It seems like ages ago now that I first discovered the Orange Rhino and her stop yelling challenge. I was in a completely different season of life back then, with a busy two-year-old and a baby. All of my hands on, positive parenting techniques fell apart when I couldn’t get off my butt to intervene because I needed to nurse a baby.
I felt stuck.
I couldn’t parent the way I wanted to– it no longer worked, now that I had more than one child to parent. Having two kids wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be and that made me angry. Angry that I felt like I couldn’t handle it. My husband insisted that yelling was the answer. I disagreed but I tried it. I started yelling. And it went downhill from there.
At first, I only yelled occasionally. I felt guilty each time I yelled.
But the longer I struggled, the worse it got.
My stern mom voice remained hidden somewhere. I struggled to get the right tone. When I started yelling on a regular basis, my kids also stopped listening. They tuned me out.
I started to feel more in control of my yelling. Things were getting better. I learned to be ok with not having another baby and started embracing the big boy stage. Things were looking up.
I found ways to lighten the mood when I was irritated. And then I got pregnant.
Fast forward to now.
I not only have a baby but TWO older boys to parent. Just like before, parenting 3 children is much more complicated than the cliches of knowing what you’re doing because you’ve done it twice before. The boys are older, yes. But that doesn’t naturally make them big helpers. They have their own feelings and frustrations about having a baby around.
Everyone in our house has something they are unhappy and frustrated about. Times 5. (Yes I’m even counting the baby because she has needs too)
Related: 31 Self-Care Tips For Busy Moms
Take Care of You, Mama
I am learning that, slowly but surely. Taking care of yourself doesn’t happen on breaks from your kids, it happens in the everyday moments.
When you stand up for yourself when your kids try to bully you into giving in to their every whim. They can be little tyrants sometimes, right?
When you gently remind them that it’s not ok to talk to people, especially your own mom, that way. (Back-talk, the struggle is real!).
When you calmly say, “How many things can Mommy do at one time?” and they answer,” 1.” “Yes, one son. Mommy can only do one thing at a time.”
You can teach them in those moments. But you can’t teach them if you’re screaming and lashing out at them.
Great, I know I need to Stop Yelling, but How Do I Make It Happen?
I am writing this from a place in the middle of my journey. I still yell at my kids and I’ve decided it’s time for me to grow up and be the parent again. It’s tough to admit sometimes, but I am the adult in the situation and I don’t always act like it.
So, here’s what I’ve done so far and my plan:
- I read an e-book called Happy You, Happy Family: Find Your Personal Recipe for Happiness in the Chaos of Parenting Life, now I need to start implementing the tips.
- I also took the Banish the Mom Funk Challenge.
- I realized that this will probably be part of my life that’s an on-going struggle. So I need to approach it in baby steps and implement changes gradually. It’s much bigger than taking a deep breath to stay calm when I get frustrated and it’s ok to just focus on doing better tomorrow, rather than attempt to stop yelling forever.
- I got the Stop Yelling Handbook and enrolled in my friend’s Mama’s Anger Management E-course.
- I’m actually going to go through the course this time, instead of just skimming it. I should probably re-read the Orange Rhino’s book too.
I’m also going to keep reminding myself that parenting is like life. It’s a process. A journey. With seasons and peaks and valleys. You never know if you’re on the right path until you get to the destination. And that’s ok. It’s what you learn along the way that’s important, to make each day a bit better than the day before.
It’s ok to be angry. It’s not ok to take it out on people or break things. (This is a new catch phrase in our house, because my kids have a lot of anger to express too.)
Stay tuned! I’ll continue to share stories from my journey to yell less, including how I deal with my own triggers, like noise, feeling my kids are in danger (even if they aren’t), being interrupted when I’m trying to concentrate, and more.
If you’d like to be updated when there’s a new post in this series, subscribe here!