For the Mom Who is Angry: 10 Tips to Help You Stay Calm and Not Lose Your Temper

For the Mom Who is Angry: 10 Tips to Help You Stay Calm and Not Lose Your Temper

For the Mom Who is Angry: 10 Tips to Help You Stay Calm and Not Lose Your Temper

The sun hasn't come up, and my coffee is just starting to hit my veins. "Mommy, can I have a snack?" "Mommy, will you put this dress on my doll?" "Mommy, can we paint today?" "Mommy, will you help me. I poo-pooed!" "Uh-oh! Mommy! I spilled the cereal!" "Mommy, she won't give me back my purse! I had it first!"

It's 6:30 in the morning, and through the whining, crying, and moaning of my two little girls I'm talking myself out of my own full-blown temper tantrum. Many mornings I have not been successful. The threats begin. The yelling starts. My heart starts to beat at a fast pace, and I feel out-of-control.

"Stop! Just stop! Don't you see that I'm moving as fast as I can! Who do you think I am? Wonder Woman? It's only 6:30 in the morning and already you're making demands, barking orders, whining, crying, complaining! Stop it!"

My kids don't even know who Wonder Woman is, but they know the self-control speech I gave them the day before isn't working for me either.

I never thought of myself as an angry person, but as it does with other parts of my life, motherhood reveals the deep, dark places that I didn't know were there.

I write this article not from a place of arrival or expertise, but through a humbled place of, "I need help." Writing it has helped me think through what I need to remember as I deal with anger in motherhood.

Here are 10 tips that have helped me:

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1. Remember the Worth of Your Calling

1. Remember the Worth of Your Calling

Ephesians 4:1-3 has become my life verse for motherhood. "I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The question I ask myself often is, "Am I behaving in a way that's worthy of my calling of motherhood?" This stops me cold when I'm in an emotionally charged situation of anger. But how do we walk worthy of our calling? We walk worthy by displaying humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance - qualities that are the opposite of anger. This is love. When we do this the gift is maintaining unity and peace.

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2. Parent Yourself Well

2. Parent Yourself Well

A friend recently gave the advice to "parent yourself well," and I loved how it was worded. Often we hear phrases such as "take care of yourself first" and the importance of "self-care," but "parenting yourself well" has a different connotation. Think about it. How does a mom parent her child well? She feeds her wholesome food, makes sure she is clean, gives her adequate times to sleep, lets her exercise, takes her to church, prays for her, reads the Bible to her, and speaks words of life over her. Are we doing this with ourselves? Are we missing some basic needs like food, sleep, or prayer? Taking good care of yourself is a mom's first line of defense against anger.

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3. Know Yourself

3. Know Yourself

I am an introvert which simply means I do not get my energy from being around other people, but I get my energy from being alone. The problem is that alone time is the antithesis of motherhood. Most days I hear the pitter-patter of feet on the stairs before my alone time is up, naps are few-and-far-between, and someone inevitably doesn't want to stay in her bed at bedtime. Anxiety rises up in my body when I need time alone, so I've learned to say, "Mommy needs a break," and I'll take 15 minutes to recharge. This is only one example, but it's important to know yourself well in all areas to know what you need. This helps to diffuse a potential angry blow-up before it happens.

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4. Check Your Priorities

4. Check Your Priorities

Sometimes my anger comes from my needing something, but most of the time my anger comes from my wants not being met. For example, my daughter keeps getting out of her bed and won't go to sleep. Or she spills juice all over the floor after I told her to stay in the kitchen with her drink. Yes, she needs to learn obedience, but at the heart of my frustration is that my time is being interrupted, and she's causing more work for me. In situations like these, my priority is to train my children in what's right. This will always be inconvenient. However, when I try to think of it as a welcomed opportunity to teach my children, instead of scream and yell at them, I gain a different perspective.

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5. Keep Discipleship in the Front of Your Mind

5. Keep Discipleship in the Front of Your Mind

Our primary purpose in motherhood is to disciple our children. By reflecting His humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance as shown in Ephesians 4, we are showing our children Jesus. We are teaching them to trust us so that one day they will trust Him. In the heat of the moment when I'm stressed and ready to blow my top, remembering that I am showing my children Jesus tempers my reaction and helps me respond with grace.

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6. Speak Life Over Yourself

6. Speak Life Over Yourself

The negative self-talk is suffocating. We make comments to ourselves that we would never make to another person. Comments such as, "I'm just like my own mom," "I'm ruining my kids," "I'll never be able to get this right," "My kids are doomed because I can't get it together," and "What's wrong with me?"

Negative self-talk puts us into a pattern of self-doubt and self-hate and makes us feel defeated. The truth is, Jesus is bigger than the generational sin in our families, our personalities, and our pasts. As a mother, we must learn to take every thought captive and hold it up against the test Paul gave us in Philippians 4:8 "Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse" (The Message).

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7. Walk Away

7. Walk Away

I walked into my two-year-old's room to find black pen ink written all over her white sheets. Despite my countless warnings of "Pens and markers only at the table and with paper," somehow my directions got lost in translation. There we were. I was angry that I had to rewash her sheets so soon after making her bed, I was angry that the ink stains most likely would not come out, and I was angry that my daughter did not obey me again.

Sometimes it's best to just walk away, and this was one of those times. I've not always done this, though.  Instead, I've screamed my way into a pile of regret. I've broken my girls' spirits over ink stains. Walking away allows us to gain perspective. For instance, am I really angry out of concern for her disobedience? Or am I angry out of selfishness - because she's caused more work for me? Walking away helps me get to a place where I realize she's only two-years-old, obedience is a learned process (look at myself), and my job is to train, disciple, and serve her.

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8. Pray Without Ceasing

8. Pray Without Ceasing

When Jesus tells us to pray without ceasing, I think He means to live in a posture of prayer where every thought is taken captive, like discussed above, and every breath whispers, “Lord, help me" (Matthew 15:25). This has become my moment-by-moment prayer. Most of the time I can feel my anger rise like boiling milk slowly rising to the top of a pot. In those moments I've learned to pray, "Lord, help me." It's simple but powerful.

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9. Cleanse Yourself

9. Cleanse Yourself

Timothy 2:21 says, "Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work." We as moms want to be "a vessel for honorable use," "holy," "useful," and "ready for every good work." The way we do this is to cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable. This means to cleanse ourselves from anger, but also from what might be contributing to our anger. Is it what we're watching, listening to, or reading? I've often wondered if my watching the drama in reality T.V. contributes to my anger and aggressiveness. Maybe it's toxic habits or friendships? It's wise to ask God to show us what in our lives is dishonorable, then to cleanse ourselves from it.

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10. Get Professional Counsel

10. Get Professional Counsel

I am not a professional counselor. However, I have learned that anger is often a symptom of something deeper. I've heard many women say they never knew they had an anger problem until they had kids. Then, all these emotions rose to the surface. Don't be ashamed to seek a godly, Christian counselor if you feel like you need to delve more into the root of your anger.

Brenda Rodgers considers herself a “recovering single” after years as a single woman chasing after marriage instead of chasing after Jesus. Now her passion is to mentor young women to live purposefully and grow in their relationship with God and others. Brenda has been married for five years to a heart transplant hero and is the mom of a toddler girl miracle. She is also the author of the eBook Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also read more on Brenda’s blog, www.TripleBraidedLife.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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