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!
I hope you realize how very important your blog is to all parents! I’m much too old to have little ones anymore, but I can sure remember the times I succumbed to yelling when I should not have, and felt so guilty about it. Of course the stress was there (losing a child, teaching special education, too many things on my plate) – but there is NEVER an excuse to take it out on your children. If there is anything I could say to young parents (who have even MORE stress) – it’s “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and enjoy every day. You don’t want to be my age (70) with any regrets. In fact, now I count on my children to help care for me!
Hi Rhino 😉
I’ve been following you for a few months on FB. But I yelled tonight. And I hated it. And I pledged that tonight was going to be the turning point. No.more.yelling. So here I am… for the very first time on your blog. Ready to embrace the work I know I have to do. And this is the first post I have read – very timely & true for me in so many ways. Thank you for what you are doing… you are an inspiration. XO
Just found your blog, referred through a FB link. I don’t think of myself as “yelly” but lately I’ve been yelling a lot, and BAD yells. So I decided it’s time to stop.
This post describes my own recent breakthrough. I realized that the more GOOD time I spend with my kids, the more my image of them is of sweet, wonderful kids, and the more patience I have with them. If my only interaction with them is trying to do something else and then getting annoyed when they interrupt it, no wonder I can’t see the good in them. But if we’ve just gotten back from the park where I was grinning at the 1yo’s crazy run and the 3yo’s monster impression, even though I am tired and the stress level is a bit high, I still think of them as “good kids” and that helps more than anything.
I’m reading “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers” by Tracy Hogg. In it, she states that we have to let our kids feel all emotions, even the hard ones like sadness and anger, and that’s okay. I realized that I was getting down on MYSELF whenever I feel these emotions, especially anger. “Oh, that makes me mad –> why am I mad, that’s dumb –> ugh, I’m so mad that I’m mad!” When really, it’s OKAY to be mad. It’s usually my reaction that’s not okay.
As a mom who is often trigger to yell because of hunger I urge you to read “why we get fat” and explore a low carb diet vs counting calories. My husband and I have been doing it for three months without ever feeling hungry. He’s lost 20 pounds. I’ve lost only 8, but I have less to lose. Good luck! Share these non yelling stories more often. It’s great to read everything you write!
This post was EXACTLY what I needed to snap out of the funk I’ve let myself slip into lately. I need to focus on the positive and accept the negative, but not dwell on it. Thank you!!
The most amazing part about reading your posts is learning that I am NOT alone in my struggles. I think sometimes that is the hardest part of being a mom, thinking that there is nobody that feels like I do-both good and bad! So THANK YOU for opening up the divide and reminding me that I am not the Lone Ranger and neither are you! God Bless!
Thank you for sharing this, I struggle with keeping my own “issues’ mine, and not pushing them on my family through yelling, distancing myself, being short, etc… and just not being the mom/wife I want in my house. Thank you for sharing your struggles and triumphs!!
I’ve been following your blog for a while and even heard you on the radio last weekend (congrats!). Just wanted to say that I am really really working on not yelling. Granted I am not always successful, but because of your blog I am at least recognizing it. Since reading and dedicating myself to the orange rhino challenge, I may have yelled a lot still, but I have learned to think back as to why I yelled and apologize for it. I like to think that counts as something and is a step in the right direction.
Thank you again and again for making this topic less taboo!
You write about whatever you like and it seems you have so many wonderful people and events in your life.
And having the courage to see that how you act is in your control as is how you choose to feel about any situation.
Yup – seeing your brilliant sons, your own health and life are cause for celebration and a lot of self kindness.
For me it’s about choosing to take the next step and the next step each day to progress a dream and live my life with some modicum of contentment and calm – even when [like all this week] I just felt tired and unmotivated.
Doing a few things each day [walk my dog, write a post; ring my mum; pick some yummy recipes; drink water when I want cake; etc] even when I just want to stay in bed and moan has made me really proud of myself this week.
I progressed a few dreams a few steps forward and felt good at the end of each day.
I feel that what I achieved this week while feeling a tad low was almost bigger than when I designed and relaunched my Life Dreaming site a few weeks ago.
Re: the weight stuff. I totally get what you’re feeling and be kinder to yourself.
I’m 54 and have no idea what I weigh anymore. I gave up the scales and know that some days/weeks I’m the cake/wine/chocolate/burger DIVA and other weeks I’m the water/fish/salad DIVA.
I chose to pick 1 or 2 things I wanted to create new habits for and linked them all up.
I walk my Coco dog as soon as I get out of bed; come home and have a yummy brekky; drink heaps of water; and enjoy the wine on the weekend. I ate lots of chocolates last Friday and drank wine because it was my birthday.
I found that the wine was making me hungry and then I’d have more wine and then more food and next day I felt tired. So, in the main, no wine during the week. That’s helped my energy a lot.
I also buy gorgeous dresses from charity shops here in Dublin and don’t care what size they are as long as they fit me.
Anyway, I am loving your writing.
OMG, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post!! You have hit the nail squarely on the head ’cause it’s all related to loving more, yelling less! And you are not alone. Thank you for sharing
Oh, the weight comment hits home. And added for me is that I never want my daughter hear me say that I’m unhappy with my body. So I’m mad that I don’t eat healthier and don’t work out enough, but always try to make it unknown when I don’t like what I see in the mirror
Thank you -again. Reading your posts since April has inspired me to be a better mom & to make a real effort to jump in and really participate in every moment I can of my newly turned 7 year old. That every moment IS indeed a big deal that I can turn positive or negative with my son. Not only am I a single parent, I am an exclusive parent. I am impatient. I would love to be Supermom. I am reminding myself that at any given moment, me and every one else is doing the best that they can do. Thank you for your inspiration!
I have been enjoying reading your blog since I found it about a month ago. Im pleased chose to write about your thoughts and emotions, its all part of parenting. The good thing about sharing is it allows other to feel they are not alone. In relation to your weightloss check out http://www.myfitnesspal.com its free and a great motivation tool to get on your way to a happier healthier you.
Thank you for the link. I’m signed in and starting today. 🙂
I LOVE myfitnesspal.com!!! That and fit yummy mummy 15 minute workouts (google it or Holly Rigsby, she is amazing) have not only helped with my fat loss but I have become a stronger, healthier, more centered momma to my three boys!!! I think it is so important to show our kids that taking the time to be healthy is worth it! Hang in there OR! You can do it!