Since May, I have wanted to write about my five year old’s birthday and how proud I am of his growth this year; how proud I am of him for wanting a cooking party even though he thought boys might make fun of him; how proud I am of him for his social progress making him ready for Kindergarten. But I decided that had nothing to do with yelling so I haven’t written about it.
Since June, I have wanted to write about how exciting it is that my almost seven year old can really, truly read; how incredible it is that he figures out new, long, complicated words; how frustrating it is that I can no longer spell or write out secret notes to my husband! But I decided that had nothing to do with yelling, so I haven’t written about it.
Since early July, I have wanted to write about my struggles with my weight and how I need to get back on Weight Watchers, how I need to get exercising again, how I need to drink less, eh hem, alcohol at night. But I decided that had nothing to do with yelling so I haven’t written about it.
Since last week, I have wanted to write about how I took my four year old to camp and was most certain he wouldn’t last an hour; how I was most certain his major social anxiety would eat him alive; how my anxiety over his potential anxiety was eating me alive before he even went; how he went and loved every minute of it and asked to go another week. But I decided that had nothing to do with yelling, so I haven’t written about it.
And since this past weekend, I have wanted to write about my ambivalence that my “baby” was turning two; my sadness that this was my first 2nd birthday party without a newborn in the house; my realization that this was my last “baby” party. But I decided that had nothing to do with yelling so I haven’t written about it.
Oh, I have wanted to write about this or that, that or this. I have wanted to write about positive things and not so positive things but for some reason or another, I decided that the subject was “off topic” and “not relevant to yelling” and therefore not worth writing about.
It donned on me two nights ago though, as I sat staring at my computer typing and deleting, typing and deleting, that it is ALL relevant to yelling. The good, the bad, it is all more than relevant.
My happiness over my 5-year-old’s personal growth this year? It has filled tough days with huge smiles. It has taken what would have been disastrous at home battles into small tantrums. It has made my “am I failing as a mother” concern and the “does he need more help” concern and the “do we need to hold him back a year concern” all disappear, lifting a huge source of stress of my shoulders. Oh my son’s incredible progress has made me lighter, happier and therefore less likely to yell at not just him, but also everyone.
My son learning to read? It has had the same effect at my 5-year-old son “growing up” a bit. It has filled me with wonder, pride, happiness and awe all which put me in a good mood and make it way easier to not yell. At the end of the day when I am just ready to bark at my 7 year old “just get in bed now, I’m tired!” before I can even do so, he pulls out a book and says “it’s time to read” and my bark disappears. I then can’t wait for the next 10 minutes of listening to him sound out en-cy-clo-ped-ia and other long words in his chapter books. Yelling becomes the farthest thing from my mind.
My struggles with my weight? It means I start each day feeling frustrated and guilty and angry with myself. It means before the kids even come in to say hello I have already put on a pair of shorts that are too snug for my liking…right along with a bad attitude and shortness that is also not to my liking. I know my weight shouldn’t impact my outward attitude and behavior, but it does. When I feel “fat” I feel physically and emotionally disgusted most moments of the day. I feel impatient with myself (why can’t you just start eating healthier already?!) and that impatience and frustration just seeps out into my interactions with my kids. Oh how, my weight struggles are indeed a trigger for yelling (and yes, oh how I know they “shouldn’t” be.)
And my four-year-old going to camp successfully, like really, really successfully? It meant for two weeks I started each day busting with excitement and anticipation of what he would have to tell me four hours later. It meant that in the middle of the day I got a huge burst of joy when he came bouncing out of camp with the biggest, sh*t eating grin ever and talking a mile a minute, all about is day and how “rific” it was. Oh the joy brought me so up that those days it was easy to not yell (and not just because he was at camp for so long but because I was on a “mommy-happiness-high” all afternoon!)
My sadness over being done having children? It leaves me down a little when I see a sweet baby and I get a pang of sadness. That sadness sticks for a bit and takes me to a place where I am not present with my four beautiful boys making me snappier if they talk to me at that precise moment. Does the sadness last more than a minute or two? No. But if I am interrupted during that brief time of sadness, I do find that I am apt to snap (or want to yell, WHAT?!!!!)
Yes, the more worried I am, the more frustrated I am, the sadder I am, the more apt I am to yell. It is that simple.
And yes, the happier I am, the more joyful I am, the more relaxed I am, and the less I am apt to yell. It is that simple.
I have learned that at the end of the day, all emotions, good or bad, are related to my ability to yell less and love more. As I write that, it seems so obvious and straightforward, it’s kind of like, duh! But in reality, while it is simple on paper, it isn’t in reality. It isn’t simple and straightforward (or possible) to always do the things that make me feel happy and relaxed, just like it isn’t simple and straightforward (or possible) to always avoid the things that make me feel worried and sad.
But what is simple and straightforward is the awareness that trying to fill up on what makes me happy (laughing with my kids, running in the rain, reminiscing with my husband, taking pictures, writing on my blog, talking with girlfriends, walking on the beach) and trying to process and acknowledge what makes me sad are BOTH very important. Letting all my emotions matter is important. Writing about all my emotions is important. It might not always be easy to fill up on happiness and handle the things that aren’t so happy, but it is important to just keep on trying to do both so that I can yell less and love more. It is that simple.
And on that note, I am back to watching a very cheesy Hallmark movie. It is totally filling me up with happiness galore!