Growing up I held most of my emotions inside. My daddy was an alcoholic and he drowned his emotions in beer and vodka. My mom screamed and yelled whatever she was feeling whenever she wanted to. My brother had a serious and dangerous anger management problem and was prone to blowing up for no reason at all. Little me was told that I was too young to be angry or upset. My emotions weren’t really important to anyone.
Throughout my late childhood and early teens I became really quiet. Quiet on the outside but screaming and raging on the inside. No one really worried about me and I slowly sank into a deep depression and even considered suicide at one point. Praise to my Father I am no longer clinically depressed or suicidal but I do still struggle with my emotions.
I would love to tell you that I had it all together by the time I became a mom, but I didn’t. I was a single, working mom to my first baby and a single mom and full time law student when my second little guy arrived. I was exhausted, stressed and barely getting through the day. Add to that a crumbling marriage and both my nanny and daddy battling cancer and I felt on the verge of a breakdown daily.
My oldest son has serious mood swings. He is either in rage, fine or hysterically crying without warning. Much of this is because of his spectrum disorders. And some of it he gets from his momma! Growing up in a home where Mt. Momma erupts on a daily basis is bound to create children that explode as well.
One day I realized that if I wanted my children to have control over their emotions that I had to lead by example. It was time for me to stop blowing up like a volcano and to get control of my emotions. How did I do that? I’m going to share a few things that have really helped me:
- Dealt with my Mommy Anger: It took me a while to really that I struggled with Mommy Anger. I read a book called, “She’s Gonna Blow” and it was like looking into a mirror. It was a hard and emotional read for me but it was something that I needed to address.
- Treating myself like my children: I told my boys when they were cranky that they were either dirty, thirsty, hungry or tired. If I was extremely cranky during the day I would go potty, get a drink of water, have a snack and/or take a nap. Sometimes taking a nap meant letting the boys watch a movie in the middle of the day but I had to let go of any guilt about that. Even today if I’m a little short tempered my oldest son will suggest that maybe I should go rest for a bit.
- I started journaling: A lot of my emotional roller coaster rides stemmed from never learning to talk about what I was feeling throughout the day. So I started writing it all out when I could get minute to myself.
- Prayer and Bible Study: I spent many nights reading scriptures about anger and frustration. I would cry out to God about how angry I was about whatever happened that day.
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. I have had to learn to stop and think before I react so that I’m not screaming at my children all day long. I have seen a big change in my children as I have learned to control emotions and we have a much more peaceful home for it!