Minna Dubin wrote a viral essay, then a book, about 'mom rage.' Here's how she talks about it with her kids.

Writer Minna Dubin. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Morgan Shidler Photography)
Writer Minna Dubin. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Morgan Shidler Photography) (Morgan Shidler Photography)

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When Minna Dubin planned to take her two kids, ages 6 and 10, on a national book tour for the recently released Mom Rage: The Everyday Crisis of Modern Motherhood, she wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As a writer who largely works from home with flexible hours, her career can seem a bit nebulous to her young children. Taking them along to celebrate a project she’d been working on for years felt like the perfect opportunity to help them understand her work.

“This is important," Dubin tells Yahoo Life. "They need to see their mother has a job. I want them to see me on stage. I want them to see that I'm more than just the person who makes meals and gets them off to school.”

Dubin's book, which was born out of a 2019 New York Times essay and a pandemic-related follow-up piece, examines the way in which mothers are struggling to manage their emotions in a world that fails to support them at every turn. When she first sent the essay in, Dubin admits she was terrified. She scrubbed her family’s names from the internet and buckled down for the wave of criticism that surely would come from admitting to the deep rage she has often felt as a mother. “When I put it out there, I had no awareness of the societal overlay of mom rage. I just thought I was the worst mom in the world," she says.

Of course, there were trolls. But other voices were louder: those of mothers in the same exact spot as Dubin, who suddenly felt less alone about being a mom who lost her temper from time to time. “They were so relieved that someone had said it, and that their experience wasn't singular. I think there was just a lot of relief — and I felt it too," she says.

The viral wave of support eventually led to the book, which Dubin says was a stretch for her as a memoirist. “I'm not a researcher ... It was definitely outside of my comfort zone," the writer says. "And I think a lot of the feedback has been about how systematically I painted this argument that indicts society — and that it's scathing. This book is a scathing indictment of society and deep oppression and systemic neglect of mothers.” The rage, she says, is the result of a breakdown in the way society supports mothers until they are hanging on by a thread — and losing it on their kids.

As she wrote the book and prepared for the launch, Dubin was aware of the fact that her older child in particular was learning alongside her. “I think he understands that mom rage is when I get really, really angry. But he also understands it as a result of systemic oppression. Once, he was listing off the -isms and he was like, racism, sexism, mom rage," she laughs. “Which, OK, he doesn't exactly have it, but he got the idea. Somehow it has filtered into him that that mom rage is bigger than our house.”

Dubin knows that motherhood is often on display, as moms are judged everywhere from the park to the checkout line, but she says that having readers see her interact with her kids while on tour felt like a magnified version of it. “I didn't bring my kids for this reason, but I also realized on the tour that just having them there is a statement to both my kids and to the audience that mom rage is not a subject that needs to be talked about in hushed tones," she says.

What she hopes mothers take away from her book and the ensuing conversations is that it’s time to bring the topic of mom rage to light. “We can talk about it in front of our children like we would any other topic, like paint colors or bullying. My children, especially my older one, understand that mom rage is a symptom of systemic oppression.”