How dare he act that way” I thought as I left my mother-in-law’s house. I was embarrassed at the outburst my toddler was having.

No, no, I don’t want to go home!” my eighteen-month old screamed as I picked him up to take him home. His little legs were still kicking as he and I went to the car.

Bad mom” echoed in my head. “What am I doing wrong that he acts that way?” I wondered.

I was angry and ashamed.

Have you ever felt that way?

Does the behavior of your toddlers or tweens bring out the worst in you?  Do you ever feel like a complete failure not only because of your child’s behavior but also because of your feelings in the moment?  I shared these feelings at the Got Balance? retreat last weekend, and I’ve received emails from moms who struggle with anger, thanking me for letting them know they’re not alone.

Moms aren’t supposed to be angry or have negative feelings toward their child.

{But some of us feel that way – do you?}

I’ve been ashamed at feeling frustrated, irritated, angry, and impatience towards my kids over twenty years of parenting. Raising teenagers is similar to raising toddlers because you experience  similar emotions.  Anger, irritation, and genuine flabber-gasted-ness.

As a young parent, I often reacted to outbursts my kids had.  I teetered between constant irritation and depression that came with the shame and guilt for responding and feeling the way I did.  When I share my “angry mom” story with audiences, I’m amazed at the amount of women – from twenty to ninety – who identify with my story.

So why did I feel so alone when I was going through it?

I used to think I was the only mom who struggled with anger and irritation when my child had the meltdown in the cereal aisle in Walmart. I felt condemned by the stares I got.

  • The “what a bad mom you are” stares.
  • The “can’t you shut your kid up“stares.
  • The “if you do a better job distracting him, he’ll behave” stares.
  • The pursed-lip stares.

The formula in the parenting manual didn’t work for my child.  Can you relate?

I wonder what it would be like if moms felt more comfortable sharing our struggles with each other.  I wonder how many of us feel alone but are ashamed to reach out. I wonder how many of us are afraid of judgment and condemnation if we share the secret feelings in our heart.

  • The “I don’t like the child right now” moments.
  • The “I just want to run away” moments.
  • The “motherhood-wasn’t-supposed-to-feel-like-this” moments.

When I felt most alone, I needed other women to come along side and say,

  • It’s okay.
  • You’ll get through this.
  • It’s natural for kids to act that way.
  • You’re not a bad mom for feeling the way you do.
  • You’re not alone.

Do you need to hear that?  Do you feel alone?

I’m passionate about moms knowing they’re not alone in their struggle and raw feelings of motherhood.  Whether it’s anger, irritation, depression, grief, sadness, frustration – whatever your struggle is as a mom – know you are not alone!  There are a lot of moms who feel the same way you do. (For busy moms in the parenting years, I have a book for you. For moms whose kids are teens or young adults and starting to leave the nest, I’ve got a book for you!)

I hope this post is a safe-place for you today. While we can’t let our emotions overtake our mental, emotional and spiritual health, when they get in the way of us parenting well, we need to be able to reach out to another mom and say, “Will you pray for me – I’m struggling.”

We also encourage you that the Living God sees every emotion and negative thought you have and He still loves you. When you come to Him, know you’re not alone.

How can we pray for you today? What steps do you need to take to reach out to someone to share what you’re struggling with?  We’d love to hear from you.

Dear Jesus, will you allow your grace and mercy to encompass every mom that is feeling conflicted by the emotions she’s feeling?  Will you carry her burden, whatever it is, and give her peace that passes all understanding? Will you give her truth in her spirit that she is not alone.  Thank you.

I’m excited to be writing for ministry at The Whatever Girls with Erin Bishop. My first column will be posted Monday. What a privilege to reach moms and daughters!

 

 

 

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