I have never considered myself to be an angry person; it hasn't been my default emotion when life gets unruly. Instead, I may have become overly busy or anxious or inwardly stressed. But not angry, not a steaming, rattling kettle. Not until lately.
There are so many things that aren't spoken of openly when it comes to parenting, but more specifically to motherhood. It's common knowledge that there looms an ideal mother in our society. She is selfless, patient beyond compare, willing to give every ounce of herself at every given moment, and does not get angry. Plus, she LOVES every single moment that she is with her children, which is every moment of every day. I have come to know this false idol quite well. She sits on my shoulder in a glowing white smock with a perfect smile on her face. She follows me to the park, into my kitchen, into my kid's room when he wakes at 3am, and no matter what, how, or when - I can never live up to her. This makes me feel bad about myself. Most of the time.
Sometimes I break free and am able to be myself with my kid. And I'll tell you, it is the best feeling I have ever felt. It is the purest, realest love I have ever experienced. It is ecstatic bliss. These moments are gold. Pure gold. But the rest of the time I am battling with a whole army of emotions and responses that, after digging around with a few other mothers, I have learned are part of the whole motherhood deal.
My kid brings me to a place of rage that I did not know I was capable of. I thought I was pretty calm and collected and able to handle most adversity with a pretty decent level of grace. But now? Maybe on a good day.
My rage doesn't get bounced onto him, instead it turns inward and I put it on myself. Rage and anger are such huge emotions - they are like having an ocean storm inside your body, rolling and lashing. I do not know where to put these feelings or how to handle them. They scare me. Which brings me back to that perfect mother and why I think the whole idea of her is a pile of crap. Giving birth to a human being and raising him in the world is a huge thing. It is more important than anything else I have ever done or will ever have to do.
Life is not dressed in a glowing white smock. Life is full-on. Life, if you are open to it, will rock you like nothing else and offer you so much growth and awesomeness and challenge and grief and love and pain. So much. How can I teach my son about life if I am not able to feel rage and show him how to be with it?
This is why, I believe, motherhood induces rage or frustration - it opens us up, day by day, to be bigger people with bigger hearts and a larger capacity for emotion. That greater capacity is what allows us to love more, bigger, stronger, more powerfully. That, to me, is what motherhood is about.
This anger thing feels new to me. I'm not good at handling it yet. I stomp and curse and want to run away. I shut my heart, I get pissy and sucky. And here it is - an ocean storm in my heart asking me to open up bigger, stronger, more powerfully. What a paradox.
So here it is - for any mother out there who may be feeling the same thing or wondering if any other mother feels this way: yes. Me. I do. I sincerely hope we all bring that perfect mother down from the pedastal so that we can be ourselves, which is exactly who our kids need us to be.