Wednesday, May 4, 2011

non yelling mama

Clark: "I am a person, and I yell a lot."
Me: "Is it Mommy?"
Clark: "Yes! Good job, Mama."

I don't like to yell. It makes me feel like a crappy mom and sometimes a crazy person. And I've noticed lately that they've started to yell at each other. It does not escape me from where they learned this.

So on Monday I decided to go the whole day without yelling. It was great! I didn't yell once, and I found (very interestingly) that, having promised myself this, it was easy. I was actually not even tempted to yell. When those moments came, when I would usually yell, I just took a deep breath, stooped down to look them straight in the face, and talked. Plus, I became acutely aware of my Job - meaning, the time I yell is when we're in a hurry to get out the door and short people are dragging their feet, or still playing with the trains, or ignoring my requests to don rainboots, or simply refusing directly - and I think I believed my Job was to make things run on time, to deliver bodies to school on time, to get to my gym class on time, to go to the playground with enough time to play before dinner. But that's not my job. My job is to be kind and to teach them how to function well in this time-driven world. There's no reason we can't sometimes be late to preschool, or to my gym class, or skip the park all together if there's too much dawdling. Natural consequences.

The things we struggle with are often so simple.

That was Monday. Later in the day, after I saw I was successful, I told Frances the promise I'd made to myself, and told her how proud I was that I hadn't yelled even once. Then I did it again on Tuesday, and again on Wednesday. I'm marking it on the calender, going to see how long I can go. I hope it's long long long. Because yelling is only a habit, and habits can be broken.

I do find that in order to be successful in this, I have to have tissue in my ears at all times. Earplugs block too much, but with tissue I can still hear conversation. It just takes the sharp edge off the shrill, and I'm much more able to be patient.

Now there can be a No Yelling rule in the house. I'm noticing already that it's helping with how they talk to each other. Yay me!


Amy said...

I gave up yelling for Lent, and was surprised at how well the kids responded, no yelling back and no yelling at each other:)Unfortunately, I've been slacking, so maybe I'll join you in not yelling anymore. I would love to send each other a note once a week to keep accountable! I admire you so much and miss you tons!

Amy Coen

M. Bloom said...

Great post. I gave up yelling because it only fueled my older son to yell back. Now I speak quietly and firmly. Making sure there is eye contact is so helpful but I often forget that part and so I end up having to repeat myself over and over which is frustrating... got to remember that eye-contact thing...