My heart crumbled inside as I uttered words that I never thought would escape my mouth. "Just shut up!"
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.Matthew 12:34 ESV
Mom rage is not commonly spoken about in Christian circles and that is quite a shame because it is raging a hidden war on our families and our health.
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What is Mom Rage?
Mom rage is essential a feeling of uncontrollable anger that many moms feel during pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond. The term mom rage specifically began to gain more traction during the pandemic as mothers were thrust into a position of new anxiety, pressure, and expectations.
If you explore articles about mom rage, many of them conclude that mom rage stems from unrealistic expectations that society and circumstances have placed on mothers. Maybe no other article summarizes it better than this one written by Minna Dubin from the New York Times.
In the article, she succinctly summarizes the correlation between sheltering in place and mom rage. Yet many mothers shy away from sharing their struggles because of another hot term called "mom shame."
So, we find ourselves battling with rage that we do not like yet find no escape from.
Maybe the answer lies not within a modern society's view of mom rage, but instead within the pages of an old book: the Bible.
A Biblical Response to Mom Rage
Mom rage is not a new phenomenon, although I think it is safe to say that it has surfaced at a higher degree based on the pressure mothers face in this society.
In fact, the Bible is full of Bible verses about anger. Dare I say all of them do not excuse the emotion. Mom rage is understandable, but not excusable.
The piece missing from all the articles I read without a biblical background missed this key emphasis:
Mom rage is wrong. It is sinful. It is wrong.
Do not become convinced that your anger has a foundation. There may be a reason, but there is not a foundation for your excuses.
What does the Bible say about anger in parenting?
I have never been a person to explode in anger. That is until I had my children. Just typing those words makes guilt spill over into my heart and mind. Yet it is true. When my oldest was around two years old, the 'honeymoon' phase of parenting evaporated, and I was left isolated as a working mom who has the heart of a stay-at-home mom.
I found myself exploding in anger over the most trivial things. As I exploded more, the guilt piled higher.
Are there Bible verses about anger? What does the Bible say about anger?
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.James 1:19-20
The Bible speaks directly into my parental anger. Sin brings brokenness into my life and the only cure is Jesus.
There are a lot of modern cures for mom rage or parental anger. Group therapy, counseling, meditation are all antidotes mentioned by Dubin in the New York Times article linked above.
Yet let me offer another option: repentance. This isn't to say that sometimes we need professional help. We certainly do.
Repentance is going to turn us away from ourselves, and toward the only one who can truly forgive and help our brokenness: Jesus.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV
Your guilt, or lack of it, should cause you to rest in the Gospel reality. Your sin is covered by Christ's blood. It should not cause you to take your rage lightly, but instead, spur you on to repentance and sanctification.
We will still mess up. Our brokenness is deep and our will is weak.
10 Bible Verses about Anger
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.Ephesians 4:26-27 ESV
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.James 1:19-20 ESV
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.Ephesians 6:4 ESV
Answer not a fool according to his folly,Proverbs 26:4 ESV
lest you be like him yourself.
This is a powerful verse to remember as you parent children. When that rage builds up remember that if you respond in kind to an unreasonable or disobedient child, the Bible guides us not to respond in kind as we will become just like them.
Becoming enraged at a child who is unreasonable or disobedient becomes a vicious cycle. Both of you become in the 'wrong' and perhaps even more disturbing is that we ultimately teach our children through example. What type of example are you setting for your children through your anger?
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.James 1:2-4 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
You are a new creation in Christ! Your home truly can be a place of healing instead of a destructive place.
A soft answer turns away wrath,Proverbs 15:1 ESV
A fool gives full vent to his spirit,Proverbs 29:11 ESV
but a wise man quietly holds it back.
This is another one of those convicting verses as your combat mom rage. The Bible says that when we give way to our anger, we are a 'fool'.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV
Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,Proverbs 17:27-28 ESV
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise.
Practical Help - 3 Steps for Overcoming Mom Rage
One of the most convicting verses that I have ever read that pertain to motherhood is from Proverbs 14.
The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.Proverbs 14:1 ESV
I often ask myself "Rachael are you being a wise woman who builds her home, or are you being a fool, who is tearing it down?"
Anger can tear a home down. Be that mama who builds her home instead of tearing it down. Gentleness will also allow you to enjoy your children so much more. Be honest with yourself. When your fits of anger pass, are you honestly enjoying your children, or is anger destroying that part of motherhood for you?
Here are three practical steps for overcoming mom rage.
- Know what triggers anger. Almost 100% of the time what triggers my anger is working from home. Unfortunately, my circumstances cannot change, but knowing my trigger helps me plan proactively for preventing it.
- Find support. Finding support can be as simple as reading a book on the subject, finding a accountability partner, or seeking professional help. Finding support will depend on you and your unique circumstances.
- Under the consequences of anger and find a better response that works for you. Once we understand the consequces of anger, we can start to plan for a better response. Maybe when the rage surfaces, you need to put yourself in 'mommy time out'. I have found that I am much better equipped to handle my emotions when I take 10 minutes on my elliptical machine.
God has uniquely equipped you to be your children's mother. Trust that he has given you all that you need to parent them well. Your only hope is in Christ, who has forgiven you and reconciled you to himself. Praise God!