Saying that I was an angry mom is an understatement.
We were leaving. We were at the park for only 20 minutes, but we were leaving. Because his behavior was out of control, and we weren’t going to continue down that path anymore.
With my daughter in one arm and my son in the other, we marched straight back to the car. Putting my son into the car seat was easily mistaken for a world championship wrestling match. He arched his back with a strength I never witnessed before. I finally secured the buckle, and in that moment, he screamed at me with such parenting anger I wasn’t sure what my next move should be.
Because at that point?
I was boiling.
It’s the moment where you have to tame the complete lunatic mom that is racing to come out of you. The moment that you desperately want the magic potion for how to be a happy mom.
His arms and legs continued to flail as I walked to the other side of the car and placed my daughter (also screaming) into her car seat too. I got into the driver’s seat of the car and slammed the door.
My kids were screaming. I was screaming. And together we had one giant screamfest that probably belonged on a Dr. Phil Show episode called Parenting Freakshows.
The angry mom days no one talks about.
We don’t talk about it because we don’t want anyone to see us during our worst parenting hour. We hope no one else sees or notices or hears from two cars down as an entire family sits screaming inside a vehicle. Because deep down you know this is not who you are as a parent. In these dark parenting moments, you aren’t even sure who you are and where you came from.
And it happens a lot more than we wish. In a perfect world, my heart would fill with endless patience and gratitude to savor each moment. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t get angry at my kids. In a perfect world, I would be the fun mom who always knows the right thing to do.
Instead, I get angry and frustrated and tired. There is not a single day where I don’t get frustrated with my kids.
There just isn’t.
But, mama? If you are struggling with parenting anger, you are not alone. Feeling angry and frustrated and irritated does not make you a bad mom.
You are in the parenting trenches, trying to dig your way out. But man, these kids. These kids are taking you on the wildest, most challenging parenting journey of your life. You never saw it coming and you are worn down to the bones.
How to stop feeling angry as a mom.
When you are struggling with anger and frustration, you gotta pick up the pieces and start moving forward. You might not know where to begin, and for a long time, I didn’t really either. I wanted to keep hiding these angry mom moments from the world and hope no one wondered why there was a parent yelling at the steering wheel of her car.
But you know what?
It is possible to enjoy more happy moments with your kids and experience less anger in motherhood. It’s not easy or perfect, and it does take work, but it’s possible.
It begins with two things.
Know your triggers.
Knowing what pushes your buttons upfront is the perfect offense to avoiding anger altogether. My triggers are lack of sleep and not having my husband home. He is gone on and off for work, and I frequently find myself losing my patience when he’s not around.
So for me, I have to allow other things around the house slide to ensure I get enough rest at night. And if my husband is gone for work, I need to make arrangements for a babysitter every now and again, so I can catch my breath.
Other examples of triggers may be…
- Not nourishing your body with a healthy diet.
- Too much technology (I’m guilty!).
- Not taking time for yourself (Even if it’s just for one hour a week!).
- Staying inside too much.
- Working too many hours.
- Taking your kids to places, where you know they will act out.
- Not spending enough time with other adults (and only spending time with your kids).
For each parent, the trigger is different. It could be anything. But we have to know what will set us off in order to prevent it from happening. Diving deeper into triggers is something my friend Amanda does an amazing job explaining. She taught me how to recognize all my triggers and how to avoid them in a way that was realistic.
Know your calming strategies.
Because no matter how well you manage your triggers, there is always going to be a time when we get angry again. We are human. We are going to yell and get mad. That’s okay. Because when we get angry, we are going to arm ourselves with calming strategies.
For me, music and essential oils are my go-to calming aids when I’m feeling angry and frustrated with my kids. I turn up the music in the car or I turn on Pandora at home. I put on my stress away essential oil to my wrists and over my heart and I go to my happy place.
Once I’ve calmed down enough, I talk to my son and work out the necessary consequences. Disciplining my son when I’m calm works ten times better than when I’m angry. When I’m angry we get into a big fight, everyone’s feelings are hurt, and we’ve accomplished very little in terms of better behavior.
Do you wonder why I screamed in the car?
My son refused to go to the bathroom at the outdoor park even though he was wetting his pants. He wanted to keep playing. And he didn’t want me to stop him and make him go to the bathroom. Isn’t that the silliest thing ever to fight about?
Basically, we were fighting over a bathroom break.
That’s the part about anger in motherhood that we don’t always talk about. The part where we feel so angry and frustrated with our kids that we lose it over something silly.
Let’s be real though.
Anger in motherhood isn’t about one frustrating moment that happens during the day. Anger in motherhood is a culmination of daily frustrations that build and build until we break.
Resources for a calmer home:
If you are looking for a better way to manage anger and feel more positive in motherhood, check out these posts:
- The Most Important Words You’ll Ever Say to an Upset Child
- Parenting Anger Isn’t The Problem: How to Communicate With Kids Effectively When You’re Angry
- The Most Important Thing You Can Do After You Yell at Your Kids
- 8 Ways to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling