Friend, the enemy targets women by getting to the “heart” of the issue – her motherhood.
Dear Mom Secretly Struggling with Anger,
Let me start with this…it was no accident that you stumbled upon this letter. A letter that must have been written just for you. I’ve been contemplating about laying this all out there for a while now, so here goes - from one hot-tempered momma to another. My heart to yours. This topic isn’t easy, but it is one that needs to be addressed and brought to light. So, no more hiding.
Before we go on, let me begin with a bit of hope, because I need you to stick with me. After all, we are in this together, clumsily stumbling through, right? So, here is my hope and prayer for you: I pray that God uses the words you find here in a powerful way, reminding you that He has a special purpose for you, but more importantly, He does not take your calling as a mother lightly. He sees your struggle and knows your battle, and He needs you to know you are not forgotten or lost to Him.
The honest truth is - motherhood is hard! Plain and simple. While there are many wonderful, joyful moments tucked within this calling, there are just as many times that test and try our patience. Let’s share a few of those times, shall we? Remember the time your tiny tot had a complete meltdown because you wouldn’t let them have goldfish for breakfast? Ugh, so frustrating. Or, what about when your child was lying on the floor wailing all because their favorite pair of pants wasn't clean? Seriously! Or, my favorite, because this is the season I am currently in…when your teen responds in all grunts and groans, or an occasional, “bruh,” when you simply ask about their day. Deep breath. And, deep breath again.
Motherhood. It is not for the faint of heart!
Unfortunately, these not-so-glorious moments can easily steal away our peace and lead us to some rather dark places, digging up our insecurities, tapping into our fears, and getting us wrapped up in lies upon lies.
This momma bear (not the good kind) starts out small and simple enough but builds over time, and after a while, the weight of all these burdens has to go somewhere, and they may come roaring out! In some cases, “the roar” is internal, stored away in a secret place that hoards hard and harsh feelings towards my children that opens ways for bitterness or resentment, and eventually it may come out in a snarky remark or two, or three. Sigh.
Nobody likes to admit these things or talk about them. But we must. Why? Because it’s time we get real, open, and honest about the “momma rage” struggle, and the damage it is doing to ourselves and our precious families. It is time to call it out for what it is, reclaim our purpose, gain a little perspective, and channel our anger in a healthy way so we can be the mom we are truly meant to be, and the mom our children deserve.
What is Fanning the Flame?
Let me start by saying this: anger is not a forbidden emotion. God gave us emotions, and they are a beautiful way we can express ourselves. God, Himself is emotional and even shows righteous anger multiple times throughout Scripture (Exodus 32:10, Deuteronomy 9:8, Matthew 21:12-13). That being said, when we don’t demonstrate our anger in a healthy way, we must discover what is triggering it so we can manage it.
So, what is fanning the flame to your anger? As a new mom, it could be the new transition, lack of sleep, and tending to the endless demands that bring on a wave of exhaustion. As a mom of older children, it could be the meltdowns, talking back, sibling rivalry, over-stimulation, or disrespect that causes us to implode.
Then, there are the other underlying triggers that are hiding just below the surface, like past hurts from your childhood, grief, fear, outside stressors, or other relationship strains that cause us to bend to anger and come bubbling up from time to time.
So, before we have our next bout of anger, we first must determine what generally causes it so we can call it out and then in turn find ways to express it along with healthier ways to cope. Because the best time to deal with anger is before we actually get angry.
Here are a few possible triggers that fan the flame of momma rage. Find the ones that you are currently struggling with so that instead of letting anger take you down, you can rise up and find ways to cope with it:
Exhaustion. Either mentally, physically, or emotionally, you are just tired.
Overwhelmed by the demands of caring for the children, house, work, and other responsibilities.
Lack of Appreciation. When caring for our families feels like a one-way job, it can put a strain on our marriages and other relationships.
Loss of Identity. Getting lost in the role as a mom and forgetting who you are and what you like to do can make you feel as if you have forgotten who you are.
Lack of Support. The shift in friendships and even family relationships after becoming a mother can lead to a state of loneliness.
Anxiety and Depression. These often go hand-in-hand and can easily come into play during huge transitional times in our lives, such as being a first-time mom or even an empty-nester. This could be due to hormonal fluctuations or the negative thoughts that tend to fuel our mental state.
Life Stressors. Marital issues, family relationships, financial struggles, work and home demands, big lifestyle changes, our own sinful flesh, etc. can easily fuel frustration and hostility.
Our children’s choices and behaviors. We often feel responsible for their misbehavior and take it personally, especially when in a public setting or around loved ones as it stirs up embarrassment and targets our own pride.
Call Out the Enemy and Fight Back!
Satan’s warfare on women began long ago, in the beginning, to be precise. Eve, being the first mother, had her own fair share of struggles. Let’s just say the apple wasn’t the last temptation; it was merely the first. She most likely dealt with her own anger issues, especially raising two sons that took sibling rivalry to a whole other level (Genesis 4:1-15).
Friend, the enemy targets women by getting to the “heart” of the issue – her motherhood. Satan wants you to believe the lie that you are failing. He wants you to believe that you aren’t doing enough. He wants you to give in to anger and lose it. As a matter of fact, he wants to whisper in your ear, just as he did with Eve, and say, “Did God really say you can’t…”
We mustn’t fall for it! He wants us to cave. He wants us to get angry and have that fit of rage, as a means to slowly destroy our families. Oh, friend, if there is anything to get angry about…it is this! We can’t listen to his torturous comments and sly devilish ways; we mustn’t entertain those thoughts or give in to those evil acts. So, when the tidal wave of heat starts rising, and you feel an angry storm moving in, what do you do?
Here are some ways to fight the enemy and not let him take a foothold, or better yet, not even step foot inside our homes:
-Step away and pray.
-Take a deep breath and count to ten (slowly) before you respond.
-Acknowledge the feeling and talk it out with a trusted friend or mentor.
-Anticipate it and redirect it. When you are feeling the heat wave coming on, try to understand the source and find a way to reclaim your peace.
-Have some margin in your day to take care of yourself so you can have a clear mind.
-Give yourself and your children lots and lots of grace wrapped in forgiveness.
-Talk about it. After an angry episode, sit down with your child(ren) and apologize for your own behavior, talk about what struck the chord in you, and set expectations for next time.
-Find healthy outlets, whether it be taking a walk, playing calm music, stepping outside for some fresh air, or stepping away to sit in your closet to seek quiet.
Most importantly, start your day by getting in tune with God. Dig into His Word, seek His counsel, and pray for His help.
Lean into Truth and Seek Hope
Guilt and shame have no place on our journey as a mom, but they sure do love to swoop in like clumsy companions after we have a fit of rage, don’t they? They love to tell us how we failed and messed up. They love to bring on condemnation and bring us down the rabbit hole of lies. Argh!
Here is the truth – you are going to fail. You will mess up. You will most likely have a few fits of rage and lose your temper, but that is not where you have to stay. Guilt and shame don’t have the authority to keep you there!
But, here is the real Truth – God’s grace is enough. His mercies never fail. God tells you to get back up and lean into Him. Let Him cover you today with Truth and remind you that you were made for so much more than you often want to believe. Let Him tell you that your anger has more to do with an unmet emotional need that you need to lay at His feet.
Friend, there is hope! This is what God says about us as mothers:
Motherhood is a gift (James 1:17).
We are clothed in dignity and strength and should not fear the future (Proverbs 31:25).
We are knitted together by His hands, and we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
Our words are powerful and should speak wisdom and kindness (Proverbs 31:26).
Love is patient, kind, and rejoices in truth (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
We are to live out the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Our love comes from the love we receive from God (1 John 4:19).
Her children call her blessed, as does her husband. She can do excellent things (Proverbs 31:28-29).
You are known for your beauty that comes from within, an unfading gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4).
We are to serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).
There are countless other Scriptures that remind us that God is with us, He is for us, and He is encouraging us to be the brave mothers He created us to be! So, sweet sis, take a deep breath, and reclaim your peace, because the next heat wave is coming (like it or not), but we don’t have to let it take us under! We have the opportunity to stand up and fight the good fight.
I’m here too, and I am rooting for you! You’ve got this!
Love Another Angry Mom in Constant Recovery,
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/fizkes
Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.