When my sister and I used to tune my mom out because we were far too busy to listen to her or we just didn't want to hear what she had to say, she would repeat the same two irritating sentences over and over again. She would shout in the most infuriatingly sarcastic tone, "Am I speaking in a foreign language?" and "Did a train just go through this room?" as if our selective listening was a result of our obvious inability to understand English.
Oh, we understood English. We just chose not to respond. Yelling typically ensued as my sister and I rolled our eyes in an only-a-sibling-would-understand kind of way while we watched my mom morph into a ranting, crazy woman. I would clear my throat self-indignantly and say to my sister, "I will never yell at my kids like that." Clearly I thought there was a better way to handle children than yelling so hard every blood vessel popped in your face. I mean, what was she so mad about anyway?
OK, so I get it now. Kids don't pay attention. She yelled because my sister and I weren't listening to her. I yell because my kids don't listen to me. I've tried to uncover the secrets of zen motherhood by trying scream-free parenting techniques, deep breathing and repeating mantras ("I will relish the simple moments with my children") but sometimes they just don't want to listen and I just want to scream. When I've exhausted all of my resources and I want my kids to do what I'm asking them to do, I end up with a wicked case of ranting, crazy woman and yell ""I'm not talking for my health here, people!"
My younger self promised that I never would, but I scream at the top of my lungs sometimes because that's the only way to get my kids' attention. When I enlist the help of my deep, guttural - can you hear me now- voice that even scares me sometimes, they stop in their tracks. Oops. Mom means business now. Did you see her blood vessels pop?
I used to think I was failing miserably as a parent because I yell at my kids. Talk to any number of mothers, who are honest about it anyway, and you'll find that most of us scream a lot more than we want to. Whew. It's not just me. If you aren't screaming at your kids I give you kudos but please know that I secretly think either you or your kids are part Android.
The rest of us are just human, that's all.