Sunday, January 23, 2011

An Angry Mom

This is a post that I want to take seriously. I don't want to be flippant. And, I don't want to be trite. This is an issue that I think many of us struggle with. And, I hope that in my honesty someone would be encouraged and would realize that she is not alone.

Have you ever read 'She's Gonna Blow' by Julie Barnhill? That's a good place to start. It would pretty much bring you up to speed on this whole issue of anger and motherhood.

But, if you haven't, I'll try to share what this has meant to me. Of course, if you struggle with this issue yourself, you'll know exactly what I'm saying.

I have always considered myself a very patient person. I never struggled with anger in my the past. (Although in retrospect, I've probably done a lot of stuffing down. I'm a people pleaser by nature and anger just doesn't fit in with that. So, if I was angry, I just pushed in down and didn't really deal with it.)

Since becoming a mother, I've been forced to recognize the ugly face of anger in my own life. I've realized that I'm not beyond what I had considerd before to be one of the basest of human emotions. I always considered anger to be an 'emotion' (of sorts) that only men had to deal with.

Me an anger had nothing to do with each other. Until recently.

You see, when you become a mother suddenly life isn't just about you anymore. There are these little people who take precedent. And, they're not always rational. And, they're not always easy. And, they're not always who or what you thought they would be. They demand a lot.

And when you take a mom who is perpetually tired, who is unable to complete the simplest task (and if she does complete it, she finds it undone within minutes), a mom who barely remembers who she was before she was a mom and you combine that with these irrational little people, it's a recipe for frustration, annoyance, feelings of being overwhelmed, and anger.

At the beginning of last week I actually was not sure if I was going to write this post. It had been a couple weeks since I had a really bad run-in with my own anger and I was starting to feel pretty secure and safe in my ability to 'handle things'. The same day that I had those thoughts of 'being OK' I had a melt-down later.

You see, I want to be that calm, patient, firm yet loving mom. And, more often I find myself to be that yelling, angry mom.

And, as a mom, it's a hard pill to swallow when we realize that we aren't everything we thought we'd be as a mom. Because, let's face it. Moms carry a lot of weight in how our children grow and mature. The mistakes I make as a mother could be carried forward for generations to come.

Don't get me wrong. There are days that I'm an awesome mom. Those are the days that I pat myself on the back and congratulate myself for 'getting it right'.

Then there are the days that I melt into tears with regret at how I've 'disciplined' my child. Days that I look at myself with disgust for resorting to behavior that isn't any better than that of a child. I'm the adult and still I find myself having my own little temper tantrums, saying and doing hurtful things.

So now what? What do I do about it? I'd like to think that it's as easy as a once-and-done laying it at Jesus' feet thing. But, apparently, that's not enough. I've come to God over and over begging for grace in this area of my life. But, I keep messing up.

I guess that's the thing about surrender. It's not always a once and done thing. Sometimes we need to surrender the same issue over and over. It's not that God didn't hear or understand our request the first time. It's that our own human nature gets in the way. When things start going good we assume that we have conquered it in our own right, we get cocky, and then we stumble all over again.

This has been a tough week for me. I've failed too many times to count. My heart breaks at some of my actions and words. My heart breaks for my children.

I don't want to be irritable. I don't want to be angry. I don't want to be quick to yell.

I want to model Christ's love to my children. That's a tall order. Christ's love. Can I even begin to know or understand what that truly means?

I don't have all the answers. I'm still seeking. I'm still surrendering.

And, the thing that gives me peace and hope is that God is still listening. God is still willing and able to guide my steps, my thoughts, my actions, and my words. If I continue to surrender myself to Him.


  1. God hears your heart, Karen.
    I always think I am pretty calm and laid back until my daughter recently told my dentist that I yell.
    How embarassing.
    I am so tired of yelling or being irrational.
    I am working on it with God's help.
    These are the best days of our lives, but they can be very hard.

  2. Very honost post. I know we have all been in that position. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

  3. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh, Karen, how I love your honesty! I struggle with this also (as I'm sure every mom does).

    You reminded me that I can't do it on my own and that I must lay my worries and my anger at the feet of Jesus. Inspiring post!

  5. Sorry, the "jason" comment was me. : ) I hit the wrong profile info, and that is my husband. : )

  6. This Amy Grant song makes me tear up every time I hear it....

    Hang in there, honey!

  7. Oh I read Julie Barnhill's book a few years back and was so grateful for it, but you are right, it is an ongoing struggle. I have a FB group called Celebrate Calm which is so helpful to me. I have some of the CD's to listen to, you could borrow one to try it if you want. It's a very supportive group, and they give lots of creative ideas. But it still comes down to the day to day struggles/decisions/desperation. You're not alone. These strong-willed boys are tough, esp when you think you are such a mild, reasonable person, and they can still push you over the edge!!!!

  8. I just typed you the longest post and lost it ... ugh. I guess in the end all I was really trying to say was that you are not alone. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about.

    I wrestle and struggle, too, and am so thankful that His mercies are new every morning!

  9. I haven't read that book but I just put it on my list. Hang in there. Don't you think this time of year (cold, no sun, bills, trapped inside, etc.) has a lot to do with our moods/emotions? I am really trying to keep it all in perspective as well. I can bet you do a great job everyday, just don't be too hard on yourself.

  10. we have all been guilty of the angry mom syndrome. the Lord
    takes our faults and hones down the edges to make us into His
    vessels. perfection is not the goal but love.

    you will get there!

  11. me too me too me too!!! And I've been stressed all month so it hasn't been pretty here (which is probably why I haven't been blogging).
    I've found one thing that helps me: music. Find good calming music that you LOVE and play it. I like folk music or old hymns, but find what you love and surround your home with it.
    The main problem is remembering to do it. *sigh*

  12. Wow,what an amazing post. I have days too where I am so patient. I have other days where that is just not so.My post on reminding ourselves to enjoy the moments, was directed towards myself. I have to remind myself. I think this stems from all we put in. Sometimes we put so much into our Children. We at times or maybe always forget ourselves. We are Mothers, but we are also ourselves. We get tired, and take few breaks. I admire your honesty! Thanks for posting!

  13. I just came across this blogpost on a Google search. Thank you so much for sharing! I am struggling with this very much right now. I have 3 boys and, ironically, the youngest was born on the day this was posted! Four months later, your words are still making an impression on someone. Thank you again for the encouragement. I especially needed the reminder to just lay it at the Lord's feet.


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