What To Do When Being Mom Makes You Feel Mean – Tips From 10 Moms
Do you ever feel stuck in a cycle of anger and resentment towards your child? Sometimes I swear it’s like a cloud descends on me and all I want to do is hide in a closet.
Sometimes I find I just need to sit with these feelings a while to let them shift. If that’s where you are, be gentle on yourself, some days we simply don’t have the energy to push past that moment and the best we can do is try not to have a Mama or Papa Tantrum.
But other days I know it’s time to work to get out of that resentful place, because otherwise everything my kids do – even totally normal healthy kid things, makes me more grumpy and I start to feel mean.
Resentment means it’s time for self care.
“Do you have any tips for letting go of anger towards your child? When you notice yourself feeling resentful and mean, how do you get out of that emotional place?”
10 Moms’ Tips for Letting go of Anger
- Magnificent Me (blog) Tell someone who won’t judge you for it. Just getting it out helps.
- Emma – I had trauma in my childhood so stressful situations trigger my fight/flight response, very primitive part of the brain that just reacts. My counselor says cuing into my senses tracks my brain back to the cognitive thinking brain pathway so that I can use all the wonderful techniques I have been learning but can’t access in “protect” mode. So you stop, identify 3 things you can see, identify 3 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear… Then 2 things you can see, feel, hear… Then 1 thing you can see, feel, hear… Then repeat if necessary which I have never had to. Good luck!
- Cassie – My son is a very touchy feely kind of kid so it works for him. Sometimes, if it isn’t too serious or to diffuse the situation before it escalates, I will just look at him with a silly expression and say, “You’re killing me, kid.” That usually makes him laugh and gives him a minute to think about what he’s doing and where I’m coming from. It helps that I play dead if he keeps it up. Like Emma, I grew up with some pretty severe trauma. Taking control over my own response helps me to regain my composure and to remember that my experiences will not be my child’s.
- Joyce – …when I feel like I’m going to lose it and he won’t budge (usually in crying, whining hysterics) I grab him, hold him down and tickle him. Usually that gets us both in a better place. Cos’ we both get pretty irrational.
- Chantelle – I try to remember what I would look like to them, a big scary angry person who isn’t show ANY love at all and that pretty much nips it in the bud. I don’t wants my kids to have that visual. I just want them to know the faces of love and tenderness. If I can’t show those to them, it’s time for a break. OR another thing I might do is to something crazy to get their attention. Usually something physical, like flapping my arms or jumping up and down, something like that. It’s gets their attention and then we laugh at my craziness. Yes, unusual but it works, changes direction and changes tone.
- Aleacia – It helps me to remember how old my kids are. 4 and 2 is such a short time on this earth, it makes me realize that sometimes I just expect too much from them.
Christy– besides taking deep breaths, I talk quietly and calmly. I try to reason out what I see – “I see you decided to hit your friend. I know if someone hit me I would be sad and hurt. What do you think your friend is feeling? . . . Why did you hurt her? . . . What could you do instead?”
- Cassie – I don’t usually find myself becoming mean or spiteful, but when I find myself at the edge of my patience and I know I am either going to lose it and cry or raise my voice I will ask my now 8 year old son to come sit in my lap and I will give him a big deep hug and tell him some of the things I love about him. Now that he’s older sometimes he will share things he loves with me. After we’ve both calmed down I will usually tell him that I was feeling frustrated for whatever reason and ask him to help me fix it.
- Sarah Y. – I try to remember that photo of the crying toddler with the caption, “My toddler isn’t giving me a hard time. He is HAVING a hard time.” That helps. I’ve also come to realize that when he is being a total wart, it’s usually because a) he’s had no undivided attention or b) he’s hungry or tired. That usually keeps me from leaving him on the curb or hunting for the nearest band of gypsies.
- Sarah H. – I know it will get harder as he gets older, but when I catch myself losing it with my toddler, I know I need some time off. I’m a 24/7 mom – SAHM with a hyper-attached, poor sleeper. Sometimes I just have to step away – leave him with Daddy or grandparents or trusted friends – and have a few hours away with people or activities that energize me.
What do you do when you notice you’re just feeling mean? Does that ever happen to you? Any tricks or ideas?
For more help:
- Fight your parenting villains with us in the Bounceback Parenting League.
- Resources for Dealing With Anger
- How to Let Go of Mom Guilt
- 6 Health Checks to Do if You’re Feeling Grumpy All the Time
64 Positive Things to Say to Kids
Subscribe to Download your FREE printable of 64 Positive Things to Say to Kids
What do you do, when the anger does actually take over, and you scream or talk angrily towards your child. ?? ?
What do I do when I wake up resenting him?? What do I do when I hate who I am as a parent ???? And know I don’t take care of myself when I’m around him. Which is 24/7.
Because I am a solo parent. I’ll have a break while at work. Or if he goes to grandparents. Then within hrs of coming home it goes right back to being this stuck circle of unhappy. Its wearing on both me and my child. Even worse, he’s a good kid. No behavior issues, of any kind. I’m just at my waist and being a solo parent. No real supports.
I have no help, ZERO. I am the only asult in my life. In have tried to make friends amd NOTHING works. My son’s father didn’t want to be on the bc but wants to dictate things. He has said and done things that makw myself and a few others suspect he views children, young boys in particular in an inappropriate way. The little money I do get is from him and it isn’t much. I am losing it sometimes! Trying to take care of and protect my son is so far a nightmare. I feel no one wants to help me based on my appearance.
I can totally relate to this blog! I have a 7 month old and a 2 year old. I’m having such a difficult time with my 2 year old. I feel so much resentment toward her because of her behavior. I’m a stay at home mom, i get occasional breaks sometimes like a shower or maybe a hour at the gym, and my fiancé doesn’t seem to understand why I get so frustrated even though he gets frustrated with her too. I feel like I need more patience with her and I just don’t have it so, then, I feel guilty. We recently moved out of state so we have no one around to help. I don’t trust strangers to look after my kids so, no baby sitters and I have no one to talk to. No friends. I can’t talk to my family. I’ve heard of terrible twos but this isn’t what I expected, I know it isn’t her fault and I feel like I’m just ruining her by getting frustrated with her.
I think there isn’t any hope left for us. I have been doing literally everything on my own as far as raising my son. He will be two in Aug. I can’t snap out if it anymore. I GENUINELY resent the entire situation and fear the future. I hate having to care for him. Sometimes I don’t feel I love him. I haven’t had a single break! I have literally NO help. Top it off I have no friends or any adult to spend time with! Can’t have a decent phone conversation because he’s always crying or whining. Put him in his room he screams. I can’t stand him. Sometimes I hate when he touches me. I did everything in my power to give him a good life. It has backfired, if I cared less initially maybe he’d be more independent. Some say the personality and temperment of babies are genetic. I don’t want to hate him but I’m too far down the hell hole.
Oh, Shell, hugs. I read so much pain and exhaustion in your words. I hear a few things from you:
1. You never get a break. (And thus you get touched out, sensory overload, and exhaustion. You can’t do it all, and you need help.)
2. You have no parenting support around you (friends, babysitter, other caregivers, parenting partner – you feel alone)
3. It feels terrible and painful to feel hollow inside when you started with such high hopes, almost like a betrayal – you loved so fiercely, tried so hard, and yet you only receive screams and no rest.
It sound like what I call Parenting from the Dark Pit.
We get into the pit for a lot of different reasons, sometimes because we’ve forgotten to let go and give up control, sometimes because we get lost trying to hold up other people’s expectations instead of doing what works best for us, and sometimes because we have no choice and are going it a lone for too long.
In all of these I see one person who desperately needs care, and it is you. I know that is a tall order when you’re in the dark pit, but you need care.
Is there any way you can find a caregiver for your son for a bit? Community center with a daycare? Church with a nursery? MOPS group or La Leche Leugue or Moms meetup group in town? Drop in childcare center? Even if he hates it, it is more healthy for him to have time away from you so you can regain some sanity than it is for you to continue down this road.
But I know finding child care isn’t always the answer. I offer this list to you of resources for when you’ve lost your light:
-My friend Shawn’s Abundant Mama Project – Shawn has been there with being wrecked, then refinding joy and she teaches other mamas to do the same: https://www.abundantmama.com/
Books to help recharge you when you’re sick of parenting < 5 Everyday Ways to be Kind to Yourself as a Parent
–Journal Prompts helping you nurture yourself – <<
Hugs again. Wish I could send chocolate too.
And actually I am so thankful to her. She has forced me to really take a hard look at myself.
I am a single mom to a beautiful 4 year old girl. She has pushed my boundaries and everyday is a struggle. I had a traumatic childhood and I find that some things in our daily lives trigger me. I just need to keep on repeating to myself …”she is innocent and I am shaping her views on life”. She watches way too much TV and too much tablet usage but it’s a life saver. I hope we all get through this ok. And I we will. Just breathe and keep it in perspective. Just like me when I was just a kid…. “she is innocent and unique.”
I too am in a mom rut and I hate it. I am a 24/7 mom and feel guilty for taking time to myself, feel guilty for not spending enough time with my son now that he is in school and I also have an 8 month old, feel guilty for yelling or getting aggravated, feel guilty for a lot of things. I hate how short tempered I have become. I hate how he doesn’t listen to me, but in return, I blame myself for maybe not listening to him like he may expect me to. I just feel like everyone in my house has so many expectations that I simply cannot meet. I cook, clean, take care of the kids, run errands, and essentially get no me time until their bedtime where I too crash. Their dad works really hard and I know he deserves a break when he does get time off work, and I would feel like a horrible mom for leaving my kids or let them think I need a break from them. My 8 month old would not stand for anyone else but me watching her. I can run to the store every now and then without her while she naps, but that is the extent of me time right now. I just feel like I want a break from all responsibility sometimes. I want to crawl in a soundproof hole for 5 minutes and scream and cry, but then I look at my beautiful children and know they are the reason I get up every morning. They are my life. They didn’t choose me, I chose them. I see my son getting angry and losing his temper like I do, and it scares me that I am teaching him the wrong way to deal with his emotions, but I had lots of patience until I had kids of my own.
I have to give myself a timeout when I feel like I am going to lose it, but sometimes its too late. I feel like I am rambling, but honestly I feel like I have no one I can talk to without being judged. I want to be a good role model for my kids and someone they talk about with great admiration when they get older, not someone they tell horror stories about.
Same! I have two stepchildren 6 and 4, who’s mother died when they were little (so I am their only mother figure) and an 8 month old baby. We mesh really well and love each other but it is HARD! I can leave my baby with my husband and the kids for a little while but I still breastfeed and she wants the boob!
I find that just taking her with me rather than all three is a good break. My husband has two and I have one (even to just run errands). Then I don’t feel guilty that he has all three while I’m off relaxing and my baby doesn’t ask questions all day and often times just chills or sleeps in the wrap/car. It’s not entirely a break but it is a break from endless chatting/sibling squabbles and the occasional tantrum (lucky they’re older now).
Good luck mama. ??
Thanks for responding Ren – that time with young children needing you constantly is incredibly demanding. Taking time away or even just, as you said, trying to relax with just the baby, gets easier with practice, but the logistics of making it happen can be super tough. Way to go for looking for at least those little breaks, and best wishes to you.
lately I have been feeling like the worst mom ever! the past two weeks I have been trying to get reconnected with my son. last year him and I would do everything together and I evolved everything around him. it was to the point my family started to tell me that I need to learn to have time for me. so little by little I started to. now I feel as though I take way too much time for myself. I feel so disconnected with my son. tonight he told me I was a mean mom because I told him he can go potty by himself because next year he would be in kindergarten….I’m just babbling. what am I doing wrong? I feel like such a bad mom when my son falls asleep and did not spend enough time or attention with him? am I?
When I feel am about to burst out of anger I usually take deep breaths and remind myself that ” kids are kids and they will behave that way and so I should keep calm and find out why they are doing things that makes me loose my temper” and this helps me.
yup. thats what i would like to know too.
Laura Petrash I needed this one lol
Jillian Hunt Riley
Yes will have a read Thanks xx
Rachel Bayly can you see this? xx
Peppa and Bob the builder are my saviours on the days where my lovely little monsters (3 & 22mth twins) are doing my head in. Or I take them all outside to burn some energy while I just sit or (if you can handle the mess) I get big rolls of paper, lay them out in the garage, tip paint on it, get my kids naked & let them go to town. Creates a heck of a mess but the kids have a wonderful time and gets those creative juices going. Anything that occupies them for long enough so you can breath & have a cup of tea is worth it for your own sanity. Sometimes as mums we have to remind ourselves that we do not have to be perfect and we need to stop putting pressure on ourselves to be that perfect mum who always looks presentable, has a clean house, bakes etc. Its not always possible, in fact it hasn’t been possible in my house for several weeks now but its ok because we are not perfect and we have a REALLY hard job. Find something that you enjoy doing and make some time to get out of the house and do it. Do what ever you need to do in order for you to reconnect with yourself. All the best hun xxx I hope you figure something out and start feeling better soon
Creative With Kids
I know what you mean Em. Yes to what Rebecca Braid said – go hide in the closet. I don’t mean that with snark. I mean, do whatever you can to get yourself a few minutes of peace. When I’m in that kind of hole what I need most is some sort of self care, and unfortunately it’s also when I’m barely able to do any self care – both because of lack of energy, and usually because even if we’re exhausted by the kids, we usually have no easy way to get a break. I’ll work on a better article to address this. I’ve REALLY been there.
Some days – ugh, the thought of connecting is absolutely the LAST thing you want.
Then hide in the closet! I find that putting my little one in front of peppa for 10 mins (judge me all you want) just so I can sit in the hallway and have my own space helps. On when in full scale meltdown mode (toddler, not me) she gets zero attention, no eye contact, nothing. She soon gets the message, 30 mins has been the longest & then we can figure out what the matter is.
i’m feeling really mean & angry lately so i read this–& now i am even more angry. a couple of the moms share useful tips for cooling back down enough to reconnect, but most of the moms skip the part about how to get out of the funk enough to WANT to reconnect with their kids. what do you do when all you want to do is hide in a closet & not exist anymore and the last thing you want to do is interact with your kids &
Thanks for this post. It has given me a BETTER day. I’m sure my kids will be thankfull too.
Thank you for this list!
I wish I would have known this with my first child, because with my oldest son I took tantrum’s personally. Now I know that it’s just apart of being a toddler.
When my 2 year old has a temper tantrum I tell her that I can’t understand what she is saying/wants. I tell her I need her to calm down so she can speak clearly to me and then I can help her get what she wants. I also tell her that screaming and trowing a tantrum does not lead to her getting what she wants. When I can tell that one is coming on I calmly talk to her and we try to figure it out together… not that it prevents all tantrums, but this usually helps stop the tantrum.
Thank you for your honesty. I feel more human and less like a monster knowing I’m not the only one who struggles to control my verbal aggravated responses at times. Will definitely be trying several of the ideas mentioned here as I always beat myself up after losing my rag with my son over things which are overwhelmingly irritating at the time, but on reflection are completely inconsequential.
I just came across your blog the other day & am addicted. Like other mamas have said..a BIG thank you! For your honesty:) I can relate to so much that you blog about & it makes me feel a ton better reading the other moms comments knowing that we’re all on this parenting journey t
I am a stay at home mother home school teacher to a 10 year old with severe ADHD and 8 year old and a 7 month old sooo glad to see that I am not alone out there thank you soo much for this it has lightened my mood just knowing I am not the only one.
I am 32 have three kids, arianna 7, poppy and rylan are 2.5 year old twins. I am also a Breath Integration Councellor with 10+ year experience focussing on the metaphysical aspect of our lives. One of the biggest things I have learned is the no one can “make” us feel a certain way, we feel that way and its being triggered by some past experience or some old core belief that causes us to react.
Our children are not responsible for how we react, our children ate not responsible for how we feel about ourselves. If as parent we hear ourselves saying things like “I am so irritated by my son, he just won’t listen”. It’s not his fault your irritated, so relax and remember that as frustrating as it is to have your child not listen, it doesn’t mean anything about you as a person or as a parent, he is choosing not to listen, its our responsibility as a parent to figure out how to.teach the child on a loving way that when he doesn’t listen there is a consiquence, he could fall and hurt himself or run into someone and gift them. Stop being so irritated and be responsible for your own feelings so he can be responsible for how he feels and for the consiquence of his own actions. Listen to “scream free parenting” by Hal Edward Runkel he’s a genius!!! Thanks Ladies hope it was helpful!
Thank you so much for this! I’m a single mother & have an extremely hard time raising my now 5 year old daughter. She is very whiny, and cries at least 3x/day over the smallest things (like go brush your teeth, or it’s time for bed, or even if she sees a tomato in her food & doesn’t want to eat it). It’s extremely frustrating to deal with all of those emotions 24/7. It seems that everything I say & do hurts her feelings, and I’m trying to help her cope better with situations, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I find myself losing my head more often than not, & afterward feel very upset at myself for not taking a step back and calming down prior to reacting. These tips will definitely help me deal with myself a little more. It’s really nice to know that I’m not the only mother going through this.
Oh Thank HEAVEN! I’m sooo not alone………sooo good to know and soo thankful for the wonderful advice! Oh yeah and now I will for sure be taking my own timeouts……good point to the kids too. Lets them know that everyone has to take timeout sometimes…allows them to see the point of this exercise its not just another punishment, but instead a way to to teach you to make better decisions and clear you mind of anger or whatever the feeling is at the time. Whew im sooo gonna do this!
And also the saying of ” My child is Not giving me a hard time. My child is a HAVING a hard time” never heard that until now and I will never forget that. In fact im making me and my sisters a cute sign to remind us of that. Loving this blog!
My tips for dealing with mommy anger:
-Stop thinking in absolutes: replace “need to” “have to” “ought to” to “it would be nice if”. This helps reduce ridge thinking and allows flexibility for those “off days”.
-Allow margin for error. Ward off Murphy’s Law by providing some room/time for finding the missing shoe or homework assignment that didn’t make it back in the backpack
-Create & follow a routine for the whole family. We know kids benefit from a regular eating/sleeping schedule but why do we stress ourselves by late nights? We need our sleep and healthy eating habits too!
-Quiet time: turn off all of the electronics and provide the kids with quiet activities.
-R&R: Date night and time with my girl friends
-Mommy time outs: my kids are old enough that I can set the kitchen timer for 10-15 minutes and implement a “mommy time out”. This helps model/normalize taking time to recoup and regroup.
thank you for these articles. i really appreciate the honesty and always leave your blog feeling better about myself as a mum and surrounded by kindred spirits.