Recipe for Feeling Bitter

Recipe for Feeling Bitter | ZenShmen
It turns out, there’s an exact recipe to follow to become bitter.  The truth of the matter is, when I started this blog it was to talk about stuff I love, like home decor and fun DIY projects.

But since moving into a house I greatly dislike, I’ve found it hard to muster the enthusiasm to talk about those kinds of things.  

Reality Hits

I don’t get the same joy I once did from those activities, and it feels like at every turn, we are discovering something else wrong with this house. First it was the 50%-done roof that needed to be 100% redone.

Then it was the carpenter ants, the faulty electrical work, the invasive weeds, the mold in the bathroom walls, and the malfunctioning pool that we eventually dismantled.

No Do-Overs

Not every day is a happy day, much to my dismay.  I often feel a potent mix of anger, anxiety and that it’s a great sad injustice that we only ever get one kick at the can, no do-overs on today.

Sure, I can try again tomorrow and things may be different, but when I desperately want/need a good day, or a fun activity day with the kids turns into whining and lost patience, or when a good mood or exciting plan gets ruined by things far outside my control, I can feel sad and that it’s not fair.  That the day got taken away from me, and I don’t get it back.


And I also feel guilty that I’m not more grateful for what I have.  And that I’m feeling sorry for myself when I should instead be vibrant, energetic, resourceful and resilient.  And boy, am I ever tired.

FUN FACT: As of this writing, mom-guilt is NOT a term found in the dictionary.  Let’s hope it doesn’t become a “thing” in an official capacity — because it sucks! lol

mom-guilt | zenshmen


I put tremendous pressure on the day being good, and creating happy memories for the kids, and thinking that things should be just so.  The house should be clean.  The kitchen should be full of healthy food.  Meals should be made and not bought.  Each day should be filled with laughter and happy moments.  That sort of thing.  These days I’m feeling that each day is filled with screaming tantrums, interminable mess, and junk food.  I’m way off my game.

When a plan goes off the rails, I’m not happy about it.  I like to think of myself as a go-with-the-flow type of person but, as it turns out, I don’t think that’s the case!

You want to be bitter?  Follow this recipe:

So without further ado, for those who would like to have it, here is the Recipe for Feeling Bitter. Success in achieving bitterness in life is 100% guaranteed if you follow this handy list:

  1. Always take care of others and put yourself last.
  2. Ignore your instincts and give into pressure from work, friends, and especially family.  (aka Always say yes to others.)
  3. Do not eat large quantities of green vegetables, and be sure to starve your brain of the essential healthy fats it needs to thrive.
  4. Eat lots of sugar and fried foods.  Blame yourself for having no discipline.
  5. Avoid exercise, including simple walking.
  6. Do not make the time to pursue your own interests, do things you actually enjoy doing, or read books.
  7. Stay up late bingeing on Netflix and give yourself a hard time for not waking up early to get a head start the next day.
  8. Expect perfection.
  9. Let your hair grow untamed; and I mean all of it:  roots, lady moustache, eyebrows, armpits, crotch and legs.
  10. Spend all your spare moments cleaning.  Do not delegate.
  11. Do not save money.  Compare your situation to other people in a wildly different place in life than you.
  12. Make sure you do not drink lots of water.
  13. Do not take vacations.

Conversely, if you are feeling down in the dumps, pick any one of these items and do the opposite.

Thoughts, comments?  What do you like to do to kick the blues?

P.S. For those who are down in the dumps and may need some inspiration, I get a good deal of comfort from my Pinterest board called Happy, where I hoard things to make me smile and/or think, from the simple and silly to the more complex and profound.  Please come join me there and browse around for a pick-me-up.

You might enjoy:

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Val Lonergan is the founder of, where she shares happiness hacks for purposeful people. To get the ZenShmen cheatsheet to jumpstart your joy - 10 easy things you can do right this minute to hack your way to increased happiness - join the free newsletter.
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  • Reply

    Apologies if this is a repeat…
    Thanks for this. 2014 was a doozie. I believe that all things remaining equal- house, town and time constraints, you'll have a better 2015 simply because your kids will be a year older and that one year really makes a difference. Pinky swear.

  • Reply

    Oh Maya you sweet soul, thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment. Indeed living in a place you don't love (out of choice or necessity) does pose unique challenges because there's no place to retreat and get away from it all. That's what a home is supposed to be, right?
    I have tried lots of ways to improve my feelings toward this place and this town, which probably just adds to the frustration. But alas. It's a phase in life, I know that.
    One thing that's crucial in all this is how mood and outlook can affect one's day, and since reading the article "Is Your Brain Starving?" (linked in point #3 in the post) which I evidently needed to read, I learned exactly what your brain needs to regulate itself and function at its peak. So interesting! And I wonder how many other rough patches I've gone through in life, and that others may be going through now, that are exacerbated by lacking this knowledge.
    Wishing you and yours a wonderful New Years Eve in beautiful Perth (which, since becoming friends, I now see everywhere and hear about all the time!) Be well xx

  • Reply

    You poor thing! 🙁 sounds like you are having a really tough time of it. Sorry to hear. I understand why you would feel like that. It must have absolutely sucked going from a house you love to one you hate. We have grown (slowly, over the years) to love our house, but every so often, when things go wrong, like when it shows its old house nature and produces *another* expensive thing that needs to be repaired, or we let the garden go and it becomes rampant and ugly, or the paint starts peeling off (again) from the ceiling, or it just becomes a huge mess, we have moments where we scream at each other and yell that we should just leave this place and buy somewhere easy and low-maintenance. When that happens I feel like you, like the day got taken away from me (perfectly described). Not sure if there is any advice I can give you but I think it is normal in a living situation such as yours, and it does come and go! Hope you have an upswing soon. Now following Happy on Pinterest – as well as all your other boards. Hope you have a lovely New Year's Eve my Canadian friend.

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