How does it feel Not Yelling at my kids for 56 days?

Dear Neighbor,
You asked me how it feels to not yell for 56 days. Are you sure you want the answer? The real answer?

Prepare Yourself,
The Orange Rhino

*

Yesterday I told you not yelling felt great. Amazing.
And it does. More than most of the time.
In the beginning I told you it made my kids listen more.
And it does. More than most of the time.
But I can’t lie.
Sometimes not yelling doesn’t feel amazing because sometimes
my kids don’t listen more.
Because they are kids.
And just like me, they have good days and bad days.
And during those moments when they don’t listen,
I mean REALLY DON’T LISTEN and it feels like they are all giving me the middle finger  and don’t give a hoot what I have to say…
I want to yell.
I want to yell because Yelling used to be my go-to parenting method when all else failed.
And it always worked. It always got my kids to stop and listen.
Because it scared them.  And I don’t want to scare my kids. I love them.
And so I can’t yell.
And it turns out, I can’t even cry…

This afternoon was brutal. Change is coming to the Orange Rhino Household and mommy is anxious, and overwhelmed, and nervous, and scared, and sad. The list goes on and on and on. And my boys sense it. When I am anxious #1 is twice as anxious and his response is to be over silly and hyper and to not listen which of course gets #2 and #3 acting the same way. The three feed off of each other and the house goes from acceptably calm and quiet for having 4 boys in it to loud, rambunctious, and intolerable. Simply stated, if mommy shows signs of being anxious, even if she isn’t yelling, then my household spirals into a world of chaos. A world where I feel like I have no control, no power, and I just want the madness to stop.

And today I just wanted to cry. I stood in the middle of the chaos surrounding me – my boys running around yelling and my to-do list yelling at me to get to it – and I wanted to cry. I wanted to bawl. I wanted all my feelings of being overwhelmed to pour out of me and be gone. But I couldn’t.

The tears wouldn’t come.

I was pissed. I felt cheated. How come my boys can release their anger, their frustration, their anxiety via a good ‘ole fashioned temper tantrum, with tears pouring out, and I can’t? I was pissed I couldn’t cry and I was pissed I couldn’t yell. Because both would have made me feel better and I couldn’t do either.

Harrumph.

What did the situation feel like?

I felt weak, truly. I felt like I could just collapse.
I don’t think I could have even screamed if I wanted too, I was so tired.
I felt overwhelmed.
I felt desperate.
I felt hopeless. Powerless.
I felt defeated.
I guess you could say I felt pretty sh*tty.
All I wanted to do was cry.
And the tears wouldn’t even come.
I couldn’t yell and I needed to release.

I couldn’t move my legs to stomp out my frustration because they were too weak from walking back and forth, room to room, talking directly to my boys to try to get the desired behavior. My legs were too weak from going up and down the stairs bringing #1 to his room to cool down, again and again.

I couldn’t even whisper because I was tired of trying to communicate.

I couldn’t even bring myself to get the camera because well, what was the point? The kids were running around me in a whirlwhind, a camera wouldn’t catch them, there wasn’t a photo that would make me laugh.

I couldn’t even take deep breaths because my heart was beating so fast from my blood boiling.

I felt hopeless. Powerless.
I felt defeated.
And all I wanted to do was yell.
Because I knew that would work.
I knew it would stop my kids dead in their tracks.
It would demand they give me attention. It would demand that they listen to me.

If only for a moment.
One moment.
But then the tears would come. Not mine, but theirs.
And with it the guilt, theirs and mine.
So I knew I couldn’t yell. And I didn’t know what else to do.
I didn’t know how to stop the madness.
And so all I wanted to do was cry.
And the damn tears wouldn’t come.
They wouldn’t free me from my feelings.
They wouldn’t let me body release the frustration it felt.

So I stood still, paralyzed by frustration.

I stood still.

And suddenly I stopped trying to control the situation. I stopped trying to control their behavior. And I started trying to control MYSELF. I searched for calm. And clarity.  And tried hard to not pull out my hair or throw something across the room in the process.

Clarity came first. Get a book. Just start reading. They will come.
And I did.
And they did.
And then the calm came.
I survived another whirlwind of boys’ insanity without yelling.
Phew.

*

So how do I feel not yelling for 56 days?

Well at the beginning of this post tonight I’d say I felt powerless.

Because yelling gave me power to handle and stop the most difficult situations. And without it…I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to discipline when the going gets really tough without saying mean things and raising my voice to a ridiculously loud level. And it is REALLY frustrating. So frustrating that the tears wouldn’t even come because my body was so tense. And it kind of sucks to realize that. To realize how heavily I relied on yelling.

But, wait, I just realized something else. LOVE when that happens. I DO know what to do. Don’t yell. Stand still. Just stand still and wait until composure finds me. Because it will. Because I want it to find me. And when there is a will, there is a way. And boy am I glad it did find me. Because really, choosing not to yell and following through, feels pretty amazing. In fact, I don’t feel powerless anymore, I feel powerful.

What do you do when you feel like you have lost control of your household? Do you yell? If not, please tell me your secret! Do you stand still? Do you get a book? What do you do when all. Else. Fails?! Comment below…

www.TheOrangeRhino.com
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