A young mom recently came up to me after an event and said, “I never knew I had all this anger until I became a mom!”
What I told her was that her anger is totally normal and it happens to most moms, but it doesn’t have to be a pattern that continues throughout your mom life. When you are surrounded day after day by small people who push back against every instruction, your buttons get pushed over and over again. It’s understandable that emotions you’ve never felt before bubble up and out because of your kids. Pay attention when you lose your temper and find your frustration coming out over the course of a week, and try to learn what your anger triggers are. If you know certain things lead you to lose your temper, do your best to steer clear of those areas.
For instance, if getting the kids down for naps always leads to a blow-up, put your hardest child down last (so you have margin to “deal”with the child). If getting out the door is what makes you lose your marbles, be sure to leave PLENTY of time to get to your destination and work on getting organized the night before.. If you become an angry mama while grocery shopping, could you use Clicklist or Instacart or even get a babysitter to watch the kids once a week while you knock out that errand?
Another trigger for many moms is the noise factor, and with children the noise level can be HUGE. When you sense it getting too loud and it starts to get on your nerves, it’s okay to leave the room for some peace and quiet. When you have little babies, don’t be afraid to take care of their needs (feed them, burp them, change their diaper) and then put them in their crib and walk away. Sometimes you are a better mom if you create a little space. Jump in the shower, play some music that soothes you, write in your journal, just take a time-out to calm down and breathe deeply. If it’s older children who are getting way too noisy, send them outside! I used to lock my kids out in our (fenced in and safe) backyard to burn all that energy off.
Many moms run themselves dry emotionally and have zero “reserves” left over when their kids act out. For stay-at-home moms, playing Legos and doing housework can honestly be mind-numbing and leaves little outlet for your emotions, which start to pile up and then eventually unleash themselves, often on our children. As a reminder, you don’t have to be sitting and playing with your children 24/7 if you stay at home. Prioritize doing something each day that fulfills you; whether that’s reading a book, calling a friend or going to the gym.
For working moms, it can be overwhelming to spend all day in the office and come home to the never-ending tasks of home life. For you I would counsel setting a “curfew” before you go to bed and not doing any house-related tasks past that curfew. The laundry can wait and the dishes won’t get moldy sitting in the sink until the next day. Take that time before bed to replenish yourself so that you have some reserves for the inevitable demands of the next day.