Parenting with Delayed Anger
“I never thought I was an angry person, until I had kids” I’m talking about losing-my-patience ‘yelling’ type angry.
Parenting anger is an emotion that is strong enough to override all other emotions.
When mom has been super patient with her kids, but repeatedly correcting them, the frustrations builds knowing that your child can accomplish the task or understands the question that you are asking them. But they refuse to answer the way mom would like them to answer. What happens next?! Mom’s ticking time bomb of contained anger explodes and the yelling ensues. Mom is like the force of a train. That yelling rant cannot be stopped until she has said all that she has been wanting to say all day long.
— I call this “Delayed Anger”
Delayed Anger is that anger that you feel;
when driving the kids in the van and you tell them to settle down for the umpteenth time, the anger slowly rises. But you, the calm and cool mom that NEVER loses her cool pushes it back down, telling yourself — “I can handle this.”
Delayed Anger is coming…
when the day is winding down and you have told your beautiful, now whining tried and throw-a-tantrum-on-a-dime children to “Clean up these toys” – all days. The toys are STILL all over the floor and you just killed your foot on another Lego piece. You take a deep breath and tell yourself “I can handle these beautiful little monsters.”
Delayed Anger is coming…
when you’ve miraculously brought together a home cooked supper and had it hot on the table on time. But during supper time – the only one who appreciates your well thought out, wholesome kids meal, is your husband. You listen to the complaining while you try to enjoy your meal. “I’ve got this” you tell yourself.
Delayed Anger is coming…
Then it happens —
One little thing —
Kids arguing about a toy or tattling on their siblings or one more punch thrown in the van or one more bucket of toys dumped all over the living room floor.
Erupt Mount Mom!
Words you NEVER meant to say to your children spill out of your mouth and you can’t stop the lecture. Even if they are rated G. Guilt rises fast to the surface right behind the blood boiling in your veins —- making the entire situation that much worse as the reaction is unstoppable because you feel bad, for having such a reaction.
Time-outs and undo privileges are taken away from kids without thought to carrying them out. Idle threats that you don’t mean undermine your already precarious position.
Kids are sent to their rooms. Loud, fast, and volatile; has now taken over the atmosphere of your home.
The “good day” just was RIP because Delayed Anger kicked it right out the window. Stealing the peace of the home that mom tried so hard to create all day long.
And don’t forget the tears. From you, the kids, from you again as the whole story spills out onto your hubby when he gets home from work.
Delayed Anger sucks!
Delayed Anger kicks in at the worst possible moment!
Delayed Anger can be so delayed that you don’t understand why you are SO angry about this small thing that your child has done.
I’ve had a day like this recently.
I was tried. And driving a mini van filled with kids home from school. The wrestling, the teasing, the unnecessary hyper attitude of the kids in the back filled the van. I felt my blood pressure rising. But I was tired. “Kids calm down back there” “Stop punching each other.” “Fold your hands across your lap” “Behave yourself back there” were all lines that I hurtled to the back seat, but landed with a dull thud, because I was tried, and I wasn’t going to do anything to back up my words.
… because I was too tired — the kids figured that one out fast and kept horsing around.
I drove as fast as I could home, hoping that would end the insanity!
Slighty wrong about that.
Unfortunately I didn’t even make it to bedtime.
I had turned on their favorite show hoping that would settled them down. And it did. After the show they we’re eating their bedtime snack and I was multitasking super mom, finishing up my emails at the same time. The whining about the snack and two talking to me at once, while I was trying to finish my “very important email”, caused the Eruption of Mount Mom to go off like a rocket.
I’ll be honest here.
I yelled my head off.
Giving lectures about the gratefulness of food and the art of letting on child tattle first before the other one jumped in the tattling. The whole time I gave my lecture — it was LOUD! After I was through “talking” I was breathing hard, like I had just gone out for a jog, and my blood was pounding, I was eyeballing my now silent flock of kids looking for a wrong eye tick to “lecture” them some more. I was on a roll.
They were now upset and I was now upset and I had to now tuck upset kids into bed!
The tears came. I cried — why did I lose my cool AGAIN!? I had been trying so hard NOT to lose it anymore – like never lose my temper again!
The kids cried — it was bedtime. They could now fall asleep with their last thought being of Mount Mom erupting!
As I tried to process later what had happened to set me off so bad, the thought occurred to me — I was angry at the bad behavior earlier in the day in the van ride home. I was angry at the lack of listening after when we got home. I was angry at the whining supper. The tired, the multitasking, the angry — caused this perfect storm and perfect validating excuse for me to lose it.
Oh the guilt!
It was MY fault!
NOT my kids fault that I lost it!
If I had pulled over and dealt with the problematic behavior right there in the van even though I was tired — I would have saved myself an arm and a leg and a heart and a mountain of anger exploding and raining down on my kids.
If I had dealt with the little things — the little things would have NEVER added up to a mountain.
Guilty, so guilty that my Delayed anger got me!
I was so mad at myself for letting things get so bad.
Well, fast forward to the next day.
A lot of the same went down.
I pulled that van over so fast! I was still angry at their terrible van behavior. But I used my anger by taking action. Pull van safely over. Put it in park. Turn around and tell the instigator I expect better van behavior! Look them in the eye and ask for a repeat or understanding of what is expected. Face forward. Take a deep breath. Release all the anger. Drive safely home. No yelling.
Just a mom that means what she says today.
This happened a few more times that evening. I like to think of it as kids testing to see how far they can go. I didn’t rule them with an iron fist, but when a situation came up that day I jumped quickly on it and dosed it as fast as I could.
The little anger is VERY manageable.
No tears. (did I mention that?!)
Just the right amount of emotion to drive my action (get me out of tired) and get me to proactively dismantle my Delayed Anger.
Take heart Busy Mom, and try to avoid the awesome Eruption of Mount Mom BECAUSE of your Delayed Anger. Sure, each day is not perfect. But remember — it’s all about imperfect progress. I’m right there with you!
Extra ANGER reading resources.
I love the resources that other mom bloggers have put out there for us. (I’m NOT affiliated with these ladies — I just LOVE their work and needed to share!)
Amanda — Mommy Blogger over at “Dirt & Boogers” has lots of posts about mom anger click here to read some of her writing. She gets it. She also produced the “Stop Yelling Handbook” Click here to check that one out!
I also love this blog post that Mom Blogger Lisa-Jo Baker put out there on her blog “Surprised by Motherhood.” Click here to read what she did with her anger.