Living Life As a Mad Mom – Hope and Help For Angry Moms
I know firsthand was life as an angry mom is like. I spent almost two years trying to control my temper and failing miserably. It took a confrontation with someone close to me for me to really take a good, hard look in the mirror and realize that the problem was bigger than me. My anger was out of control. I had turned into someone that I didn’t recognize and my family was suffering because of it.
Soon after that confrontation, my kids and I were in the doctor’s office because one of them was sick. After the check-up, as the doctor was getting ready to go I mentioned to him briefly that I’d been struggling with anger. I remember saying, “I’m not sad or depressed. Just really angry…all the time.” Having known us for quite a while (in fact he delivered my son), he gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant and wanted me to try it to see if it helped. I really wanted it to help. I wanted to be a good mom, a loving mom, and at the moment I felt an ogre.
Fast-forward a couple of years. I was no longer taking the anti-depressants and the anger was still an issue. One day, during an appointment with a med-student (I had gone in because my hands were swollen), she decided to check my thyroid levels because of some other symptoms that I described such as weight gain and exhaustion. It turned out that things that I assumed were part of a mom’s normal life (what mom isn’t over-tired? and many of us are still carrying around a little ‘baby fat’, right?) were actually a medical issue with my thyroid. I’m thrilled to tell you that after a year of treatment, I’m on my way to being “normal” again and the anger is no longer an issue.
For me, it was a medical condition. For other moms it can be postpartum issues, the after-effects of giving birth or a traumatic event in their lives that changes them from the fun-loving women they know themselves as to stressed-out, angry moms. If you relate to any of the above, read on for a few tips that can help you find help… and hope.
Get Help – The first step, of course, is to recognize that anger is something that you’re struggling with and that you may not be able to handle it on your own. This was a huge hurdle for me and looking back, I wish I had done it much sooner. Make an appointment to talk with someone you trust – a close friend, your pastor, a doctor, a counselor or someone else that can help you find the cause of your anger.
Make Sure They Hear You – I made the mistake of mentioning my anger to our family doctor at the end of an appointment for one of my kids. As a result, he didn’t have time to spend with me and because he trusted what I said – that anger was the only symptom I was aware of – he did went ahead and put me on Prozac instead of having me come back for a screening.
Don’t do what I did. Make an appointment for yourself. Go, sit down and explain what you’re feeling and experiencing. In my case it turned out to be something that Prozac couldn’t help with – my thyroid. At other times, the appointment I needed was with a counselor. Those are just as important, just as necessary, and just as helpful many times.
Take Care of Yourself -When you’re dealing with anger one of the best things that you can do is give yourself a break. Build some time into your schedule to take a long walk, a bath or something else that helps you unwind. If you need to vent, call a friend or even write it out on paper just to get some of the anger out of your system (be sure to throw the angry notes in the trash).
Be Honest With Yourself – Looking back I can see that I was caught up in the game of pretending that everything was fine instead of letting my friends in on the struggles I was having. I had to get to a place where I was forced to be honest – with myself, with God and with those around me. I can tell you firsthand that it was a huge relief – a burden lifted from my shoulders – when I was able to sit and tall honestly about what I was feeling.
Let People Help – Another mistake I made was thinking that I needed to be super-mom. That I needed to have it all together and be able to do it all. Over the last couple of years I’ve learned that it’s okay not to be good at everything and that it’s okay to let others help once in a while. And now I’m strong enough to be able to reach out and help others.
It took sickness for me to be able to let go of the standards I had been holding myself to. It took getting to the point that I could barely get out of bed for me to go and get help. I was angry and frustrated for so much longer than I needed to be because I wouldn’t let myself reach out for help. If you see yourself in any of the above, please, please email me or reach out to someone that you trust. Find hope today!
* Copyright Jill Hart 2021. A version of this article originally appeared on CWAHM in 2012.
Seasons of Finding Yourself
We often hear about “seasons of life,” especially when something tough happens in our life. As the years go by, I am also noticing what I like to call “seasons of finding myself.” This applied primarily to times in our life when a major shift has occurred, and we must readjust our view of ourselves – our identity – into a new normal.
Some of these major life shifts may include:
Becoming a wife
Becoming a mother
New life-stages of motherhood (infants, toddlers, elementary age, tweens, teens, adult children)
Transitioning home from the corporate world
Going back to school
Starting a new job
I have experienced each of these stages, and each one seems to throw me off while I sort-out what my new identity or role is. For example, when my children transitioned from toddlers to school age, I had to determine what my role would now be. My role as their mother hadn’t completely changed, but new role opportunities had been added – Room Parent, School Volunteer, PTA Parent, etc. I now had to decide what level of involvement I would have in my children’s day-to-day lives while they were at school.
These life seasons happen in marriage as well. As a new wife I floundered for a while trying to nail down exactly what my role as a wife would look like. The longer I am married, the more adjustments are made to this role – some seasons of rest and some seasons where I am more intentional in working on this particular role.
Lately I find myself in a whole new season of finding myself. I realized a while back that my children would be moving into adulthood in just a few short years. Therefore, my role as a mom will once again be changing. The “mom” role has been a huge part of my identity for so long that I began to wonder what my life might look like once my children no longer lived at home. As I thought long and hard about this, I realized that it was time for a new personal challenge. I decided to start Grad School and begin working toward a new career.
It has been quite an adjustment, but it has been energizing most of all. It has been fun to share the journey with my family and to have them celebrate my successes.
The beauty found within these changes is that no matter what season we find ourselves in; no matter how hard we’re working to understand our identity in each new season, we can look back on seasons past and find joy in memories made.
* Copyright Jill Hart 2021. A version of this article originally appeared on CWAHM in 2015. The ending has been edited.
Juggling Work & Family When Working at Home
Many a mom longs to work at home so she can spend more time with her kids. But there’s a catch: actually getting that work done requires time away from your kids. Here’s advice on how you can work more efficiently and reduce frustration when have young kids and work at home.
Question: I have been having my home based business for three years now and I still am struggling with how to juggle business and being a mom, wife and housekeeper. How do you juggle these? I want to make this a success, but so far it’s only been frustration.
My children are four and two years old and they are more challenging than most (not as in spoiled, but as in needing more time than the average kid). Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Answer: GREAT question! My kids are now seven and four, so I now have a little bit of help in my seven-year-old. But, I found something that I had written a few years ago. In it, I listed my kids’ ages as four and one. I could tell when reading it that I had been very frazzled. I think I lived in a state of frazzled during those years when they were both so small.
My main advice would be to cut yourself some slack. Things will get easier and more manageable as your kids get older.
My practical advice is this:
1. Plan out menus each week.
I literally spend about two minutes on this. I have a small magnetic dry-erase board that I keep on my refrigerator. Each Sunday, I write out the days of the week and what we’ll have for supper that day. (Lunches almost always consist of sandwiches or something easy like that since it’s just me and the kids.)
This makes grocery shopping a breeze because I know just what ingredients I need. It also alleviates the nagging thoughts of “what are we going to eat tonight?” If possible, have one or both of your kids help you decide what to put. You’ll be surprised at how much they like having a say in what goes on that board!
2. Set a day for everything.
My days look something like this:
Mondays – Housework and laundry (and business tasks as time allows)
Tuesdays – Grocery shopping and business tasks (this used to be during naptime, but is now during preschool time)
Wednesdays – Bible study and lunch with hubby (and business tasks as time allows)
Thursdays – Business tasks as much as possible with playtime in between
Friday – Take it Easy Day (and business tasks as time allows)
Saturdays – Laundry
Sunday – Reading, TV, and a good, long nap
It seems a little boring on paper, but I can’t tell you how much this little schedule has saved my sanity. I know when I get up in the morning what I have ahead of me and it is broken into manageable segments. You’ll find that scheduling things amongst these “main” schedule items will get easier and easier as you get used to the schedule.
* Copyright Jill Hart 2021. A version of this article originally appeared on CWAHM in 2009.