3 Ways to Conquer the Inner Ugly

3 Ways to Conquer the Inner Ugly

Here’s the thing, if you’re a mom then you’re human and you’re going to make mistakes.  Your kids will frustrate you from time to time and you’re going to get angry, crabby and irritated. It kind of goes with the territory so, for goodness sake, stop beating yourself up over it! We’ve all done it and we’ll do it again. We live in a fallen world with fallen natures and it takes everything in us to conquer the sin that reigns deep within. But hear me, your children will survive your crabby days, I promise! And there’s hope for change.

I’m a little further along in my parenting journey as my daughter is all grown now with children of her own so allow me to share my perspective. I struggled with anger and crabbiness too, still do to be honest. Mostly because I have a way in my head I think everything should be and when it doesn’t look or behave the way I want it to, I snap. I answer harshly. I’m impatient. Because I want to control things and I want things a certain way-my way-which is rarely the way.

I can be selfish and think I have rights but the thing is, when we follow Christ we give up our right to ourselves. We tell the Lord with all sincerity, “I surrender all” until we don’t and the inner ugly rears it’s head. I’m learning (and believe me it takes a lifetime) to really surrender-my ways, my wants, my ego, my future, my worship, my time, my fuse, my control, my everything-to the one who alone can change me from the inside out.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is this: the way you love is the way you’ll live.

If you really do love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength then His love will flow out of you naturally. Not perfectly but naturally. Because, mama, you’ll never be perfect and neither will I and it’s okay.

We can totally stress over it, or we can stress over our kids being kids and being silly and disobedient and way too loud. Or, we can thank God for giving us the great honor of raising children, building them into the men and women of God He’s calling them to be.

Moms are builders and it takes time to build a life. Doing the same things over and over, teaching the same lessons, correcting the same behavior, praying the same prayers can be exhausting. The tiny increments of hours and days turn to months and years. It takes years to build children into the men and women of God He’s called them to be, the ones who will change the world. The ones willing to be His hands and feet to the lost and weary, the desperate and depressed, the weary and worn, no matter where He leads them.

Here are three things to help you get through and conquer the inner ugly:

  1. Pray whenever you can. In the carpool line, making lunches in the morning, folding endless laundry, whenever. You don’t have to rise with the dawn and have perfect silence and beautiful music and a lit candle to worship God. He knows. Do it when you can but do it because wherever you do it, He’s there.
  2. Cultivate a heart of thankfulness. When you really begin to thank Him for the lives He’s entrusted to you, you’ll look at them differently. It’s a long process this parenting thing. Just like a building grows one brick, one story at a time, raising a child is one day, one month, one year at a time.
  3. Ask for forgiveness when you snap in anger. Kids deserve respect too and when we humble ourselves, repent and ask them to forgive us it models correct and Godly behavior because sin is sin, no matter what age we are.

So, to sum it up, I know you’re doing a great job. Stop beating yourself up and get back to building those little lives. It would be my honor to pray for you. What are you struggling with the most?


Kate Battistelli


This post is part of the month-long challenge From Grouchy…To Great.  Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

From grouchy to great

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  1. Su says

    Thank you. I have said it before on this series…thank you for doing it. Do you all know how much it means for somebody to tell you, hey, we all get cranky sometimes and you’re still doing a good job? Well, it means the world to me. I don’t get told I’m doing OK as a mommy very often. I get loads of guilt–”mommy guilt” if I snap(even though it’s the bazillionth time I’ve said,asked, etc). Anyway, thank you for doing this series. Have a great day.

    • Kate Battistelli says

      Su, I’m thrilled the series is a blessing to you. We really don’t hear it enough, that we’re human, we’re not perfect and we need the Lord every day to get through. Your children are blessed to have you! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts:) Blessings!

  2. Elissa Philgence says

    Hi Kate

    Thanks for the reminder. Thanks for reminding us to go easy on ourselves and to remember parenting is a life time job. I believe perfection in the eyes of human is not reachable but perfection in the eyes of God is.

    I believe before we had children God already gave us the guide, the Bible, for us to follow. All these wonderful women of the Bible are their to guide us and to teach us what God expected of us and believe me I am learning everyday that what God expect of us is not what the world expect of us.

    The world says that a perfect mom never gets angry but God says “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, Ephesians 4:26.

    The world says a perfect mother can do it all but God says “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children” Isaiah 54:13.

    Perfection is found only in God.


    • Kate Battistelli says

      Amen Elissa! You are right! I’m so glad you’re a mama who follows the Lord. You’re changing the world, one child at a time. Hugs!

  3. Amy Strouth says

    Thank you so much for this! As a mom it is so hard not to get caught up in the minute-to-minute junk…the stuff of life that makes us all stressed and grouchy. But keeping that long-term vision in mind is so important! (Just easier said than done most days, especially in the moment!)

    I have two pretty strong-willed children. And I’m a laid-back introvert. Things get interesting and I get overwhelmed so it’s refreshing to know that I’m not alone. That I’m not the only mom who snaps and gets grouchy and forgets that I’m in the middle of one of my greatest callings as a woman.

    Thanks again!

    • Kate Battistelli says

      Amy, you are SO not the only mama who gets snaps and gets grouchy! We all do because we’re human. It just shows us how much we need a savior! Being a mom is indeed a great and holy calling. Praying for grace for you today, grace to forgive yourself and to find deep joy in Him. Blessings!

  4. Loran Mayes says

    I am in tears. I just snapped this morning. Tired, overwhelmed, and just yelled at my two year old. Really? All it did was break her heart. And then mine did. Thanks for this. Its time I go hug each of them and start over today.

  5. Sarah H says

    Thank you so much for this post! I really needed to hear this today. Yesterday was a very rough day in my house. My husband is working late every day this week and next, so he doesn’t get home until after my littles are in bed. My three year old son is having a really hard time missing his daddy. He was very defiant yesterday and I lost my patience with him and put him to bed rather abruptly last night. Afterwards, I laid in my bed feeling awful and guilty and wondering why I couldn’t just get it together. I still feel guilty, but instead of wallowing in it, I am going to go home after work, hug my little boy, apologize and ask for forgiveness. I can’t undo yesterday, all I can do is be better today. Thank you!

    • Kate Battistelli says

      Sarah-what a wonderful testimony! We WILL make mistakes but to realize it and be willing to ask a 3 year old for forgiveness, well, that’s just the heart of humility. And with a 3 year old grandson, I am well acquainted with those tantrums! God bless you mama!

  6. Michelle Axton Kelly says

    I’m sitting on the floor, back to my kitchen wall hugging a cup of coffee on my third morning with little sleep while my preschoolers eat breakfast. This post made me cry grateful tears. How I needed this encouragement this morning. I can’t thank all the moms enough for putting their hearts into this From Grouchy to Great series. I’m refocusing my day…not around getting to art class on time, not on perfect obedience and manners from them…but on joy. On the amount of times I can cause their faces to light up in delight today. In showing them the grace and mercy of Christ, in some small, imperfect way, through the actions of the mother who promised to love them with all her heart. If you could keep us in your prayers I would appreciate it. I have really struggled with anger since my three parents passed in one year. I know God is lifting me out on choice at a time. And I praise Him for the wise women and encouragement He has placed in my path.Blessings

    • Kate Battistelli says

      Oh Michelle, I will definitely pray for you! People always say, “God never gives you more than you can handle” but I think it’s a lie. Losing your parents in one year is more than anyone can handle! But thank God we don’t have to handle life alone. He is faithful to give us strength and encouragement just when we need it. You are exactly right by focusing on joy with your precious littles and they are blessed to have a mama who gets it and has it exactly right. Praying for you right now. Big hugs to you!

  7. Alice says

    I had to “restart my day” … Woke up and yelled 3 times at the kids. I told them we started the day on the wrong foot. Then I tucked us all into bed and we all pretended to wake up, and got our of bed on the opposite side. So far, the reset has worked ;)

  8. Mamasings says

    I actually really needed to read this today. Thank you for sharing! I have 5 young children and many chronic illnesses and at times, it’s hard to stay on the right path. I had a total meltdown last night , alone, b/c I’m just tired and overwhelmed. But this post reminded me that I’m human and imperfect. I have to remind myself that it’s OK to NOT be perfect. I think as moms we put so much unneeded pressure on ourselves. Thanks again. God sent me to this post for a reason. I’m so thankful he did :)

    • Kate Battistelli says

      I’m thankful too my friend. It’s totally OK not to be perfect. If we were perfect, what would we need Jesus for? Praying for strength for you today and that He will remind you of this: His strength is made perfect in your weakness. Blessings!

  9. Amy says

    wow I feel you get me so much. I know his is going to be one of the longest journeys I will ever be on. I feel I haven’t be fair to my kids at all this week. I need to sit them all down and apologize for my ugly this week. How do you make them understand though about what’s going on in your world while helping them in theirs? this was my week. I had 2 kids sick, 1 running around like he’s on a sugar high, 2 boys fighting each other what felt like an eternity, a pouty queen everytime she didn’t hear what she wanted, and 1 who was having a bad day herself. In the midst of all his I had to get up early and drive my hubby to work because his vehicle is a motorcycle and we got hit with some serious snow (10″) and it is still with us. Had to go back an pick him up after a 12 hour shift. He comes home tired and helps me not with everything I have been dealing with. Today I had to get up at 2:30am to get him. When does the madness stop? I feel sometimes I feel like I didn’t sign up to parent myself nor did I think it was ever going to be this hard where you just don’t get a break of insanity. Thanks so much for your blog today. It makes me feel I am not alone in all of this. May God use you and bless you….

    • Kate Battistelli says

      Amy you truly are NOT alone! It sounds like you are dealing with a LOT this week! These times drive us to our knees and make us realize we really can’t do it on our own. The thing about parenting is this: it’s hard! No matter how Instagram perfect we make it seem, the truth is, it’s hard and messy and kids don’t come with instruction manuals! Plus, you have the added burden of having to drive your husband to work. In the snow!!! Maybe there’s a Mom’s Day Out program at your church or in your community. Maybe there’s someone you know who could come and give you a break of a couple hours just so you can have a chance to regroup and be refreshed. Sometimes just going to the grocery store by yourself can work wonders! I’m praying for you right now that God will give you all the strength you need to get through this trying season. Just remember, He’s only ever a prayer away. {{HUGS}}

  10. Sharon says


    Thank you so much, this is perfect timing. The nights can be brutal for me. My 4 year old has eczema and is often up in the night miserably itchy. She’s been to an allergist and dermatologist. I don’t know what to do for her. Last night I was just too tired to deal with the screaming when there was literally nothing I could do for her. We’d already done all our tricks that we know of. And, of course, we prayed multiple times. Thankfully, she did not wake up our 1 year old.

    • Kate Battistelli says

      Sharon-I’m so glad! It must be super hard dealing with eczema. Have you ever looked into using Essential Oils? They can work wonders for eczema. Praying healing for your daughter and wisdom for you! Blessings:)

  11. Mrs. B says

    I grew up with an angry father with a nasty temper and a foul mouth. There is so much of that within me that it has been a struggle to overcome to say the least! Without the Lord I dare say that I probably would have just continued on in my father’s ways without a second thought. The toughest part is when those moments come when I slip and my mouth kicks into gear before my brain. The immediate overwhelming sense of failure and hopelessness come crashing down and it seems like I never even began to try to conquer this demon of mine in the first place.

    • Kate Battistelli says

      Mrs. B, I’m lifting you up in prayer right now! Your poor father might have been deeply hurt at some point in his life and maybe the anger and foul language was his release and way to cope. Never a good example but thank God, He makes us new creatures. The old passes away and all things become new when He saves us and cleanses our hearts. Sometimes, forgiveness can be the channel of healing. Forgiving those who have not loved us well or taught us correctly can be so hard but so freeing after we’ve done it. I’m praying God will invade your heart with His love and truth and show you, no matter what, that He adores you and values you deeply. His Spirit will guide you and show you how to be free of all that causes you pain. Just know this: God doesn’t see you as a failure. Romans 8 says, ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” He loves you so. Blessings!

  12. Jdesi says

    My problem is my laziness, my selfishness actually. I am consumed with how tired I am, or how annoyed I am and I think my children should just understand and do what I tell them to. Of course I know how ridiculous this is because I have a 4 and 1 year old. They are not capable of my demands. I need God in my life, not just the morning and evening prayer kind of relationship, or the twice a week church services. I need him to lead my every decision, and emotion. I need him to flow through my veins and penetrate my selfish heart to change the way I think, the way I react. I need him, I need him, I need him. I see who I want to be as a mother, who I am meant to be . I can feel it but it’s always painfully unattainable. Please pray for me.

    • Kate Battistelli says

      Jdesi, I will pray for you! You know what? We all need him to ‘flow through our veins and penetrate our selfish hearts’! Thank God He sees and knows and loves us anyway. It’s unattainable in our own flesh and strength for sure. What I’ve learned is this: Nothing good dwells in our flesh but thank God He has made us new creatures. I want to remind you of Romans 8:1-3 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. If you have time, read the whole chapter and let His words be honey to your soul. You’re doing better than you think you are, I’m certain of that. Blessings to you mama and big hugs:))

  13. Tara says

    Wow, reading some of these comments is like reading my own story!
    I too struggle with being grumpy and just downright miserable most of the time, and in all honesty, I don’t know why. I have all I need (except a husband, but trusting God in that area) and I have 2 great children that I homeschool, so why am I so miserable/grouchy/grumpy/angry all the time.
    I think this quote sums it up pretty well for me though: “Mostly because I have a way in my head I think everything should be and when it doesn’t look or behave the way I want it to, I snap. I answer harshly. I’m impatient. Because I want to control things and I want things a certain way-my way.”
    I always have a picture in my head of how something should be. For example, when I ask my children to brush their teeth, go to the toilet and get into bed, that’s what I expect they’ll do. When the carrying on and mucking around accompany that request, I get really frustrated because they have over-complicated something that was so simple in my mind.
    Why can they just not do what they are told?!
    Being a sole parent who doesn’t get a break doesn’t help either. My children’s dad stopped seeing them over a year ago, and I don’t have parents nearby anymore, so I don’t really have any help. Also, I lost a lot of friends since becoming born again about 4 years ago, so having no trusted friends anymore isn’t ideal either. Most people at church my age already have their cliques and groups and it’s hard to break into, especially when I’m so different because we don’t do Christmas or Easter, and I don’t follow the many false teachers out there, so I really feel like a leper sometimes. lol
    It’s also hard on my children not having the friends they had at school now that we homeschool. Where I live we don’t have as many groups as in the US, so that makes it hard also.
    Sorry for the novel, but these posts all strike a chord within me, and I really need to get over whatever this is so I can find the joy of the Lord somewhere amongst all this chaos.
    Thanks for your honesty and sincerity Kate, and keep up the great posts. God bless you all on this thread. :D

    • Kate Battistelli says

      I am praying for you Tara. Your circumstances aren’t easy by any means but God is still able to work in them no matter how difficult. Does your church have a singles group or a bible study you could join or is there a homeschooling co-op in your area? It’s so hard to do this life alone! I don’t know how old your kids are or if the older can watch the younger now and then so you can get a break. Sometimes, just going to the grocery store-alone-can provide a needed time of refreshing.
      Kids rarely do things the way we think they should. In our minds it’s so simple but we have to remember, they’re still children and things aren’t quite so black and white to them yet. I’m believing the joy of the Lord is for YOU! He gave his life that you could know joy and peace and contentment in the place He has you. Hang in there mama, you’re raising world-changers and that’s not an easy job. I’m praying He saturates your heart with grace and peace and contentment and that He sends you some good friends/mentors and true community for you and your children. Hugs!

      • Tara says

        Thank you so much Kate. (Sorry for the late reply. I get distracted a lot and forget to reply to emails let alone blog threads.)

        There are a few homeschooling networks around, but not many, and I am one of only about 4 single ppl at our church, so they don’t have any singles groups.
        My two are only two years in age difference, and they are far too young to be left alone.

        I recently got an email from a biblical parenting place and they had a book for sale, it’s called Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character – in You and Your Kids. It even comes with a money back guarantee, so it must be good. lol (It’s biblical based, which is even better.)
        I’ve started reading it and, even though I’m only a few pages in, it’s pretty good so far. I can’t wait to be able to read the whole thing.

        On the plus side, since I wrote on here last time, I’m making more friends through church (and homeschooling art classes), which means my children are making more friends, and we are getting out a bit more, which is really good.

        Another thing that keeps springing to mind is the fact that I can’t expect my children to be better behaved than me, more self-controlled than me, and more graceful, forgiving, loving etc than me. I have realised that they are modeling my behaviour (how I treat them), so if I want them to behave how I want them to, then I need to model that behaviour to them. Easier said than done for people like me who are so set in their ways after a life time of being like this. It’s also really hard to try to teach them Christian character when I’ve only been one for approx 4 years. I know the Lord is still working in me, but I sure wish He’d hurry up. lol

        • Kate Battistelli says

          Tara-Thank you for the update. It sounds like things are improving for you and your kids, that’s great!
          Give yourself time to grow in the Lord. It takes awhile to break bad habits but realizing you have them is half the battle! So hang in there and keep doing your best to model Christian character to your kids. One of the best (and most humbling) things you can do is to ask their forgiveness when you mess up. Let them know mommy’s not perfect too. It’s good for our kids to know how much ALL of us need God! Blessings:)

  14. Jenna says

    God definitely brought this series into my life at the right time! Your post is so timely as I have learned that my anger stems from issues with control and expectations. Now when I get angry, I can link back what thing I did not have control over that made me snap. I am hoping that I can moving from less snapping to more praying before I speak with God’s help.

    Thanks for reminding us that we are not meant to be perfect as moms and our children are a work in progress!

    • Kate Battistelli says

      You’re welcome Jenna! Remember, you’re a builder and you’re building little world-changers. Every single one of us has issues with anger and control because we’re all human and we all want things our way! Hang in there, keep close to God and you will be just fine. Blessings!!

  15. Lindsey says

    This article never gets old- it always speaks to my heart and soul when I need it most. Thank you for these gentle reminders!


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