Creative Child

When Motherhood Brings Rage

by Rebecca Eanes

“A sequence of provocations.” That’s the term University of Alabama psychologist Dolf Zillmann uses when he describes how rage builds on rage. Zillmann discovered that the physiological effects of rage can last for days, and that “a sequence of provocations” can dramatically increase anger so that we end up reacting more and more quickly. 


The funny thing - motherhood is a sequence of provocations.

Maksibet kalebet Milosbet Oleybet

Nothing tests your patience like raising tiny humans, and yet the patience of a saint is exactly what mothers are expected to have - to calmly and lovingly hold space for the relentless aggravations. We try to block it, hide it, sweep it under the giant rug of shame, but the truth is that the rage hasn’t singled you out. You’re not alone. Many mothers feel it coursing through our veins, creeping with us like a shadow, and all we can hope for is to contain it for another day, another hour, another minute.

Before we look at how to get a handle on the rage, let’s look at what’s lurking underneath it.


What Causes Mom Rage?

You’ve heard of postpartum depression, but did you know that postpartum rage is a thing, too? Rather than feeling sad or numb, some mothers experience sudden outbursts and intense anger. If you’re having trouble controlling your temper, violent urges or thoughts, or increased yelling or swearing during your baby’s first year of life, postpartum rage could be to blame. 

These mothers fear reaching out for help. They don’t want to be seen as a bad mother, or worse, to have their baby taken away. So they often suffer in silence. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor and pursue avenues of treatment, such as therapy and medication. 

Rage is also a mask for depression and anxiety. Often running just in the undercurrent of our anger is fear. Anger is often an automatic response to an anxious trigger. Sleep deprivation, which often accompanies anxiety, can make anger issues worse. 

Additionally, rage can be a stress response to childhood triggers. These are triggers that were “coded” into your brain in your early years and are often subconscious triggers that trip without warning. For example, if you were shamed or punished for crying as a child, it is possible that your child’s crying could be a trigger for you. 

Solutions for Dealing with Rage

The following section will offer some proven calming tools for you to use. While these suggestions can certainly help,  I don’t want to minimize the seriousness of rage or the possible need for medical or psychiatric treatment. While these can be helpful tools for reducing anger, please use these alongside professional help.

  1. Look for a safe release. Get outside and throw a ball, scream silently into a pillow, or do 20 push-ups. Boxing, running, or any intense cardio will also do the trick. An immediate (but safe) physical release is the best way to feel better in the moment. 
  2. Listen to music that has some anger in it. This can be extremely cathartic as you let your emotions flow through the music and release it through singing along.
  3. Journaling has been shown to reduce stress and increase mindfulness. In the case of rage, it can be very helpful to keep a journal of your triggers so that you can see patterns in your behavior that can be modified.
  4. Channel that energy into something positive and creative. Try dancing, painting, drawing, or writing poetry. Creative expression is a great way to release pent up anger and anxiety.
  5. Harness that small space between stimulus and response. Ronald Potter-Efron, PhD, co-author of Letting Go of Anger, says that studies show that the neurological anger response lasts less than 2 seconds. Beyond that, it takes a commitment to stay angry. In other words, if you don’t add fuel to the fire, it will burn out really quickly. The problem is that it is so easy to add fuel when we feel wronged in some way, and it’s our negative thoughts that fan the flames. Try to just observe the emotion and let it pass by deep breathing as you repeat a mantra like “I am safe.” 

It goes without saying that proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise go a long way in improving your physical and emotional health as well, so please make yourself a priority. The better you feel, the better you show up for your children.

Mom rage is a difficult subject to talk about, but rest assured you are not alone. If you can find the courage to open up and ask for help, I feel confident you will find the support you need. 

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


You might also like.

Want more? Follow us.

Join our newsletter and get the latest updates!
Hit "Like" to see Creative Child on Facebook