My parents used to say things like, “There was a lot of yelling happening at our house when you were little. We’re so sorry! You’ll probably have some issues when you’re older.” That seemed laughable at the time. I got TONS of love and attention and I generally have great memories of my childhood. But then my dad would follow it up with, “You never think you have anger issues until you have little kids.” Still I was sure, that was definitely not me.
Well, here I am in my mid-30s and I am so sad to find they were more right than I thought.
My mom was visiting last month to help me run everything while Josh was out of town… the whole week went great and then on the last day I lost it when a kid refused to take the bus. My mom called me out. “That’s not ok.” “I see all of the wonderful thing too, but they can’t carry the weight of your anger.” That generally feels the worst. Embarrassing. Humiliating. Makes me want to hide and cry and give up… Makes me not trust myself.
But, I’m glad she said it. I needed to hear it. With the weight of a millstone, it made it clear for me that I need to make a change.
Here’s the thing… I love my kids, more than life itself. I care about raising them and parenting them and investing in them more than anything. It’s my main priority. I consciously purpose to be patient and calm… And a lot of times I am! Actually most of the time! But things build up… I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine. And then I’M NOT FINE. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, like it’s all starting to spin out of control and my voice comes out like a ROAR…Then huge regret.
Where do you even start with making a change? After I got feedback from my mom, I realized I might not have an accurate understanding of what is normal and ok. First I needed to take stock of honestly how often it’s happening. Also I needed to do some research to understand more… When does it cross the line? And how can I possibly change?
Cue googling things you don’t even want to say out loud like, “angry mom help” and “how to stop yelling”. I found this course online called, “Momma’s Anger Management”. While I don’t even want to put myself in this category or raise my hand for needing help on this particular issue, here we are! After some grief, the best I can do is be honest about where I am at and embrace my reality. Let’s do this!
So I signed up right away. And it is THE BEST. It is answering all of my questions, helping me understand where the struggle is coming from, and most importantly showing me a way out.
Here are 3 of my top takeaways.
(1) There is a difference between “mom voice” and rage.
She breaks it down into 4 different levels — mom voice, a spurt of yelling, anger venting, and ranting/raving. What level of anger is okay? There can be a bit of a gray area. Think about, pray about it, draw a line and set a personal boundary on what is too much. Set a goal to not get to that level.
(2) Recognize my triggers.
What specifically gets me angry and pushes me over the edge? After thinking about it, it was so helpful to notice that there is a pattern. Now to chart out the danger zones. For me? Things like…
-A crying baby (I just can’t even think straight)
-Volume level (kid chaos escalating)
-No sleep (things feel more aggravating than normal)
-Overwhelm (hours in front of me without help)
(3) How I react as parents is directly connected to how I am doing emotionally.
I am kidding myself if I think I can run on E and then still be awesome with my kids. Maybe this should have been more obvious to me? Taking this class was kind of like pulling a thread that starts unraveling a sweater. It’s not just that I need to try harder and have better self control. I needed to move some big rocks in my life if I don’t want to be an angry mom. So really, this was just the beginning. The tipping point the triggered more changes. (More blog posts coming.)
There are some funny things too. We included the whole family in this. I think it’s good for the kids to see that there are I things I am still working on too. We made a sticker reward chart for Mom. At the end of the day they get to give me a star if I did good keeping my cool. THEY LOVE THAT PART. haha. They decided I should get a “coffee and massage” as a reward. And they are actually more generous in their estimation of me than I would have thought.
Overall, if you are struggling with yelling, you are not alone. I am learning that if you grew up in a yelling home, it will be a natural impulse for you to yell at your kids too (even if you love them and try not to). But, good news, there are things you can learn and you can change! If you find yourself in the same place I was in check out Momma’s Anger Management.
Feel free to reach out. I would love to offer my support.