Picture yourself, exhausted from sleepless nights because your newborn is keeping you up, trying to soothe your baby whilst your toddler repeatedly asks you to play a game with them and also trying to prepare lunch. If you’re familiar with this situation then you may well have felt anger building inside of you slowly. Anger may also come on quickly.
In these types of circumstances even the calmest person can experience ‘mom rage’, something that most moms, dads or other parental figures are likely to recognise (this article is using the term ‘mom’ since most research has been connected on the maternal experience, it can of course apply to anyone of any gender in a parenting role).
Mom rage isn’t a psychological diagnosis like anxiety or depression (although it can sometimes be the result of an underlying condition such as postnatal depression, if in doubt please check with your doctor). It refers to the often intense anger, rage or frustration that parents or parent figures can feel when caring for children.
What are the symptoms of mom rage?
People experience mom rage differently, but it often feels extreme or even out of control. Mom rage can lead to a parent feeling that they’re about to ‘explode’. It might also lead to actual outbursts. Parents experiencing mom rage may be irritable, snap at others and even shout at their children or partner. The trigger can seem to be something seemingly trivial, but it leads to an intense reaction, often due to a chronic feeling of stress that persists under the surface.
What causes mom rage?
Various factors can lead a parent to experience anger, rage and frustration. Some common causes, often found in combination, include:
Lack of social support
Caring for children alone can be overwhelming. If we lack access to support networks such as extended family, friends or community then we can quickly start to experience mom rage.
Having children can put a strain on even the healthiest of partnerships. When we’re experiencing problems in our relationship we can become less resilient and more easily overwhelmed.
Being a parent often strains our finances, child rearing and childcare is expensive. When we’re stressed about money it’s more likely we’ll feel stressed about other things too.
Most parents are familiar with sleepless nights. Lack of sleep has psychological consequences in terms of making us less equipped to deal with our emotions. Tiredness can be a big factor in mom rage.
Feeling generally overwhelmed and stressed
The more overwhelmed and stressed we feel, the less able we are to take a step back from our experiences. Mom rage often occurs due to us feeling that we’re being spread too thin.
What are the effects of mom rage?
Although mom rage is very common it can have devastating effects for ourself, our partner, and our children. Mom rage often leaves us feeling shameful and guilty. We might blame ourselves for being a ‘bad mom’. Or we might even feel that we don’t recognise ourselves at all. Mom rage can also create a vicious cycle whereby we feel overwhelmed leading to mom rage, which makes us feel even more stressed and therefore more likely to experience mom rage. This cycle can continue until we take steps to break it.
If you’re experiencing mom rage it’s important to be kind to yourself. Mom rage is very common and it’s unlikely to have long lasting effects for yourself, your partner or your children. The key to minimising the harm that mom rage can cause is to notice it as soon as you can and to seek effective treatment options.
What treatment options are available for mom rage?
The good news is that there are various treatment optinos for mom rage, ranging from self-care to professional support. If you’re experiencing mom rage, there are a few ideas that you can try:
Meeting your needs
Mom rage can be a sign that our needs are being overlooked. Parents often prioritise the needs of their children and families and have little time for themselves. However, if we’re starting to feel overwhelmed it’s vital that we become mindful of meeting our own needs, at least the basic ones.
Examine your lifestyle and assess whether you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising regularly and getting some downtime to do things you enjoy. If any of these needs aren’t met then talk with your partner or support network about how you can create time to look after yourself more. Don’t be afraid to tell family and friends that you’re struggling and ask for help, parenting is difficult and we all need support sometimes.
Spend time exploring areas of your life such as your support network, your relationship and your finances. If any of these areas are a significant source of stress then put in a plan to resolve them. If you’re lacking in a support network then you could join a local parenting group. Couple counselling can be good for relationship issues. If your finances are a problem then seeking support with these from a professional organisation can help.
Managing your stress
If you’ve met your basic and social needs but you’re still experiencing mom rage, then it can help to learn some strategies for managing stress. Different people respond to different methods of stress management but some ideas to try are techniques such as: spending time in nature; meditation; yoga; reading a good book; laughing out loud; singing to your favourite songs; watching a film you enjoy; dancing (even around the house!); going for a walk; and spending time with friends. All of these strategies help to reduce our stress levels and increase our resilience.
Simple breathing techniques can also help us to manage stress and feel less overwhelmed. One popular breathing technique is called ‘box breathing’. To practice this method, take a quick timeout, for instance in the bathroom. Then breathe in slowly for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, breathe out slowly for the count of 4, and hold for the count of 4. Repeat this exercise 4 times.
How can Online-Therapy.com help?
If you’ve tried these ideas and you’re still struggling with mom rage, then Online-Therapy.com can help! By signing up to our program you will choose a therapist who will work with you to explore mom rage in more depth and find solutions to help you find your calm again.
At Online-Therapy.com we offer an integrated and holistic package to support your well-being. Our approach includes regular sessions with your chosen therapist, unlimited messaging and worksheet support, journaling and yoga. This ongoing support means that you have the daily expert guidance you need to make progress and overcome mom rage for good.
We’re here to help you get happier NOW!
Your therapist is ready to start the journey with you today. So what are you waiting for?