I recently stumbled upon a blog that spoke to my heart. It was a mom blog — most of my favorites these days are — but with a specific theme. Yelling. Or rather, how to stop. The basic gist is that some moms (most? ALL?!) feel like they yell at their kids too much, feel terrible immediately after doing it, but can’t seem to stop.
Hey! That’s me! Oh, but I work full time, my husband works full time, I have a nearly two-year-old and a nearly four-year-old (both of whom go to different schools, one of whom doesn’t sleep. Ahem.). Stress abounds! Loads of bills, lack of time, and the need to feed and clothe these two little munchkins who are, admittedly, pretty well-behaved, but let’s be real — the tantrums can be deafening. Hm. Maybe that’s why they don’t listen? They can’t hear for all the yelling THEY do? What mom wouldn’t lose her cool?
The truth of the matter is that my kids deserve better than that from me. They are little. They are learning how to manage their emotions, their frustrations and anger… from me. It’s my job — a job I went to great lengths to get — to be a good example to them. I try. Very hard. But sometimes, when I see so much of this:
Sometimes I lose it. I admit. And I yell at them. Mostly, it only serves to make them cry longer and louder. Olivia has said to me, “It’s not nice to scream at peoples, Mommy. You made me sad.” And sure, she can be manipulative, but in that moment? She’s completely genuine. And I hate myself, because she’s right. Who wants to be screamed at? Not me. Not my kids, either.
So, I’m following the lead of my new hero, The Orange Rhino, and commiting to becoming a quieter, happier mama. I accepted the 30 Day Challenge, but honestly? My first challenge was 24 hours. I really wasn’t sure if I could do even that.
I made it four entire days without so much as raising my voice. On the fifth day a perfect storm descended upon me and I broke.
I was flying solo with the girls in the morning and we were running late. Audrey had been crying for 15 solid minutes about the way her sock fit when Olivia — who has been fully potty trained for almost a year — peed on the stairs. Not just on the floor, but down a flight of seven stairs. It was only one word, but I screamed it: “OLIVIA!!!!!!!!”
Back to day one for me. I’m using the tips and tricks as well as the support of my husband (who’s trying right along with me!) and other mom friends to “see orange” instead of yelling. I’m already seeing a little bit less of those faces above and more of the following:
And I’m feeling pretty damned good about it.