Nobody wants an angry mother. And I certainly don’t want to be an angry mother either.
The guilt that accompanies my feelings of frustration and anger sometimes seems too much to bear. Sometimes, I question if maybe I’m not quite cut out for motherhood. I often wonder if my kids would be better off with someone who doesn’t have something as typical as a kid not being able to find their shoe send them into a spiral of frustration that leads to angry words, and hastily voiced emotions, and anger.
I wish I didn’t have to apologize for being angry and beg forgiveness from the people who mean the most to me in this world.
I wonder what it’s like to be relaxed and calm and not have the fact that I have to cook every night send me into an angry mess of self-loathing and overreacting to every little thing.
Anxiety isn’t all about stress and panic attacks. For me, it’s often about being so stressed from all my responsibilities that I can’t see straight, and the result is cold, angry, bitter words, and a lot of I’m-sorrys.
An angry, anxious person often wakes up at 4 a.m. with a checklist running through their mind when they should be sleeping, which leaves them feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by a full day of mothering that lies ahead. Fatigue makes me mad, and I worry that I spend my whole day pissed off at the world for no real reason except for my own anxiety.
As a child, I lived in a home that often left me feeling uneasy and on edge. That’s the last thing I want for my kids. I want them to know that their mother is a landing place, and that I’m understanding, and that a spilled bowl of cereal won’t make me lash out. My heart breaks as I see my children look to me, pleading for me to not fly off the handle when they make a little mistake. It’s heartbreaking to see them worried about my anger.
It’s heartbreaking to even have to acknowledge that this is a reality in our house.
I wish I could explain that I want so much to give them the world — and that fact alone makes me stressed-out, anxious, and overwhelmed. Those little kids of mine deserve the best. They deserve a mother who doesn’t get angry over spilled milk, who doesn’t need therapy and medication to get through a typical day with a toddler.
But one thing I’ve realized is that when you’re on the receiving end of the anxious anger, it’s hard to do what is often needed most. If you love an angry, anxious person, often you find yourself withdrawing when they’re angry or avoiding them entirely. And I can’t say that I blame the people in my life when they do this. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end either.
What I really want people to know is that behind the anger, there is a lot of sadness too. Sadness at not being able to control it, at hurting those whom I want to hurt the least. I really am not trying to be a jerk despite how it might seem in the moment.
And with the sadness, comes the deep desire to fix it, even though sometimes we don’t feel that we can.
But I’m doing all the right things to try to get on top of my anger, and some days are better than others. I use the tools I learned in therapy, and I take medication that takes some of the edge off. I try to be more of a yes parent, and let go of a lot of the things that trigger my anxiety.
I’ve learned to embrace saying “I’m sorry,” and recognize that there is a lot of peace to be found in owning your own truth. And my truth is that my anxiety makes me get angry and short-tempered with the people I love most. And I’m lucky enough that they are willing to forgive me over and over again. I just hope that I can learn to forgive myself too.