Confession: I am an angry mom

The people who know me would probably be surprised. I am a quiet usually very patient person, and I don’t get angry easily …except at my kids apparently.

Usually it starts out small. One of the kids made a mess at the table and there are crumbs everywhere. I feel the seed of irritability take root. Then moments later the older two are fighting over a toy that neither of them wanted seconds ago but now it is essential to their happiness. Cue the baby crying. I feel the explosion of anger inside and before I can stop myself I’m yelling and barking commands. And then I feel ashamed and convicted and regretful. I want to be more patient and self controlled but it is a huge struggle of mine currently. Below I’ve listed several things that are helping me to overcome and minimize my outbursts of anger. Hopefully you will find some of these helpful if you struggle with anger as well!

  1. Identify your triggers. I am more likely to be irritable and angry if I am tired or need a break. If I am solo parenting for days on end while my husband is out of town for work. If the house is messy, especially if these messes are being made moments after I cleaned. If I am overstimulated and it is noisy. None of these things give me an excuse to respond in anger but knowing my triggers can help me catch myself before I explode. In those instances I can prepare myself beforehand. Maybe grab a quick snack. Or let the kids watch some tv. Or ask someone to come over and help with the kids while my husband is out of town. Or take a moment to myself. See my next point. 
  2. Try to step away if possible. As soon as I feel that irritability starting I try to take a moment to myself. If the kids aren’t physically injuring each other, I wait to see if they can resolve it on their own. Or if I’m just angry about the mess or the whining, I might take a solo bathroom break. Or maybe sit in my room for a couple minutes and catch up on an email. Sometimes I might even turn on the tv for a few minutes so the kids are occupied and I can have a breather. Maybe take everybody outside if the weather is nice and sit in a chair while your kids play. And if none of these are possible, take a few deep breathes and pause before you respond. 
  3. Meditate on scripture. Stop and recite some scripture to yourself or even out loud. Here are some great ones to memorize if you struggle with anger/impatience:
  • Psalm 37:8 – “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.”
  • Proverbs 14:29 – “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”
  • Proverbs 29:22 – “An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.”
  • Ecclesiastes 7:9 – “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.”
  • Ephesians 4:26, 31 – “‘In your anger do not sin’; Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
  • James 1:19-20 – “ My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
  • Proverbs 19:11 – “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
  • Proverbs 15:18 – “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.”
  • Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
  • Galatians 6:9 – “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
  • 2 Chronicles 15:7 – “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
  • Ephesians 4:2 – “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
  1. Pray for patience and self control. Say a quick prayer that God would give your the strength to respond rightly even if someone is treating you wrongly. 
  2. Tell your kids that you’re getting irritated and ask them to help you. Ask them to help by getting along. Or by cleaning up the mess they made. Or by playing quietly if you’re getting overstimulated. 
  3. Remember you are being an example to your kids. If your kids see you yelling when you get angry, you are not teaching them how to correctly respond to stressful situations or how to handle their emotions.
  4. Apologize if you responded to your children in anger. This step is very humbling. It is difficult for me to apologize to my kids especially if I am trying to convince myself that my anger was justified. Maybe they were doing something they weren’t supposed to or being difficult, but responding in anger or yelling is sin. I always am conscious that when I apologize to them that I say I am sorry for what I did, ask for forgiveness and give a hug and kiss. I make sure to not make excuses or blame them for my actions. This not only helps reconnect me to my children emotionally but it is setting a great example to my kids on how to apologize.
  5. Be sure to visit this earlier post on irritability and I how I deal with it

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