You are not a monster: the guilt of being an angry mom
Every mom understands the guilt of being an angry mom. They feel guilty after each outburst. They want to hug their children and weep into their fragile shoulders. “Mom’s not a monster,” they want to say. But after most blowouts, they just order the children to their rooms and go back to dealing with the guilt of being an angry mom.
Parenting is difficult. And sometimes, the anger stems from neglecting your needs in favor of your children’s needs. It’s very frustrating to hear older people say things like:
• Be patient; they are only children
• They’ll grow up and you’ll miss these moments
• When they finally leave home, you’ll feel empty
What everyone forgets to offer are coping strategies for tough times. How can mothers survive without running on stress hormones?
Things mothers can do to help them cope with the stress of childcare
• Prioritize self-care. Get sufficient sleep, exercise and maintain a healthy diet. These are vital for a healthy mind and body.
• Live one day at a time. Do as much as you can each day. Don’t worry about tomorrow or the next. You have no control over the future anyway.
• Join a support group or online community for mums. Sharing your frustrations can help you let off some steam. You need people who have been there, those still there.
• Lower your expectations.
• Remember the equation for happiness:
Happiness = Sum total of the events of your life – your expectations.
The higher your expectations the lower your level of happiness.
Is there really anything you can do?
According to one study, these tips will help you to cope with the stress of childcare and the guilt of bring an angry mom. However, getting rid of your anger is a different matter. Children will act like children. They will fight. They will talk with their mouths full. They will intentionally or unintentionally spill water on the floor. They will dare you and disobey your orders. They will throw tantrums in public.
These things are inevitable. What parents ought to do is this: learn to control yourself before you start screaming.
You don’t have to live with the guilt of being an angry mom
Here are a few things you can do:
1. Deep breathe
When my kids do something annoying, take four second to breathe in. hold it in for four seconds. Then take four seconds to release the breath. This breathing exercise reduces your blood pressure and also suppresses your stress hormones. Before you fly into a rage, do the 4-4-4 deep breath exercise.
Journaling is quite a calming activity. It will help you put things into perspective. In addition, diaries and journals help you get rid of angry thoughts without the fear or judgment. Write down your thoughts, your fears frustrations. Every day, write a list of ten new things you’re grateful for.
This activity will boost your mood.
In addition, write to-do lists. These lists will help you to accomplish more.
3. Pray and meditate
If you are religous, pray often. Ask for the strength and Grace to be a better mum. Prayer lessens the pressure. You don’t have to be in a prescribed position in order to pray. Pray in the kitchen, in the toilet, in the living room. When the anger starts threatening to choke you, you may need to pray.
If you’re an agnostic or atheist, meditate. Take your mind off your worries and be still.
4. Review your expectations; make sure they are realistic
Often, mothers are angry because their children can’t handle complex duties. Sometimes, we yell because our children can’t understand certain things. In some cases, it’s the spouse who can’t seem to read our minds.
These are things we must consider when the anger starts building up. Set realistic expectations. Teach your children the things you want them to learn. If they don’t seem to understand, explain. Be patient with them. With time, they will be more independent and helpful.
Lastly, set realistic goals for yourself. You aren’t superhuman. There’s just so much you can handle at a time.
5. Say sorry
If for some reason you lose it, apologize promptly. Don’t let pride get in the way. Resist the temptation to blame your children for your outburst. Your children will appreciate you more. Again, they will learn to take responsibility for their actions as well.
6. Say no to some engagements
The pressure of managing a family is real, and it can make you feel the guilt of being an angry mom. Are you adding other responsibilities to the ones you already have? Perhaps you need to get your priorities right. Your primary responsibilities are kids, spouse, work and home. Learn to say no to some requests. Take some pressure off your life.
7. Get medical help and support
Don’t be ashamed to see a psychiatrist. Sometimes, anger is just a symptom of a more serious health problem. According to one study, parents are often dealing with depression, anxiety disorders or some other mental health problem. A doctor may recommend therapy, medications, or both.
8. Collaborate with other parents
Network with other trusted parents in your area. Take time to babysit each other’s children. Alternatively, you can consider leaving your baby in a trustworthy, affordable crèche.
Do your best to maximize your free time. Some mothers tend to squander their me-time on social media sites. Make sure you’re spending your time on an activity that will boost your mental health.
Anger can bring about positive change if you deal with the guilt of being an angry mom. However, poorly managed anger can be disastrous. No mother wants to traumatize her children with outbursts.
Children learn better, when the environment is calm and free from tension. If you want them to learn about actions and consequences, breathe, relax, and focus on the problem at hand. You are not a monster, so don’t act like one.