I never used to be like this. When did I become the Angry Mum?? I swore I would never be this person. I would never belittle or yell at my children. I wanted to be the mum who built up her kids, not tear them down. When did this happen? I know it has started some time since falling pregnant with my second baby.
That was when it started but since then I ended up in hospital for the last month of a very high stress pregnancy, recovered from a c section whilst parenting a toddler, tried to hold it together with a baby that screamed and spewed all the time (turns out it was tongue/lip ties and food issues) and dealt with extreme sleep deprivation. Not a recipe for happy times.
Am I Terrible Mother Because I Yell
The anger bubbles up unexpectedly inside me. I can be so calm and loving then something happens and I snap. Just like that. Yuck!
It got to the point last week where I reached out to my online mummy friends to ask “how do you speak words of love to you children when all you want to do is scream and yell?”.
Well, it turns out I’m not the only one feeling that way. So many mums breathed a communal sigh of relief as we shared our angry struggles together. There were cyber group hugs going on. That in itself helped ease the pain and guilt I was feeling. Turns out mums everywhere are feeling just as angry and just as out of control as me. Hurray….?
I guess to be able to move beyond being angry, I first had to acknowledge where I was at. I was feeling full of rage and hating the type of parent I had become. I sat down with my hubby and told him. I told him how I had screamed into a pillow so hard my throat hurt. I told him I had to go into a room with the door closed to just punch the bed for a while and that after that it still took me a long time to calm down. What hope has my two year old got of dealing with her crazy toddler emotions when her own mother can’t deal with hers?
I seriously married the right guy. He sat with me as I swore and told the tales of my rage. Whilst talking it out I realized I wasn’t feeling acknowledged. I felt like I was working my arse off to keep everyone fed, clothed and living in some level of cleanliness but no one noticed. I felt like I was trying to talk to my toddler but getting nothing back. I felt like I had no sane logical person to talk to all day as I had a yelling 7 month old and a moody toddler for company. I felt like all I wanted to eat was a giant greasy pizza but can’t because then our baby will be awake crying in pain all night. I wanted my hubby to try cutting out all the foods that I have had to cut out and then see if he was happy. I wanted someone to acknowledge the fact that I probably haven’t had any decent chunk of sleep in 7 months. 7 MONTHS.
And all of a sudden I was feeling better. Hubby had listened to all of that, without interrupting or trying to find a solution. He had LISTENED. He heard me. Amazing.
We are like ships in the night at the moment my dear hubby and I. Between October and Easter he basically works 10-12 hour days 6 days a week. Not much time for sharing anything.
He asked me a question “What can we do to help you with this?”.
This is what has been helping:
- Being realistic with my expectations of my toddler. When I am talking to her I am acknowledging that her play is her work and is HUGELY important to her. I am getting to eye level and talking to her in a calm voice. This is getting much better results than yelling at her from the other side of the room.
- I am asking my toddler to raise her hand if she heard me. At least if she doesn’t say anything I know she doesn’t want to answer me (this can still be super frustrating but at least I have been acknowledged).
- I am trying to be fun. Trying. I explain that when Mummy is tired Mummy finds it hard to be playful. But when all else fails I am trying to find the tickle spot. Or sing in a silly voice. It’s a work in progress but we are getting there.
- I am asking more questions. Rather than just barking demands and should do this or shouldn’t do that, I am trying to ask “why is such and such happening?” eg “why did you get up out of bed?” as happened tonight. Her answer “I was looking for Daddy”. Bam, gets you right in the feels.
- Trying to move more. Exercise makes me happy in many ways. I am not running (though I really want to) but just getting outside to walk more, dance like a silly bugger more. Once again, a work in progress.
- Talk more about how I am feeling. Using those wonderful “I” statements. “I feel yucky when you talk to me like that” “I really enjoy helping you when we work together”.
- Essential oils. Really and truly. I have a couple of blends that are cranking in my diffuser nearly all day and I’m sure it is helping.
- Lowering my expectations. I don’t HAVE to do everything. After chatting with a buddy, I realised I wasn’t playing with my kids much as I was trying to just get stuff done all day. Because there is always so much stuff! So play is now more important and we are all happier for it. The house looks like shit, but i guess we are kind of like pigs in mud. Smiling and filthy haha.
- Babywearing more. Some times I simply forget about this amazing tool. My little 7 month old at the moment is having 2 x 40 minute naps in the day. Grand total. But the rest of the time he is stupidly tired and noisy. I have discovered, though, that he is calm and happy being up with mum. We are rocking the front carries at the moment. Can’t do as much but that’s all part of it isn’t it. Acknowledge. Acknowledge what is happening today. Not what you think should be happening.
- See real people. Getting out and about makes us all happier. Especially when creeks and barefeet and involved!
I was doing so well the other day. Had gotten through most of the day without getting cranky (thanks to the above). But then had to make a last minute run to the shops. Cranky levels were increasing as tired toddler was getting more and more irrational. The icing on the cake was getting in the car finally (after the wonderful UN peacekeeping mission which is getting a tired toddler into a car seat while they beg for pasta after saying pasta is yucky all day) then going to turn the stereo on to see a coin jammed into the CD player. BBBBBBBBBBBBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
Work in progress.
So my homework for myself is to acknowledge.
Acknowledge what is happening around me.
Acknowledge how I am feeling.
Acknowledge that we are all learning.
Acknowledge that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Maybe, just maybe, I can grow out of this Angry Mum phase into something much stronger and beautiful.
Do you struggle with anger and rage as a mother too?
What are your triggers?
Do you feel acknowledged?