Photo courtesy of Robyn Landa

I Thought It Was Just Mom Rage, But It Was Something Else

By
Share
Ad failed to load

It starts when I walk through the door and see my house is a complete mess. My 3-year-old is crashing his cars into the wall and my baby is wailing. Dishes are piled in the sink, the leftover grilled cheese sandwich from my toddler’s lunch is still on the kitchen table, and little things like my baby’s pacifier and my husband’s socks are scattered everywhere. It sends me into a cleaning frenzy and then the rage sets in.

I realize I’m shaking and rush into another room to count to 10 before I start yelling.

I hear my toddler in the other room asking my husband in the background, “Where did mommy go? Is mommy mad?”

Ad failed to load

“Mommy is done,” I say to myself. Mommy wants to leave, Mommy wants to stomp out of the house and slam the front door. Mommy wants to stop being mommy for just five minutes and Mommy wants to sit alone without a body crawling on top of her.

Were there other moms out there who felt this? Who seemingly yelled at their kids sometimes for no reason at all and who spiraled out of control when things were not in order?

That’s usually how it plays out when my depression and anxiety rear its ugly head. I feel defeated and too tired to even cry.

Ad failed to load
Photo courtesy of Robyn Landa

My heart hurts because I love my family but lose my temper over and over. I know I shouldn’t feel like this but I do, and I’m terrified. Have I lost my mind? Do I have an anger problem? There are days I don’t recognize myself. Days where I wonder where my smile went. I wasn’t always this way though, it wasn’t until I had my second child when I began to realize I needed help.

My newborn was around eight weeks old but it all felt different this time around, something was off. My toddler could put his shoes on the wrong feet and I would become so angry I could spit nails. He could accidentally forget to flush the toilet and I would become hot under the collar with rage. He once asked if he could have cereal instead of waffles for breakfast and I acted like the world was ending. This is when I knew I wanted help.

Ad failed to load

A few weeks after that breakfast breakdown I had my first appointment with a therapist. I hauled my newborn with me and sat across from her on a big blue couch. She said, “Tell me, how are you today? What are you feeling?” It felt like such a loaded question because I was feeling so many ways about different things in my life. The most concerning though, was my anger. I let her lead the conversation because I felt guarded and afraid of what this might all reveal about me.

It wasn’t until the following session when I said, “I’m losing my temper about every little thing and it’s starting to scare me.” From that point on, I was an open book and 45 minutes later my therapist said, “What you’re feeling is more common than you think.”

Photo courtesy of Robyn Landa
Ad failed to load

That was my aha moment. She told me what I was feeling was normal and that my anxiety and depression were manifesting as anger. But could it be true? Were there other moms out there who felt this? Who seemingly yelled at their kids sometimes for no reason at all and who spiraled out of control when things were not in order?

Two months postpartum I was diagnosed with adjustment disorder with depression, anxiety, and a little bit of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). That was one hard pill to swallow because it meant that I had to admit to having a mental illness.

After the first few sessions I felt ready to explain my feelings to my husband. Before bed one night I said, “I’m trying to be more aware of what exactly is triggering my anger. I don’t like feeling this way.” He responded, “You’re okay, the world isn’t ending, we’ve got a roof over our heads, just smile.” That was his way of being supportive and helpful, but the positive reinforcement didn’t help, in fact, it made it worse. And although I know it’s well-intentioned, I didn’t need to be cheered up, I didn’t need to be told to smile. I just wanted someone to tell me my feelings were valid.

Ad failed to load

And I couldn’t just “shake it off,” because the chemical imbalance in my body doesn’t work that way.

I spent weeks trying to be happier, trying not to sweat the small stuff. I even let the dishes collect in the sink to test my anxiety. But that isn’t how therapy works. You’re not “cured” once you talk about your thoughts and feelings, but instead you learn how to manage those thoughts and feelings. You learn what your triggers are and you learn what you can do before that anger boils over.

Battling depression and anxiety is hard. Raising children is hard. And doing them at the same time sometimes feels impossible.
Ad failed to load

It’s been four months since that first therapy session and I’m feeling better. My husband and I are on the same page and I’ve got a set of coping mechanisms in place if I ever feel that shiver up my spine. It’s slow in the making, but I feel more equipped and able to handle that monster I call Rage. There are days when I’m like a dog with two tails and other days when I’m in a black mood, but talk therapy has allowed me to express myself to someone objectively, with no strings attached.

Photo courtesy of Robyn Landa

So, I say this to my fellow mama’s struggling with depression and anxiety, I get it. You’re dealing with a chronic mental illness with an endless cycle of ups and downs. I know that tight feeling you get in your chest and the tidal waves of emotion that overcome your body at any given moment. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how to be happy, and sometimes you feel beaten to a pulp.

Ad failed to load

Battling depression and anxiety is hard. Raising children is hard. And doing them at the same time sometimes feels impossible, but keep fighting and know that you are not alone. Somewhere out there is another mama setting down her cup of coffee, clenching her fists and counting to 10 in her head. Somewhere out there is me, and we’re in this together.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}