If you’ve asked yourself, “Why am I an angry mom?” then keep reading. If you know you need more help than a post, then I know exactly what you’re looking for. Also, here’s some encouragement for the emotionally exhausted mom.
It was a day much like any other.
Loud. Stimulating. Demanding.
My preschooler didn’t want to go to bed and was whining with a piercing moan. My toddler was proclaiming he wanted more juice at 90 decibels. My baby needed feeding and was crying with a grating cry only a baby can do.
All this built up into a cacophony of clanging symbols in my head as I felt my brain expanding to a break point.
Then, in a loud thunderous voice, I screamed, “Everybody just SHUT UP for goodness sake!”
Then, in completely shock, I stared down at the kids. They were staring back at me and then – in a split second – they all started crying. Loud anguished tears.
I sat down on the floor by them and we all cried together.
Oh… to be a fly on the wall of that moment.
I never considered myself an angry person.
I also never considered myself a “baby” person and here I have 5 kids.
So… there’s that.
Since becoming a mom I have come face to face with my temper. I’d like to blame my red hair, but I have to be honest with myself here. There are certain behaviors and circumstances that give rise to my anger and it’s something I consistently must guard in our home. Why?
A) because I don’t want my kids to remember me as being mean and angry. 2) because having a mean and angry mom will give your kids issues. D) because it’s just plain and simple no fun to be in a bad mood.
A, 2, D… know what movie that is? Anyway…
Here are 5 common reasons you get angry with your kids.
This isn’t exhaustive, but it hits the big ones.
1. You take things personally
For some irrational reason, we moms tend to take disobedience a personal insult. I say do this, they do that, and I want to get offended at their audacity. Then I remind myself they are children. They intuitively want to please their parents but they don’t intuitively know how. Unless you want to be nuts all day and night, you cannot take their behavior and choices personally.
When your anger rises after a particular situation, and before you pounce, take a minute to think about the root of your anger. Are you mad simply because they didn’t do what you said? Fair enough they need to obey, but your anger will not bring about the type of obedience you want. Calm down and remember, it’s consistency, discipline, and training that brings about your desired results, not their fear of your angry outbursts.
2. Your expectations need adjusting
It’s hard to know what to rightfully expect as mothers. You don’t want to low ball or high ball the kids by expecting what they can’t deliver or not expecting what they should. This is a work in progress that needs regular tweaking, but if you are expecting your 3-year-old to act like a 6-year-old then you’ll get angry. Yesterday, I was feeling completely wiped out. I was laying down feeding my 5 week old (which I like to do when I’m trying to rest a bit) and he stopped nursing because he needed to be burped.
I actually sat up and, without even thinking, said, “These kids can’t do anything for themselves!” Ha. Then I laughed at myself and hugged and cuddled and burped my baby and realized I needed to get a grip and some expectation tweaking with all my kids.
I should expect obedience, but not 100% obedience.
I can expect a good attitude, but not if I’m a sourpuss all day.
3. You’re empty and need a recharge
Motherhood calls for a lot of sacrifice, but I don’t think sanity is one of the things we should sacrifice. There are certain things we must do just because we must. However, we should attempt to include in our day time to ourselves where at all possible. If you are empty and have nothing to give – yet still continue giving – what you’re giving is not a gift. Does that make sense?
Take some time alone. Get your husband to watch the kids or another family member. Put them all to bed early and do something that helps you relax or recharge. If you can manage, go on a mommy vacation for a weekend. If not, sit down with a pencil and brainstorm ways you can get what you need to stay sane. Start or continue some hobbies.
Read: Mama’s Anger Management
4. You’ve let things get out of control and need a reset
It hurts me to type this, but most of our children’s behavior is a result of our own parenting strategies. Not all, obviously, because they have their own free will. However, if we are lax, too strict, or inconsistent their free will causes them to do things that aren’t desirable. It’s perfectly normal we find a good system, go on autopilot, and then realize our system needs some tweaking. If your home atmosphere seems to be getting out of control I’d suggest hitting the reset button.
Tighten the reins for a week. Be over the top consistent. Evaluate your expectations (#2) then explain over and over again what you expect from them. Explain over and over again what will happen if they don’t do what you expect. It’ll be tedious for a week, but you should expect to see a return to normal and pleasant behavior within a short period of time. It’s all about big picture thinking.
5. You’re stressed and need an outlet
When I’m stressed and have not processed it well, I become a short-tempered person. Every little stupid thing ticks me off. Whether your outlet is some type of hobby (crafty or non-crafty) or sport, find some way to let out your frustration in other ways than exploding with your kids. Also, if you are habitually stressed it may be time to do some more extreme measures like counseling or anger management activities. Or even putting firm boundaries in relationships, at work, or in areas that are out of your control.
You may not be able to control the circumstances that cause you stress, but your children shouldn’t suffer for it. Perhaps you need to cut back on commitments, slow down, and re-evaluate your priorities. Even if something drastic must be done, you will be glad you did something when you’re able to finish a day without having lost it!
But back to that screaming moment…
We all sat there on the floor crying and then, after a bit, I started laughing. Amazingly enough, they started laughing too. “I’m so sorry, kids,” I said.
“We sowwy too, mama!” they said, as they hugged and kissed me.
So… while it’s normal to get angry, we should be able to manage it.
While our kids do need to understand their actions have consequences, we don’t need to explode on them.
And instead of just trying not to yell, remember: anger is not the issue, a deeper issue is the issue.
Get your free anger trigger printable checklist!
- 50 Calm Down Tips (Free printable)
- The Trigger Tracker (Free tracking printable)
- Mama’s Anger Management (Course for mothers)
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