Mum Rage refers to the overwhelming feelings of anger, frustration, and irritability that mothers sometimes experience, often triggered by everyday situations.
It can manifest as explosive outbursts, verbal or physical. Or it can be an underlying simmering anger that lingers beneath the surface, perhaps resulting in passive aggressiveness or tears over the smallest of things. This rage can leave mothers feeling guilty, ashamed, and questioning both their relationship with their partner and their parenting abilities. Understanding where it comes from can be the first step in reducing it.
Every mum is unique in what leads to this anger and so some of the origins outlined below may feel more relevant than others. Some of them may sit close to home and could be difficult to read in black and white.
I invite you to see how each one sits with you and explore what they mean to you.
Our own upbringing
1. As kids we internalise what we observe
If you grew up in an environment where anger was frequently expressed or used as a primary means of communication, you may unconsciously adopt similar patterns in your own communication. This can make you more prone to anger when faced with challenging situations so if you are overwhelmed, for example your child is clinging on to you when you’re already touched out and stressed, you’re more likely to respond with anger.
2. Unresolved Childhood Trauma:
If you experienced adverse events or trauma during your own childhood, it can significantly impact your emotional regulation as an adult. Unresolved trauma can mean that the challenges and stressors you experience as a mother can trigger intense emotions, often anger. So if you were managing your emotions before motherhood but now you find yourself losing control, that is completely understandable.
3. Inadequate Coping Strategies:
Parents play a crucial role in teaching their children how to navigate and regulate emotions. If your parents struggled to meet your emotional needs or as a child you felt your emotions were too much or wrong, you might find it difficult to regulate your own emotions. This means anger can become a default response, particularly if you also experienced one or both of the points above. It could also mean you struggle to find the balance between asserting boundaries and fostering connection with your own children.
Sleep deprivation can result in reduced concentration, slower thinking, and mood changes. If you have a young child, you might be up in the small hours on a regular basis. This, coupled with balancing the needs of children, household chores, work, and personal aspirations can lead to stress which further affects sleep. This can disrupt emotional stability and amplify feelings of frustration and anger.
2. Lack of Support
Limited social support can exacerbate feelings of isolation and frustration for mothers. Without adequate assistance, the weight of the responsibilities can become overwhelming, intensifying rage. It’s a well known saying that “raising children takes a village”. Less well known is that society is no longer set up to provide that village. If you’re struggling with a lack of support, you’re likely to feel more overwhelmed and that is likely to result in frustration and resentment, which are both linked to anger.
3. Unrealistic Expectations
Societal expectations of being a "perfect" mother can place immense pressure on women. We live in a world where we are constantly viewing snapshots of other mums lives that are often staged and unrealistic. We don’t see the mess, the chaos, the tears. This can lead to internalised pressure to meet these expectations and, when coupled with the challenges of daily life, can give rise to Mum Rage when these ideals are unattainable.
Feeling angry, and experiencing the emotions that come when the anger subsides, can be hard and it takes its toll. You might feel mentally and physically exhausted and run down or you might be running on stress hormones which can keep you going in the short term but have detrimental effects in the long term.
Reading some of the origins of anger here, may also have brought up a lot of emotions. Maybe it got you thinking about how your actions impact your own children or perhaps the memories of your own childhood feel a lot right now. If that’s the case, talk to someone. Anger isn’t as uncommon as you think, it’s just not talked about a lot. It’s a strong likelihood that if you talk to another mum, they have their own experiences of anger.
Watch out for my next blog on how to reduce your anger too.
Claire Judd is a fully qualified counsellor in Harrogate, working with overwhelmed mums. If you’re struggling, get in touch for a free 15 min call to find out how we can work together. You can book this online here: https://www.clairejudd.co.uk/contact and can find out more about counselling with me here: www.clairejudd.co.uk.