Monster mama: How to avoid the hidden epidemic of parental rage

Nothing I read prior to having kids hinted of the dark side of life that I was about to enter. 

I’d had glimpses of my rage prior to having kids. Times like when I found myself having hit my cat out of sheer frustration that I couldn’t keep him off of the counters. Still I had no sense of the magnitude of eruptions I was about to experience. Even more horrifying was that these volcano-like, red-hot rages were directed AT my precious babies. 

I’d envisioned myself leaping over a tall building if need be for my kids. In sooo many ways that came to pass. 

I slaved over organic, home made bread recipes, made with such wholesome ingredients that they often resembled bricks. 

I leapt up in the night, at least at first, when my son woke up, anxious to meet his every need.

I breast fed for 19 months. My son had serious colic as a baby that was the start of his life-long issues with dairy products. Extended breast feeding helped me feel sure that he’d get the calcium that he needed. 

I tried sooo hard to be the perfect mom. As soon as I heard I was pregnant, I left my well-paid, secure government communications job so I could devote 100% of my time to being a great mom. My devotion saw me becoming a parenting educator to fill the local need that no one was filling, in hopes of getting the answers I needed. I took classes with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, one of THE world’s foremost developmental psychologists in order to learn how to be the parent I’d vowed to be at their birth. I was determined to stop the dysfunction that had caused me so much pain when I was growing up. 

Yet even after being accepted as a mentee of Gordon Neufeld, into what became his renown Neufeld Institute, I was still raging at my kids. The dark underside of my life seemed to be slowly but surely gaining traction. It was like a river eroding the banks of our family’s happiness. I was not breaking the family pattern that I so wanted to shift.   

My rages may have only happened 2% of the time – 5% MAX. But none of us felt safe as a result. I didn’t trust myself, and my kids never knew when they’d get blasted. 

My rage dramatically eroded all great attachment work I was so carefully doing the rest of the time.   

I felt like a Monster. 👹

I judged myself as not deserving to parent. Yet what was the alternative? I understood suddenly why some moms drive into a lake with their kids in order to die and take their kids with them. 

Fortunately, slowly and surely over the years I learned how to get to a place where my anger was so under control, and so infrequent, that at one point one of my teenage children commented that I never got angry. It has been such a gratifying journey, as nothing mattered more to me than being a great mom, which I’m now clear that I am. Yes, I made many mistakes, and my kids did suffer as a result. But studies on resiliency show that children raised with no challenges actually are less resilient! So while I wish I had learned better tools sooner, that was a great consolation at the time. Now with two kids in their twenties who are doing well, I can offer you my personal story as hope that you, too, can deal with your monster mama urges, and get to a great place. I also can offer that of so many of the moms who have worked with us in our coaching program.   

Thank you for helping me transform from Monster Mom to the Mom I always dreamed I could be. 😊 ~ Beth Ann, USA

If you’d like help with learning to keep your cool when you feel like you are in danger of erupting, we have a popular pause button challenge that parents have found super helpful. I’d love to help you to learn how to keep your calm when your emotions are heating up!

 “The breathing with a twist worked great, and we had the best getting ready for bed that we’ve had in ages. Thank you. ❤” ~ Anonymous 

Check out the summary page with the videos and worksheets from of our Pause Button Challenge! It can be great to do the challenge live, and this can get you started!

It’s NOT your fault that you are losing it with your kids. You just need some better tools AND some support to parent in this very stressful time. 

“I am a much calmer mum. It’s now rare that I lose my temper and yell at my kids.” ~ Rebecca, Australia 

If one of your triggers is your kids saying mean things to you, check out our blog post:  When Your Kids Say Hateful Things (

Comment below if you found this helpful!

7 thoughts on “Monster mama: How to avoid the hidden epidemic of parental rage

  1. This resonates with me very strongly. It feels like the ‘losing it’ part wipes out all the good stuff. Hearing your givers us all hope! As ever, thank you for sharing so openly ❤

      1. I’m so thankful that I get to help a wonderful mom like you Kelly, who has struggles similar to my own! You’ve got this, even though sometimes it feels like it’s hopeless! xoxo

  2. This recent blog touched the core of why I joined IC7 after watching and following the GPS interviews and taking on-line classes at the Neufeld Institute for the past twelve years. I first read the blog on August 27th and it has taken me three weeks to get up the courage to write that I, too, raged. I took in-person parenting classes like STEP Parenting (I even repeated the eight week class) & a three month class with a Bonnie Harris facilitator. My son was in pre-school when I started with that and it certainly helped me navigate ages 4-12. But previous to that my monster mama was at her height. When my biological son was born, I had four stepchildren ages 13-18 and I was a new mother at age 44. I had no tools, minimal support, and a lot of demands on me and I tried to be the perfect parent/stepparent. It was a perfect storm!

    When the teenage years came into play for my biological son, my anxiety and overwhelm increased. While I knew I had an immense amount of intellectual knowledge, my tool kit was limited to myself!! I had no pause button, no dropping the ball, and a small village. What I did have were vivid memories of my “monster mama” state when I had four teenage stepchildren and a newborn. When I raged or “lost it” I remember going into my bedroom and sobbing because I couldn’t bear that I felt I had become what I vowed I never would. (I have since also learned to to avoid the word never if possible because I seemed to end up doing many of my nevers!!!) The shame and regret of my rage hung over me negating my good qualities. IC7 has helped me to begin to let go of the shame and the secret of being a monster mama at times. At the end of most days these days, when I review what has happened over the course of the day, I can truly appreciate and realize that the tools I now use regularly and have internalized help me to be a calmer mother and gentler with myself when I fall short. I am not perfect but I am much improved. And I am not a monster. I am simply a mom who needed help.

  3. Thank you so much Karen for taking the time to write, and the courage to share! When we break the silence about what’s happening behind closed doors, it helps to unlock our self-compassion which in turn helps us to break the cycle. I see it as a cycle of self-abuse that inevitably results in us being much harder on our kids than we meant to be. It’s such an honor to support a great mom like you, parenting in a time that can be so rewarding, but for most has way to many challenging, frustrating and discouraging times. xoxo

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