What to Do When You Turn Into “Angry Mom” (Again!)

We leave labor and delivery, and I climb into the backseat with our brand-new baby and tell Ryan, “She’s the best thing we’ve ever done.” And it’s true.

Fast-forward almost a decade: This time I’m in the driver’s seat while she’s in the third row arguing with her sister. Then someone spills a water bottle because they can’t find the cap. I get blamed for forgetting snacks.

The volume escalates…and so does my blood pressure.

Then Angry Mom makes her debut.


I don’t like being Angry Mom, but here’s what I’ve discovered:

I get angry for two reasons:

Because of their behavior.

Disobedience, disrespect, whining, fighting, and irresponsible behavior lead me to yell. I find myself saying phrases like, “How many times have I told you to put your shoes up so I don’t trip?” and “I’m throwing away all the Legos tomorrow if you can’t take care of them!”

Because of what’s going on in my heart.

As I reflect back on all my many angry episodes, there are four “O’s” that trigger my frustration, and they’re all issues related to my heart.

1. I feel overwhelmed.

We waited nine years to have kids because I wasn’t sure that kids were my thing. I’m not particularly patient or nurturing, so parenting is hard for me. When I feel unequipped or out of my league, I get angry.

2. I feel out-of-control.

The husband is out of town. Our oldest stepped in dog vomit. The girls squabble over who-knows-what. I lose it. When I feel frazzled by circumstances and over-stimulated by the needs around me, I yell.

3. I’m overworked.

I’m on a deadline for the blog, have a talk to practice, there are toilets to clean, and I need to leave in 10 minutes. When there’s no margin in my day, interruptions make me angry. I get annoyed when someone gets hurt and yell for quiet when the girls giggle too loudly. Can’t my people see that mama’s got stuff to do?

4. I’m owed.

Feeling owed is the soil in which my anger most easily grows. In my mind, I’m owed ample time to do all the things, a husband who gets home at 5 p.m., and a little peace and quiet. When life isn’t easy, I get mad: Why is this happening? Why can’t they behave better? Why am I the worst mom?

I know that Angry Mom isn’t who I want to be.

My response to my sinful-angry outbursts goes like this:

  • I beat myself up because I know anger doesn’t build our mother-daughter relationship.
  • I quote Scripture to my heart. Ya know, the ones about how human anger doesn’t produce the righteousness God desires (James 1:20).
    All these Scriptures just make me feel worse than I already do. Guilt ensues.
  • I apologize to the girls and God. Again.


Yet I can’t seem to control the anger as it wells up from the pit of my stomach and spews out of my mouth.

I know why I get angry and I know Angry Mom isn’t who I want to be. So what’s the next step for an Angry Mom?

I think that’s my problem: I want a step-by-step guide to tell me “If this, then that” or a 10-part webinar to teach me how to not get irrationally angry.

I want to be a perfectly-performing mama with well-behaved girls. My goal is to have calm, compliant, obedient, and respectful kids—but God has a different goal in mind.

God uses parenting to sanctify.

As Wendy Speake writes in the book Triggers, “God is more concerned with maturing us, in the fiery furnace of family life, than making sure our children are compliant and calm.” (Full Disclosure: I’m an Amazon Affiliate, which means I earn a bit of commission on each sale. But don’t worry there’s no added cost to you!)

Jill McCormick
Jill McCormick
Jill McCormick is the writer behind jillemccormick.com, a blog where she shares common-sense grace with the try-hard girl. Jill’s married to her high school sweetheart Ryan. They live in South Texas with their two daughters, born 18 months apart. Most days you’ll find her with a book in her hand or a podcast in her ears. She starts and ends everyday with sprinkles: on oatmeal for breakfast and on ice cream for dessert.

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