Mom Rage and Unmet Needs (Part 2)


It is 5 pm and you just got home after picking up both of your children from daycare. Your son cried about going in his car seat and your daughter had a really bad day with her peers. It is getting later and later by the minute and you just can’t really focus on anything else right now besides getting home. Not to mention you just remembered that you never sent the agenda for tomorrow morning’s meeting that you happen to be facilitating. 

Your husband is working late, and you haven’t thought about what you are going to make for dinner. PLUS, you still have to make lunches for tomorrow and lay out clothes and sign the field trip forms–and send that agenda–you can’t let the team down. You can’t let your family down. You really wanted to do some yoga but the thought of that feels laughable now. Where will you even find the time to fit that in on top of all of the other things?  

Sound familiar? 

I am going to be opening up each edition of this Mom Rage series with a scenario that may apply to the stay at home mom, the working mom, the mom living through a pandemic. (Insert your story here). The bottom line is that the mental load and unmet needs of motherhood, regardless of the scenario, is a breeding ground for mom rage. These posts are merely a starting point to bring to light a conversation that I feel has been too long underground.

In part I of this series, we talked about how mom rage is a result of unmet needs, resentment, and a sense of injustice. We looked at giving ourselves space and permission to feel what we feel and to share those feelings in safe spaces with others.  

Unmet needs

“Motherhood is a breeding ground for insidiously self-destructive behavior. From the time children are born, their needs are intense, relentless, and literally screamed in our faces. Luckily for them (and the human race), we are biologically wired to respond to their needs, even when it means setting aside our own. While our nurturing, self-sacrificial instincts are beautiful and life-preserving, they’re also a fast track to burnout, resentment, exhaustion, and destruction, if we’re not careful. It’s natural to minimize our needs in the interest of the beautiful beings we love, but it’s not natural that we’re raising our children in isolation and that the bulk of their needs are falling on one person instead of a tribe of extended family members and friends. This, and other profoundly affecting gaps within our culture, makes self-awareness and self-nurturing that much more essential. Unfortunately for some of us, it isn’t until we’re so emotionally or physically wrecked by our self-abandonment that we realize how disconnected from crucial parts of ourselves we really are.” Beth Berry, Motherwhelmed 

In her amazingly relatable book Motherwhelmed, Beth Berry talks about the unmet needs of mothers in modern-day society and how they lead to this burnout and resentment that ultimately fuels mom rage. In our modern society, the village mentality is absent. We are all living in isolation in terms of the logistics of raising our children and we are so busy in the throes of it all to even realize that our needs are not being met until some sort of breakdown or burnout occurs.  

Living depleted

So many of us are living in this space of depletion, and while a lot of it is from sleep deprivation (that struggle is SO real), it goes so much further than that. There is a sense of soul fatigue–and the feeling that there is no place for our feelings and emotions.  Space where we don’t even take the time to feel the feelings that we are having and check-in with ourselves. Space where we are afraid to ask for support or are too busy to even realize that we need it.  

If we want to raise emotionally healthy and whole children, we have to start showing up as whole mamas. 

We have to be proactive with self-care–and self-care isn’t just meeting our basic needs but also filling up and expressing our soul-making space for creativity and the things that bring us joy.

So often self-care comes as a luxury or as damage control, after a mama meltdown. But it needs to happen as the rhythm and routine of our lives. 

We must find ways to support each other by outsourcing and recreating the village. Maybe it is babysitting exchanges or creating homeschooling pods. Maybe it’s meal prep parties. This time has invited us to get creative and flexible and that needs to happen in our thinking as well as in our scheduling. We must make the space to check in with ourselves. We must get comfortable admitting what we need and asking for what we need, in all aspects of our lives. We must find ways to prioritize ourselves and put ourselves back into our schedules.

If we don’t find ways to meet our needs, we will never be able to channel the rage. We are really great at meeting the needs of others, and it is time that we start with our own. The world needs us whole, and it’s time for us to step up and answer that call.