One of my biggest struggles and now regrets as a younger mom, was my anger.  After years of bottling up the anger and stress of a failed marriage and nasty divorce, I began taking my anger out on my two young kids. My oldest, my daughter Grace, from my first marriage, in particular.

Mornings before work and school were the worst. The “volcano hours”. Getting kids ready in the morning can be challenging enough, but add on top of that the pressures of going to an unfulfilling job, worries about finances and other adult responsibilities, all the other tasks that compete for our time and attention, as well as unresolved anger, and it was a recipe for disaster.

My anger came out in the form of impatience, harsh words, unrealistic expectations, demands, and behavior becoming of a drill sergeant.

I can’t tell you how many mornings my daughter went to school crying and I went to work fuming. It broke my heart seeing how I was breaking her little spirit, but I seemed to have a fresh supply of anger waiting each morning. How could this be? I loved my kids more than anything, but for some reason, I erupted all over them.

[verse reference=”Proverbs 18:21″]The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.[/verse]

Proverbs tells us that “life and death are in the power of the tongue”, and my harsh words and critical temper were poisoning my relationship with my kids.

My husband firmly and lovingly sat me down one day. I don’t remember our conversation word for word, but he told me that if I didn’t get the help I needed to process through and heal from my wounds, I would continue to hurt our children, our marriage, and run the risk of losing a relationship with my children completely. His words were the wakeup call I needed, and I couldn’t allow that to happen.

I took some time to pray and invited the Holy Spirit to speak into the situation and realized I had been trying to live my life, be a wife and mother, and manage all of my other responsibilities out of my own strength, not God’s.

I was ill equipped, filled with bitterness, and trying to do way too much. No wonder I struggled so much!

Matthew 12:34 tells us that our mouths speak out that which fills our heart. I knew I couldn’t just change my words; I needed to work through the issues I was struggling with, and the byproduct of those issues, my anger. With help from a Christian counselor, prayer, and hard, ongoing work, I learned how to get to the root of my issues and felt a tremendous weight lift off of me.

For the practical day to day, I learned to manage my expectations better and found ways to get organized the night before, which made mornings run much more smoothly. One of the ways I learned to better manage my expectations was to communicate my expectations to my kids in advance. This gave them time to get ready, and they weren’t left feeling flustered before school.

Making these changes and leaning on the Lord more made an incredible difference within me, and within our home. I have been able to apply this lesson to other areas of my life, too. In particular, managing and communicating expectations, which are key to every relationship.

How about you-have you struggled with anger that spills over to your family? What has helped you? What are your tips for making mornings run smoothly?