Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Moms and Anger

I heard this episode of Focus on the Family today that really hit home with me. Enough to make me sit down and write this.

It was about anger and moms. The guest on the show was Julie Ann Barnhill. She wrote a book called She's Gonna Blow.

I completely resonated with this woman. As I was listening I couldn't believe what I was hearing -- experiences so similar to mine. A couple of her stories were so funny they made me laugh out loud. I was shocked to hear someone else expressing part of what I went through as a mom.

With one child, I was fine -- so patient. People would compliment me everywhere I went on how patient I was. But then came baby #2, and oh my goodness. Suddenly there was much more stress ... and anger too. There simply wasn't enough of me to go around. This stress and anger took me aback. At the time, I didn't understand where it was coming from. But what is even worse is that I had no idea this was happening to other women. I thought it was just me.

There is a book I read several years ago called, I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids. I have always said if I wrote a book, my title would be, I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Two Kids.

Being the perfectionist that I am -- I have had to accept the fact that it is impossible for me to please both of my children at once, and that kills me, because I love them both so much. I believe that desire to please them both is part of where my anger came from.

The author says this anger during motherhood is a compilation of everything that may be causing us stress in life -- finances, career, relationship troubles and even problems from our past. She said it works like a volcano -- before the big eruption, there are many small earthquakes that signal something is wrong, but we ignore them until we lose it completely. Usually, the brunt of our anger is taken out on our kids or our spouse -- the people we love the most -- even when they are not the cause of it. Then we are filled with regret, shame and guilt.

Just knowing that this problem is not unique is healing. But Julie's insights and practical ways to handle the anger were also very helpful.

What do you think about this topic? Have you ever experienced surprising levels of anger while parenting? I'd love to hear from you on this!