One of my biggest failings and regrets as a younger mom was my anger. After years of bottling up the anger and stress of a failed marriage and nasty divorce, I began taking my anger out on my two young kids. My oldest, my daughter Grace, from my first marriage, in particular.
Mornings before work and school were the worst. The “volcano hours”. Getting little ones ready in the morning can be challenging enough, but add on top of that the pressures of going to an unfulfilling job, worries about finances and other adult responsibilities, and all the other tasks that compete for our time and attention, as well as unresolved anger, and it was a recipe for disaster.
My anger came out in the form of impatience, harsh words, unrealistic expectations, demands, and behavior becoming of a drill sergeant.
I can’t tell you how many mornings my daughter went to school crying and I went to work fuming. It broke my heart seeing how I was breaking her little spirit, but I seemed to have a fresh supply of anger waiting each morning. How could this be? I loved my kids more than anything, but for some reason, I erupted all over them.
My husband firmly and lovingly leveled with me one day. I don’t remember our conversation word for word, but he told me that if I didn’t get the help I needed to process through and heal from my wounds, I would continue to hurt our children, our marriage, and run the risk of losing a relationship with my children completely. His words were the wakeup call I needed, and I couldn’t allow that to happen.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “death and life are in the power of the tongue”, and my harsh words and critical temper were poisoning my relationship with my kids.
I was ill equipped, filled with bitterness, and trying to live my life and be a wife and mother out of my own strength, not God’s. No wonder I struggled so much!
With help from a Christian counselor, Scripture, prayer, and hard, ongoing work, I learned to fully surrender my anger to God and forgive myself. I also found ways to prepare and organize my kids and me for our morning routine, which included identifying ahead of time any potential “landmines” that could disrupt the peace.
It’s been a long, hard road, but with God, all things are possible.
If you are struggling with anger, please take steps today towards healing and restoration. I’m praying for you and cheering you on.
Erin Bishop is a writer, speaker, and Founder and Executive Director of the Whatever Girls Ministry. The Whatever Girls purpose is to empower girls, support moms, and inspire dads. Erin founded Whatever Girls as a preemptive strike for her daughter and her friends who were about to go to middle school, and was designed to encourage and equip teen girls and their moms as they navigated through their teen years. In Whatever Girls group meetings, mothers and daughters grow in their faith through Bible study, topical curriculum, talking about peer pressure, and girls are given strategies to pre-decide how to handle different scenarios when faced with peer pressure. Erin and her husband, Roger, their teenage son, Luke, and corgi puppy, Krypto, live in Eastern Washington. Their grown daughter, Grace, and son in law, Ryan, live in Western Washington. For more information about Erin and Whatever Girls visit: www.thewhatevergirls.com
The Life of a Single Mom is a national organization headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that focuses on seeing no single mom walk alone. The organization serves more than 50,000 single mothers annually from around the United States and more than 2,000 in Greater Baton Rouge through their support group network, outreach event, educational classes, online communities, and more. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.