You thought you were a calm and peaceful person… until you had kids. Now, there are times when you feel you are an angry mom with a few common triggers and you feel guilty.
Don’t fret, there’s a big reason many mothers get angry and the solution might be easier than you think.
My jumbo-half-full glass of Diet Coke poured off my bedside table…
Onto the carpet…
And the nearby power strip.
I jumped up explosively from the bed, threw my hands in the air, and yelled, “Again!!!”
My 12-month-old stood by giggling, trying to eat the ice. The ice that was in the cup that he spilled. He spilled the cup because I left it on the bedside table even though he always spills the cups I leave on the bedside table. I have stubbornly refused to stop leaving cups on the bedside table because that’s exactly where I like my cups to stay.
My husband looked at me with a you-are-a-big-drama-queen look and said, “Maybe one day you’ll stop putting your cups there.”
To which I maturely replied, “Maybe one day the baby will grow up and leave my stuff alone!”
After that, I had to laugh at my ridiculousness and the unrealistic expectations I put on my baby. It taught me one very important thing.
One real reason moms get angry at our kids is because we expect them to act grown up.
It’s impossible to be a calm mom all the time. But if we stop and count how many times their “childishness” makes us angry, we may just become less angry. If we realize, accept, and embrace the fact our children are going to do a lot of inconvenient things, we become less frustrated.
Some ways we expect our children to act older than they are:
We think they should listen to us without hearing a reason.
Of course, our children need to learn to listen to our instructions for their own good. What we don’t realize is that giving explanations and teaching our kids the “why” behind our requests gains far more cooperation than yelling or power struggles.
We mistake developmental milestones for bad character.
I once googled “is my toddler a sociopath?” True story. As kids age, they start pushing the boundaries, learning our family values, and trying new things. Throwing things out of the high chair, asserting their will, and even lying are developmental milestones. It doesn’t mean these behaviors go unchecked, but you should expect them. If you expect perfect behavior, you will feel frustrated and angry at every eye roll or tantrum.
We expect them to stuff their emotions.
Did you know you have an emotional basement? Well, so does your child. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers have Big Emotions and Grand Feelings and most things are The End of The World. This is not because they are destined for the therapist’s couch, but because they are small humans learning how to process the world around them. If every tantrum, meltdown, interruption, or backtalk makes you mad it’s a sign you are taking their behavior personally.
We give them too much freedom, then disagree with their choices.
No one wants to micromanage every aspect of their child’s day, but when we grant them too much freedom they do things we don’t like. This will be the case until they leave the house. Color on walls. Hide daddy’s wallet. Empty the toothpaste. And that’s just small children.
Our kids are going to push our buttons. Sometimes, we will be like volcanoes exploding after centuries of dormancy. We will have to learn patience. They are going to make us mad.
Not because they are bad kids.
Not because they are spoiled kids.
But… because they are kids.
Instead of letting the inconveniences and frustrations of the early years make you angry, think about the good. Focus on the cute moments. Know this season is fleeting. Expect the unexpected, and embrace the childish moments. Soon enough… they won’t be children anymore.