Recently, during Fearless Mom, we had the privilege of learning from Julie Richard in her “She Laughs: Part 2” series. Included in this is a mini-series titled “All the Feels,” where she equips us to recognize, understand, and navigate tricky emotions that moms commonly wrestle with such as anger, sadness, and fear.
We were encouraged to get curious about our child’s anger (or our own) instead of being afraid of it. Julie talked about the Gottman Institute’s “Anger Iceberg.” It was explained that anger, in and of itself, is a secondary emotion. This means that our angry reactions are often the result of an unprocessed feeling.
After Julie wrapped up her insights into anger, we broke out into small groups, which are led by a fabulous team of “Titus 2” moms. This is a group of moms who have children a few stages ahead of their group; they help facilitate and lead discussions after lectures.
My small group went around the circle sharing what was on our hearts, especially where anger is concerned. One thing we all realized is that we are NOT alone in experiencing our own anger while simultaneously equipping our children to best process their anger.
We shared stories about becoming inexplicably angry over little everyday things, like walking into our room at the end of a long day and discovering the laundry basket full of clean clothes that still need to be folded and put away. Or how our kids always seem to be in the throes of a tantrum when we pull into the school parking lot 8 minutes late.
Our wonderfully kind and wise Titus 2 mom was able to take a step back and make a wise observation. She said, “It sounds like a big source of your collective anger is that you are all overwhelmed.” Wow. How right she was. I think that nearly every mom can relate to feeling overwhelmed at some point in her motherhood journey. One tiny thing can be the final straw that results in an angry outburst.
We then discussed the extreme “mom guilt” that we feel when our anger boils over and we end up yelling at our kids or husbands. 10 of the 10 moms in this group of incredible moms ALL felt this way.
I share this, not because I have a simple one-step fix to being an overwhelmed and sometimes angry mom, but because I know the value of knowing that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
At Fearless Mom, we aim to remove the isolation and shame that moms often feel. We believe in the power of community and take comfort in the truth that we are all in this together. Remember these wise Julie quotes:
“Shame is like mold; it grows in the dark.”
“Mistakes are only wasted if you keep them to yourself.”
It is OK if you get angry sometimes, mom! It is OK if your kids get angry sometimes! Just remember that “anger is a state, not a trait.” You can feel angry without being consumed by anger. Every feeling is OK to feel, but how you express it matters!
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4: 31-32
As David Thomas from Raising Boys and Girls said, “You can only take your kids as far as you’ve gone yourself.” So next time anger arises in your household, get curious about it! Do the work to understand the anger so that you can address it.
You’ve got this, Mom! Let’s remember the goal we are parenting towards, and that having an immaculately clean house or looking like an Instagram model 24/7 isn’t going to make or break it. Let’s remember to control what we can, and have faith about things that are beyond our control. Let’s pray for patience, remembering that God’s amazingly abundant grace will fill in the gaps not if but when we fall short. Let’s aim to be present in the moment instead of feeling guilty about the past and worrying about the future. Let’s cheer each other on and celebrate the little victories as they come.
For more tools on processing feelings, keep an eye out for the Fearless Mom “She Laughs: Part 2” eCourse.