Let me take you on a little mental journey, girlfriend . . .
It is the end of a long day at home with your brood. You’ve cooked all the food, you’ve played all the games, you’ve enforced all the time-outs, and you’ve kept all the proverbial plates spinning. (Maybe. Zero judgement here.) The point is — you’re toast. You’re spent. You’ve done your job, and the finish line is in sight. The kids are in the bath, and the only thing standing between you and a date with Netflix is the PJs/teeth/story tango. You walk into the bathroom after digging clean pajamas out of the dryer and find your floor covered in water. This is the result of two monkey-children wrestling in the tub. Arms are wrapped around necks. Legs flail and shrieks fill the air.
Pop quiz, mama. Do you:
A) Calmly get eye-level with your children and politely request a reason for such chaos.
B) Begin cheering on your favorite participant in said wrestlemania.
C) Don your fiercest “crazy eyes” and start bellowing at those fools like a seasoned drill sergeant .
If your answer is “C,” come into the fold, my sister! I boldly declare that I am a yelling mom and have made my peace with it. I am here to welcome, with open arms, those of you who are audibly-gifted and parent your children as such.
In the past few years, there has been a movement, encouraging mothers to refrain from yelling at their children. Books promote calming techniques for parents. Blogs have been written by “reformed yellers.” Shouting is out and soft, intentional words are in. Well, I am here to call bull. If you are responsible for a child’s life, day in and day out, for at least 18 years, you are bound to yell. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps you are not the yelling type. Give it time. That’s all I’m going to say.
No, it’s not. I have way more to say on the subject. After I became pregnant, I promised myself I’d be the poster child for the non-yelling mom. Then my first child started doing things like walking . . . into the street. Or playing . . . with dog poop. Sometimes there just ain’t time for those soft words, honey! Still, I felt the pressure from mom-friends who claimed they were able to remain calm. I resolved to turn from my ways. Then my second kid showed up. Together my children formed an unstoppable team that could bring me to my knees with their disregard for safety or sanity. I began to make peace with the fact that, every once in a while, my kids will get the yelling mom. Sometimes their brains just plain leave the building and they do something dangerous enough to warrant me raising the volume. Maybe someone is nagging me for something and I’ve already said no. There could be a major attitude issue that needs adjusting. (The teenager in me is, like, totally rolling her eyes.) I am here to admit I have used yelling in these situations to shut it down. I do have other tricks in my arsenal, but I’m not going to play the “worst mom ever” card if I yell. Plain and simple.
Here’s another thing. I am a loud person. My personality is big, I wear my feelings on my sleeve, and I experience life grandly. My type of personality lends itself easily to yelling. I certainly don’t try to stomp around the house, bellowing at my children. It merely means I give myself grace if I (loudly) call them out on their shenanigans or idiocy every once in a while. And those very same kids can tell you that I am quick to apologize when I get out of line. I respect their feelings, and I won’t set out to hurt them. But, just as shouting comes a little more naturally to me, so does loud, raucous laughter. I love a good laugh. It’s one of the purest joys in life and my kids have witnessed that joy countless times. I also celebrate loudly. When my boy makes a killer play in baseball or my daughter’s teacher tells me she showed kindness to a friend, you’d better believe I’m partying with my tribe. I jump up and down. I scream. I hug. I pick kids up and run around like the lunatic I am.
I’ve stopped putting so much weight on the fact that I sometimes yell because my kids get to see me do all of motherhood loudly.
In the past I’ve had the thought, “Man, this is the stuff my kids will remember for their therapist,” after I’ve yelled. I held myself to an impossible standard and assumed every time I mess up as a mom, I’m negatively impacting their future. Where’s the grace in that type of thinking? Just as I want my kids to extend grace to each other and themselves, I need to show myself a little kindness. No one, that I’m aware of, has perfected the art of parenting yet. My own mom is quick to say her regret list is long and she wishes she had done things differently when I was a kid. But you know what? I remember her singing to us. I visualize her kneeling beside us on the floor and teaching us how to pray. I can see her face light up in laughter while my sister and I put on shows in the living room. I recall the compassion in her eyes when I’d run to her in tears. She yelled on occasion, sure, but those aren’t the memories that are deeply nestled in my heart. My drive as a mother was born from the devotion of my mother.
So, I will yell. I will also hug, cheer, and comfort. I will mother. I am mother. Hear me roar.