I Used To Judge Angry Mothers Until I Became One Myself
By Karen Habashi
Photo © halfpoint/Envato
Aug 10, 2022
For most of my life, I have been assigned labels.
I was the talkative one. The hyperactive one. The adventurous one.
And that’s just a few.
While people may have always been quick to identify me in one way or another, I was never one thing: the angry one.
Even in the most provoking situations, I was able to keep cool and calm.
When I had my first born, I never lost my temper. Parenting felt, oddly, pretty easy.
Or so I thought.
Because I was having a fairly easy go at it, the internal judging started.
I’d question the neighbour, who would raise her voice or scream at her kids.
“Why is she so angry all the time?” I remember asking my husband.
But that breeziness I was experiencing wouldn’t last forever. And the judgments I was so quick to make stopped.
Because years later, my life turned upside down.
"It was not the life I had pictured for myself as a new mom."
And not in a comedic, well-dressed, Fresh Prince of Bel Air sort-of way.
Shortly after welcoming our twins, and juggling being a mom of three in a new country, I received a life-changing medical diagnosis.
I quickly went from a fairly easy life to dragging the twins’ stroller (with the twins), a seven-year-old and myself through the doors of countless doctors’ offices.
It was not the life I had pictured for myself as a new mom.
But life comes at you fast.
All The Rage
It wasn’t long before I saw the pity on other people’s faces.
They could see just how tired I was.
And it wasn’t the usual, I’m-a-new-mom kind of tired. It was that and more. I could seldom take my babies to Mommy and Me classes, nor was I in any capacity to schedule playdates for my eldest.
Life had become unstable for the first time in a long time, and that created anxiety.
"I chose what many people have opted to do in times of crisis: I hid my feelings."
And with that anxiety came something I could never have imagined would creep its way in: anger and rage.
Make no mistake, I wasn’t angry all of the time. But so many little things began to get under my skin.
And because these feelings were so out of character for me, I didn’t really have the tools to navigate them. And I felt lost and sad.
So instead of tackling these new feelings head-on, my anxiety began to grow. And instead of working through it, I chose what many people have opted to do in times of crisis: I hid my feelings.
The Last Straw
I’m not here to tell you that hiding your feelings or suppressing your emotions is the right move.
It may work temporarily to forget what you’re going through, but eventually, these feelings rise to the surface.
You basically turn yourself into a game of Perfection. Eventually the ticking stops, there’s a big event and you’re left with a mess to clean up.
But these are hard lessons people need to learn on their own.
I know I did.
Before school had begun, my daughter and I had a special day together. We got our hair done, and I took her for her first nail salon visit. It was a day of pampering, she chose some heart jewels for her nails and we had lunch after.
It was wonderful. Just what we both needed.
"Eventually the ticking stops, there’s a big event and you’re left with a mess to clean up."
But raising a six-year-old and twins while dealing with health issues? I was spent.
I just didn’t know quite how spent yet.
My daughter went to school and our life routines resumed. One day, she came home and told me that she had removed one of the heart jewels from her nails to give to a friend.
And I reacted.
I was upset and I shouted at her. I’m not proud of this reaction, but it was the reaction. I told her we had spent a lot of money, and she doesn’t need to give people things to please them.
She cried, and this is the first time I had caused her to cry.
I felt defeated.
That moment may sound like a small event, but in the moment it felt significant.
Seeing her cry, all I could think was: what have I done?
I didn’t know why I did that. I didn’t see her act of kindness, I just unleashed my inner monster.
It was a tough moment in the early days of parenting.
I apologized soon after, and let her know that Mommy was wrong. I wanted to show her how proud I was of her kindness, and that she was acting so selflessly. I wanted to encourage her to maintain that spirit.
It wasn’t her that needed to work on herself. It was me.
So, I went to therapy. And it’s there that I learned that my anger stems from my anxiety and all of the issues I had bottled up.
I was angry at my husband because I felt he was not helping as much.
"I’m not anger-free. Because, is anyone ever anger-free?"
I was angry because I believed he didn’t understand the emotional, physical and mental labour I was dealing with.
I was angry at myself for not being able to do the things I thought I would when I had the twins.
I was angry because I was tired. I was mentally drained, and I was running on fumes.
In therapy, we have worked on many deeper issues. My therapist also recommended a book called Mind Over Mood which helped me a lot, and medication has also made life a bit easier to handle.
I’m not anger-free. Because, is anyone ever anger-free? I have a full spectrum of emotions, but it’s how I handle them that matters most.
Learning about my mind and finding strategies was the step I needed to take. Because my family is my number one priority, and I want my kids to grow up in a healthy environment.
A home where we can talk freely without fear of judgment.
And for me that all started with one action: learning that I can’t do everything by myself.
The second I stopped being so hard on myself was the moment my healing began.
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