I slumped to the ground with tears streaming down my face. The heartache and disappointment I was experiencing threatened to overtake me. Shame was lingering nearby anticipating my agreement that I was a terrible mother.
“Jesus, I didn’t ask for this. This is not what I wanted. I didn’t sign up for this,” I whispered over and over again. My anger was spent on the wall. I was grateful the wall was a lot harder than me so I could release my months of suppressed anger, rage, and pain.
Still, I hadn’t forgotten my son had heard my angry outburst. Nor, did I forget that I had barely managed to hold onto all self-control as I shoved him into the bathroom cubicle at church (before I gave in to my rage). I knew I had to make things right with my boy. Shame continued to hover nearby.
As moms, we don’t talk about the negative emotions we experience when we enter motherhood. Heck, we don’t really talk about our desperate need for motherhood encouragement or the fact that when we became moms our world changed so drastically, we haven’t caught up yet.
Here’s The Deal With Anger
Anger is always rooted in pain. Anger and rage are the smoke screens and SOS signals we send to ourselves and the world around us. We need help, comfort, motherhood encouragement, and support.
Anger is not negative or wrong. It’s a strong reaction to the world around us. What we feel is real. Many of us, have been taught anger is wrong or bad. The problem with this is that anger is viewed as a shameful emotion. However, we know there is also a “righteous anger”. Perhaps, most of us can’t discern “righteous anger” (which Jesus had in the Temple) from our expressions of anger.
It’s ok to be angry. Jesus got angry. How many times did God get angry with the Israelites? Quite a few. Momma, it’s ok to be angry. Anger doesn’t make you less of a mom or a woman.
When we face our anger, we are able to deal with areas of our hearts that are hurting and need attention. As moms, the call to love our family is a beautiful yet draining one. We pour out love, patience, grace, and kindness constantly into the world around us. Momma, you need to do the same for you. You can only give out what you have.
4 Tips to dealing with anger
So, how do we deal with anger as moms?
1. Allow Yourself to Feel Angry
I love how Brene Brown teaches people (in her Ted Talk sessions) to experience both the feelings of pain, anger, disappointment and joy, excitement, and passion (to name a few). If we can’t experience emotion, we are numb. In order to experience the joy God has for us, we need to allow ourselves to go through the valleys. The only way to joy is through our pain. Why? Because that’s where God is able to walk us to healing and victory. The areas of our life we struggle with will be the areas of authority God will entrust us with once we have overcome them.
As moms, we can teach our children to walk in God’s victory as overcomers by walking the same road. Children watch what we do more than what we say. We are consistent role models in their lives.
Momma, it’s ok to be angry. This is the first step to receiving healing and victory. By allowing yourself to feel your emotions, you are able to identify them quicker next time. This will help you know when you are triggering which leads to giving yourself that time out to process before the angry outburst explodes.
2. Identify Your Unmet Needs
Anger often stems from unmet needs. In my case, my anger was coming from desperately needing support and motherhood encouragement. I felt abandoned, overwhelmed, and helpless, I needed help. I didn’t think I could get help because my children are my responsibility not that of my church community.
What are your unmet needs?
We can’t run on the reserve light of our emotional tank for too long. We need to stop and fill-up. When done, we can continue loving, multitasking, and being the superwomen we are 😉
3. Get Help
Now that you’ve identified your emotions and needs, decide to get help.
Look at your needs, and ask yourself:
- What can I do to meet this need?
- Who can I ask for help?
God is always with us. We can ask him for the strength, grace, and courage to push through.
Here’s an example:
It was 5PM, the kids needed to bathe, and dinner needed to be made. I was on my own with three little boys while hubby had gone to play a cricket game two hours away. My frustration was mounting. The start of an anger eruption was imminent. I needed a break. The shouting and crying around me was a clear sign my boys were exhausted. Two more hours until bedtime. I needed help but didn’t have anyone to call on (my parents live overseas, my sister was at work, and my mom-in-love out of town). I was on my own.
Holy Spirit, I need your help. Please give me the strength to endure and get these boys to bed. I need your grace. Help me to get what I need from you.
I took a deep breath. I can do this, I said to myself. The Lord heard my prayer (as He always does). I gave the boys a bath, got them fed, and in bed on time with minimal outbursts (praise God!). At 8PM, I breathed a sigh of relief. I could breathe and relax – this was my break.
4 .Be Kind and Gracious to Yourself
Have you ever wanted to have a friend who treats you the way you treat others? I have. Then, I asked myself “what is stopping me from being the friend I need for myself?”
Often, the kindness and grace we are looking for needs to first come from us. As moms and women we are too hard on ourselves. We want the best for the people we love, so we go the extra mile to change the world. We do a great job looking after everyone else but neglect ourselves.
Be kind and gracious to yourself.
Jesus said to the disciples, Love your neighbor, as you love yourself. One of the most effective ways to dealing with anger is giving ourselves a break. We need to watch our self-talk so we can change it from negative to uplifting. Loving yourself is the second step to loving people well.
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