I am in a funk.
And I am fairly certain that I have no clue whatsoever as to why I am in said funk.
And I am more than fairly certain that said funk is making it woefully difficult to not yell.
Like, really, really difficult.
Because I am in a mood. I am present, but not. I am happy, but not. I am sad, but not. I am around and here and “doing” what I need to be “doing” but I feel this little I don’t know what “it” is, nagging at me, leaving me feeling just off. And again, really wanting to yell
…at all the noise (I swear my almost three year old, who just “found” his voice is louder than his older three brothers…combined!)
…at all the clutter (hello, end of the year school papers!)
…at all the whining that comes from water fights (yes, dear son, if you squirt your brother he will get you back, twofold.)
…at all the lost shoes that are needed to get out of the door on time but have disappeared into the great outdoors during water fights
…and well, at my kids, totally unnecessarily.
When I figured this funk had started settling in, my first thought was (and advance warning to the men for this statement), “well of course it is! It’s that time of month!” But then that time of month didn’t happen and I realized my count was off and well, that I couldn’t blame my crankiness on the calendar. Blech. Bummer. That is such an easy thing to blame and a readily acceptable one. It comes. It goes. Funk be gone; yelling less and loving more becomes easier again just like that!
No lie, I was totally bummed to not have the “calendar” as my scapegoat especially since my funk was growing and growing and with it my desire to yell. My husband ever so innocently and lovingly said to me this past weekend, “Babe, what’s up? You are crankier and snappier and more distant with all of us. What’s going on?” I roared back, okay, not roared but really snapped back in a rather annoyed way,
“Get off my back! If I knew, I would fix it and wouldn’t be as cranky! Besides, I am well aware I am cranky and I am working on it. I don’t exactly like being this way you know. It’s not fun!”
And that was the truth. All of it–not just the not liking being cranky (who does, right?!) but also that I was working on it. Because I am. Every. Single. Day. Here is how my new “Orange Rhino” mind is operating right now at any given tense moment to help me figure life out so that I get on a less cranky path.
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Me: I just “oopsie-snapped” at kids.
Orange Rhino Mind (ORM): Why did you do that? Did they deserve it?
Me: No. I’m just cranky.
ORM: Why are you cranky?
Me: I don’t know. Leave me alone!
ORM: No, I won’t stop pushing you because you know that if you don’t figure out what is silently eating at you, your crankiness will grow, it will be come a trigger and you’ll yell and you don’t want that.
Me: Okay fine. I’ll think about it but really, I’ve been thinking about it for days now and I just can’t figure out what is eating at me.
ORM: Okay, let’s go through the list of things you know you need to do for you to be in a good place. You know, the basics you learned on your Orange Rhino Challenge that need to be taken care of so you are best apt to not yell. Ready? Are you tired?
Me: No. I am actually sleeping better lately. (Side bar: We’ve been sleeping on my husband’s bed from high school. It’s what, 20 years old? Got a new mattress. Oh. My. Gosh. Get a new mattress today people! Life changer! I wake up rested and don’t have to stretch my “getting old joints” to move!)
ORM: Is it lack of exercise?
Me: Nope. Not that either. I have a new exercise regime going and I feel great.
ORM: Are you hanging out with friends, you know, socializing and laughing and connecting with adults?
Me: Yeah, more than usual.
ORM: Are you stressed?
Me: Yes. No doubt. But I know that, it isn’t nagging at me. And it’s good stress.
ORM: So what the heck is your problem then girl?! What’s driving the funk? (Okay, it doesn’t say that. I say that.)
Me: I don’t know but I have to – and really want to – figure it out because I know it is driving me closer and closer to yelling.
* * * * *
As I sit here writing this, I fina-friggin-ly feel like I have clarity. Yee-haw!
I learned on The Orange Rhino Challenge that when I find myself wanting to yell unnecessarily at the kids way more than usual, that I need to stop “blaming” them as the reason I want to yell, but instead point the blaming finger at myself. When I get to that point, I do what I wrote above. I drill and drill and drill myself with “Why?” questions until I figure out what is really bothering me. I always know I have hit the real issue at hand when my stomach (or is it body or mind, I don’t know) goes, “Aha! This feels right.” I no longer feel the need to question myself.
Well, that feeling just happened.
Do you know what I am not doing, or rather haven’t done lately from my “Taking Care of Me List,” the list that keeps me from being in a place where I want to yell, yell, yell?
I haven’t relaxed. I haven’t stopped. I haven’t breathed. I haven’t slowed down. I haven’t done anything for me. I haven’t taken care of me and that is ESSENTIAL to my being in a calm place so that yelling isn’t a desire (okay, or at least the natural desire!)
And do you know what else I haven’t done?
I haven’t connected with my boys, like really, really connected, laughed, and just hung out with my boys.
There are real good reasons I haven’t done the above two things. Life has been tough these last few weeks, for my boys and me. Nothing major, just a little more tough than usual. Tough on our schedules, tough on our mental states, tough on our ability to enjoy downtime – both together and apart.
And do you know what else is tough?
Breaking this pattern and getting to bed earlier than early so I am extra rested so that I have the mental clarity and strength tomorrow to push myself to take me time and extra kid time; to push myself to slow down so that I can keep up. We both need it. Rather, all five, no six (husband included, mustn’t forget him). But I am going to break this pattern because not only do I want to kiss this current funk goodbye so that I can enjoy the water fights in the perfect spring days even more, but also because I know where these funks lead me. And let me tell you, it’s not to Orange Rhino Land where I yell less and love more, but it’s more like to grey(ish) rhino land where I get way to close to charging with my words and then go to bed feeling guilty that I wasn’t the parent I wanted to be that day.
The good news? I am already on the way to breaking the pattern because I finally identified the issues and can create a plan to work on them. Knowing is half the battle, right?! Oh, and more good news?
Taking care of me doesn’t have to be a thirty-minute break – it can be as simple as 5 minutes sitting in the sun with my eyes closed pretending that I am at the beach just listening to the ocean. Yep, totally doing that tomorrow and totally asking my husband if I can slip out to get some orange toe nails vis-à-vis a pedicure this weekend. Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?!
Nope, never hurts to ask. Shoot, all the asking of myself, got me to a better place already!
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Want to learn about other strategies and tips I now use to keep me from yelling? Check out my book, “Yell Less, Love MoreHow The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids and How You Can Too!” due out October 1st! Find it at your favorite book store and pre-order it today so you are one of the first to have it in the fall!