“We’re [parents]) always bluffing, pretending we know best, when most of the time we’re just praying we won’t screw up too badly.” ~ Jodi Picoult
I’m a yeller. It’s a personality trait that I hate about myself, and I have gotten better over the years, but I still have a long way to go. Regardless of how much I improve though, and am able to take a breath before reacting, I think to some extent, like it or not, I will always be a yeller, at least sometimes I think…it’s just who I am. I don’t know why that’s my first reaction. I didn’t grow up in a yelling family. In fact my mom rarely yelled, except for maybe during my teenage years when that was the only way she could possibly get my attention, and even then I don’t remember it being all that often. I don’t think I was always a yeller, and I can’t really pinpoint when I started being one, but I have realized over the past few years, that unfortunately, all too often, I react by yelling first.
Tonight it was my toddler that triggered it, and it was admittedly an epic parenting fail on my part. I do not deny that nor do I try hide it…I will own it and if I’m lucky, learn from it. We were trying to unpack from a long weekend out of town, get laundry done, kids bathed, and all the stuff you have to do to get ready for the work week. Of course we were exhausted from the long days and the long drive home so that of course added to the level of stress or should I say, grumpiness, running ramped through the house. An excuse? No, but just trying to set the stage for my “outburst”. Also, it should be known that we are in the very early stages of potty training so accidents are expected. I had just put my toddler on the toilet, literally two or three minute earlier and she sat there and sat there and swore she did not have to go. I took her off the toilet, walked out of the room to grab her bath towel and no sooner than I turned around, she peed in the floor. She came and got me and told me what happened, but that’s not all. After I cleaned up that mess and gave her a shower, we sat her on the bed to put her diaper and pajamas on and she peed on the bed!! That’s when I happened…I yelled at her, scared her, and made her cry for something that she absolutely should not have gotten in trouble for.
Right away I felt guilty and like a giant asshole for doing it, but it was too late. (That’s how I generally know when I’m yelling for a justifiable reason or if it was an unwarranted outburst — the level of guilt I feel for doing it instantly after I open my mouth.) Of course I immediately hugged her and apologized and reassured her that she did nothing wrong and was not in trouble, but she’s 2.5…all she realized is that she peed, I flipped my shit, and she was scared of my reaction. See what I mean by epic parenting fail? I still feel horrible but I also realize that yelling, or I guess not yelling, is something that I definitely need to continue to work on.
Are you a yeller? Do you know one? How do you focus and keep yourself from reacting to stressful or frustrating situations in the wrong way? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!