Want to Get Rid of Your mom anger and become a calmer parent?
I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. That’s how loud I was screaming.
My 5 year old screamed back at me – unsuccessfully trying to match me. There was no matching me. I was LIVID. This kid just Does. Not. Listen.
Ah, memories. I bet you have some similar ones of your own. Not because you suck at parenting – actually, you’re kicking ass at it, even though it doesn’t always feel that way.
I say you have similar memories because I don’t know many moms who don’t get crazy angry at their kids, and I know lots of moms. And also because you’re reading an article titled “How to Get Rid of Mom Anger”.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t get to the point where we’re seeing red? If we spared our throats the pain?
We can do it. We just have to understand what takes us there, and then how to prevent ourselves from hopping on the train to crazy town. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t involve giving our kids away.
What Causes Mom Anger?
Ummm, kids, right?
How we react to something, in this case our kids’ behavior, is up to us.
These are the most common reasons we react to our kids’ behavior with anger:
1. We take things personally.
This is a huge anger trigger for my husband. Our older son will deliberately do the opposite of what we ask him to. It’s a power game and it’s typical child behavior.
But my husband takes it as a personal attack and flies off the handle.
So ask yourself this – “Am I angry because they are defying me?”. The answer is probably, and understandably, yes.
Then remember that they are kids and their brains aren’t fully developed yet. They don’t think or act like adults. Their intention isn’t to hurt you.
In fact, one of the biggest goals in their little hearts is to have your approval and love. Which means there is an underlying reason for their behavior. We just have to get to the root of it to know how to handle it.
2. We’re already stressed out about something.
This is usually the case. Being an adult is so stressful. There’s financial stress, job stress, and relationship stress… just to name a few.
And when we’re under a lot of stress, it doesn’t take much to push us over the edge and start yelling like a crazy person. It’s a lot easier to have patience with our kids when we’re in a good state of mind. Not so much when we’re worried about a million things, or one really big thing.
3. We’re spent. We got nothin’.
We just have nothing left to give. We’re tired and worn out. We haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in Lord knows how long. We are constantly rushing from daycare, to work, to school, to make dinner, to get a bit of laundry done…
We give, give, give to everyone else. Our friends, spouses, kids, neighbors, STRANGERS for pete’s sake! So when our kindergartner asks us if we can wipe his butt for the fifth time that day, we yell, “I can’t give anymore of me!!”. (If that sounds oddly specific, it’s because it’s a real life example from yours truly).
4. Our expectations are too high.
I’m totally guilty of this one. It’s easy to forget that our kids are kids. Sometimes we automatically expect them to behave like adults. And when they don’t, we get pissed.
We also set expectations too high for ourselves, as parents. Despite what social media tells you, there is no such thing as the perfect parent.
But when your kid is having a meltdown in a restaurant because she’s hungry, you begin to wonder what the other patrons are thinking of you. People must think I’m raising animals. I can’t control my kids!
Even though this is about you and how worried you about what others think of you, you express angry towards your kids.
It’s not fair to get angry with your hungry, cranky child; but it’s also not fair to be so hard on yourself.
5. We’ve got too much on our plates.
I remember reading an article about how hard it is for women to say no to people. It’s the result of how many of us are raised and our societal norms.
We tend to take on too much at work and in our personal lives. Before we know it, we’re overcommitted. Add in some overscheduled kids and it’s no wonder we’re losing our shit!
6. We miss ourselves.
Do you ever find yourself wondering what your pre-mom self would be doing right now? Or reminiscing about how easy it was to get out the door before you had kids? Or having the time to do the things that we love to do alone?
We miss who we were before kids sometimes. It’s normal. So when we actually find time to sit down and read a few pages from that book, or chat with a friend, it’s easy to lose our cool when our kids track us down and interrupt.
7. We’re struggling with mental illness.
You might not have expected to see this on the list. But anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder – they’re pretty common.
When our anxiety is heightened and we’re constantly worried, or we’re in a dark place, it’s easy to get angry. And kids are needy.
Just remember that it’s ok to ask for help, and in this instance we most definitely should.
8. We’re rushing through life.
We’re done with one thing, and on to the next. We’re constantly making lists in our minds and thinking about what needs to be done next. We feel an impulsive need to reply immediately to text messages, emails, and social media notifications.
We are in a hurry. Our kids don’t get their shoes on fast enough, they don’t eat fast enough, they don’t get dressed fast enough.
We’re so used to life happening fast, that when our kids move slow it drives us nuts. We’re not living mindfully. We’re not enjoying the present.
So, which of these reasons causes you to feel angry? It’s important to recognize your triggers so you can prevent yourself from reaching all new heights of anger.
How to Get Rid of Mom Anger
Now on to the actionable things! Here’s what to do to keep mom anger at bay. Some of these things are focused on how to handle anger in the moment (because it’s gonna happen), and some of these things will help you create a calmer home so you don’t get angry as easily or as often as you do now.
1. Know your triggers.
It’s not usually our kids that drive us to mom anger, but something else we may not realize. Think about the last few times you got angry with your kids. What happened? How were you feeling at the time? Think about the reasons moms get angry in the section above. Do any of those apply?
Once you recognize the underlying problem that is keeping you from being in a good state of mind, you can take steps to remedy it.
2. Go to your happy place.
What brings you to your happy place? Think of things that make you feel calm, serene, and grounded. It could be listening to certain songs, reading, meditating, a walk outside.
When you find yourself getting to the point of anger, tell your kids you need some time to calm down. Then take some time to engage in one of these activities. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
You can then go back to your kids in a more patient state and talk through the misbehaviors with them.
And if you don’t have the time to go to your happy place, take a step back and take 3 deep breaths. Remember that this will pass.
3. Create structure and routines.
Kids need structure. It helps them feel safe and stable. If they don’t feel this way, they’re more likely to act out. And we’re more likely to get mad.
Routines are a great way to create structure for our kids. Creating one for the morning and one for bedtime is all you need. And they don’t have to be lengthy, complicated routines. It can be as simple as bath, brush teeth, jammies, book, bed.
Structure is also created when we’re consistent with how we respond to our kids’ behaviors. Always carry out the promised consequence for a misbehavior. Always recognize when your kids do something good.
You may be surprised at how peaceful your home becomes.
4. Set limits and house rules.
We love our kids dearly, and it’s really hard to see them upset. Also, tantrums get old really fast. We’re tired, and sometimes it’s easier to just give in.
It’s gonna happen, but don’t make it a common practice. We need to set limits. Not only because it will help our kids to be functional adults, but also because it saves our sanity.
Think about what’s driving you crazy the most right now with your kids. Is it that they’re always sneaking junk food? Is it that they are constantly coming into your room after you’ve tucked them into bed?
Whatever it is, put limits around it. House rules are another good way to keep your kids from pushing your buttons as much. A few rules, like “We are always kind”, act as reminders to our kids when they are misbehaving.
I have a really spirited child, and oddly enough, there is something about the word “rule” that he takes very seriously. Maybe your child will, too!
5. Carve out time for you.
If you’ve realized that the reason you get so easily angered is because you’re spent, then make some time for yourself. Stop telling yourself that you don’t have the time to do this. You do!
Tell your spouse you’re going to take some time for you, and that you’ll return the favor. Or get a babysitter. Find a way to get some time alone to recharge. Do whatever makes you happy, whether that’s a nap or grabbing dinner with a friend.
Don’t make this a one-time thing either! Try to do it on a regular basis (figure out what “regular” is for you and your family, but make it at least once a month).
6. Ask for help
From the moment my first son was born, I learned that it truly does take a village to raise kids. I didn’t think I’d need help, but holy hell, did I ever.
It felt like defeat at first, but after a while I was no longer shy to ask for help. It was the only way I was going to keep from completely breaking down.
To this day, I still ask for help. I even asked my neighbor down the street for help once. And I’m happy to help other moms, too.
Ask. For. Help. You’re not being a burden.
7. Make a Bedtime Routine.
This time I’m talking about you, mama friend; not your kids. It’s tough to squeeze self-care into our hectic schedules, so a bedtime routine is a great way to sneak it in. Take a bath, wear a facial mask, read, or listen to a favorite podcast.
Incorporate something you enjoy into your bedtime routine.
8. Plan ahead.
Many times we get angry at our kids because we’re rushing around, running late, and they aren’t moving fast enough for us. This usually happens because we’re flying by the seat of our pants.
Take 15 minutes on Sunday nights (or whatever night makes the most sense for you) to sit down with your partner before heading into the week. Check in on each other’s schedules and the kids’ schedules. Figure out who can do what.
Take notice if your week is especially busy. Can anything be cancelled or moved to another week? Do you have time built in for you? And for your and your partner?
Be more protective of your time, get comfortable with saying “no” to things you really don’t want to do, and have a plan for your week.
9. Change your mindset.
Life with kids is crazy. There’s no way around it. Instead of thinking negatively about things, like “I suck at being a mom, a wife, a friend, a HUMAN”, remember that any mom who doesn’t have a nanny, a housekeeper, a cook, and a chauffeur (which is most of us) barely has her head above water either.
Take a breath and remember that the days are long, but the years are short. Yes, it’s crazy and stressful, but it’s worth it, and it won’t last forever.
Carry On, Calm Mom
At the end of the day, figure out what’s triggering your mom anger and then come up with a strategy to tackle those triggers.
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up when your mom anger rears it’s head from time to time. We’re human and it’s going to happen. The wonderful thing is that our kids are resilient. Just take a deep breath and spend a little extra time connecting with them once you’ve calmed down.
We got this, mama friend.