How to Stop Being an Angry Mom: 10 Triggers that are Setting You Off (and How to Manage Them)

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: Stop Being an Angry Mom: 10 Triggers That Are Setting You Off (and How to Manage Them)

We’ve all been there… we’ve lost our cool, yelled, flipped our lid, or straight-out went moderately mom psycho. 

I’m not sure it’s possible to be a mother (in any stage of parenting) without feeling angry or exasperated at one time or another. Mommin’ is so hard and it has a way of getting the best of us, no matter how “good” of a mother we are. 

But sometimes, the anger we feel takes hold in our lives. We’re no longer calm. We no longer have patience. Like a light switch, our anger envelopes us even over the slightest things. And, that’s when we realize, it’s time to dive into what’s really causing it and make a change because our family deserves better… and so do we.

Here are a few tips on how to stop being an angry mom including triggers that might be setting you off.

How to Stop Being an Angry Mom: 10 Triggers That are Setting You Off (and How to Manage Them)


1. When Your Kids Don’t Listen

Do you ever feel like you’re screaming from the mountaintops and your kids flat-out won’t listen or, even worse, they don’t seem to care or even notice that you’re on the verge of losing it? Before you know it, you find yourself yelling because it’s the only way to get your teen’s attention. But heads up, Mom, every time you lose your cool, you’re literally conditioning your kid(s) not to listen until you hit the boiling point. 

Instead, take a deep breath, state your request (minus the long-winded dissertation), don’t get caught up in a power struggle (no matter what), and put a timeline in place. If they don’t follow through, put consequences in place. Remember that to earn your teen’s respect, you have to respect them, so be flexible, when necessary. 

2. You Take Things Personally

Teenagers can be brutal, sometimes. They roll their eyes, mumble under their breath, slam doors, and say things that strike straight to the core of your heart. They can push you away, choose friends over family, and bring you to the brink of insanity. But you have to remember they’re teenagers. They’re independence-seeking, hormonal, rather selfish, unpredictable beings (they really can’t help it) who have a lot of growing up to do. (Trust me, they still love and need you!)

When you feel triggered, repeat this to yourself, Mom. “My kid’s behavior IS NOT about me.” Then, put your armor on and stand ready to weather the storm which, thankfully, does eventually pass. Until then, don’t take anything they do or say personally. Just don’t.

3. You’re Pouring from an Empty Cup

When you’re exhausted, everything feels bigger. Even the smallest things like your teen leaving a plate in the sink after making a sandwich or them leaving a wet towel on the floor can trigger your temper.

Nothing is going to change until you realize the importance of putting yourself first on occasion. Go out to lunch with a friend, escape with a good book, buy yourself something new, binge-watch Netflix, throw in a frozen pizza when you’re too tired to cook, get a pedicure, tell your family you’re taking the day off – get away long enough to put things into perspective. Whatever re-energizes you, comforts you, inspires you, do it. A few hours away from your family is not only good for youit’s good for them.

4. You Don’t Have Enough Help

Whether you’re a single parent, your spouse/partner doesn’t chip in enough, you don’t have family around you to pitch in or you don’t have a mom tribe you can lean on for emotional support, feeling alone can be overwhelming which can trigger frustration and anger. 

Start by recognizing you’re not alone. A LOT of moms feel lonely and overwhelmed by parenthood.

But you really don’t have to feel quite so alone. Join a mom’s group (even on social media!), volunteer at your kid’s school (where you can meet other moms), and reach out to friends who are going through what you’re going through. Make your family step up to the plate. Give them more chores, hold them accountable, and divvy up responsibilities. You don’t have to bear the burden alone.

5. You Have High Expectations

You don’t have to fold the towels a certain way. You don’t have to make a healthy dinner every night. It’s okay if your teen wears the same hoodie two days in a row (or three). It’s okay if you leave dishes in the sink. It’s OKAY.

Lower your expectations a bit. Learn to let some things go. Close your teen’s bedroom door if you can’t bear to look at it. Don’t stress if you put off that pile of laundry. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and your kids. Soon enough, your kids will be off living a life of their own and the house will be spotless… and quiet. Focus on the big stuff, mama, and let the little stuff go. 

6. You’re Stressed Out 

For me, my stress and feelings of anxiousness typically stem from wanting to control the outcome of situations.

My brain goes into overdrive and I end up making a mountain out of a molehill. But I started feeling far more empowered (and far calmer) when I began accepting the fact that there are things I can control and things I can’t. 

Think about it, you might not be able to make your teen make smart choices when they’re out with friends, but you can talk to them and educate them so they realize the consequences (and possible dangers) of their actions. When you take your stress and turn it into positive action you’ll feel more in control and less triggered. 

7. You Feel Manipulated or Taken Advantage Of

Nothing can trigger a mom’s frustration more than when she feels taken advantage of or manipulated by her kids. Although chances are, they’re not doing it on purpose, (teens have a way of being “all about them”) it’s still enough to make resentment start to build. 

Stop assuming that your family is magically and intuitively going to notice your distress, needs, or wants. You can’t assume your teen understands that always being the designated driver for him and all his friends is wearing you out unless you tell him how you feel. Otherwise, he’ll simply assume you don’t mind and that it’s no big deal. Being open and honest about your feelings is key. Also, don’t feel guilty about saying “no.” It’s called boundaries and moms need them, too!

8. You Feel Unappreciated by Your Family

It’s not as though moms need a standing ovation at the end of the day. But a “Thanks, Mom.” or “I really appreciate you doing that for me, Mom” can go a long way when you’re a busy mother who spends the vast majority of your time focusing on the happiness of others while you put your own on the back burner.

Stop getting angry about it and start communicating with your family about how you’re feeling. Hold a family meeting. Let them know you’re feeling unappreciated and, going forward, you’ll be scaling back on your “selfless giving” if they continue to be ungrateful and oblivious to your efforts to make their lives easier. Also, redefine your obligations. Your kids are older now. You don’t have to help them as much as you do. You choose to and they need to be reminded of that. (If that doesn’t work, you can do what I did and go on strike. Boy, did my family start appreciating me more!)

9. Your Life Feels Disorganized and Chaotic

Is your car a disaster? Does your pantry look like a bunch of hungry raccoons trashed it scouring for food? Is the kitchen counter piled high with papers and plates and backpacks and mail you haven’t opened? Your environment plays a huge role not only in how you feel but also in how you handle stress.

Pick the top three areas of your home that are triggering your frustration and tackle them one at a time. Declutter the space (which will declutter your mind). Buy bins, organizers, files, labels, and anything else needed to organize the space once and for all. Then keep it organized – you’ll be shocked at how great it makes you feel!

10. Life Feels Out of Control and You Need to Hit the Reset Button

Whether it’s a chaotic, disorganized house, your teen’s entitled attitude, or your family’s unrealistic expectations, sometimes life with a family can feel out of control which can make us feel overwhelmed and exasperated. Rather than sit in misery, understand that it’s never too late to turn things around.

You can put new rules and expectations in place to lessen your burden, you can take small steps to bring more harmony to your family, and you can put “mom boundaries” in place so you’re not always at everyone’s beck and call. It’s never too late, regardless of how old your kids are, to hit the reset button.

Give yourself a little grace, Mom. You’re not a bad mom because you get overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry. You’re human. Having a little compassion toward yourself and paying close attention to your triggers is what will help you end your “angry mom” saga and help you be the mom you want to be.

If you enjoyed reading, “How to Stop Being an Angry Mom: 10 Triggers That are Setting You Off (and How to Manage Them),” check out these other posts!

The Mental Load of Motherhood: The Side Our Family Never Sees

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