There’s this thing. This thing that mothers everywhere experience. This thing that causes uncontrollable sobs in the shower and random outbursts of emotions. This thing that makes mothers boil over and scorch everyone around them. This thing that lingers—that rumbles deep inside, always ready to tear the seams at any given moment. This thing is mom rage, and for me, it is often a result of being an overstimulated mom.
Of being the mental file cabinet. Of having a million tabs open but not being able to close any because somehow, they’re all important. Of seeing everything, hearing everything, feeling everything. Of often carrying the emotional weight of our families and of the entire world.
And we’re expected to carry it gracefully (and silently)—even when we’re unsupported, often neglected and overlooked.
It’s feeling touched out, “sounded” out, maxed out.
Before motherhood, I knew nothing about mom rage or overstimulation. Because the reality is that women are taught to tiptoe around the subject—and society tangos around it as if it is nothing but a ballroom dance. But it is real—oh so real.
When I first became a mother, I experienced this state of hostility almost daily. I lashed out at my husband over every little thing. Somedays, I had a tough time creating a soft and gentle bond with my son. Because at the core of motherhood, I felt undeserving. I felt inferior. I felt inadequate. And my rage felt insufferable—yet so pervasive.
I didn’t want these feelings of irritability and thin patience, but I found myself harboring them more than often.
Because I thought that motherhood would be ever graceful. I thought that I would never grow weary of the endless cuddles and giggles. I thought that I would never want to spend one minute away from my child and that I would know how to handle every fuss, every sleepless night and every battle.
I thought that I would always greet my husband with a huge smile every night when he came home from work. I thought that I would always be full of vibrant energy. I thought that I could balance it all and somehow be the perfect mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, employee—the perfect woman.
But I didn’t expect to become more delicate, more fragile, more sensitive. I didn’t expect my senses and emotions to become more intensified.
Related: Mom rage is real
I didn’t expect to feel so much of a mess—yet I often find myself in this out-of-body experience—watching this whirlwind of disarray run its course through my life, leaving me an overwrought and overwhelmed mother just trying her best to mend the pieces back together, to put everything in its rightful place.
But here’s the truth about mom rage as an overstimulated mom: It isn’t just an angry mama. It isn’t just rage. It’s grief. It’s anxiety. It’s feeling like everyone has a piece of you. It’s feeling touched out, “sounded” out, maxed out.
It’s balancing everyone’s emotions in the midst of your own. It’s the constant pop-up message reminding you that your disk space is running low—and the constant force to close a tab or two.
Even the mamas who feel like they can balance it all find themselves learning that they just can’t.
It’s the over-engaged senses from all the simultaneous noise (internal and external) that never seem to cease—the constant sound of the washer and dryer, the dishwasher running, extremely loud toys, YouTube shows, your husband’s phone, the neighborhood kids screaming outside, the hum of the AC, the baby whining, the cat licking himself, the screen door opening and slamming shut, the running, the jumping, the falling, the constant “mommy mommy mommy.”
It’s the unlimited access to your body, your time and every fiber of your being. Especially when you’re the default parent. Especially when you’re a breastfeeding mama. Especially when you work from home. Especially when you’re a mother.
It’s the lack of silence, of personal space that seems to be ripped away from you the moment that you become a mama. And the opportunities to recharge seem far and few.
I never wanted to be the mom who was always asking for the TV to be turned down or for my partner to chew his gum a little quieter or for the kids to stop running through the house and settle down when they’re just being kids for goodness sake.
But I find myself here more times than not. Exhausted from the mental, emotional and physical overwhelm. Drifting in an ocean of amplified emotions and unmet needs. Because motherhood is full of overstimulation. It is so full of everyone around you and all of their wants and needs that sometimes, it doesn’t feel like there’s room for you.
For you to take a break. For you to catch your breath. For you to unwind. For you to find your footing.
Even the mamas who love their kids with every bone in their body experience some form of mom rage that is a product of being overstimulated. Even the mamas who feel like they can balance it all find themselves learning that they just can’t. Even the mamas who have their village still find their needs being overlooked and undermined.
And those mamas need more support. They need to be cared for. They need to be validated in their experiences, not made to feel like they are less than or as though they are failing as mothers.
Because mom rage cannot be stifled. It’s a plea for more help and more understanding that will only grow louder. That will wreak havoc in the lives of mothers everywhere until their needs start to be met.
We don’t want to be told by another person that we’re strong and that we’ve got this. We don’t want to buy into the “supermom” fixation any longer. We want a space to be weak, to fall apart and to have a soft landing in those around us. We don’t want to have to carry the load alone until it feels like a burden. We want our partners, our villages and our society to carry the load with us. Is that too much to ask for?