It had been weeks since I laid my head upon the pillow, sinking into a peaceful night’s slumber. As I laid my head down, I would frantically wonder how long until the screaming began. Blood-curdling screams. The kind that make your heart stop, all while beating wildly out of control all in the same moment. I’d fly out of bed in the dark, holding my breath. Once the screaming started, it would continue at times for an hour. Anger, rage, and feeling overwhelmed by motherhood became my daily bread.
just make the screaming stop
Three years ago we sold our house and all of our belongings, in hopes of a bigger, better dream in the country. We bought some property and moved into my in-laws cold, dark, and dreary basement. My oldest had just turned five, our middle was three, and little did we know that our third was nestled in my womb, smack dab in the middle of all the chaos.
Night after night, with no reprieve in sight my child’s inexpiable screaming was met by my own out of control rages. Swear words and spit flying out of my mouth, wild eyed, screaming and yelling at this child. I would take her by the shoulders and try to shake the screaming out of her already terrified little body. I became increasingly desperate to make the screaming stop! Ticktock. Ticktock. I was a walking anger bomb ready to explode at a moments notice. After one of these nights my mother-in-law finally had to say something to me.
feeling increasingly helpless
We frantically searched for answers and a solution. My husband worked nights and then slept during the day. I shuffled around in an exhausted stupor. I was on my own for most of the chaos. The anger and rage that consumed every fiber of my being made me want to keep my head buried under the covers with each new passing day.
I reached out to others for advice. We were given all kinds of advice to “teach” our child. It was very well-intended but no less ineffective. Lock her in her room and she will learn that her attention seeking tactics weren’t working. She needs more discipline, try spanking her. This went on for months, with my daughter’s condition only worsening. It hurts to say this, but it became borderline abusive.
One night it got so bad that my husband and I took her outside in the middle of the night and placed our screaming child in the car. I felt so helpless. Hopeless. She immediately stopped screaming when she saw a star falling through the sky. I knew that was our sign.
The light and life began to disappear from my child’s eyes, slowly being replaced with fear and insecurity. I told my husband, “We’re losing her. Never again. We are all done spanking this child. I will find another way.”
After much research I found out my child was experiencing very intense night terrors. Night terrors are not the same as a nightmare by any means. We compounded the problem by causing her even more fear. I called my trusted mom mentor. I wish I would have gone to her first. Her advice to me was this, “Angie, go buy a chair and place it in the girl’s room. Every night the screaming starts, scoop that child up, and sit with her in the chair until the screaming stops. No matter how long it takes, you hold her until she feels safe again.”
Uncontrollable sobs escaped me as I sat in the dark, holding my little one. As we sat together through the wee hours of the night, my own heart began an unexpected journey of healing. I realized I was not held for comfort growing up. I lost my mother at the same age my child was then. The nurturing of a mother’s love was something so foreign to me. It can still feel the sense of deep relief as we both felt held. I would wait until I heard my child breathing deeply before gently placing her back into her bed. It took two straight weeks and they were the most peaceful weeks that we had known in months.
Motherhood is overwhelming, especially if nobody taught you how to be a mom. I have had to learn everything as I go. We haven’t spanked our children since. There are much better, more gentle ways to teach them. Can I say I stopped yelling and screaming immediately? No, that took many more years to unravel. I still yell sometimes, but much less frequently than before. I lost my shit last night in a way that I haven’t in awhile. Grace reminds me of just how far we’ve come.
If you struggle with anger, rage, and feeling overwhelmed by motherhood, I hope you know that you’re not alone. You are not the only one. Give yourself what the little girl in you needed all along. Be a place of gentleness and comfort for yourself. For more info about re-parenting click here. God sees you mom. He sees your heart. He is not ashamed of you nor is He disappointed in you. I know it’s hard mama. It won’t always be this way. One day, they will lose sleep over us, clean up our messes, and change our poopy diapers.
You can learn more about my journey through healing here. You can also find out more about a more gentle, grace-based way of parenting here. This book was the beginning of helping me to understand the difference between consequences and punishment. I have also created a free guide of the things that really helped me in overcoming my anger and rage issues.
What about you? Are there areas in your motherhood that you struggle with?