Thursday, March 08, 2007

Angry Mother, Bad Mother?

Posted by Anonymous.

I have become a bad mother. Not a “ha-ha bad mother” but one that you would certainly turn your shopping cart around to avoid. I rant and rave and go on and on and on about trivial crap. I swear. I stomp around. I am Angry. All. The. Time.

Well, not all the time. I am happy when I go to my class, or am creating art or going out to see live music. All of these things I am able to do more, now, than I have in a long time. But when I am NOT doing these things, I am an unbearable bitch. And since I have 3 children, I can only really do these things after they go to bed.

I feel like I was a good mother up until the birth of the third, and I just don’t have it in me to be kind to all of the people all of the time. My husband is more helpful than he has ever been, but still significantly lazy. (Not “doesn’t hold a job lazy”, but “takes a 3 hour nap 4 hours after waking up, and doing nothing if importance in the meantime” lazy).

You would think that with 3 kids I would have a handle on what I am doing, but I don’t. The older 2 are 11 and 10 and are going thru all the “tween” issues. But I haven’t found a “What to expect- elementary years” book. I don’t know what responsibilities they should and should not have and I don’t know what to expect on a cognitive level. I probably expect too much, but it is also met with eye rolling and sassy attitudes. I am lost.

I do know this with the 2 year old. The issue with him, is that he has an audience with the older ones, so all the behaviors that I should “just ignore, and will go away for lack of attention”, don’t go away, but get a laugh instead.

And I have no consistency in my parenting because I am so very outnumbered that things may or may not get disciplined, depending how much I have on my plate.

I know that others have it worse. I can recognize all the wonderful things I have in my life. I take anti-depressants and I exercise (not as much as I should, but they recognize my face at the gym). I love my part-time job. I don’t have cancer…there are so many blessings that I can see, but I don’t know how to stop being so ANGRY.

Does anyone have any similar experiences or advice??

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't have advice, only sympathy. I had a line from a song stuck in my head all week that went "I don't want to feel this overwhelming hostility". Because I don't. But I don't know how to get rid of it either.

You sound like your anger comes from a similar place to mine: a combination of wishing other people would pull their bloody weight, and a hidden worry that in some way we're not pulling our own. And also we don't have enough time alone to really figure out a solution, so we're always playing catch-up.

I hope you can find some alone time, whether you spend it on some heavy weights or a light novel or a walk in the woods.

flutter said...

You need some alone time, stat. Don't feel bad about this, it is natural to feel overhwlmed. Get away for wyourself a few times a week and just be you, not mom.

Anonymous said...

I don't have older kids; I have a two year old but kids age 10 and 11 are old enough to be home alone in most states. If this is true, can they be more involved with helping babysit the two year old? You could get away for the whole weekend with dad supervising. Your older kids might not laugh so hard when they have to clean up your little one's messes or deal with his tantrums themselves.
At least you should be able to get away for 1 afternoon on the weekend.
I am actually raising my 2 year old on my own while working full time and I understand desperately the need for ME time.

Anonymous said...

I have found lately that my 10 yr old reminds me of all the laziness and easily distractedness that annoys me in her father.

I have been overly harsh and hard on her. Recognizing I was lashing out at her with my frustrations for him has helped me stop.

You do need some alone time...but take some of that time to think over what you are allowing to trigger the anger. Sometimes recognizing it can help control it.

Anonymous said...

You don't mention how you're sleeping. For me, the equation is pretty simple: chronic lack of sleep + anything = constant anger. If you're sleep-deprived, do not mistake the way you are right now for who you really are.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know I wasn't the only one feeling this way. I'm getting help from therapy to work through my feelings, and on 'drugs' too. I agree with the others that sleep deprivation and not enough time for yourself are key, at least they are for me. I find it so difficult to be self aware enough to identify what the issues are...thank goodness for therapy.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone gets angry at some time in life. It doesn't make you a bad mother--it makes you an overly stressed and cranky mother.

I too am angry, and I only have a toddler!

It sounds as if you are hard on yourself--don't be. Do what you can do. Pick a few unbreakable rules and let the rest go.

Give yourself a break.

April Brewer said...

I'm not one to hand out adivce normally, but I'd be happy to give you some tips if you would like to read. This might be a long post, so others may want to skip over. I'm a single mom of 2 (13 and 11) and live with my boyfriend and his 12 y/o. So I've been and currently am still in the tween years. I work a full time job (40+ hours a week) and b/f owns his own business, so we've had to make some serious adjustments as the kids got older. One thing to look into is when your 11 year old (hopefully a girl as they mature faster!) becomes 12, a lot of hospitals offer babysitting courses. I sent my daughter to this, not to learn how to babysit necessarily, but to know the proper thing to do in an emergency. They also gave her certification paperwork, so this handles the law part (are they old enough to be home alone?) This allows us to not have to pay for after school daycare. We also created a list of rules which are posted in numerous places in the house. Simple things that we as grown ups remember, but children have a hard time focusing on. Like no snacks after 5 and homework and chores are to be done first thing when you get home from school. The we devised a "chore plan". Ours has 4 groups of chores (A, B, C, D). Each week we rotate so that no one is stuck with the bad chores and no ones gets all the "good" chores (as they put it.). Each child does one group and me and b/f do the other group. That way everyone pitches in. They are children, and they don't always do as good of a job as you would, but the rotation allows you to get the spots/areas they miss. Sometimes they do a really bad job, when that happens, they have to do chores every day that week. A few times of that and they will do their chores right the first time. Another thing I found was keeping up on laundry was a huge challenge. We've now assigned laundry days. Each child does their own laundry on their day. There are guidelines posted downstairs by the washer and dryer for them to use. If you miss your laundry day, tough, you wear dirty clothes. This only happened once as well. Hard lesson learned. I have a few more ideas and thoughts too. The most important is you HAVE to be consistant with your rules and punishments. We've learned it's more inconvenient for us when they are grounded, because we don't get a break, but it's a price you have to pay if you want them to learn to listen to what you say. Don't get me wrong, my children are hardly angels. To give you an example, one day they were out of school.. they did their chores etc, and one of them came up with the great idea that if they put baby oil on the kitchen floor they could slide around on it. Long story short, they all did their chores for free that week as I kept their allowance to pay for paint to paint over the soaked in oil on the back of the bar. If you want any of my lists of rules or chores to use as a guideline, feel free to email me. twiprogrammer at yahoo dot come.
April

slouching mom said...

I am quick to get angry with my boys. I have always been impatient and short-tempered. But I have tried very hard not to inflict these traits on my children. So if I feel myself going from 0-100 (on the anger scale) unnecessarily, I do my best to stop myself, even mid-sentence, leave the room for a moment, and slowly count to 10. It's the same thing I have my kids do when they're headed for a tantrum.

It seems pretty stupid, I know, but it has worked for me.

leahpeah said...

the baby/toddler years are very covered but there really isn't enough info for parents of older kids. modeling how i want them to treat each other is what works for me. but that takes loads of patience which you only have when you are taking good care of yourself. and, unfortunately, no two people are the same when it comes to getting their needs met so there is no way for me or anyone to tell you exactly how to do that. if you need more alone time, then figure out a way to get it. because no one can know what you need if you don't figure it out and ask for and take it. good luck. xo

Anonymous said...

I, too, find myself being angry all the time with my 13 year old daughter. It is either that or I am being that distant mom who only speaks to give directions. I hate it, but sometimes I feel I can't stop it. She and I are going to start therapy, not because she has any huge behavior problem, but because we can't seem to talk to each other. Now, it is different with my 4yo son. I find myself less angry with him, but when I do, it is about my anger with his father. I have gotten a lot better at identifying that and talking it out with my husband rather than taking it out verbally on my kid.

No, not much advice here, just empathy. You are not the only one. Thank you for your post.

Jozet said...

Check out the Faber and Mazlish books: "How To Talk so Kids Will Listen..." and their "How to Talk to Teens" book. I sorta made a joke about them in my last blog post, but honestly they are THE BEST BOOKS on discipline with respect and handing over responsibilities to your children. Parenting with natural and logical consequences instead of your being the dictator in the house.

That said, I'd try to implement any change in discipline or routine in small doses. It takes, what?, 2 weeks for a new habit to form, and of course, even with good change there is a bit of testing to see if it's for real.

Other than that, yes. I hear you on the "my time is only after midnight". It's getting better, but...sigh.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to go on strike and your husband needs to start pulling some of his own weight.

It sounds like you've carried everybody for at least 12 years and now the family needs have a family meeting and to be reorganized to work like a team, Dad included.

The older ones are old enough to understand that they shouldn't be encouraging the little one's antics. You can have separate conversatons with them about taking the lead on certain things and setting a good example.

Anonymous said...

For the last comment...strike does more harm than good. Trust me, I have tried it. It just opens a big can of "who makes the money" worms and then NOTHING gets solved! And for the conversations with the older ones...part of the problem is that I have explained about setting good examples etc. This is why I am now angry...my words have gone unheard and I am now droning on to hear myself.

Thank You for all your suggestions and sympathy! I am putting the tips into action, and it is nice to know that I am not alone...and not selfish to carve time out for me. (As much as THEY would like me to believe that I am).

Amanda said...

I have 3 boys at home, one by birth 2 by "inheritance" and I feel like I've become a bad mother to them all

Where I used to have routine and rules they are not being upheld by the babysitter (my inherited children's grandmother) and I'm left to establish them all over again EVERYDAMN DAY, and feel like my evenings are spent yelling just to be heard...and even then I'm ignored. My kids are 10, 7 and 5, and none of them are deaf.

They and I are spending more time in our rooms thinking about the importance of listening...or cooling down

I love them I really do, but I'm so tired of it, and I'm tired of people running ripshod over me because I'm not the "mother" of the younger 2. Their "Mother" doesn't call on a regular basis, lives halfway across the country and has never paid a dime of child support....so I'm mom in that aspect, and if Grandma and Grandpa have plans and I ask them to watch the kids for me to sing in choir, I'm mum, but in everything else....no, and the boy's father, as much as I love him is a passive idiot when it comes to his parents and doesn't see the problem and why I feel so put out....

So don't feel bad, it's a universal thing that a mother is invisible, and you need that time to yourself to maintain your sanity..

Anonymous said...

i have the same problem...a very short fuse...totally modeling exactly the behavior I do not want my kids to have...it's really awful...I have mostly great stretches but every once in a while I even scare myself with my inability to get a grip and chill out....I am usually great at making up with the kids, but I'd rather not lose it in the first place...I have a 15 month old who is great, but has a loud screech! and a 6 and 7 year old who share a small room and get into spats plenty often...

julie said...

It is the HARDEST and most
UNAPPRECIATED job in the world, being a mother, and the most ridiculous thing about it is that
the better you are at it the quicker you get FIRED. How's that for motivation and incentive? It is the most emotionally draining thing in the world. PLEASe dont be so hard on yourself. I am sure you are way better than you think you
are.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!
I found your entry when I googled 'angry mother'. That is who I've become.
I am at peace with finding other mother's just like me. Not that it makes it okay, only now I don't feel so alone.
I am also a mother of 3, ages 11, 8 and 1. And I, too, coped very well with the first two children. The past year has been extremely difficult. I had postpartum depression, a baby with acid reflux who cried for 7 months, 14 hours a day. We made a big move to a new place, my husband works away and has been gone for the better part of a year.
Lately I find myself lashing out at the kids, when they fight, when the are loud, when they do anything that doesn't fit in with my order and structure.
I don't have the ability to take a 'time out' at this point because of childcare, as I said-we just moved here and I have no suitable caregivers.
Thanks again for reaching out.
We are not alone.

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I have ever posted a comment on anything...reading your admissions of anger and frustration and knowing that I am not alone made me feel much better than all the advice that also came up with this google. Thank you for your honesty. I, too, try to remember all I have to be thankful for which is a lot, but often it only makes me feel more guilty for my feelings of anger. I am setting a bad example for my one and three year olds and yet I continue with the same behavior that I reprimand them for. Of course I need more sleep, exercise, me-time and support--what mother doesn't? All we can do is forgive ourselves and try harder the next day. I'm not succeeding yet, but I haven't given up either. Thank you all again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this, and all the comments- I too found this when googling "angry mother". I am beside myself right now with anger, frustration, guilt, etc.... but am relieved (and yet sorrowed) to read that at least I am not alone. I think anger is the dirty secret among moms these days.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone. I have just 2 kids and they go to school for 3 hours. I work part-time from home and take care of most of the household things. But somehow i just dont have patience to do anything with my kids.....i feel sad for them....i quit my FT job just to be with them and now i am bored if i have to play with them. Earlier i used to live in an apartment where the kids had company , now in the new area, not too many kids around....so they are left alone and end up watching TV which i hate....i dont know what all to play with them.....elder one is busy with her classes and younger is the most affected with no play at all.....he has lost interest in playing also....he stays home most time playing with animals and cooking sets....

Anonymous said...

I'm going through the same thing and having a very hard time identifying who I am any more without being called "mom" every 2 mins. I have a 12 yr old daughter, with lots of attitude and a 4 yr old son who climbs the walls. I am not easily heard within my own household and find myself competing with the kids yelling, dog barking, and tv blaring. I'm a soft spoken person and it takes a lot for me to yell, which I find myself doing all the time because no one is listening. Because of this I have headaches everyday and often wish they would all just leave me alone. I am not the most patient person in the world and it may be that Im an only child and new to the sibiling rivelry that seems to be going on in myvhouse, but it drives me crazy! I don't like the person Ive become, being angry like this, and it's been too long since Ive had a vacation, or "me time". My husband sees that Im going through something but doesn't understand any of it, no clue. Not to mention I work from home and have no social life what so ever, so Im ALWAYS home. I've become angry and resentful at EVERYONE for my situation: my kids, my husband, the guy at the bank, everyone! I'm afraid my kids will learn this behavior. I don't want my kids to remember me as an unhappy tyrant. I'm relieved to hear Im not the only one in this situation. But Im truely lost and don't know how to feel better.

Anonymous said...

Dear angry bad mother,

I happen to think you are the best mother I have ever known. The day to day situation may be taking it's toll on you - but there isn't a more patient, understanding and loving parent in the world. You are a healer, a confidante and able to give guidance without judgement and a quiet calm when it is needed the most. Your children adore you. You teach by example. Yes, your household is loud, and there is a freedom of expression and creativity. It feels good to them to have that free spirit and everyone wants your attention at the same time.

Your partner knows how to take care of himself. He finds the balance he needs to be participatory and involved and still maintain his independence and self identity. You resent him for this because you haven't given yourself permission to find your own balance. You've convinced yourself that if you were to be good to yourself your family would 'pay the price' so you feel guilty....guilty, bad and angry.

So now your feelings are validated. The are others just like you, struggling to be perfect, good and happy mothers. Their combined wisdom is that you are worthy of some frequent, personal time to maintain the essence of who you are. Because that's the person who created the love that became the people who share your heart.

Be good to yourself and everyone will benefit.

Love,
Mom

Anonymous said...

Our family is in a struggle as well. My husband works 7 days a week most weeks and is too tired to help when he gets home. Yet money is still tight, by tight I mean poverty level. I am not getting enough sleep and I am trying to just get through the day of cleaning and maintaining which is difficult because I have excema on my hands. By the time the kids are in bed I am exhausted and can't finish even 1 page of my book before dozing off. My husband is critical of me and my son at age 9 is also. I lose my temper. I often feel unheard and angry. During the day my son picks at me and then when my husband comes home its him. Even when I tell my son stop stop stop you are driving me crazy I can't take it anymore he continues or moves on to arguing with his sister. If I say go to your room he won't if I go to my room he will come in. There is no me time for me, and I am not sure how to get it. I sometimes feel like these kids would be better off with out me. I love them so much and dream of the life I want to have with them but just don't know how to get it. It is hard to admit being an angry mother to other Moms that I know in person though and so Thank you for writing this post for everyone to see.

Jennet said...

Thank you, a thousand times, thank you. I love my 3 sons dearly, but every day I find myself yelling at them over trivial things. I am the kind of mother I used to look down on. I hate the things that come out of my mouth. I fear that I am damaging them emotionally. And yet I don't stop. I need help, but at least now I am finding that I am not alone.

hoping said...

I am a single mum to four kids two girls 11 & 9 two boys 7 & 6. I used to be a calm mum until my marriage went bad and looking back now i started taking out my frustrations on the kids that my husband took out on me. I am at the point now where i do not like my kids very much anymore but when i sit and watch the behaviour I know exactly where they have learned it. The trouble is how to stop the round-about we are on. I know i have to make the first move but by gosh it is hard. Was thinking of either counselling or taking us all to church regularly. It is nice to know that I am not the only one.

deadlyclare said...

I have to wonder how many of us googled Angry Mother & found this! It was exactly what I needed to read today. I'm the mother of a 6 year old boy & an almost 2 year old hurricane, sorry - daughter. Alot of my attention is directed at my girl and my son has quite a pleasant nature, he's always been a 'good kid'. Which doesn't stop me from screaming at him when I'm upset/tired/hassled etc. Alot of the time.
This morning I dropped him off at school & his class had a display up of artwork they had made for Mothers Day. Cards adorned with I Love Mum, Happy Mothers Day etc etc. My son's read.... I Love You Dad.
My heart is a little bit broken but I'm sucking it up. I talked to him about it & he said he didn't want to give me a card because I always growl at him. So there is a lesson in this for me, I just have to try & find the good in it & be a little less lioness, a little more gentle?
Thanks for listening ;)

Anonymous said...

I am so ashamed to admit to anyone about my terrible behaviour towards my children. I am so scared that anyone will find out that I am writing this that I dare not even describe to situation itself! Or explain how many children, or their ages, for fear that someone will recognise the similarities. I wish I could offer advice but all the things I have tried so far have not worked for me. You are far braver than I, and I am confident that you will find a way to deal with this, since you can admit your faults and seek answers to the difficulty you face. Amazing.