When I shared my New Year’s Resolutions with you, probably the most commented about was my resolution to stop yelling at my kids.
Because so many of us do it. And really, it’s not like any of us likes yelling at our kids or feels great about it. But damn, it’s a hard habit to break.
The first time I wrote about a screaming mama moment was almost four years ago. My boys were 5, 3, and not quite 2. Yet, I really didn’t do much of anything about it except to occasionally throw out another post about how I didn’t want to keep yelling. To put that into perspective, those little boys are now 9, 7, and not quite 6. That’s a long time to keep yelling.
In the past three weeks, since I officially “stopped yelling,” I’ve yelled twice. Both times, I caught myself mid-yell and stopped.
What I’ve realized is that my yelling usually doesn’t have much to do with my kids. It’s me. It’s when I’m stressed out, fed up, tired, pms-ing, something going on with me more than them.
Not that my boys don’t have their moments when they are being punks and need to stop whatever it is they are doing or when they really need to do whatever it is that I’ve asked them repeatedly to do. But if I’m being honest with myself, it’s not usually something deserving of a scream. Corrected, absolutely. But nothing they need to be yelled at for.
To give you an example of something that made me want to scream yesterday: I was on the phone with my middle son’s doctor and was trying to tie my youngest’s shoes so that we could get out of the door on time for basketball practice. My son was dancing around with his feet, squirming around and making it hard for me to get his shoes on.
I finished my phone call and my son continued to make it hard for me to tie his shoe. I started to yell “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST…” and then I took a deep breath. And I finished quietly “I know you want to go to basketball, so you need to let me finish tying your shoe so we can get there.” He stopped, I tied his shoe, we were ready to go.
At almost 6, he should be getting the hang of tying his own shoe. Or at least, he should be able to sit there and let me tie it. But that’s not anything worth yelling about.
What had me stressed out was the phone call. Everything is okay with my middle son, but where I thought we’d be shelling out $150 in the next month for his medical needs, we would need to come up with $600 instead. And that is what pushed me to have an outburst, not my son swinging his legs.
And while I’m being perfectly honest with myself, most of the times I’d yell are like this. More like this than those things that would make even a saint yell.
Just being aware of this is changing my behavior, though. Taking that deep breath(or holding my breath before I open my mouth), gives me that time to think about what I should say in the situation, instead of just snapping.
At night, when I’m reflecting on my day, I like the mom I am more. I don’t have as many “tomorrow, I will do that better” regrets.
I think my boys are noticing a difference, too. Which makes me wish I had stopped just saying that I need to stop yelling and actually STOPPED a long time ago.
The blog giving me inspiration as I try to stop being a yeller(and giving me reassurances that it’s normal to slip now and then) is The Orange Rhino.
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