Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Dear Fellow Mum,
I read your post to me and there were parts of it that could have been written about me. Sure there are bits of your story that I cannot relate to, but those are also bits that make me want to wrap my arms around you and tell you that you have a friend.
Let me be clear you are NOT alone.
Your anger is not uncommon. I too lose the plot, far more than I should. I scream at my kids, I yell at my kids, and I say hurtful things, and I have done this many, many times. This behavior is not about them, it is about me. It’s all about me. Something happens, something flips my lid and then I see red. I stop seeing the full rainbow and I see only red.
Anger is not an acceptable emotion for women, and even less so for mothers. We are meant to be totally forgiving, meant to be endlessly calm, meant to be a font of all things peaceful and calm. That’s a ruse to fool us, and one that binds us carefully to a culturally constructed image of motherhood that eats us away internally, like an acid eating away at our soul.
I’m here to strip it away and stomp all over it. You are allowed to be angry, In the instance you described to me, I would be raving mad, I would be spitting invectives, I would be close to making a voodoo doll about the person you referred to! The problem with our cultural discourse is that women are not allowed to be angry. When we are angry we are called emotional, histrionic, heck – there was a whole industry on studying women’s “hysteria” some of which was probably deeply buried rage. Fortunately some of that has ebbed away, but we still haven’t been provided with a good model of female anger. Indeed, I could go so far as to say we don’t even have a good model of anger for men, however at the moment I’m talking about women’s anger, a mother’s anger.
I’ve been so angry that I have actually wanted to hurt my children. I didn’t, but I wanted to. Things have happened that have made me so angry that I no longer see the whole rainbow, I see red. There is the good parent wailing, whimpering in the background of my mind telling me that I will regret my filthy outburst, but the nasty parent figuratively slaps her into submission and continues on her raging path. She is my Red Queen.
What have I done to help my Red Queen, because she is me, and she gives me so much fire. She gives me the passion to do the things I do. She gives me the strength to keep going, she gives me the strength to rage against the machine. So I love her, I do not want to kill her, she is me. What can I say to you, fellow Mum, to help you make peace with your Red Queen? Firstly, you are not alone. Secondly find someone, anyone, you can be honest with, someone you can talk to, someone you can text, someone you can rant to. Someone who understands, someone who has a Red Queen too.
Thirdly, I suggest you think about your anger models. Who have you seen be angry? What were they angry about? Who informed your anger pattern, who taught your Red Queen her modus operandi? And who does your Red Queen need to be like? Once we understand where our Red Queen got her wrong path from, you can start to set her on the right one. My Red Queen, she was gifted to me by my mother, and she by hers. I have decided to remake my Red Queen, I’ve given her a makeover, sometimes she forgets, but more often than not she remembers now. And when she doesn’t I wrap her in my arms and I forgive her, and I tell her it’s ok, because it’s hard to change patterns gifted to you before you could even interpret them.
And so, fellow Mum, I wrap my arms around you and offer you friendship, your Red Queen is not indication you are weak, it is not an indication that you might be suffering from mental illness. I suspect it is a sign of your strength, and it is wonderful, and to find it’s true direction it needs toning, like any good muscle.
Much love, from one Red Queen to another