The key to managing anger + anxiety on rough parenting days

Fortunately, there is a way to relate to these normal emotions.

The key to managing anger + anxiety on rough parenting days

As much as most of us would like to banish anger, anxiety and other undesired emotions from our experience forever, these feelings are part of being human. And motherhood is one of those knock-you-over-the-head-with-a-2x4 experiences that tends to bring us face to face with our issues.

For example, many parents have deep-seated fears about something terrible happening to their children. This fear can manifest as anxiety or even as anger. When my toddler ran out into the parking lot recently, I instantly felt flooded with rage, but beneath the anger was fear and anxiety.

As parents we are forced to make decisions every day that impact the lives of our children when we simply do not have enough information to know if we are making the right choices. (As a new mom, I coped with this by obsessive Googling).

There are no guarantees.

Hence, anxiety.

Not to mention that living with small children is a constant exercise in patience and tolerating frustration, as they refuse to get in their carseat/eat dinner/stop crying/sleep for a reasonable length of time.

Hence, anger.

Whether due to the daily stresses of motherhood, the fear of something bad happening to our children, or even to traumas from our pasts, many moms find themselves at battle with their emotions, constantly trying to be different and better, and beating themselves up for continuing to get stuck in anger and anxiety.

Fortunately, there is another way to relate to these normal emotions:

Sitting with them.

Allowing our emotions to be what they are has a wonderful side-effect; we start to realize our emotions aren’t as scary as they once seemed, and that they don’t have to run the show. Often, our undesired emotions lose power and strength when we’re not denying them or feeding them, but simply observing them without judgement.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you have an appointment at 9:00am. You are completely sleep deprived from night nursing, your toddler has recently decided to assert her independence by picking out completely ridiculous outfits to wear in public, and it is 8:45. As you ask your toddler for the third time to put on her shoes, the baby poops, and your toddler promptly drops to the floor, kicking and screaming, “You’re not the boss of me!”

Your palms begin to sweat, your heart rate speeds up, and you are overwhelmed with the urge to throw yourself on the floor and tantrum beside her. Or just say, “Forget it,” and storm off to your bedroom to watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/ Pin modern farmhouse decor/ indulge in your preferred tech method of checking out.

Instead though, you decide to sit with your emotions.

Step 1: Notice what you are feeling. In this case, it might be a classic combination of anxiety (about being late) and anger (about your toddler being difficult).

Step 2: Take a breath and remind yourself these emotions are temporary, and it is okay for you to feel this way. It won’t be necessary to try to force this feeling to go away, as the intensity of an emotion usually only lasts for a couple minutes if you sit with it. Observe the ebb and flow.

Step 3: Notice whatever desires or urges come up. For example; the urge to yell at your kids, the urge to pretend you are not mad and ignore what you are feeling, or the urge to take up heavy drinking.

Step 4: Finally, after acknowledging your emotions and validating that you have the right to feel the way you feel, you can choose how to respond to the situation.

Most of the time when we are in the throes of anxiety or anger, our emotions will tell us exactly what they want us to do.

But our emotions are not the boss of us.

It is incredibly empowering to realize we get to make a choice as to whether to act on those urges.

In following these simple steps, you will find that a space opens up between the arising of the emotion and your automatic response to it.

In that space is freedom.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.


Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.


Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.


The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.


The Snoo bassinet


Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!


Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.


Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!


Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.


Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less