I am ashamed to admit that I have had more angry mom days in the last few months than I would like to have in a year.
Not sure if it is the fact that I am very hormonal and pregnant or the that we are in the trying times of a two-year-old little girl testing out her boundaries. Maybe it’s the fact that I have this never-ending cold for over two months and currently sleep training our daughter to sleep in her toddler bed which means no one is getting their best sleep right now.
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Whatever the reason is, it has been exhausting and frustrating and I have felt so guilty for being such an angry mom in those moments.
Our days will start off so sweet and loving and then it is like a switch goes off and all hell breaks loose. Some days it seems like the simplest tasks end up becoming huge battles like trying to put a clean shirt on her or to get her coat on before we leave.
If we take her down from climbing something, guaranteed 5-10 minute melt coming our way. And of course, she really isn’t interested in playing with her actual toys. Nope climbing everything in sight is the game to play right now. (Shouldn’t we be past this stage at two??)
Somedays it feels like it takes a week for my husband to return home from work and I feel guilty to be so happy that I now don’t have to be the one to primarily deal with our daughter. I take the backseat and let my husband see what I have been dealing with all day long as I am counting the minutes before bedtime.
When I thought of motherhood, I never envisioned how angry I would become when she reached the defiant toddler age. It feels as if my whole life is dictated by this little person in order for it to run smoothly. Dodging ticking time bombs one right after another.
After reading Positive Discipline: The First Three Years By Dr. Jane Nelson, I realized my approach has been wrong. Very wrong in fact.
Too many days I am trying to control my daughter’s behavior, especially when it is a bad day and I am not feeling my best self. I realized that by reacting to her in anger actually encouraged the behavior and damaged the relationship. Two things that I had no intention on doing.
Read my post on How To Stop Being Such A Serious Mom
Most of the time I am thinking about how tired and aggravated I feel and forget she has all of these big emotions too that are hard for her to express with words.
She can’t tell me that she is overtired from being too busy, or that she’s frustrated because she cannot do certain things independently like she would like to. Heck maybe she is still not feeling the best because of this never-ending cold we seem to have picked up.
Honestly, a big problem is my expectations. I have these huge expectations for this little girl that is so young in her developmental journey. I forget some things she is just not capable of yet, like processing her emotions calmy and fully understanding the directions I am giving her.
Steps that I am taking to become a less angry mom every day:
- Avoid burnout – this is a huge set off for me. If I am hungry, overtired, anxious or even too hot I become angry at the littlest of actions. Ask my husband! He does not like it when I skip a meal.
- Taking care of myself is key to being the happiest and calmest mom I can be.
- Also, setting aside time to for myself is huge. I need the relief of just being able to worry about my own needs whether that be running out by myself to complete errands, a lunch date with a friend, or even a routine hair appointment. It helps me come back a refreshed and energized mom.
Read my post about why self-care is so important for moms and how to incorporate it into your daily routine.
- Take a breather when the tantrum has started – After making sure my daughter is not in harm’s way, I will step back and just breathe deeply for about 5-10 seconds until I can feel my rational thinking coming back.
- Within the next year, I will be implementing a cool down spot for my daughter as well to go and calm down when she has gotten upset. I will not call this a time out because it is not a punishment. Simply a tool for handling those difficult emotions.
- For right now, I simply ask her for a hug. This restores the connection between us and helps us both calm down together.
- Use distractions instead of words – At this age, Melina is not understanding my lectures about why she should not be climbing through the house like a monkey. Instead, it is best to simply remove her from the situation and redirect her attention to a positive situation. Most times this works very well in avoiding the tantrums.
When I use only words and expect her to understand and listen, this is where I get myself in trouble and become irritated and angry.
- Basic needs are met and our routine is on schedule – Most parents know that if a child is sleepy, hungry, or simply way out of their routine there are going to be some behavioral problems.
- Figure out if there is another reason why your child is misbehaving and having difficult emotions. If one of the needs is not met, try to fix it as soon as possible to get back on the right track. Children find routines comforting in knowing what is going to happen next and build a sense of trust with that routine.
- Obviously, there are going to be sometimes where these needs are not met right away and the routine is off, but understanding that the child is not misbehaving on purpose and is simply just responding to those feelings will help you be more patient with addressing those feelings with your child.
So instead of getting angry at the constant tantrums, I try to understand that this is a stage we are going through. My goal has transformed from trying to control her every action and emotion to doing my best at teaching her how to handle her own emotions.
And in this process, it is teaching me that I too need to learn better techniques to handle my own emotions that are in response to her youthful actions.
If you are looking for positive ways to discipline your children or simply looking for a different approach I highly suggest you read Positive Discipline: The First Three Years By Dr. Jane Nelson.
It can be refreshing to hear how other parents handle difficult situations and how to handle them in a positive way to ensure you are building a deep connection with your child.
Read my post about the power of positive affirmations for children here.
Even though there are some situations that I am ashamed of how I handled them, like slapping my daughter’s hand after she decided to continually throw everything out of her toy box angrily.
Even though I swore I would never be a parent that smacked or spanked their child. I viewed her acts as intentional to me rather than reactional and therefore become angrier than necessary.
I remind myself that there is always next time to improve. I evaluate how the situation got out of hand in the first place and what could have been done to avoid the misbehavior from Melina and the angry reaction from myself. I give myself grace and the hope that next time will be better.
So for any of you Mama’s that are going through some trying times whether it be toddlers or teenagers, give yourself some grace. (I am terrified of the teenage years ahead!)
Motherhood is not all cute matching outfits and fun coffee dates like a lot of Pinterest images present it to be.
It is messy, loud, and ever-changing with your children.
But you can learn to thrive in the difficult moments with a little bit of patience, a lot of love, and continuous grace for yourself.