I stood in line for the jumpy castle a month ago, for Canada Day. I caught eye contact with another mom standing in line, in hopes for a sympathetic “I hate jumpy castle line ups too” connection. She smiled back and in the same breathe, her child, who was freshly face painted, nestled his head against her thigh. Within seconds she went from smiling at me to a witches shrill “I SAID DON’T TOUCH ME!” She grabbed her kids arm, who was no more than 5, and shoved him away from her.
When we see another parent lash out in public we either think… “go get em’ Mom!” or ” Watch it lady, I got my eyes on you.” (this reminds me of the time I was the recipient of those glares…. The Day I Became ‘The People of Walmart” Mother Meltdown.) So this particular incident triggered the “watch it lady” in me.
However, I TOTALLY empathized with this mom who had 3 kids in tow, a nice cream skirt (that she probably hadn’t worn in ages because she hadn’t left the house in days and wanted to look great for this event.) There she was, trying to keep her kids in line, it’s hot, it’s crowded, and she is desperate to keep them happy – when all of a sudden up comes her 5 year old “Tiger Faced Kid” smearing stripes on the only thing she has ironed in 4 months! Grrrrr I felt her pain. But the tone in her voice wasn’t just ‘a snap’ to get her kids in line, but a very angry tone of hostility.
I felt sad for the kids, I felt sad for her too.
I have been in seasons where I have slipped into habits of the angry wife, or the angry mom. The resentment, rage, and frustration laying dormant waiting to pounce on anyone who triggered it. It’s very common in moms with many children, or with a new baby and a toddler in tow. I think it plauges more moms than we know. I see it a lot but nobody talks about it.
In all honesty- moms do have a lot to be angry about… We are exhausted, we are emotionally sucked dry, we are broke, we feel unattractive, we have lost our desires, our dreams, we may even feel deeply resentful of our families for keeping us from a more fulfilling life. No matter how many mommy bloggers out there we read, who gloat about the endless joys of motherhood – we just can’t seem to get our heart there. Our heart is hurting and we just don’t know why.
Other moms are angry because their moms were angry and it’s a learnt behaviour but most of time, anger comes from pain.
Anger is defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” – dictionaryreference.com So it is not necessarily the yelling mom that is angry, passive aggressive behaviours like ignoring our children, speaking verbal assaults or even just being ‘checked out’ emotionally are all symptoms of an angry mom.
When I witness an angry mom, most times I just want to hug the mom and say “I’m sorry you’re so overwhelmed, but there’s a better way”
and it’s true there is….
This is a prayer I say often when I need a recheck in my heart or attitude, especially if I am feeling angry.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139
God knows the cause and it’s a root issue, even anger. Ask him in prayer to reveal the cause of your anger…
He aggressively desires to make you whole.
I was given this book to me from a friend Healing Life’s Hurts, by Graham Bretherick.
Every hurt generates anger, even if we are not aware of it. Because we do not understand how common anger is to our everyday experience, we repress it instead of using it to help us. When anger is understood in its original purpose, we grasp how it may work for our benefit. This book provides a new understanding of anger and its valuable place in our lives. ‘The first third of the book describes my understanding of anger from a Biblical perspective. The second part is about practical ways to deal with anger issues in one’s life. The final third of the book deals with forgiveness and how forgiveness can release us from the grip of unresolved hurt and anger in our lives.’
It’s a great book to begin the healing process along with prayer.
Sometimes just a rest is in order. Sleep deprivation is a crazy thing, and can make us do crazy things. Take time – no excuses your kids need you whole.
Dabble in your old passions again. This is such a heartbreak for moms who have given up their passions for their families. God gave you that drive and passion for a purpose, you may not be able to dive right in like you did when you were 20 but you can dabble and dream.
If anger is becoming a destructive force in your home, seek counselling and begin the healing.
You are so not alone and God knows every detail of your heart so don’t shame yourself.