Written today, but should have been written sometime in January 2012. If I had had the guts then to completely admit to all that’s included below….
Dear Internet World,
My name is The Orange Rhino and I yell at my kids. A lot. A lot more than I like. A lot more than I ever imagined I would. I don’t yell at them ALL day (or everyday) but it kind of feels like it. And well, I am sure it definitely feels like it to my four boys. Because most of the time (again NOT all the time) when I yell, I don’t just yell, I YELLLLLL. I’m talking a full on screaming at the top of my lungs yell accompanied by one or all of the following: red face, shaking hands, screeching voice, eyes squeezed shut in sheer disbelief.
I yell at them for leaving legos on the floor, for not hanging their jackets up, for putting their shoes right where I walk so that I trip.
I yell at them for pissing everywhere BUT in the toilet, for emptying half the bathtub on the floor, for spitting on the mirror during toothbrushing time.
I yell at them for hitting their brothers, for pretending to shoot each other with guns, for not stopping rough play when someone is crying.
I yell at them for complaining about what I serve for dinner, for throwing their food on the table if they don’t like it, for saying they aren’t hungry and then begging for food. 10 minutes after the meal is over.
I yell at them for playing instead of going to bed, I yell at them for getting out of bed too early, I yell at them for waking each other up in the morning.
I yell at them to hurry up and get out the door, to pee before getting in the car, to stop picking on each other while we wait in the car line at pick up.
I yell at them for begging me to put the TV on, for asking one more time to play with their LeapPad explorers, for pleading for more toys.
I yell at them for interrupting me when I am on the phone, for not stopping talking when I have said I need a break, for talking too loudly.
I yell at them for not saying please and barking orders at me, for calling their brothers mean words, for being fresh with me.
I yell at them for not keeping their hands to themselves in stores, for intentionally taking a toy from their brothers, for pushing each other.
I yell at them for temper tantruming for what feels like hours on end, for slamming doors when angry, for throwing toys on the ground and at me when they don’t get their way.
I yell at them for silly things, for serious things, and “you’re-just-being-annoying” things.
I yell at them when I have had enough of them not listening, when I am tired of being patient and empathetic, when I am overwhelmed with the challenges of parenting.
I yell at them when they are only being mildly annoying but I am cranky, or tired, or not feeling well, or anxious, or sad, or preoccupied, or busy, or just not in a good place.
Am I missing anything? I am sure I yell at them for a lot more. Because it looks like I CHOOSE to yell at them for just about everything and anything.
Oh, yes I did forget something.
I yell at them for yelling at me, for yelling in the house, for yelling at each other. Wait, I wonder where they learned to yell at me? To yell at each other?
Crap. They learned that from me.
Crap, I yell a lot. I lose my patience a lot. I forget they are just kids, just people, a lot. I don’t stop and question my expectations, a lot. I get lazy and don’t try to find self control, a lot. I tell myself I am going to change, and then do nothing, a lot. I wish I could stop yelling, a lot.
Because yelling makes me feel really, really crappy, A LOT.
My name is The Orange Rhino and I am tired of being a yelling parent.
I am tired of being disappointed in myself for not keeping it together. I am tired of knowing that my yelling is hurting my kids’ feelings and probably doing some emotional damage too. I am tired of yelling and having it achieve nothing but making things worse. I am tired of not setting a good example for my kids. I am tired of getting on my kid’s cases for everything, for not letting them have a little more breathing room. I am tired of not putting the energy into finding a way to end my yelling. I am tired of saying “oh, I only yell on occasions, but when I do it is bad” when really, that is a lie. I am tired of going to bed (almost) every night feeling guilty and ashamed of how I treated my boys.
My name is The Orange Rhino and I am going to go 365 days straight without yelling. I make this big commitment because this nasty habit of mine needs to vanish not for a few days, but for life. I make this big commitment not just because I know I can do better and because I want to do better, but also because my kids deserve better.
(My name is The Orange Rhino and I DID go 365 days without yelling and I believe that you can too!)