In my last post I mentioned that I had been thinking about yelling. Or not yelling, to be exact. And I mentioned that I needed more time to think about the topic before I would have anything remotely interesting or intelligent to say. While I can’t promise it will be either interesting or intelligent, I have wrapped my head around the topic enough to have a few things to share with you.
What spurred me to give more thought to becoming a non-yelling mom than the typical wish to have it be so was a post from a fellow mommy-blogger who calls herself Orange Rhino. See the post here: 10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling at my Kids
When I first read the post I was blown away by two feelings – guilt and inadequacy. I’m sure that was not Orange Rhino’s intent, but a combination of healthy doses of Catholic guilt and a perfectionist complex meant that reaction was a given. Then I read it again and started really paying attention. Some of the items on the list were things I know about myself – not taking care of myself by getting enough sleep and exercising makes me more prone to yelling. Others , like controlling my reaction even when I can’t control my children's actions, are common sense but were words that my brain needed to be reminded of right then.
I admire Orange Rhino’s decision not to yell. Ever. However, I realized that I could not embrace the challenge in quite the same way. I would be setting myself up for failure before I got started. For me, it is simply too absolute to say I will NEVER yell. As a mom, I do things loudly. I love loudly, I laugh loudly, and I sometimes discipline loudly. It’s a fact. And I have to say, sometimes those darling little beans need the yelling – not as much as they need the love and the laughter, but they do need it.
So rather than making a promise to never yell, I’ve decided to make a change in my discipline toolbox that mirrors how I arrange the tools in my kitchen. I am a cooker and a baker. I spend A LOT of time in my kitchen. It is where a lot of my mothering takes place. So having an analogy that is kitchen related is helpful to me.
In my kitchen, I have a system. I have three drawers that house utensils. Not the fork, knife, spoon type, but the wooden spoon, whisk, can opener type. And these three drawers are organized by frequency of use. There is the drawer of frequently used tools – ladles, spatulas, wooden spoons, whisks, ice cream scoops (yes there are two and yes they are both frequently used J). There is also the drawer of less-frequently used tools – the cookie baller (although that one could qualify for a promotion), the whisk with the wanky handle that I use when my favorite is in the dishwasher, the baster and the pizza cutter. And finally, I have the drawer of infrequently used kitchen tools – the cheese grater (I’m just not willing to grate my own when it comes all ready for me in those nice resealable bags), my zester, the dough hook attachment to my mixer and the lid opener.
So my plan for yelling is this. I am going to move it to my infrequently used drawer of mom-tools. I won’t go there first. I won’t go there every day. But if I need it – if I really believe that no other tool will do – then I’ll use it. Because if someone runs into the street or hauls off and decks a brother or sister, I’m probably going to yell. And that person is probably going to need to hear what I have to say in a loud voice.
So there it is. My plan to address this part of my never-ending quest to be a better mommy tomorrow than I was today. I will hope and pray for success, while being prepared for setbacks and restarts.
Yelling is a cheese grater, not an ice cream scoop.