From Me to You--
"How Not To Be an Angry Mom"
Yes, that's me up there in my messy kitchen with my cranky kids! That's what 4Real Moms is all about...being real!
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Let's be real for a moment...I can be an angry mom. I hate to even admit that, but it's true. At times, I lose my patience, yell, and even spank my kids in anger. Being a mom has challenged me more than I ever thought it would.
Don't get me wrong. I love being a mom. I am so grateful that God has blessed me with three, healthy children, but it's hard. It's hard to stay cool when they don't listen, fight, make messes, and do things that annoy the crud out of me, but it is my job to train them in the way that they should go, and I take that job very seriously.
Motherhood has made me grow more and change more than anything else in my life.
And the first thing that needed to change was my anger. Seriously though, my kids drive me crazy sometimes!!! Sometimes it just plain feels good to get angry at them and tell them how crazy that they are making me, but that's not at all healthy...that's not at all loving...that's not at all kind...that's not at all what I want them to learn from me...that's not at all God's best for me and for my family.
So, dear moms, if you can relate to me at all, I'd like to share with you what I've learned about how NOT to be an angry mom...
1. BE HONEST: Are you busy? Do you have a long to-do list? Did you have a fight with your husband or a friend? Are you feeling ok? One thing I learned that makes me less patient with my kids is when I'm frustrated with my own life.
I've learned to recognize when I'm more short-tempered because of difficult life circumstances, and I have an honest conversation with my kids and share what I'm feeling with them. "Mommy is having a busy day. Could you be extra helpful?" or "Mommy isn't feeling well. How can you be more kind to me and to each other?" This shows that we are family and that we can trust each other enough to share what's really going on and why we're really angry or upset so we can support each other and encourage each other.
Be honest about how you're feeling and ask your kids for encouragement.
2. BE AWARE: Are you or your children hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Sometimes our emotions are just simply because of a physical need.
I've learned to keep my children on a regular snack and meal schedule while always having water handy! This definitely helps with their moods, but I've also learned to be aware of my own needs as well. Focusing on your own needs may feel selfish, but it's the most important thing you can do for your kids. Eat and drink water more regularly. Rest. Plan more low-key activities if needed. Communicate when you need a break--even if it's just going to the grocery store by yourself or taking a quick walk around the block! A mommy needs to be well-fed, well-rested, well-hydrated, and well-taken care of too!
Be aware of any physical needs causing emotional reactions.
3. BE PROACTIVE: When do you feel the most powerless? What are the things that your kids do that annoy you? What is usually happening during that time? What can you do to solve the problem in advance?
Too often in the past, parenting made me feel out of control or even powerless which is when anger would rear its ugly head. I still have my moments, but I've learned to be more proactive by identifying hot buttons and coming up with solutions that work! For example:
- Being Rushed....I've learned to schedule less and allow myself more time to get the kids out the door.
- Grocery Shopping...I've learned to go through the expectations as well as the consequences during the entire car ride on the way there.
- Bedtimes...I've learned to create a consistent bedtime routine that works well for our family.
- Meal times...I've learned to create discussion topics to avoid the silliness.
Be proactive and find your hot buttons--then create solutions that work.
4. BE LOVING: Do your children need love? Attention? Sometimes when our children act up, they just want our attention or love.
I've learned to love first and discipline second. And more often than not, my kids just need some good quality time and that helps improve their attitudes and behavior. Learning to love my kids the way they need to be loved (by discovering their love language) has changed my view of parenting, and has made me more loving and less angry.
Be loving and seek to understand the way your kids need to be loved.
5. BE PRAYERFUL: Do you pray about your anger? Do you seek God's wisdom and guidance to change you? Do you ask Him to help you be a better mom?
I'll be honest. I needed help with my anger and quick-temper. And who should you turn to when you need to see change in your life? The good Lord Himself! So I prayed. I prayed hard. I did not want my kids to learn to be angry or yell. I want them to be good communicators and respectful of others and of themselves. God has changed me. I still have my moments, but I've improved as I've allowed the Holy Spirit to fill me up with His peace, patience, love, and kindness before my feet even hit the floor in the morning or before I feel like I'm going to lose it.
Be prayerful and seek parenting advice from our Father first.
Before you grit your teeth...before you yell...before you lose your temper...before you become an angry mom, first know that I've been there. I understand how hard motherhood is. Give yourself grace. Give yourself time to break old habits and change. You aren't going to be perfect. No one is. And remember that you can always apologize, learn, grow, and move forward knowing that every day is a new day.
In what ways are you an angry mom? How is God wanting to change your heart and release you from your anger? How can you find more joy in motherhood?