triggers you, get curious about WHY.
I highly recommend journaling or even doing a voice memo on your phone to help you process this!
14. Hold Space for Your Feelings
If you’ve never heard of holding space, let me try to explain it. Basically, this is when you allow yourself to be fully present with your feelings without judgment.
My counselor walked me through this exercise where you mentally go into a room that has NOTHING on the walls. You sit on the floor and allow your feelings to surface. There is no one in there to judge you… just you.
Every time I’ve done this I’ve felt such compassion for myself and the feelings that I have. It’s helped me to be more understanding of what I’m going through, rather than judging myself for all the hard feelings I’m dealing with.
15. You Can’t Control Your Child’s Feelings
When I was watching Brene Brown’s HBO series called Atlas of the Heart, I was shaken when she described someone who was emotionally uncomfortable. Truthfully, it described me as a mom. I discovered that I wanted to fix and ultimately control my children’s emotions because they made me uncomfortable.
Eeekkkk…. that’s a tough pill to swallow.
Although I don’t do it perfectly, I’m learning how to sit with, hold space, and guide my children through these really hard feelings. The biggest takeaway has been that it’s NOT my responsibility to control how they feel… it’s NOT even my job to make them feel better.
My only job is to help them weather the storms of life, so they can learn how to handle these situations themselves… which will ultimately help them become resilient and independent individuals.
16. Take Responsibility
After realizing that it’s not your job to control your child’s emotions, you are probably seeing that it’s not their fault that you are feeling miserable.
Let me rephrase. Your children are probably doing really frustrating things. But, it’s your responsibility as a parent to get curious about your triggers first, and then become aware of what you need.
Once you’ve filled your cup, you can begin to help your child navigate their big emotions!
17. Changing Your Internal Dialogue
Have you ever noticed how terrible your internal dialogue is? I can confidently say that when I catch myself I’m shocked by my thoughts.
There was a study done by the National Science Foundation that found that 80% of our thoughts are negative. Honestly, this number didn’t surprise me. But, I couldn’t believe that 95% of our thoughts are repetitive.
After learning this, I really began to understand how important our self-talk is. There are so many ways we can reframe and change our thought patterns. The first step is noticing them.
If you are on Instagram, I highly recommend checking out Tessa Romero’s profile. She has SO many thought swaps that will help you to change your mindset. She’s geared towards parenting, so all of her stuff is relevant and easy to apply.
After having a hard moment with my kids, I try to come before the Lord in prayer. Sometimes I do this with them and other times I need some one on one time with God.
This always makes me feel refreshed and at peace…. and ready to take on the rest of the day!
19. Call/Message a Friend
This might be my favorite tip from this entire list. My good friend and I send voice messages back and forth daily. Often we will vent, cry, and celebrate all that happened that day.
I’ve learned that having someone I can turn to when I’m struggling….. that can relate and say “me too” is so helpful. Knowing that you aren’t alone and that someone else feels and has felt the same way as you can bring so much comfort and healing.
Feeling like your kids are making you miserable is a very normal part of parenthood. Although it’s not actually their fault, it’s important that we take the necessary steps we need to re-set and recharge. In the end this will help us to show up as the parent we want to be!
I hope these tips helped. If you have a specific parenting question, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org …. I try my best to answer emails when I can!
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