Monday, April 29, 2013

Stronger

It hasn't been a day of yelling, but it hasn't been a good day for me. There are times when I feel unequal to who God wants me to be, to who I want desperately to be. Today has been one of those times. Not that I've screwed everything up today, just that there is so much riding on my choices, ALL of my choices... And I get one chance to do this right. One chance to live this life, one chance to raise these children, to be a blessing to others, one chance to make today mean something more than just another 24 hours lived and left behind... So today I feel unequal, but not unloved.


This is what I must hold onto. Not my strength, but Yours.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Yelled

Yelled today. Sort of. I'd have actually said I wasn't yelling, just talking loud, but Sam came upstairs with a friend while I was in my room with the phone, and he said, "Oh, they're screaming. We'll ask later."

Sigh.

So I have to change my counter back to zero from seven days. And don't think that those seven days came easy just because you haven't heard about them. They came hard. Hannah never quits. She even head butted me one day and then screamed at me "OWE MOMMY! YOU HEAD BUTTED ME!" and I managed to keep my cool while she argued with me about whose fault it was that she climbed on the couch and bonked her head on my stationary head. I had to eventually send her to her room. Seriously. She NEVER quits.

It seems unfair that I have to start my counter over for yelling at Glen. Especially since he was being a total tool, and yelling at me on the phone even after I told him more than once to stop yelling at me. And even then... I didn't "yell" yell. I just raised my voice in frustration. And cried. When I am frustrated I cry/yell. People who know me have heard/seen me do it. I don't feel like it's "yelling" but I've been told I'm yelling when I don't feel like I am, so probably it IS fair that I have to set back my counter. And really, I could have just hung up on him when I noticed that I was getting really mad. I made my choice to argue with him.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr... This post is making me mad all over again. I'm going to go set back my dumb counter and then play some stupid Candy Crush because they're shutting down the Sims games on facebook, so there's no point in playing anymore.

Grumpy. Yes I am grumpy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Why

I didn't yell at Hannah today when she spilled nail polish on the couch. And I didn't yell at anyone else after even though I was still choked about the nail polish ON THE COUCH.

Why couldn't she have spilled the see-through sparkle polish? WHY purple?

Sigh. It helps when something in the news puts it all in perspective though. My "why" is pretty ridiculous in the face of the big "why" echoing in the hearts of all the people hurting in Boston tonight.

If I could keep the kind of perspective I had today everyday though, I'd be the perfect parent and probably be busy baking muffins or finger painting or something instead of blogging while Sam plays music on the piano for Hannah to dance to while she pretends to be a cat with my bathrobe belt shoved into her underwear for a tail.

I feel lucky. And like I should wash my bathrobe belt.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Yelling Meter

So, after yesterday's realization that I need some kind of comprehensive definition of what actually constitutes "yelling" I did some thinking, and figured the best definition is whether I feel bad or good about what I'd done or not. That made sense to me... Except for mommy guilt, which makes me feel bad about everything from not buying them the toy they wanted at the store, to feeding the Zoodles for lunch again.

Luckily for me, The Orange Rhino sat down and laid it all out nice and clear for me and all of us yelling parents. I like it. I'm going to copy and paste it here, for my reference:

0 – The everyday voice. The “life is good,” I just love being a mom and having these little conversations voice. Serenity and happiness ooze out with every word. Signs: you think to yourself, wow, this is a nice moment, I think I’ll cherish it and you’re filled with hope that the day is gonna be a good one.
1 – The whisper. The quiet, almost non-audible voice that our pre-school teacher uses that somehow gets attention, respect and follow through. Signs: you can barely hear it and it works like magic.
2 – The re-direct voice. It’s a clear, loving and patient voice that does not show irritation for the situation at hand but instead gently expresses that you don’t like a behavior, why, and offers a new activity. Sign: When you use it you pat yourself on the back for successfully following advice from a parenting magazine, for once.
3 – The firm voice (potentially raised). This is the I am starting-to-mean business voice accompanied with occasional raised eye brows and introduction of idle threats. Signs:  you are still calm and there are no hurt feelings, but you’re wondering when (not if) you’re gonna snap and you are growing impatient, quickly. 
4 – The “oopsie” snap. Stop! Alright! Ouch! This snap is starting to get nasty, but hasn’t gotten there yet. It isn’t a long tirade, it’s just a quick sharp voice where you stop yourself…it’s just enough to make the kids stop what they are doing for a second and think whether or not they will continue annoying behavior. Signs: blood pressure is picking up a little, but you are back to calm quickly and think “oh sh*t I really didn’t mean to do that.”
5 – The nasty snap. Darnit! Knock it off!  Cut it out! This snap might be short, but it’s filled with venom. Signs: blood is starting to boil inside; vocal chords are warming up, preparing for a long tirade; you think to yourself “oh sh*t” was that a nasty snap? If you think it, it was.
6 – The yell.  It’s loud. You know it’s loud. And it’s mean. You simply know you’ve crossed the line, there is no question. Signs: kids tears are a pretty good indicator, as are doors slamming, kids screaming back at you that you’re mean and they don’t love you any more.
7 – The raging scream. A notch up from “the yell.” It’s totally intentional and is filled with much more nastiness, hurtfulness and hysteria – on both sides. Signs: body shaking, often hard to stop doing it; results in feelings of massive guilt and shame in the screamer (at least for me) and definite feelings of shame, sadness, and fear in the kiddos; throat throbs afterwards.

Zero to four is acceptable, five to seven will drop me back to day one on my days of no yelling counter... Which I can move to "1" today. (Look over to your right.) One day of no yelling. It was close though. Hannah is incredibly difficult to deal with sometimes. She screams... A LOT. (I wonder where she got that from?) And she growls at people when she's mad at them. And today she told me she hates me, which she's only done once before. I don't even remember what started it, but I managed to keep my cool. Ben helped, his appalled gasp made me laugh. Ben would NEVER scream that at anyone. Ben. Why can't all of my kids be as easy to turn into nice people as Ben was?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Let's Get Real

Things haven't been going well lately. Actually, things haven't been going well for a long time. In many ways I've given up.

Which I'm okay with. For myself.

I am not okay with giving up on my kids though. And let's face it, when a mom gives up on herself she is giving up on her kids. It's selfish and, in many ways, borders on abuse and neglect. My anger, depression, and lack of motivation hurts my kids. And all of the things I try to do to make up for it...


...

DON'T. Period.

So this has to end. My life has been floating past me for a while now and that's not okay either. At this point I really don't give a crap for myself, but in the meantime my kids are being raised by someone I don't want to be. There are lots of reasons and explanations and facets and all that jazz, and I may or may not get into that here, but let's start with one thing:


I yell. At my kids. And at Glen. And, if you upset me, I might yell at you too. I have a really hard time controlling my emotions, I always have, but that doesn't make it okay. I tend to excuse myself, but I need to stop. 

I read this great blog today about a woman who stopped yelling for A YEAR. A whole year! And then some! And I figure, if she can do it... Why can't I? Oh, don't get me wrong... I don't expect that I will be able to just stop like she did. I expect it will take me a while before I can make it through a day, and then a week, and then a month... But I WILL DO IT. And I will keep track of it here. I probably won't blog every day, but I'll let you know when I succeed and when I fail.

So... Let's roll. Day one. I yelled at Ben when he put popcorn seasoning into a bag of dill pickle chips. It was more "loud exasperation" than full out yelling, but if I wouldn't do it with you sitting on the couch, then it counts. Actually, I probably would have. I may need to think of a better definition... Either way, tomorrow I will do better. I mean it.

(Also, I will start wearing a bra at home when I'm wearing thin t-shirts. Because my boys should discover later in life, like every other man (and, let's face it, woman, I was surprised too) that boobs like the ones they see in National Geographic articles about African tribes people happen in Canada too.)