The concept of “mom rage” is something we’re all familiar with—because it’s a very real, very prominent feeling every mom has likely experienced more than once. In a recent viral TikTok, one mom is highlighting the very real issues that are really at the core of what we call “mom rage.”
“Maybe it’s not ‘mom rage.’ Maybe it’s that mom is doing everything for everybody else and is having her needs met less than everyone else in the house,” Ward begins.
“All while society tells her to ‘calm down,’ and ‘shut up,’ because this is motherhood and you chose this anger,” she continues. “And that anger is valid and necessary. We need to stop treating all anger from women and moms as if it’s a mental health issue.”
Maternal anger is a symptom of anger and depression—both during the postpartum period and beyond. It can also be a stress response to many things: our kids’ behavior, circumstances outside of our control, lack of spousal support, grief, stress, and the lack of societal support moms receive.
Ward tells Motherly she was inspired to create the type of content she creates due to her own experience with trauma, mental health, social context and her family dynamic and how it impacted her experience of motherhood. She sees other mothers struggling with the same things, but perhaps need help becoming aware of the intersection of these things in their lives.
“The structural inequality that stems from the patriarchy pushes gender roles and unattainable standards on women’s shoulders that they should just do it all and not complain.”
“I made a video on mom rage because I have noticed a trend from women who are struggling in motherhood: they look inside themselves and feel they are not enough,” she says. “Meanwhile there are a multitude of legitimate outside factors that are making women burn out, get angry and feel resentful. Women from all walks of life are trying to find ways to feel better and no matter what they seem to do they are still not okay.”
Mothers are often made to feel like the immense amount of issues they’re navigating—or burdened with—are our fault. Society makes us feel like we’re failing if we can’t “handle” everything that’s thrown our way. Ward is bringing attention to those things while also helping moms see that the cards are stacked against us regardless of how much we accomplish.
“The structural inequality that stems from the patriarchy pushes gender roles and unattainable standards on women’s shoulders that they should just do it all and not complain,” she says. “And then when they get mad, they are told they have ‘mommy rage’ and should see a therapist or practice self-care.”
While she advocates for self-care, she also acknowledges it that self-care has been co-opted by capitalism to make it seem like only mothers with “significant privilege” can achieve it.
“I wanted to change this narrative and bring light to the fact that while mental health is real and self-care can help when we are struggling, none of these tools can make up for the fact that the odds are stacked against mothers,” she says. “The weight they are carrying for their families in the form of unpaid labor and lack of support is far more powerful than many recognize.”
In a follow-up video, Ward talks about the “motherhood contract” and how many of us couldn’t possibly prepare for all of the responsibilities (and burdens) that come along with motherhood in a society that’s designed to leave us feeling like we can’t find a life raft.
“I wanted women to both see that their frustrations were legitimate and that it doesn’t feel hard because they aren’t good enough or trying hard enough, it feels hard because it IS too hard,” she explains. “Knowing that what I said resonated with so many moms both validates my theory and breaks my heart.”
A version of this article was published in July 2022. It has been updated.