Last month I was invited to be a part of a wonderful summit called Healthy Kids The Easy Way, hosted by a past student of mine, Melissa Matecki. If you weren’t able to catch it, it has featured top names in the health industry including Dr. Joel Furhman! (I still feel like someone should pinch me!)
As my experience has been, most interviews begin with a conversation, and this one was a lovely conversation catching up a little and then diving into details, questions, and answers. It’s a pre-interview before the actual interview. In this conversation, we danced around potential topics. She’d already had experts on food, experts on nutrients, experts on kids’ wellness. After a few minutes, Melissa asked if I’d be up to discuss anger in motherhood. It’s a bit of a controversial topic – so I immediately said “YES”!
Mind you, I haven’t focused on this a lot in my work, but it’s a great and relevant topic, isn’t it? I mean, what mom hasn’t eventually lost their temper and behaved in a way they regret at least once?
In my personal experience, unfortunately, there have been MANY times. In the interview, I share the worst one – a moment I am truly NOT proud of. But, there were more.
Like the time D and I were nearing the end of our homeschool year and he refused to take notes so he could review and study for his tests and I threw away a huge reference book. (Definitely regretted that.)
Or the time he followed me around crying at the top of his lungs (for reasons long forgotten) and I felt like I was coming unraveled and I slammed the door – not once, but three times because it was really loud and felt good.
Or the time I parked the car and joined him in a good scream at the top of my lungs.
I’ve said things I didn’t mean to both my kids, and yelled at them for things that I shouldn’t have.
I’ve been ruthless and unfair.
I’ve lost my mind. (Within reason, Of course….)
My kids are much older now (26 and 11) and I have made a lot of changes over the years. Things are different and my awareness helps me to make different choices, but I can tell you, there are still moments of imperfection. I’ve learned my triggers, I’ve learned how to diffuse him and myself, I’ve learned how important self care is, I’ve learned it’s okay to walk away, and now that he’s older, it’s okay to leave him at home while I take a “me time” break. I’ve also learned that it’s temporary and in the bigger picture – what’s happening isn’t as important as my relationship with my kids. There are so many lessons in motherhood and picking your battles is one of them. Let me share a few more with you.
1. Your kids aren’t doing this (whatever it is) to hurt you or attack you. We take things very personally sometimes and the truth is it more often than not has nothing to do with you. Take a breath and take a step back to look at the situation before you react.
2. Check in with your expectations. I’ve written about expectations in the past, this is a lesson I’ve personally had just over the past few years. A-HA for me big time! Are you expecting your child to do things they just aren’t old enough to do? How about understand the world through your lense of experience, for instance? If you can come into the circumstance with less expectations and hold space for who they are at the age that they are, it’s easier to soften.
3. Check in with YOU. More often than not my temper has to do more with me than it ever did with either of my two kids. I was tired, sick, achy, stressed, and uncomfortable in one way or another. This calls for mindful changes if this is the case. I needed to make a life change (and did, that’s why I’m here.) Melissa and I were talking about this facet in particular on my interview. When we are uncomfortable, consistently stressed, and feeling overwhelmed, our body begins to create a physical response. (AKA Fight or Flight) Our hormones begin to send signals that are very primal. This process affects everything from how our body digests food to how we behave. Snapping at our children is a symptom of a bigger problem. If you find that you are feeling angry or constantly irritable with your kids – this could be the space you want to dig into.
4. Defuse. Get an outlet. Learn to manage your stress. There are SO many ways to release tension, anger, and frustration that don’t involve eventual regret! While this may take some time to figure out, it’s a fun experiment. Think for a moment about how you feel when you are totally stressed. Do you feel trapped? Bottled up? Like you’ll explode? Maybe exercise of some sort will help release this feeling. Do you feel anxious a lot of the time? Learning to do meditation, breath-work, or even getting creative might help. Maybe there’s many things, some you can even do WITH your kids, and some alone.
5. Get support. Ask someone to babysit, find someone to talk to, get help with your health so you can feel better, (when we feel good, our mood drastically shifts). I can’t emphasize this enough – no mom or child should have to go through long bouts of this level of stress. By simply asking for a few minutes a week, you could change everything for you and your littles!
We all are imperfect, as we are all human, so it’s natural that you might get angry sometimes, but you don’t have to let yourself feel out of control. Connecting yourself with why you are an angry mom and getting habits that help you to decompress can shift your experience of motherhood and smooth out the journey that lies ahead.
Momma, you’ve got this!