Mom anger is something few of us want to admit, but most of us face. In this post I’m going to show you what it is and exactly how to deal with mom anger. Step-by-step.
Saying that I lost my cool is an understatement.
I was feeding Toby. Or trying to. He was fussy and needed peace and quiet for his nap. But Theo was all over the place; jumping loudly around the living room, throwing his monster trucks across the floor, yelling and NOT responding when I told him to calm down for the 50th time.
And finally, I lost it. I yelled.
My heart was racing. I screamed. Theo screamed. And then Toby screamed.
And then I realized….
It was ridiculous. I was yelling to get Theo to stop yelling.
What kind of example was I setting? How could I expect him to behave when I couldn’t?
I felt embarrassed and quickly calmed down.
“Theo, come to mama,” I said.
“I shouldn’t have yelled at you. I just got mad because you didn’t listen. I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry, too, mom,” he snivelled. And we hugged.
Read next: 20 tips you can learn from Scandinavian parents
You’re not a bad mom
No one wants to be “that mom” who yells at her family. And no one decides to have kids so they can yell at them.
But we all experience mom anger on different levels and in different situations.
It’s just that, no one really talks about mom anger and all the feelings that accompany it. There is so much mom guilt and shame in being a mom who is working on her emotional response to her kids in high tense moments.
And it’s ludicrous, if you ask me.
Let me tell you something, and it might come as a shock
There’s no such thing as a perfect mom. She doesn’t exist.
Moms get tired. Moms get mad. They loose their cool, and they mess up because they’re human. And humans make mistakes.
The important thing is so make it right, forgive yourself and try again.
Motherhood requires us to be ON every moment (day and night) of our lives. I can’t think of any other job that requires the same level of commitment! There are no days off when it comes to motherhood. And many moms are doing it all with virtually no support system in place.
What is mom anger?
Mom anger, maternal anger, mom rage. It has many names, and it’s something that affects us all. Why? Because motherhood is hard.
Mom anger is when you get angry, frustrated and raise your voice in the midst of any parenting-related interaction.
You’re not a bad mom for occasionally losing your way. Kids are forgiving, they live in the now. They tend to forget everything quickly. So, as long as you don’t make yelling a habit, they won’t be marked by it.
When to react:
While some anger is absolutely normal, uncontrolling anger and thoughts of suicide or hurting your baby is not. It can be a sign of postpartum depression and absolutely shouldn’t be ignored. If you find yourself feeling like this, you should seek help immediately.
How to calm down
In the heat of the moment, when you find yourself stressed and feel like you might explode, there are a few things you can do to calm down. We’ll talk about preventive tips after.
Breathe and count to ten
Breathing in moments of anger, stress, or panic is vitally important because it allows our brains to think. So, when you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath while counting to ten.
Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting the air in deeply, towards your lower belly. That way, you’ll get oxygen to the brain and you’ll be able to make a better choice than yelling.
Take a break
Tell your kids you need to take a minute, and step out of the room. Go into another room and shout for yourself, or hit a pillow hard if you’re really mad. You get time to think and consider a strategy other than shouting.
Call a lifeline
Call your husband, your best friend or your mom. They might be able to offer some advice or at the very least give you comfort that you’re a good mom.
Acknowledge your powerlessness
No, it is not optimal for your toddler to leave without his hat when it’s minus degrees outside. But if you can avoid yelling at him by letting him go to the store without his hat – then do it.
Have a plan
It’s a good idea to have some basic consequences in place for certain behaviors. If you know how to react when your kids don’t want to pick up their toys, scream or kick, then you won’t have to rely on your feelings when you react.
For instance, my course of action when Theo keeps throwing his toys is to take the toys away or distract him. I do this every time, except that one time I shared above, and look where that got me.
Don’t be afraid to give yourself space
Being at home with your kids, especially in these pandemic times, can be exhausting. You need to cook, change diapers, entertain, do laundry, tidy up the house, all while you answer questions about who Peppa Pig’s best friend is.
This feeling of being pulled in so many directions leads to feelings of mom burnout, overwhelm and anxiety.
If you need a break, it’s ok to take some time to yourself.
I mean it.
Let the kids play on their own or ask your husband or someone close to watch the kids. When you need time to recharge, it’s important to take it. You know the saying:
“When mom’s happy, everyone’s happy.”
Read next: How to teach your children to play on their own
Get to the why
This is where we dig a little deeper to prevent the mom anger and frustration. Here’s how to become a calmer mom over the long haul
Know your triggers
Write down when you’ve yelled or lost your temper, and then try to change the situations. Did you get angry when your toddler didn’t listen at the grocery store? Maybe you should shop without him.
Learn how to control your feelings
Spend some time figuring out when it went wrong. Find out when exactly when you could have taken a deep breath and counting to ten. Next time, do that.
Choose your battles
Consider just how important it is that your toddler cleans up his toys right this minute. It might be better to let go of a principle once in a while instead of yelling.
Read next: How to get kids to listen without yelling
Make an I-won’t-shout-any-more promise to your child
Tell your child that you’re sorry for yelling, and now you will do whatever you can to stop. ‘I won’t yell any more’ commits when it’s said out loud.
Whatever you do….
Know that you’re a good mom and you’re doing your best. You have the ability to be calm, and working to manage your triggers and reactions will help you become the calm mom you want to be.
Deep breaths, mama. You’ve got this.