366 days without yelling…366 days of loving more!
You know those mornings where you just want to crawl back in bed, pull the covers up over your head and hide until bedtime because the kids are running around screaming…and it’s not even 6? The mornings where every single kid woke up the night before and is starting the day all sorts of cranky? The mornings where you go into the shower for some peace and all you get are kids banging on the glass doors crying hysterically that “he hit me” and “I can’t get my sock on” and “I don’t want to go to school.” The mornings where you feel like since you are stuck out of bed, you might as well just bang your head against the wall because it is going to be one of those days?
Yeah, I don’t know about those mornings either. They NEVER happen in this house. Never. Accept if three or four times a week is the definition of never.
One day during this past year it was a wonderful, scratch that, it was a wonderfully insane morning. Luckily, my husband hadn’t left for work yet so he too could experience the chaos that was happening around us. The boys were playing a game of tag. But it was a different kind of tag. It went like this, or at least this is how I imagine the conversation went down between all my boys at say, what, 5:30 am that morning?
“Okay. Here’s the deal. I am going to cry and cry over the smallest thing possible that mommy can’t fix. Then I tag you. When I tag you, I’ll stop crying but you have to start. And you have to cry louder. Then when you are tired, you tag your brother. Then he has to start and cry even louder. And then finally, someone has to pinch the baby really hard so he starts screaming, not crying, but screaming. At that point, that is our signal to all start sobbing horrifically and become completely inconsolable. The trick? We have to make sure we all start the inconsolable part at the same time. The objective of the game? To see if mommy and daddy lose it.”
It’s funny. I never even once felt like I was going to lose it even though given all the loud shrills and valiant efforts by my boys, I should have! In the old days, I would have no doubt. NO DOUBT. But not that day.
That day my husband and I looked at each other, and at eerily the same moment both chuckled and sarcastically said a line from the movie Jerry Maguire: “This is gonna be a great day!“ (See the clip below if you wish to reminisce!)
And while we were both being phenomenally sarcastic when we said “This is gonna be a great day!” and we both knew that it would actually indeed be a long, hard day full of tears and fights; just saying that it was going to be a great day put me at ease. Just sharing a laugh at how weird it was that we said the same thing from the same movie at the same time put me at ease. Just sharing a laugh about how it sure didn’t feel like it was going to be a great day put me at ease. Laughter is good like that. Laughter changed my mindset and helped me to be able to smile and then walk over to my terribly upset boys and be compassionate.
I think of that scene from Jerry Maguire a lot and it helps me get going on rough mornings, like today. I was in the middle of changing a very dirty and explosive diaper and one of my sons lovingly ran at me to give me a huge hug. Well, he gave me a huge hug all right. It was such a big one that it knocked me forward and I put not one, but both hands in the diaper. I went to wash my hands, dirty baby in tow, only to then stub my toe and find my other son squirting toothpaste all over his brother’s toothbrush. Cue the fighting and the crying.
Before I could even scream, I found myself imitating Dicky Fox and laughing out loud saying “This is gonna be a grrrreat day!”
And it worked. I started chuckling at the absurdity of the situation and the tension oozed out like the toothpaste now oozing down the counter onto the vanity. And I am so glad that it did because yelling back “hey, knock it off, it’s just a toothbrush” or “hey, why did you have to hug me so hard I put my hands in poop” would have gotten me nowhere except a more stressful situation. It would have just cued non-existent sobbing or make existent sobbing louder and louder. Obviously, that was NOT the desired outcome! But that is only half of the story. It would have sent such a wrong message. It would have said “hey don’t hug me” and “hey your feelings don’t matter.”
Yeah, I don’t want to send those messages.
And I also don’t want to send the message to myself that the entire day is gonna suck because the beginning was less than hot. I don’t want to catch myself saying “This is gonna be an awfully hard, long, crappy day!” because that also gets me nowhere but a more stressful situation.
So yeah, now instead of letting the morning stress get to me and push me to yell on hard mornings, I send the right message to myself and my boys by imitating Dicky Fox and sounding outright ridiculous! But it makes me laugh, changes my attitude, and helps me to stay calm so I can “show my kids the love.”