Lately I’ve been doing a lot of yelling. And my kids are the primary target. I didn’t even realize how much yelling I was doing until my son asked, “Mom, do you like yelling at me?”
Why do I yell?
I yell out of pure frustration. Frustration at repeating myself for the gazillionth time and having a premonition that I’ll be repeating myself again. Very soon.
Take cleaning up after themselves for example. I’m constantly reminding one to pick up his toys and the other to wipe up after cooking. Barking out orders like a dog at the arrival of the mailman.
One day I opened my mouth to bark, but to my surprise, my daughter cleaned up the scrambled eggs aftermath without me saying a word. And she did a great job! On another occasion I was about to bark at my son, but hesitated deciding to wait. Low and behold he put everything away without my saying a word. Wow.
Too often I don’t allow them the opportunity to show me they’re more responsible. I’m too busy jumping in wanting it done instantly. Instead, I need to pause and let them do it on their time. Within reason of course.
I yell because I’m stressed and overwhelmed juggling multiple obligations. Acting as career woman, personal assistant, chef, and chauffeur. And of course I crazily try to pursue my own interests when I can.
I yell because sometimes I’m tired of adulting.
I yell because I fear that I’m not a good parent because I can’t give them everything. At times only the bare minimum. And I feel guilty about it. I hate telling them it will have to wait or maybe someday knowing someday may never arrive. I’m afraid I’m disappointing them.
I feel guilty for not being “perfect”.
Can you relate?
So I yell because let’s face it, I’m overwhelmed, out of control, and put too my pressure on myself. I have completely lost it. I seriously need a timeout.
Here’s how it all came to a head.
The other day the lens popped out of my daughter’s glasses and I couldn’t get it back in. It was the week before school started. I immediately did a run down of our calendar and when we could possibly fit in a trip to the eye doctor among soccer games, practices, lessons, and meetings. The list of activities and appointments scrolled through my head like a computer reading code.
I was getting overwhelmed trying to fit one more thing into the next few days.
“I’m not sure when we’ll be able to have these fixed,” I mentioned distracted as I squinted at the calendar.
“Great!” My daughter exclaimed irritated. “Now I’ll have to wait months before I can see again! Great start to the school year,” she muttered under her breath as she sulked into her room.
I instantly got offended that she felt her basic necessities weren’t a priority to me. So I exploded. “Unbelievable! I’m sorry that I can’t drop everything on a dime to get your glasses fixed! You’re not the only one in this house! We have to balance everyone’s life and I’m trying to do the best that I can.” (Not one of my better parenting moments.) As I stood there with fire shooting from my eyes and smoke billowing out of my ears, her words sink in extinguishing my temper. “Wait. Why do you think it will take months to get them fixed?”
“Because earlier you said we had to have an eye exam before we could replace these glasses.”
Oh. Yet again we’re on two different tracks of the mind. “Not to pop the lenses back in,” I reply.
Here’s a little basic communication tips so that you can avoid the tantrum I just had. Stop. Listen. Don’t assume. Don’t jump to conclusions. And most importantly don’t leap to yelling.
I yell because for all the justifications and reasons why I yell, what it really comes down to is that I’m afraid that if my kids don’t do well it means I failed as a parent.
I worry I haven’t done enough for them. I worry I won’t have taught them everything they need to know. What if I missed something? What if I messed it all up?
Do you ever worry about this?
Truth is every parent has fears. We’re constantly doubting ourselves and our abilities.
There’s no instruction manual for this parenting thing. Closest one I ever found was Jo Frost’s Supernanny. Shame it only applies to kids birth to age 6.
The reality is my kids will fail sometimes. Just as I fail sometimes. However, it is a learning opportunity and not a reflection of me as a parent or person. We can’t be afraid of them failing. It’s important to allow them to fail and then be there to help them reflect on the experience and learn from it.
We’ve been placed in our child’s life because we are the best person to help them navigate life. It was no accident. No mistake.
So I’ve decided to make a greater effort to yell less and be quiet more. To listen more. To pause more. I will provide more opportunities for them to be responsible. And I will try to loosen my controlling tendencies and allow more independence, within reason, and be supportive if it doesn’t quite work out the way they planned.
In a society living in a facade of perfectionism, it’s hard not to second guess our abilities. It’s okay to doubt ourselves. What’s important is that we don’t buy into the false narratives.
Remember, we’re each doing the best we can with the experiences and resources we have.
Our kids are too.