The Angry Mom

I was such a great parent before I had kids.  

Right?  Anyone else get this?

I was the one who swore “I’m never feeding my kids McDonald’s”, and “the T.V. will never be the babysitter”.  Okay, pumpkin.

We all have those dreamy visions though, prior to reality, of future joy-filled moments as a mother.  Children sitting in quiet obedience, snuggled next to you on the couch, hanging on every word you say, as you sweetly read to them stories of wonder and amazement.  I’ve had a few of those moments.  They are actually really great.  

And rare.

We have four kiddos, three adopted and one biological.  Or as I like to say, three take-outs and one delivery.  We prayed and prayed (and prayed) for children and found ourselves adopting one domestically and two from Haiti.  Then #4 came along as our amazing and incredible bio surprise.  We went from one child to four in 20 months.

In case you breezed by that I’ll repeat it.  One to four in less than 2 years.  Plus my husband changed jobs and we moved across country.  Twice.

My dreamy visions became loud-and-screaming-chaos-with-constant-kids-draped-in-chaos.  Did I mention chaos?

It’s a strange thing to be a mom of a bunch of kids all of a sudden.  You have prayed for so long, you have cried out to God.  You are blessed beyond measure and are truly thankful to your core.  But the emotional rollercoaster of raising these God-given children is a ride that you can never ever fully prepare for.

I began to realize that I was an emotional wreck.  I was frustrated.  A lot.  Frustrated at my obvious lack as a parent, frustrated at their lack of obedience.  I had four kids under the age of five, two from a third-world country learning a new system, and a mom falling hard at her attempts to find a new normal.  My frustration levels stayed elevated, and the anger inside of me grew.  I found myself so often times, just… mad.

One afternoon, one of my kids had done something, can’t even remember what it was, and I was over the top mad and yelling.  I was so emotional I knew I needed to walk away because if I didn’t someone would have instantaneously burst into flames.  I went into my room, and I stood there.  I realized I was shaking.  Shaking because of the anger inside of me.  I was that angry.  However, it was in that moment, and in the hours to follow, God asked me one question:

Is this what you want?

My good and amazing God, in His kindness and grace, broke through the crazy and asked me the most attention-getting question possible.  “Is this what you want?”  I stood in the quietness of my bedroom and God directed my heart to look in two different directions.  One was 10 years out.  I looked 10 years down the road and imagined being the same emotionally-stunted mom as I was in that moment, having the same emotional patterns.  Stuck for the next decade in a cycle of sin and shame, getting mad/feeling bad.  Is that what I wanted?  I could only answer, No, absolutely not.  

The second direction God asked me to look was back, waaayy back.  God reminded me of my family’s history to just get good-and-mad.  I have so many memories as a kid of family get togethers being just barn-burners.  I never knew what everybody was so upset about, but there was always somebody getting mad at somebody, leaving upset, not talking to each other for days, weeks, even years.  Again the question, is this what I want?  Did I want this legacy of anger to continue on for my children?  Because no matter how justified I may have felt, all they would remember is the emotion of what took place.

I wonder if you’ve ever felt this way.  Angry at your kids, angry with yourself for being this way.  Full of shame, trapped in guilt, wanting something different, but not sure how.

Anger is an interesting emotion.  We’re gonna spend the next few weeks looking at this topic of the Angry Mom.  Because I have to believe I’m not the only one who has struggled.   Fortunately, God’s Word has quite a bit to say about it, and He has brought me to some truths that have brought healing and redemption to my life.  He has literally changed me from the inside out.  I know He can do the same for you.  

Feel free to invite a friend.  Maybe you know someone who is discouraged in her journey as a mother.  Maybe that someone is you.  I’m praying for you and others who just need to know they are not alone, that there is help and hope found in Jesus.

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13 Comments

  1. Alicia O'Herron on February 7, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Julie,
    Did you hear Shawna and I talking about this yesterday? Such a struggle for me each day. I always start with the gentle requests, then inevitably it escalates because the two older ones don’t seem to be listening at all, and the baby, well he just screams at me through it. By the time 8 am hits I can be so exhausted. I feel like we have tried so many methods to motivate and/or consequences. The hardest part for me is that I know so much better, with my BS in Psychology, minor in Child and Family Development, and a long work history dealing with so many of our city’s most difficult children. I have such high expectations of myself, and when I get so emotional and angry, I most definitely feel like I am failing them and myself. I know this is not the behavior that I want to model for my children, but man is it hard to break the cycle over the long term. I will do well for a few days and then boom, right back in it. I talk with the kids and let them know that I take responsibility for not making the right choice and then try to problem solve with them so they feel more a part of the solution, but it seems like we all slip right back into old habits. I have also learned that i set the standard in how to interact with the kids, and my husband will follow suit. For now, i am going to cut myself a little slack, continue to be aware if my triggers, and until we can ALL get it right, we are going to keep going to the life toolbox, and use everything we can to promote a happy and healthy home.

    Thanks for reminding me I am in the best company with you!

    • womenwhobelieve on February 7, 2013 at 7:44 am

      Alicia thank you for your honesty! You are not alone sister, and you are a great mama!

  2. Carrie on February 7, 2013 at 11:44 am

    At four, my son says, “We just get home from church and you act like THIS?” and now, at 17, he says, “Mom, you are choosing to be angry – you don’t have to.” Since he was four, I have either called him “my little prophet” or “preacher man” as he can speak truth that could only come from God. I would like to say that it has gotten better over the years because of my “maturity”, but even very infrequent bursts of ugly anger can undo months of peaceful love. Anger destroys trust and it breaks hearts – talking about it and talking logically about it, discovering and then recognizing the triggers, and then truly relying of the power of the One Who is Love – is the answer to this spiritual battle. Thank you for bringing this darkness into the Light.

  3. Juli Hallada on February 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I remember very clearly when my then, 6-year-old daughter laid with me before bed and told me “Mom, how come you always seem to be angry with me?”. It stopped me in my tracks and I felt so overwhelmingly sad and guilty that I would convey this message to her. I began to start looking deeper that night. Part of it was the conditional response that I had learned in our household growing up and part of it God showed me was my feeling of beinng unloved and unlovable.

    Through the years I have worked hard and God has shown me how to recognize the anger and get to what I’m really feeling. I have learned to take a deep breath and instead of reacting in the moment I learned that it never hurt anyone to say “let me take a moment to think about things. I’ll get back to you a little later. Sometimes I just need to excuse myself and take a time out to pray about the situtation. My now 17-year-old daughter will sometimes think that I am angry with her out of my past habits but she likes the way that we handle things now and I love the way that the Lord has healed the fabric in that part of our relationship.

  4. Linda Richter on February 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I have been there and then wondered, who is this woman? Angry to the point of tying the door closed to my daughters room so I couldn’t get to her and she couldn’t get out until we were both calmer. That woman, bound by frustration, anger and a feeling of hopeless, helplessness, was someone I didn’t like. I’m sure my children didn’t like her either. Praise God that He still loved me and saw more in me than THAT woman. Thank you for this series, Julie

  5. Chuck Stecker on February 8, 2013 at 5:22 am

    You are an amazing young lady! Love what God is doing in and through you for His Glory.

  6. Mary Ann Mcminn on February 9, 2013 at 11:05 am

    It is amazing how much our views on parenting change once those misbehaving children are ours versus someone else’s responsibility. Anger is an amazing emotion. It creeps in and takes over and then is often taken out on those who had nothing to do with the original starting factor. I tend to let it boil inside me for sometime and then wonder why those I love want to be around me when I am so nasty to them. But then I hear a scripture, sing a song or hear a message and God in His infinite grace applies that to my life, forgives me and sets me straight. Then I must ask forgiveness from those around me attempt to mend any damage I might have done to the relationships.
    You are an amazing young lady. Thanks for being transparent with us. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and learning through this study with you.

  7. oana79 on February 26, 2013 at 4:41 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I will subscribe to your blog and follow this series with great interest as I am an angry mum…

    • womenwhobelieve on February 26, 2013 at 7:52 am

      You are not alone, thanks for your openness! I’m praying for you today.

      • oana79 on February 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

        Thank you! I do struggle and have no idea how to reverse it. Talking about vicious circles…

  8. mamaluto on February 26, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I’ve been there, and still I am there…unfortunately…but I’m learning through God’s grace…. sometimes, I’m so angry and I don’t wan’t to be, and I hold my emotions for some time as I am aware of them….but they allways “beat” me, and than I am jelling at my two children like wounded beast….then I’m so ashamed and alone I start to cry….I don’t want them to remember me like that, cause I love them so much and I really see them like a gift from God to me. But sometimes I’m so tired and without control….thank you for honesty, I’ts such encouraging for me….
    I think about my behaviour a lot, and few days ago God just sad to me so clear…I don’t have, because I don’t pray for peace and Him to take my heaviness…(Jacob 4:2)…and I know it’s truth….when I,m near Him I don’t get angry so much….
    thank You, Julie, I’ll be reading your blog with joy 🙂

    • womenwhobelieve on February 26, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Thanks for your honesty my friend. When we press into this issue we may realize it has a bigger foothold than we realized. But when we immerse ourselves in His Word and then pray the tar out of it, He will indeed redeem and change us from the inside out. I am living proof of that! I’m praying for you!

  9. Melinda on March 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    This entire blog entry and all the responses are exactly me. I have a BIG anger problem. I also know I have an even BIGGER God. Satan has really gotten me to believe some lies about myself, the situation, and its future. I’ve thrown in the towel; just existing, letting chaos happen all around me. Clueless, helpless, hopeless; emptied of joy and peace.
    I believe that God can transform me and my family. I need an EXTREME spiritual makeover. I want to be 100% different from the inside out. I want to deal with things appropriately and I really want my children to feel loved.
    I started praying over the summer that when God brings me through this, I would glorify Him by having a ministry for other moms struggling with anger, to help show them the way out. Of course, things are still a mess, and they get worse as time goes on. After I read this blog entry, I prayed that prayer again. I do BELIEVE that one day I will be free;that healing and redemption will arrive. I truly desire it, and it’s hard to keep believeing that it will happen, because it’s really quite unimaginable.God saved me and He loves me. He is the only one who can make this happen.
    Thank you for this blog. It’s really encouraging to hear from someone who has conquered.

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