168 days of not yelling, 197 days of loving more to go!
I yelled at my kids because I could (read here).
I yelled at my kids because I was tired.
I yelled at my kids because they annoyed me (read here).
I yelled at my kids because I didn’t know what else to do.
Because nothing else was working.
Because I have never been a parent before. Because even though I have 4 kids, each child is different. Parenting each child is a new experience. An exhilarating yet exhausting experience that is new territory every day. And no matter how many years I have been a parent, or how many parenting books I have read, or how many parenting anecdotes I have heard, or how many days I have been without yelling, SOMETIMES I AM AT A LOSS. And I don’t know how to handle the situation.
And I just want to scream because it feels like the logical next step. It feels like the right move when patience, understanding, determination, intelligence all have failed. Because if all the positive attempts haven’t stopped behavior that deserves discipline, then the only other option is negative reinforcement, right? To yell so loud that my son bursts into tears and forgets about tormenting his brother and me and instead focuses on how I am tormenting him with my awful words and actions.
Rationally, I know that screaming is not the logical next step.
I know that I have to keep at the patience, understanding, and determination to not yell. I know that I can’t give in and scream even if I want to.
Because it won’t work. It will just make matters worse across the board.
But oh how the FRUSTRATION of feeling lost as a parent taunts my rational thinking.
The feeling like an incompetent parent for not being able to reign in some of my son’s horrific behavior. The feeling like a mean parent for wanting to scream so loud and so long that it scares the sh*t out of my son. The feeling like I am the only parent with this problem.
And that frustration, the frustration of simply NOT KNOWING how the f*** to handle some situations, coupled with my son’s frustrating behavior is enough to make me want to scream at everyone (and maybe do something else besides screaming).
Being a parent is hard. Every day I am learning something new about my son’s individual personalities and how best to relate to them. How best to “manage” their meltdowns. How best to love them. It is exhausting. And when I am at my emotional worst – when all my triggers are in full force – and when my kids are at their emotional worst – when all their individual “areas of improvement” are in desperate need of improvement! – it is even more exhausting.
And it is hard.
Hard. Hard. Hard. Today, I wanted to do more than scream. I wanted to cry. Because I felt so stupid that I couldn’t find a solution. So embarrassed by my kid’s behavior even though no one but me had the honor of witnessing it. So defeated.
Defeated that 168 days of not yelling hasn’t made my sons perfect angels. Did I really expect that not yelling would make them perfect? NO. Because it won’t. Will it make me feel better about myself as a mom? Yes. Will it make them feel better about me as their mom? Yes. Will they still be kids who sometimes don’t listen and challenge me? YES. It will still happen. Just less.
As I sit here writing outside on my porch while the rain pours down I realize “sh*t, I really shouldn’t feel defeated. Because while today was the perfect storm of all kids AND mom being at their worst, the storms are happening a lot less. A LOT less. And when they do happen, they are one sided. I am NOT yelling back and the storms are shorter.
So I can sit here and feel crappy that I don’t know how to parent in all situations (which I am). That I don’t know how to reign in my kid’s bad behavior sometimes (which I don’t). That I have bad thoughts beyond screaming (which I do). That I am STILL LEARNING and am not a perfect mom (which I always will be doing and never will be…. )
OR I can sit here and say “sh*t, there are let’s say 9 things I want to improve as a mom. And before when I was yelling, the number was 10. I am making progress. I might have not disciplined perfectly today, I might not have known what the h*ll to do, but I tried my hardest, and I didn’t yell. And that counts for something.”
Right?? Please tell me it counts for something.
Because I am feeling such guilt for not being able to properly handle some behavior at home today with #1 and #2. I am feeling like shoot, maybe I should have just yelled. That would have worked. Kind of, but not really. No, not really at all. Come on, Orange Rhino, you know yelling Just. Ain’t. Worth it. In the short term. Or the long term. Don’t give in to it because you don’t know what else to do (just because you’re getting your a*ss kicked by life and by the kids)! Be patient. Ask for help. You have the people to ask. You know that the behavior will improve. You know that not yelling is already helping the behavior to lessen. You know that you both are making progress.
You are making progress. And no one can argue with progress, even if there is more progress to be made.
Yourself, The Orange Rhino
Did you yell today? Are you feeling crappy about it? Maybe like me you made more progress today than you realized…until now. Any progress is progress….