How to Stop Being the Angry Mom
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Just over six years ago, we were blessed with a healthy little girl. She was perfect in every single way.
Sounding cliche already, huh?
Well, let me dig a little deeper.
Our first daughter was brought into the world via emergency c-section after 36 hours of pitocin labor. Those 36 hours were fucking miserable.
And then, to be told that it hadn’t worked and I would need a c-section was heartbreaking.
Now, let’s add on that my pain following the c-section was a 95 on a scale of 1-10. I didn’t even breastfeed my daughter for the first four hours. In fact, while I don’t remember it well, I more or less pushed the the nurse holding her away and told her I just wanted pain medicine.
So, yeah, my little girl was perfect. But, the scenario wasn’t.
It didn’t take long after bringing her home three days later to figure out that I was easily frustrated. Her crying fits would put me in tears and make me scream in pillows.
But, this was just the beginning of anger.
Fast forward to about a year ago. My youngest was one and my oldest, five.
I want you to really visualize this.
We live in a small, 1,000 square-foot, 2-bedroom apartment. My kids are one and five years old. The television is set to a medium volume, playing the same episodes of Bubble Guppies that we have seen 100 times.
Spread across the living room floor are building blocks, dolls, bouncy balls, leftover Poptarts, and a water bottle.
I’m doing nothing important. Scrolling through Facebook for the 15th time in the last 3 hours.
My oldest, Sydnee, starts to raise her voice at her sister. She’s mad that Octavia took the toy she was playing with. With a raised voice she says, “give it back.”
Of course, the demand is not satisfied. So, with sad eyes and a look of disappointment, my oldest child looks to her mom for help. And all she said was, “Mom, Octavia…”
And in that moment, something in me snapped.
The house was a mess. I had eaten too many cookie the day before and was feeling down on myself. I was 27 and still had acne like I was 15. My kids were at each other’s’ throats over nothing. My husband was complaining about going to work where he got to interact with other adults.
And inside, I was angry.
And I allowed that anger to fall onto my five-year-old’s shoulders that day. I screamed so loud I later wondered why my neighbors didn’t call someone.
I watched as her eyes welled with tears. As she stood there, wondering what she did wrong to deserve to be screamed at. Not just hollered. I Full. Blown. Screamed.
Later, I went in the bathroom and shut the door. I sulked on the toilet seat cover and cried hysterically. How could I allow this to happen?
I know I’m not the only mom who has been in this same situation. I also know that these are the moments that haunt us most.
Sometimes, these memories stick out stronger than the birthday parties or Christmas morning. And that, right there, knowing I’m wasting memories on anger, is enough to make me realize I need change.
Over the last year, I’ve done some (cliche) soul searching, re-evaluating of my priorities, self-care, and a lot of reading for personal development.
While I’m still nowhere near a perfect mom, and sometimes I still get upset and do things I later wish I had done differently, I am getting better. I am more conscious of my actions, reactions, and how I speak to my children.
So, I want to share a few tips I have on how to stop being the angry mom. Because your kids deserve it. And because you deserve to feel happy and grow old with memories that make you cry tears of happiness.
How to Stop Being the Angry Mom
The first step is to swallow your pride and admit that a change needs to be made. The blame has to be taken off the children and you have to bear that anger and the consequences of it.
From here, with your head hanging low and tears streaming down your face, you can rise, momma. You can overcome this battle and find joy, love, and happiness. Every day. Even among the mess.
PS: I’m not one to say some shit like, embrace the mess. No, definitely clean and organize the mess. But, learn to do it with a little joy.
Put Down The Phone
This topic makes my skin crawl.
A while back, I read an article and looked through a collection of pictures taken by Eric Pickersgill. In each of his photos from everyday life, he photoshopped the phones and tablets out of the people in the photos hands.
And this is what most of us look like on a much too regular basis.
The statistics from research are sad and disgusting. But the gist of it all is that when we are constantly looking at our phone screens or interupting playtime with texts and Instagram, we are ignoring our children.
One of the largest componentes to children’s development is communication and interaction. It’s how they learn to speak, to use nonverbal cues, to react emotionally and logically.
I’m not saying you have tor or even should spend every waking minute playing with your children. They need alone time just as much as you do.
But, if you notoriously sit on your phone all day– I’ve been guilty of this, or you check for notifications and emails at dinner or while helping with homework or watching a movie with the family, your phone may actually be causing some of your anger. Here’s how:
- The interaction you have on social media does not provide the same emotional response in the brain as a face-to-face conversation and can actually make you feel more isolated and alone.
- Social media, especially Instagram and Pinterest, can give you false senses of reality. This can then turn to resentment, envy, and feeling unworthy.
- So much social media today can be political, controversial, and downright upsetting. Between the violent videos, tragic stories and news reporting, and people being keyboard warriors, social media can leave you feeling depressed and angry.
So, try it. Try just turning your phone off or putting in on silent in another room.
Any excuse you have is just that. My momma, her momma, and her momma’s momma all made it through motherhood without the use of a smartphone. I promise you will survive. And you will come out the other side a happier mom.
Allow People to Help You
I titled this section Allow People to Help You because most of us are offered help. So it’s not a matter of asking for help. It’s a matter of accepting the offered help.
Now, if you aren’t offered help, definitely ask.
But, the gist is to get off your high horse, stomp on your pride, and then willingly say “yes hunny, I would love for you to put little Timmy in the bath”, instead of “I got it”.
“I got it.”
How many times have you said this phrase out loud but then in the back of your head wished someone would help?
How many times have your grumbled about being the only one that does anything around the house but didn’t accept your husband’s offer to make dinner?
Stop trying to be the hero. It’s okay to not be Super Woman. And it’s perfectly normal and healthy to let others take some of your burdens.
Part of the reason I was so angry for so long was because I felt like I was fighting this daily battle against time all by myself. But looking back, my friends, my family, my husband had all offered their time and efforts. I was just too damn stubborn to accept them.
Do Things that Make You Happy
I’m going to give it to you straight. There is no “one-stop-shop” for self-care. Just because Suzie down the street likes to sit on her patio drinking iced tea while reading a Rachel Hollis’s new self-help book, doesn’t mean you have to share her cup of tea.
If singing makes you happy, do it. If it twerking in front of a mirror makes you happy, get it. Want to light your house on fire… don’t do that.
I can’t tell you what your passion is. You might not know right now. But set a goal to do something for yourself each and every day. Something that makes you happy.
Take the TV remote away from your husband and watch a trashy reality show. Do yoga in your living room along while following along with a YouTube video. Bake some shit. Draw. Go for a walk.
I know that it can be hard to justify these actions, sometimes. “My husband has had a long day at work and I should be the one to put the kids in the bath and read them stories before bed.”
“My mom has already watched my kids for 8-hours today. I can’t ask for her for another hour.”
But, these are all excuses inside your head that are standing between you and the 10-15 minutes you need to remind yourself that you are not just someone’s mom.
You are your own person, too. As hard as that may be to swallow, it’s so crucial to being a happier more mindful mom.
You were someone before you were someone’s mom. Who was that woman? Bring her back, even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day.
Stop Comparing Yourself
Here’s another topic I could just go on and on about.
Long ago, before I had any business endeavours on Instagram I was just a mom with an Instagram profile. I had about 500 people following me at the time. All close friends and family.
But, I followed every big mom blogger and influencer out there. The ones who have perfect clothes, perfect hair, and perfect five course meals every fucking meal of the day.
Can you tell where I’m going with this?
It started off innocent enough. Every once in a while I tried to take a really snazzy picture of my baby on a fuzzy white blanket in mid-afternoon sun, but it hadn’t got to my head yet.
Eventually, however, I noticed that I was becoming obsessive with how these other women were living their lives on Instagram. Perfect hair. Perfect waists. Going on walks with B.O.B stroller (not dissing anyone who has and uses a B.O.B stroller, btw) with three inch stilettos and skin-tight jeans on.
And at every turn I was comparing my life to theirs. My house didn’t look like it came out of an HGTV magazine. My meals were usually hot dogs and french fries. My kids had spit-up on their shirts.
And it took me a long time to realize that most of these women had very similar lives. No one takes pictures of the bad moments. No one glamorizes them. But, our brains don’t decipher a posed photo from reality. We see it and we think we can and should live that life, too.
So, with that, if you find yourself playing this comparison game, I want you to stop. Unfollow these women on social media. Not because you don’t like them or aren’t happy for their success, but for your own mental health.
It’s great to admire someone and see your own potential. But often times, as moms, we take it a step to far and start to compare our situation to what we see on Pinterest and Instagram.
And that is self-destructive. So stop. Stop wasting time scrolling through Instagram feeling bad about your single-door fridge that isn’t stainless steel and your couch that has a milk stain on it.
Start embracing what you have. Take your own pictures, and by all means show them off to friends and family on Instagram. And do it with pride. You built this home; you made this meal; you grew and raised this tiny human.
None of that comes mess-free. And it’s okay to share the messy, imperfect moments and hold on those candid memories.
After spending days putting together this post, I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for bravely looking up this topic and being vulnerable.
Admitting you’re angry and changing it is hard. But having lasting memories of anger is harder.
This isn’t something that will happen overnight. It’s not going to happen in a week. It’s going to take time and it’s going to require that you are in situations that typically upset you. You’ll have to be put to the test to see if you can hone in on the strategies you’ve learned.
Don’t give up! Anger is not an end all to motherhood. It’s a bump… sometimes more like mogul skiing. But you can do it!