mom anger Archives - FamilyFelicity.com

Mom Anger: 3 Reasons it’s More About Us Than Our Kids

If mom anger was in the dictionary it could be defined as any moment of anger, yelling, or heated frustrated on the part of a mother in the midst of any parenting-related interaction.

Based on this definition, I think it’s safe to say that mom anger affects us all in some way. Why? Because let’s face it, motherhood is hard. And while there are many other more colorful adjectives we could use to describe motherhood, I feel like hard encompasses them all.

If you’ve ever lost your marbles with your kids, chances are, on at least one of those lovely occasions you’ve blamed the kids for your mom anger. Umm…my hand is up. Anyone else with me?

Here’s the problem with that – in many of our stressed-out, on-edge, ready to lose it moments the root of that short-temper started with us, not our kids.

The truth is, yelling at our kids is more about us and how we’re feeling in the moment than it is about our kids and what they’re doing in the moment.

In other words, we can do things on the front end to set ourselves up for calmer mom days and more connections with our kids or for more stress and frustration and blaming the kids for all our anger.

I lived for a really long time in that second mindset and I’ll be honest…it’s a miserable one.

I’ve made so many mistakes as a mom and learned so much over the years and I want to share that wisdom with you. This is a no-judgment zone, just me sharing what I’ve learned along the way and what really works to save your sanity as a mom.

Here are three surprising reasons your mom anger has more to do with you and your kids.

1 – Our current emotional state sets us up for calm or chaos

Here’s a short illustration of the power of our mindset…

Amy was up two separate times last night because her 6-year-old son has been having bad dreams and is always too scared to go back to sleep without her snuggling in his bed.

She’s been second-guessing herself all week on whether she’s making the right choice to give in to his pleading to go into his bed night after night. She read an article last week that doing this creates a cycle of dependence that could have bigger consequences later.

Amy is a mom to 3 children ranging from a teenager to a 2-year-old and she homeschools her older kids while still wrangling the baby. She also works fulltime from home as a virtual assistant for several clients because not working isn’t a financial option for her family right now.

Today she just got the news that one of her biggest clients had to make the hard choice to not use her services as his business had to shut down key functions as a result of the quarantine. That’s a major hit to her income and fear starts to settle in.

The spiraling force of what-ifs feel uncontrollable as she tries to just stay focused on keeping it together and feeling as normal as possible.

Suddenly, as she’s drafting her response email to her now former client, her 6-year-old starts laughing very loudly in the other room followed by crying shortly after.

She feels her heart beating from aggravation as she gets up to investigate. While turning the corner, her teenager starts pleading his case on why it was just an accident. Apparently he was giving his little brother an innocent tickle fight, which was all fun until he got a little too aggressive.

Instead of taking a breath, Amy lights up the room with accusations about how her teenage son is always playing too rough and how sick she is of hearing all this noise! She demands they both just go to their rooms until she says they can come out.

Her youngest, feeling attacked, starts crying and her teenager responds by storming out and slamming his door.

She now feels like a total jerk…the guilt is real.

Let me stop here and point out a few things.

Her kids weren’t “misbehaving” at all. They were doing very normal (loud and maybe slightly annoying) but very normal kid things.

I want to point this out because it’s so easy for us to tell ourselves that we yelled because our kids did something to deserve our yelling and angry response.

Let’s rewind really quickly and paint another picture of Amy…

Amy woke up from a full night’s sleep for five days in a row! That’s a record! She’s on a roll and ready for the day like a boss.

After getting her kid’s breakfast and their morning lessons underway, she checks her email and learns that one of her clients is increasing her workload. She feels a little uneasy about whether she can handle more work with everything she’s already juggling, but is very excited about the increase to her bottom line.

Later that afternoon, while she’s working she hears loud laughter coming from the other room. She feels tempted to tell them to keep it down but decides to enjoy the sound of her kids actually playing together. That is until she hears the crying!

As she gets up to investigate she takes a few breaths and reminds herself that she gets to choose how she responds to the situation. When her son starts to defend his actions…she listens.

Amy then attends to her crying son and he quickly admitted that it was just an accident. He moved his head at the same time his brother moved his elbow and is totally fine. Her older son quickly apologizes and all seems well.

She grabs a tissue to wipe her son’s nose and decides to get in on the tickling action causing him to revert back to laughing again. Her oldest asks if they can watch that movie he’s been begging them to rent. Sure, why not?

Ok this all may seem like a total work of fiction…and it is…but this story could have played out in any one of our homes! Just switch out the cast of characters and situations and there you have it.

The obvious point I’m trying to drive home is that the reason we feel so ready to lose it all the time has more to do with us and how we’re feeling than our kids and what they’re doing.

And even on those occasions when the kids really are doing they’re best to step on your very last nerve – when you’re at your best it sets you up for closer connections every single time.

Do you fall into this trap over and over?

There is a better way. Amy was using my S.T.O.P. Method that is featured in The Calm Mom Formula Quick-Start Guide. Want your own copy? Click the image below.

She reminded herself that she has a choice, she paused to take a breath, followed by practicing grace. This all resulted in a Win.

2 – Setting the right expectations is everything in parenting

We need to put our expectations to work for us in life and as parents. Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to expectations, which is why so many people treat them like the plague. It’s our fear of failure and disappointment that keep us from expecting good things to happen.

We rationalize that it’s better to have no expectations than to run the risk of being painfully disappointed when things don’t work out as we’d hoped.

Realistically, this is a tough one and it’s a struggle for most people, including myself, but here’s the truth. Most of us think we’re avoiding expectations all together when in reality, we’re just avoiding the positive ones.

Sorry to break it to you, but the whole time we’ve been using the power of expectations, only they’ve been working against us instead of for us!

You’ve likely been telling yourself a story that might sound something like this:

“I’m never going to get a handle on this parenting thing. I wish I could get my kids to listen the first time just one day.”

“I don’t want to be like my mother was, but as the years go by, the more I realize I have the same temper as her.”

“I thought I’d be a great mom, and yet every day I wake up feeling like there has to be more.”

Those negative expectations keep us trapped in a cycle of where we don’t really want to be.

So, if you’re already intimately acquainted with expectations, don’t you think it’s time to make them finally work for you instead of against you?

Here’s the point, both the Bible and science have a lot to say about the power of expectations and they both agree that what we expect to happen is likely what will happen. Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

The reason is because we subconsciously work to make our expectations right.

So, isn’t it better to set the expectations we really want? I’d say so!

It’s time to spruce up those old, tired expectations and get some new ones. Try these on for size:

“Just because I’m struggling with a short-temper or anxiety right now doesn’t mean I always will if I decide to do the work I need to see the change I want.”

“No matter what it feels like in the moment, my children are fully capable of listening without me needing to yell. They just need consistency over time from me.”

“I am not alone and I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength to do them.”

3 – Our boundaries are either working for us or against us

One of the biggest components of getting our kids to listen consistently, and thus keeping our sanity intact, is setting up the framework of boundaries and consequences.

This step is crucial because it’s essentially setting you up for parenting success. We all need boundaries in life, and both parties (in this case, parent and child) need to be crystal clear on what those boundaries are.

When we aren’t clear with our kids on what’s acceptable and what isn’t, it’s nearly impossible for them to get it right!

If you never take the time to set healthy boundaries, you’ll be stuck in a very annoying cycle of reminding your kids on the fly every time they do something you don’t like. That’s a recipe for insanity and ultimately blowing up at your kids on a moment by moment basis which isn’t good for anyone!

Just like you naturally steer your newly walking baby away from the fireplace to keep her safe, our kids need healthy and helpful boundaries to keep them safe at every age and stage.

Some examples of healthy boundaries could be:

“When we go inside the store, we don’t touch anything unless I give you permission first.”

“All your dirty clothes need to be put in the hamper in the laundry room in order to be washed.”

“You can only ride your bike to the end of our street and back.”

“Before you eat a snack from a box, you have to eat first eat something that once grew (AKA a fruit or veggie).”

These are clear boundaries that give your child a clear path to follow. And if and when they jump off the clearly laid path you so nicely provided for them – you offer natural consequences.

In our adult lives, we’re very familiar with natural consequences. They’re not punishments but a closely related outcome that either works for us or against us. This helps our kids learn in a real-world scenario versus simply grounding them or sending them to their room.

Not putting your dirty clothes in the hamper means you either do your own laundry or wear dirty clothes for a week. Riding your bike beyond the indicated stopping point means you lose your bike riding privileges for a time period.

The consequence should be related to the behavior but feel free to get creative here. Lol, The point is for them to learn that all behavior has natural consequences both good and bad. And it’s a lot more fun in life to create consequences that work for us!

Final Thoughts

As moms, there are so many things we can do to set ourselves up for success and make parenting a lot easier. Yes, it’s a lot more work on the frontend but it’s so worth it down the road.

When we learn to understand the power of our emotions and how to work with them, how our expectations either set up us to win or lose, and how our frontend boundaries raise self-motivated and better-behaved kids we won’t fall into the short-sighted trap of blaming it all on the kids.

The best part is, it’s never too late to start even though it’s clearly easier the younger your children are. Just remember that kids are resilient and are able to change and adapt much faster than us adults so keep at it and stay consistent.

Most importantly, deal with your children in a Kind and Firm way no matter what. They will respond positively over time. Do it little by little and step by step and you’ll do just fine!

7 Surprising Reasons You Yell at Your Kids and How to Break the Cycle

As a new mom of two little ones I spent my days cycling through being a happy and grateful mom to an angry yelling “blowing her top” mom, to an ashamed and guilty for yelling at my kids mom.

As the days went on the cycles got more frequent, the happy and grateful mom showed up much less often and I ended up trapped in a sad and paralyzing state of tired, grouchiness.

I snapped very often, my demeanor was pretty uptight most of the time, and I felt like a complete and total failure as a mom. Until one day it hit me and I asked myself, “why am I such an angry mom?

This certainly wasn’t what I thought motherhood was going to be like. I dreamed of being a mom and though we struggled through infertility for almost 5 years, I was overjoyed to bring our first child into this world.

Then the reality of mom life showed up… and my idea of motherhood didn’t seem to fit my reality of motherhood.

It was hard for me.

And the fact that is was hard for “me” the mom whose dream it was to even be a mom, was pretty devastating. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in over my head and felt consumed with shame all the time.

Why Good Moms Get Angry

I finally decided this craziness needed to stop. I genuinely wanted to have fun as a mom and have a close and fulfilling relationship with my children. So I got to work.

With loads of prayer, study, and tons of trial and error I’m now at a place in my life where I LOVE being a mom and actually feel like I’m pretty good at it! But that only changed when I stopped letting dysfunctional behavior patterns just happen, and started getting intentional about changing them.

One of the first things I learned (HUGE!) were my anger triggers. Little did I know, I was setting anger traps for myself every single day. And that’s what this post is about… helping you to set yourself up for those good, no-blow up days!

Now, let me be clear here, I did a lot of work in the process of healing from mental and emotional lies and past hurts that were greatly contributing to my overall anger. This is not an overnight process.

Recognizing my triggers for yelling was just a part of the puzzle but helped tremendously! Doing these things won’t likely be a total solution to why you are yelling at your kids but they are vitally important to an overall anger management solution.

Here are some helpful posts to getting kids to listen and not causing anger in the first place:

Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

How to Respond When Your Child Disobeys on Purpose

Common Parenting Mistakes Any Parent Can Fix

I would also like to add that yelling to be heard or because you tend to be on the louder side of the communication spectrum isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you just talk louder or are more intense than all your mom friends… that’s totally OK. I personally still fall slightly into this category!

In this post, I’m addressing moms who struggle with anger in this post. The kind where you feel like a horrible mom after. That’s what I wanted to break free from, and you can join me!

Surprising Mom Anger Triggers

These surprising anger triggers are the things we commonly do every day that we’re usually unaware of that can open the door to blow-ups. And as the saying goes, “when we know better… we do better.

If you read this list and notice one or more that you’re doing, I want to encourage you to make a plan to set up borders for yourself to allow yourself the change you desire.

You want to be a more peaceful mom who really enjoys her children or else you wouldn’t still be reading this post! This process is going to take work but you owe it to yourself and your family to give it all you got so you can be the mom you know you really are inside!

1 | Working with Kids in the Room

I’ve been a work from home mom since my first daughter was born. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to work right in my home while raising my kids, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it! Over the years I’ve done crappy work totally because we needed the money and work that I absolutely love – and this rule still holds true either way.

Honestly, I could write an entire post on this topic, so I’ll do my best to keep it brief. Working on your laptop (or whatever work you do) with kids actively in the room is a setup for disaster. Unless you make a very intentional mindset shift.

I can’t tell you how many times I’d be intensely working (head down, eyes on screen) and blow up because I kept getting interrupted again and again. Silly, I know.

After I realized this to be a huge anger trigger for me, I totally shifted how I work. I now get up very early in the morning and do the bulk of my work that needs my full concentration while my kids sleep. This doesn’t have to be how you do it, but find what works for you.

Then, here’s the mindset shift, I make any work that I do work on in the presence of my kids, second to their needs… ALWAYS.

It looks like this – if I’m working (on a less intense work task) and my child asks for a snack, I put my laptop down and get a snack.

If my children break out in a fight-mob in the living room, I put my laptop down and handle the issue. No more, let me finish this really quick… one more minute sweety… stop fighting! Don’t you see I’m working!

By mentally shifting to my kids and not my project as the priority, it totally changes things for me. Sure, I’m not nearly as productive as I used to be when I was putting my work first but I’m so much more peaceful and my kids no longer resent it or try to fight for my attention when they see me working. It’s a total win-win.

2 | Not Setting Boundaries Up Front

One major source of mom blow ups is when our kids don’t listen until we yell. It’s a cycle that doesn’t have to continue.

In fact, yelling undermines our authority because we don’t have to yell to get their attention. One of the biggest reasons our kids do things we don’t like is because they don’t know the boundaries.

Think of behavioral boundaries like physical boundaries. If you told your son he could ride his bike outside until 5:00, chances are, he’ll go exploring beyond where you had in mind. If you caught him riding his bike on the main road, you might be upset.

This really wouldn’t be fair because he wasn’t given a boundary line like, “do not ride your bike past our street.” Now, this doesn’t mean he won’t try to test this boundary but we’ll get to that in the next point.

For now, we need to establish simple boundaries like, “when we play with one game, we need to clean it up before we open another game.”

This keeps us from going into a screaming fit when we walk into the playroom and see every game they own dumped out on the floor after a very exhausting day at work!

There are endless boundaries you can create, but you get the point.

3 | Not Giving Natural Consequences

When we create and effectively and repeatedly communicate our boundaries, we must offer natural consequences when those boundaries are challenged.

And they will be challenged! Your kid isn’t bad when she deliberately disobeys what you just told her. She’s merely testing your resolve and if you’re really telling the truth. Hmmm, think about that for a second.

When we say, “if you don’t pick up your Legos by the time I get back upstairs in five minutes, I’m going to box them up and give them away” and we don’t follow through (if the Legos aren’t cleaned up), we’ve just lied to our child.

And they know it.

This is why giving natural consequences upfront is so important. Don’t give great big threats that you have no intention of doing just to scare them into obedience. This cycle of giving threats and not following through is a recipe for disobedience every day of the week. And your sanity goes right out the window!

Make sure your child clearly knows both the boundary and the consequence to their behavior upfront. If they cross that boundary… that’s where the next point comes in.

4 | Not Keeping Your Word

This is so important to establishing trust with your child. They know when we won’t stick to our word and it’s like blood in the water to a kid.

They aren’t trying to destroy our patience, they’re just trying to figure it all out.

Take a moment to be sure the consequence you’re about to give makes sense and you are willing to dole it out when needed.

Never ever waiver or bargain with your child. This is the key to keeping your peace.

If you’re currently trapped in this cycle, I give you permission to stop right now.

Just know, it’s going to take work and your kids will likely not appreciate your new found change. But over time, they’ll know you mean business and will listen when you talk without needing to yell.

5 | Pouring Out of an Empty Cup

As a mom, we’re in a perpetual state of pouring out. We pour out spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. We know that’s all a part of the job of mom.

But what we all seem to forget or treat as unimportant is the filling back up part.

We can’t run on empty any more than our car sitting in the driveway can. Sure, we can try but at what cost?

There are harder mom seasons than others, and in the hardest ones, we need to find pockets of rest. But when we’re not caring for a newborn or for 3 kids under the age of 3, things get a bit easier.

And it’s our job to carve out time to rest and recharge because honestly no one else is going to do it for us!

Doing things that recharge you like getting enough rest, exercising consistently, reading purely for enjoyment (audiobooks are great for moms), having a quiet devotional and prayer time, and even time with close friends you can connect with.

Just remember, these things are only effective if you schedule them regularly… not once a year around Mother’s Day.

Sure, it’s wonderful to have a family who shows their appreciation for all you do, but I’m pretty sure that’s a rare occurrence for most moms. The good news is, you can take charge of your own happiness and show appreciation to yourself. You totally need and deserve it!

6 | You Take it All Personally

Kids misbehave and test boundaries… it’s kind of their thing. It’s NOT personal towards you. There may be things we’re doing that contribute to undesired behavior, but it’s not an attack on you.

Kids are tiny humans and whether we believe it or not, they have their own reasons for doing what they do no matter how strange or annoying those things are to us.

I find one of the best ways to get in our kids’ little heads and hearts is to ask questions before we assume what we see is accurate.

One day I was looking for my daughter who was 5 at the time and heard her in her closet. When I turned the corner I almost lost it! There were clothes everywhere!

What looked like a, destroy my closet for no reason type of situation, was actually her attempting to reorganize her wardrobe. She was just doing it the really hard way kids at that age do. Yikes.

I’m grateful that in that moment, I didn’t start yelling and lecturing but mustered up enough self-control to ask what she was doing.

When I realized that she was trying to do something helpful, I dropped down and started to help her. We had a good conversation and I found out that she didn’t like the way I had organized her clothes and she felt like her way would be easier to get ready in the morning faster.

Who am I to argue that?

Even in the moments when our kids are disobedient and rude right to our faces, we must know there is something else at the root. And ironically, they need us most of the time to help them work through their emotions.

Not taking it personally helps us show up and do that.

7 | Not Managing Things Well

When life gets too hectic and I’ve allowed too many things to overtake our family schedule all the important stuff gets pushed to the side.

What’s left is a very messy house, no plan at all for dinner every night, running late for everything, and a mom that’s always on the edge of a meltdown.

I think in many ways, this is the hardest part about being a mom… the managing the home stuff.

It took me a long time to realize that something’s gotta give and I can’t allow our routines to fall by the wayside.

Making sure that the house stays livable and the kids are actually doing their part in keeping the house clean is so important. When the house is filthy, it’s very hard for me to stay in a positive mindset.

And making sure there is a plan for meals that don’t involve giving all my money away in the drive-thru is also super important. Meal planning is both my nemesis and lifesaver. I honestly hate doing it, but it’s the only way to not operate in chaos.

Finally, practicing intentionally leaving with plenty of time totally reduces fits of yelling at my kids. Running late for appointments is such an open door for yelling, tears, and frustration.

Why Moms Get Angry

This is not an exhaustive list of anger triggers. Moms yell at their kids for many reasons, some are not even being addressed here in this post. These are just some anger triggers that I became aware of personally in my own life and from talking to other moms who struggle with anger.

I want to encourage you to observe your life and time with your kids and look for those things that set you off, and do what you can to eliminate them.

The important thing to remember is, you are NOT a bad mother! Simply the fact that you’re reading this to the bottom proves you’re a good mom.

The first thing I learned is that I needed to change, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I am a Christian and knew I needed to surrender my emotions to Christ. I believe surrender is the first step to change. It acknowledges that I can’t do this on my own or I already would have by now.

I then needed to be honest with myself and transparent with others. I stopped being isolated and found out that other moms were struggling with the same issues. There is freedom in openness.

Finally, I made a quality decision to change and become the mom I knew I was meant to be. I apologized a lot to my kids along the way, and now they hardly have memory of those old days. Which means there’s a better life ahead of you that’s free from guilt and shame.

You can do it if it’s what you really want… you just have to decide.

Want to stop feeling like an angry mom and yelling at your kids all the time? These simple tips really helped me find my anger triggers and stop yelling at my kids! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingadvice

11 Calming Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re About to Blow Up at Your Kids

Calming Questions

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve struggled on more than one occasion with losing your cool with your kids. I mean, who hasn’t, right?

Raising little people is hard and kids are kids. Enough said.

Calming Questions

I personally struggled for years with anger, frustration, and yelling more than I ever wanted to at my kids. 

It was through total surrender to the healing of my Savior, understanding what was triggering my yelling and anger in the first place, and learning to quickly gain a healthier and calmer perspective when I felt the anger and overwhelm rising up.

That’s where these questions come in! That’s where the questions on this list come in. This is not something you read and say, “hmm that’s nice to know when I’m in the heat of battle with my kids.”

No, it’s likely if you read this once, you’ll never remember a single question when you need it most. These are questions that are meant to reshape your thinking. Questions to reflect on daily or weekly or have posted up as a reminder.

All of these questions require practice and repeated attention to help train our minds to think and then as a result, ACT differently. 

We have the power to train ourselves to both think and act the way we desire. If we yell and get angry, it’s because we’ve trained ourselves to react that way. These questions are designed to help you retrain your mind and thinking so you can retrain your actions. 

“So many have a highway to stress and negative thinking and a dirt road to happiness.” – Tony Robbins

Let’s work on repaving our road to happiness and stop going the path of least resistance because we’d all agree that the old way isn’t working. And also know this is just a starting point. There are many hugely helpful resources available that I’ll share throughout this post.

1 – What does my child need right now?

When kids are acting out, not listening, or doing something that’s annoying us at that moment it’s super easy to feel like you’re going to blow. But one of the key indicators of our child needing something is their strange or even rude behavior. Kids at any age, really do have challenges knowing and articulating what they need and so when that need goes unmet they do the strangest things!

So when your son keeps flinging your couch cushions against the wall to see how high they can bounce and then when you tell him to stop, he moves to his real ball and starts bouncing it in the kitchen – it’s time for us to stop. We need to stop what we were previously focused on and get refocused on what in the world our little guy needs right now instead of getting heated before we blow. 

Sometimes our child just needs some attention and one on one conversation. Sometimes they need a nap or a snack because tired and hungry kids can honestly turn into crazy kids. Sometimes they want a fun and quiet activity to do but don’t know how to get started. When we stop and do some digging, we get so much more time back and peace in return.

9 Things Your Kids Really Need but Don’t Know How to Tell Us

2 – What do I need right now? 

There are other times when children are just being kids and doing just about anything can seriously wear on our nerves. Even if we realize they’re hungry and we get our kids some crackers to snack on, we can be annoyed by the sound of chewing. I had a day like that yesterday!

On those days, I’ve conditioned myself to notice when I’m really sensitive to the kids… and even my spouse. This is important because I used to not pay attention to what I needed and assumed it was always about the kids. When it’s not just that moment, but I’m feeling really edgy most of the day, I stop what I’m doing and do a quick self-evaluation. This is where I’ll go to the bathroom or take a shower if possible to collect my thoughts and grab a break in private.

Sometimes, that’s honestly enough… to just know that I’m super tired because I didn’t sleep well because of my restless toddler the night before. There’s a lie that rolls around our head that tells us when we get angry or frustrated that we’re terrible mothers and something is wrong with us. 

No, you are just human, with human needs. Meeting those very human needs is so important to our overall well-being and our ability to handle momlife well.

The Simplest Ways Moms Can Recharge When There’s No Time

3 – Am I feeling embarrassed or judged by others at this moment?

I know that nothing can set a mama off more than a public show of foolishness on the part of her lovely children. This can happen at any age, one of your kids decides to push your buttons in public at the store or at a family event with everyone watching. 

Again, your child may be overly tired or stimulated which is often the case, but instead of managing our child’s need and calming our rattled nerves down, we instead go into a heightened state of embarrassment because we often feel judged like everyone is shaking their head in our direction. And making mental notes of how bad of a parent we are or how bad our kids are. 

That’s why training your mind to ask yourself this question is so powerful. It makes you aware that though you may be aggravated at your kid for what they did or said, the added anger piling on top doesn’t have to be yours. You don’t have to sign for that package. Simply know that every parent in that grocery store line or at that family party has been there before with their own kids. And those who don’t have kids, simply don’t get a vote!

Just take it all in stride as yet another moment when your normally well-behaved child decides to act out in front of others like they have total manners amnesia. And just excuse yourself from that situation, address your child and their behavior, and move on. Let whatever negative feelings you do have be for that behavior alone and not all the judgemental stuff. 

4 – Is my anger right now reasonable? Is it really that big of a deal?

This is a very important question to ask anytime you feel like you’re about to explode or have already let loose. This is also great advice for spouses too. I remember getting so mad, like extremely heated, at my husband because he made a comment about me feeding my toddler son chicken nuggets for dinner that night. 

The comment wasn’t bad in and of itself but I as mentioned above was feeling judged and so that added to my anger in a major way. Let’s just say as the days went by (I needed several to get over it) I could clearly see that my anger was totally unreasonable.

And over the years I’ve also expressed totally unreasonable anger toward my kids too. It’s hard not to do because we are emotional beings but it’s necessary that we train our minds to think differently. 

That’s because it’s even harder to be on the receiving end of someone else’s unreasonable anger. We owe it to our family to see the signs and stop it in its tracks. Often, just seeing that we are going overboard is enough to calm down. The problem is when we never take the time to look.

5 – What is the specific emotion I’m feeling right now? 

Here is one of my favorite questions to ask myself when I’m feeling heated. What emotion am I feeling right now. Notice, I’m not asking myself “how I’m feeling.” Asking myself to name my emotion allows me to disconnect that emotion from me. To say feeling is something that feels a part of me.

You might be thinking, that’s easy, my emotion is anger. Nope, we need to go deeper! We are most often angry because we’re experiencing something else like disappointment, rejection, fear, or like shared above – embarrassment. This is where we have to be courageous to get really honest with ourselves in the moment. 

The Uncommon Truth Behind Why Moms Yell

6 – What’s really going on here? Am I offering them the benefit of the doubt or jumping to conclusions?

Oftentimes, we can jump to conclusions and consequently fly off the handle without having the full picture. Like when you’re super tired and go to your bathroom to wash your face before bed and see your two girls playing in your “mommy-only” makeup… which is now all over the bathroom.

Your instinct is to scream because now your make-up is messed up AND you have a bathroom and two more faces to wash! But what was really going on was your daughters wanted to surprise you with their own beauty makeovers. They wanted to put a smile on your face, but instead, they made you want to cry.

Sometimes when our kids do stuff that we don’t like, it’s just as we see it. But other times it’s not, and we need to learn to pause and hold back the screams and instead ask questions to find out what is really going on. When we jump right into scream mode, we often miss out on hearing our child’s perfectly sweet and innocent reasons for messing up your makeup.

When we go in too hot, they’ll reasonably cower and just apologize or shut down. Meanwhile, you missed a potentially sweet moment that while may be more work, is one to treasure.

7 – Am I trying to do too much in this moment?

This was a huge question for me to ask because I’ve always been a work from home mom and so juggling work, housework, and kids was my daily to-do list. I was constantly trying to pack-in too much in every waking hour.

And every time I tried, my kids would set me off. The funny thing is, most of the time they were just doing regular kid stuff yet because mommy was working I was expecting them to be robots. It doesn’t work well because for some reason kids have a sense about these things. It’s like when we’re on the phone, they suddenly have a lot of needs or have to fight with their sister! 

If you realize that you’re being unrealistic about what you’re trying to get done, stop and re-evaluate. Can you move some things around? Can you get the kids to help? Or if you’ve really got to get your work done, would putting on a good movie for the kids be a better way to keep them occupied until you’re done?

7 Surprising Reasons Moms Yell

8 – Is there any good in this situation that I can focus on – no matter how small?

This may be a hard one but it’s helpful in so many situations in life. Looking at the positive side of things helps to put our minds in a positive state which helps us make better decisions.

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.”

Philippians 4:8

For example, my girls are both getting older and so their friend time is getting less frequent as they start enjoying their own individual interests. So when I hear them suddenly running around and rough-housing and laughing upstairs, I force myself to calm my annoyed nerves at the loud banging coming through the ceiling. 

When they’re being loud, but I hear laughter… I just let them do it and be grateful I don’t hear fighting! 

9 – If I’m honest with myself, am I really letting fear make me angry?

Fear is such a funny thing because it’s so sneaky. When your toddler who’s on a hunger strike refuses to eat and you find yourself at your wits end, you’re not really angry at your toddler – you’re afraid.

You’re scared that if he doesn’t eat, he’ll get sick and need to be fed at the hospital, you’re afraid that this means you’re a terrible mom because you’ve never heard of any other toddlers refusing to eat.

When your teenager talks back, refuses to clean up their room, and brings home another D you’re afraid that you’ve missed something as a parent, that they might never turn out the way you hoped. That you just don’t have the answers to figure it all out.

It’s that fear and feeling of powerlessness moving beneath the surface that drive your fear. When you realize this, you can shift your anger to compassion. I know… just stick with me here. 

Compassion is needed for you and for this situation. You feel stuck and need help. Feeling angry only distracts you from the answers and delays your progress.

Choose to treat yourself like one of your mom friends and give yourself some good advice and a good dose of understanding that none of us have all the answers. 

10 – What was I doing before I got angry? Could that thing be adding to my stress?

In all fairness to children, they seem to have the worst timing ever! You might have just gotten off the worst 2 hour customer service call to the cable company that made you consider clawing your eyes out and your kids run into the room asking you to judge who’s turn it is to kick the ball next. 

Literally, NOT a good time. In those moments it’s best to take a breath and answer the question quickly so they’ll run off and play or tell them to give you a few minutes. Say this calmly yet firmly because they’re likely to go into beg-mode if you don’t.

Taking a few minutes to breathe and collect yourself will help you better deal with the latest issue at hand without going ballistic. 

In fact, this has happened to me with my husband. He’ll be working in the office and I’ll pop in to ask if he feels like hamburgers or fish for dinner. In response, I’ll get a very sharp answer that doesn’t feel good in the moment. He’ll then come back later and apologize for his tone and explain that he just got off a terrible call or something.

11 – Am I letting love and grace lead my words or my anger and disappointment?

Being angry and/or yelling usually doesn’t help but only adds to the problem, making things worse. We tend to say things we regret, tears start flowing, and we feel guilt the size of Texas. Understanding this in the moment (as hard as that may seem) challenges us to look for a more helpful way to respond.

And we do that by focusing on grace – which is what we ALL need. Grace is our ability to see that we don’t all do it, get it, or say it right all the time. And when we mess up, we want others to give us the grace and love we need.

And when we practice giving grace to our kids when they miss it big time, it teaches them to show grace and kindness to others. This is a lost art in our society and showing grace to our children is a key ingredient in raising kind humans. 

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