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None of us want to be an angry mom. But sometimes there are triggers in our day that set us off in directions we had no intention of going. At least that’s how it goes for me. I never start a day thinking I’m going to lose my cool, but sometimes it happens. And I’m not gonna lie…sometimes more than once a day.
The good news…my kids always forgive me.
And the better news is that I’m constantly working on understanding what pushes me over the edge so I can head it off before it begins. Here are some of the triggers that are challenging for me. And maybe you want to keep them on your radar, too, to ward off your angry mom moments.
A Deeper Issue
On the regular I have to become aware of the reason I have a short fuse. I’ll find myself impatient with my kids and snapping at them, only to realize it’s not their actions or the sheer number of them that are overwhelming me. It’s actually a totally different issue that is heavy on my mind.
Deal with it
In these instances, I need to take a moment to deal with what is actually bothering me. During the daily demands of mothering small four children, I don’t usually have a ton of time to devote to this. So, I usually call my husband, mom or sister to talk about it for a few minutes so I can at least get my feelings out. I’m a verbal processor so this really helps me. I also get some good feedback that helps me consider what I might want to do about the situation.
I also talk to God about it. I ask him my questions and listen for his guidance. I love being able to do this because, while prayer can be done in a quiet room, I can also do it while I’m folding laundry, clearing up breakfast or in our homeschool breaks. It’s another way I process what I’m dealing with and can gain peace and understanding.
Some other options include:
- Writing in a journal
- Scheduling an appointment with a counselor if there is a persistent issue I can’t get to the root of
- Setting the issue aside, but only with a specific time I intend to devote to thinking or talking about it attached
- Taking care of the practical to-do list that stresses me out when I don’t plan time to tackle it (paying bills, scheduling appointments, making phone calls, etc)
Check out my Positive Motherhood Affirmation cards (which can be used digitally or printed) if you want to help remind yourself of the calm, loving mom you want to be for your children each day. Click here to see them!
Another big reason our angry mom moments might be triggered are because we have unrealistic expectations of our children. I can’t tell you how often I have talked with other moms about this. We all do it!
Make them realistic
Expectations placed on our children need to be realistic. Not too high, not too low. We need to take their age and maturity into consideration. I recently learned a child’s self control skills aren’t organized until age 3 and not mature until age 5-6. There is then continuous development with another self control growth spurt throughout adolescence. Some experts estimate final self control maturation doesn’t occur until age 30! (source)
This really helped me remember to simmer down when it comes to what I expect of my kids. Particularly, I need to realize that when they look around, they don’t see things that need to get done the same way I do. And they are much more interested in the game they just made up than the crumbs on the floor. That is reality.
I also have had to be more realistic with what I ask them to do. Getting into more routines has been key! I have set our morning routine in place so that each child can go through it without my help. This has been great. Routines help kids understand expectations and meet them.
Same thing applies for chores. Regular chores with good expectations and directions have been a game changer. The results are that I have happy helpers and a lighter load.
If you’d like to learn more about how to do this for yourself, check out my post about creating your own schedule, which will also help you come up with daily routines to involve your children in. You can download the free printable guide that will help you create and maintain your schedule and routines from the post or here.
Taking Things Personally
So often, as moms, we take it personally when our kids are disobedient. We see it as a reflection of our parenting. We also see red.
They are just kids
The reality is, they are just kids. What we can expect more than 100% obedience is the testing of boundaries. Figuring out their likes and dislikes. Exerting their newly found wills.
Your child acting as a child does not mean you are a bad mom. It does not mean your children are out of control and you must be slacking. It just means they are kids.
What you can realistically do about this is be consistent. Teach your children how to act in a calm and consistent way. Hone in on the values and qualities you want to instill in them. With focus and consistency, your kids will internalize those values. They will still test boundaries and push back, but that is just part of being a kid.
You Need A Reset
Sometimes we get into a series of days that seem to go horribly. I’ll notice my kids are acting wild and doing things they know full and well aren’t acceptable. They may have bad attitudes. And in these cases, I find I’m consistently hitting my limit and yelling.
Talk it out and do it together
When there are a few days like this in a row, I know we are in need of a reset. I start this time off with a chat. I express how I feel things have been going and ask them how they are feeling about it. Honestly, they always feel like things are out of whack, too. They also don’t enjoy seeing me on edge constantly.
So, we hit the reset button together. We remind ourselves that we want to enjoy our time together and what changes we need to make to do that. Then, I stay really consistent and on top of things for the next several days to get us back in our groove.
You Need To Recharge
I don’t know about you, but when I am trying to run on very low energy physically or emotionally, I don’t do well. I give my kids far less than my best. I melt down more easily. I also yell more easily.
To combat this, I figure out if it’s my physical or emotional state that is low. Most of the time it’s both, honestly. Then I make a plan of how I’m going to get a little recharge in.
Keep a short list of what recharges you
Some days, as soon as my husband gets home from work, I tell him I’m going to bed early that night. He is more disciplined than I am so he’ll hold me accountable to this and I appreciate it!
Other times I know I just need some kid-free hours with some adult friends. This might be a date night with my husband or a dinner with girlfriends.
There are also things I really enjoy doing that relax me. One of my simplest but most impactful, relaxing habits is to get into bed early and read before going to sleep. This one is so simple but has a huge impact. Armed with my library card, I make it my mission to get some relaxing reading in when I know a recharge is needed.
None of these may be what recharge you. It’s important that all of us keep a short list of things we can turn to that recharge us when we really need it. And even better, use the list to REGULARLY make these recharging activities part of our daily, weekly and monthly schedule. Then we’re less likely to get to the point of being run down.
Lack Of A Consistent Schedule
This one can be particularly true for stay at home moms. I know I really struggled with this for quite some time without identifying that it is a trigger for me.
I tend to enjoy going with the flow and choosing whatever sounds fun in the moment. Any other enneagram 7’s out there?
Well, this did not end up being very fun at all. I felt like I was always chasing the day and never caught up. It also wasn’t good for our homeschool goals.
The biggest change that has helped me feel less stressed and less triggered has been moving towards block scheduling out our day. Our day now includes set times for getting school work done, for me to get my own work time done, for rest and quiet time and for play time. We use routines within our blocks to be more efficient. This has helped me enlist the help of my kids to stay on top of everything. It has been a game changer for us…and me!
A Disorganized And Messy Home
Mama, this one is BIG for me. I can’t handle the clutter and mess. My house is not spotless, ever, really. And there is usually laundry I’m trying to stay on top of. But, if we can just keep the physical clutter to a minimum, it helps so much.
After meal chores
We use an idea I heard from another mom. After each meal, each child does a quick chore. That means that three times a day, my three oldest kids are doing something helpful around the house. That makes 9 tasks a day getting done…that I’m not having to do! Wow! Time saver. Game changer.
I usually do this by assigning kids a zone. One kiddo might be in charge of the dining area, another the living room and the other the hall. The next round might have a child organize the shoes while the other two tackle the school room. As you can see, you could hit the whole house throughout the day.
On top of this, each kid is responsible for keeping their room picked up. So, before they come down for school, they have made their beds, put pajamas away and done a brief pick up of their room. I also have them put away any laundry of theirs that has been done.
As you can see, a few routines that bring your kiddos on board can be a huge help! This has been my most helpful way to decrease feeling angry about the state of the house.
Struggling With Time Management
This struggle can really take the cake if we aren’t careful. We can be constantly running behind and that tends to catch up to us quick. When I am not managing our day well, I usually end up losing my cool.
Because kids dawdle. They aren’t quick. They like to admire everything as they meander along and they get distracted by one million things on their way to do the one thing you asked them to do.
That is life with kids. I don’t think there is a way around it. At least not totally.
So, you have to put some systems in place to help you all get through this without losing your mind. For me, that has included the daily schedule I have been mentioning et nauseam. But really, it has SO rocked my world that I want everyone to have a chance to use it if it would be helpful to them!
Getting out the door on time
A common trigger in this area can often be trying to get out the door on time. It can be such an ordeal that I thought it was worth mentioning specifically. Here are a couple tricks that may help with this one:
- prepare whatever you can the night before when it makes sense or is possible
- assign older kids to help younger kids get dressed with shoes on
- keep a bag/tote by the door and anything anyone wants to have brought with you all gets dropped in the bag
- all kids get shoes on and wait by the door when ready so you know who is on track for getting out the door
- start the madness of getting ready to get out the door 30 minutes before you need to leave. I literally do this. If I want to leave on time, this is what I do and it works for us!
This is not an exhaustive list, but these are the tricks that I have been using to help us be much more timely when it comes to leaving the house.
Another reason we may be on the verge of an angry mom melt down when it comes to time management is having an overbooked schedule. This can happen so easily because there are opportunities everywhere. Good ones!
But something that has been a really good reminder to me is a phrase that I have heard several places: when you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. Every activity, meeting or get together you say yes to takes the place of something else that could be on your agenda.
You may end up saying on to more time as a family, some downtime for yourself, no time to exercise or a later bedtime. Whatever you say yes to will cost you something.
Remember this reality and try to not let yourself get overbooked. Only say yes to the things that you want to and that serve you and your family well. Let everything else go.
Comparison is a very real thief of joy. And it can give way to anger.
Others seem to have it all together
Have you experienced this? You start comparing yourself as a mother to someone who seems like they have it all together. Or you compare your children with another family’s children who seem to always be well behaved or amazingly talented. Maybe you see a couple who seem so in love and as if they never have any marital issues.
And your life doesn’t look like any of that.
Well, the good news is that no one’s life looks like the perfectly painted picture that most people see. So, comparing yourself to this unrealistic picture is unnecessary and damaging.
And if you do it regularly, it’s sure to make you more easily angry with yourself and with your family. After all, when neither you nor your kids can live up to those you are comparing yourself to, you’ll feel disappointed, stressed and exhausted.
You versus you
On this issue, I’ll leave you with a quote from Dave Hollis I saw recently: ‘You versus you. Better tomorrow.’
There is no need to compare. Just do your best to be better today than you were yesterday. And know that tomorrow you’ll work to be better than you are today. No need to look at what anyone else is doing when you are working hard to be a better version of yourself each day.
Also, God chose you to be your children’s mother. He did not choose anyone else, regardless of how your children have come to you. If you are fostering, have adopted or given birth….these are your children. They were meant to be yours and it is not a mistake.
With that in mind, strive to be the best mom you can be to your children. But, know that you already are the perfect mom for them.
I hope these 8 angry mom triggers showed you that you aren’t alone. Most moms face one or several of these regularly. The great news is that in each case, there is something we can do about it. There are steps we can take to be intentional about the kind of mother we want to be.
I really hope some of the ideas you read will give you encouragement and hope to shake off the things that make you angry. And let me know if there is a trigger you face regularly as well as what you have found helps you calm down from it.