I’ve been a mom for 23 years, and for the first five of those years I had moments when I struggled to control my anger. While I was growing up, my stepdad would go from straight-faced to slap-you-on-the-side-of-the-head-angry in 15 seconds flat. I found myself repeating that cycle. Most of the time I’d deal with my children’s disobedience in a peaceful manner, and then something small would push me over the edge. I wouldn’t hit, but flicks to the shoulder, smacks on the hand, or a firm squeeze on my child’s arm would let my children know I was serious.
Then there is that one day when everything changed. I was sitting next to my son as he colored on a paper. I went to swipe his bangs out of his eyes, and he flinched. My heart was broken. I offered a loving gesture, but that wasn’t what my son expected. After that, those angry actions stopped. I turned to God. I prayed about my anger, and I changed my habits. If I felt frustration building, I’d count to ten and then offer up a quick prayer. I’m thankful my older kids can’t remember that frustrated mom.
Eighteen years later, I again have three little kids in my home (through adoption), and I find myself struggling with the same thing again. When I feel the frustration building, I know to hold back my actions. I count to ten, and I pray. Yet this time that isn’t enough.