being the day i decided to stop yelling.

everett chocolate cake

Do you yell as much in the afternoon as I do?

There’s something about 4 p.m. that makes me feel panicky. It’s as if in that next hour, I have to get done every single thing that ever needed to get done in the entire world.

Dishes. Dinner prep. Laundry that I put in the wash hours ago. Clutter pick-up. Homework and reading started for the girls. Make the bed. Wrap up work. Send a few more pressing emails. Call everyone who left me messages when I didn’t pick up my phone during the day (I never do). Get evening plans in line. Beat that motherfucking level on Candy Crush that’s been haunting me all week. Vacuum the front entry. Again. Keep the kids from driving each other crazy, or at the least from killing each other. BREATHE?

Every day. Same routine. And, I’m yelling the entire time.

God, it’s annoying. And I’m pretty sure my family hates me for it.

So, yesterday, I decided to stop yelling.

Everett and I were home, waiting for the girls to arrive via bus, and I let all of the mess just be while we made a chocolate cake. He did most of it himself, got chocolate batter from head to toe and licked the batters and bowl clean. And, I didn’t yell about it once.

Then, we got dinner started. We worked together. I didn’t yell at him when he put his hands all over the olive oil covered potatoes. Instead, he helped me spread them out on the baking sheet. Then, I gave him the salt and let him sprinkle it on the potatoes himself. We prepped the ham. He threw away the gross, ham-juice dripping bag himself. I didn’t yell. We emptied the garbage together. Emptied the dishwasher. Loaded it again. And cleaned up the kitchen, which was now a disaster. All without yelling.

Instead of yelling at him to get out of the kitchen while I did the dinner prep and dish washing, I invited him in. Instead of pushing him away, thinking I could do it quicker and easier without him underfoot, I made him part of the process and as a result, I spent my time enjoying his company and teaching him where to put the silverware, rather than wasting my time hollering at him from the other side of the house to stop doing whatever he was doing that was bugging the shit out of me, for no good reason.

The girls got home and the no yelling campaign came to a quick stop.

Meg is a yeller. I’ve made her that way. After all, when your mom is yelling all afternoon, you probably will too.

She yelled. And I told her, in my best, trying to be patient, non-yelling voice (I have to dig deep for that one), that today, we weren’t yelling. Then, I asked if she would sit with me and color while I finished up some work. The confused look on her face hurt. I’ll admit that. But she stopped yelling… for a least a little while.

I don’t want to yell anymore. No parent does. But many of us do. It’s a habit that sneaks up on you and it’s hard to break. Some days, I can feel the yelling raising up in my gut and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to suppress it, no matter how hard I try. In fact, the harder I try, on those days, the more the yelling consumes me. It’s toxic.

Today, I will not yell. And I won’t tomorrow. Or the next day. I have to quit, cold turkey. For my family… and myself. Because as shitty as it feels to be yelled at, it feels just as shitty, if not worse, to yell.

No yelling. Can it really all be just that simple? I hope so. I really hope so.

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5 Responses to “being the day i decided to stop yelling.”

  1. Jenna Says:

    Well I could just cry, Katie. I yell at least 60% of the time that I’m “communicating” with my kids. Probably more like 80%. I hate it and it makes me hate me. Thanks a million for your honesty. Please let me/us know how it goes for you. I have tried so many times….but like you said, the more you try the more [the anger and] the volume rises up inside. It’s my biggest challenge. I want to enjoy my kids not feel annoyed by them all the time. I want to practice what I preach when I constantly tell them to “use your words, there’s no need to yell and whine!” (said in a loud voice!!!!)

  2. Dana Says:

    Love this post! Getting out the door and bedtime are my “yell” times, and I am tired of it. My girls are tired of it. Time for a change! And would like to introduce you to another blog I found recently – The Orange Rhino:

  3. Amber Nelson Says:

    Have you ever read “Hands Free Mama” blog? Here is her post from today, which will probably resonate with you, and hopefully be encouraging.

  4. Julea Ivancovich Says:

    This cuts close to home. Thank you for having the courage to write this! I feel inspired to do better myself!

  5. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for this. It’s my new years resolution. I talked about it with the kids honestly. I asked for their help. 1) to calmly call me on it when they see the pressure is rising. Remind me to take a deep breath. 9 yr old is doing it, really well. It is buying seconds of precious time. 2) to take more responsibility themselves for listening better. Most of the time I’m yelling it’s because asking the first 2 or 5 or 10 times didn’t get through. If they listen better, I can be more successful. We’re still working on that one, but they conceptually get it. Being transparent is helping us see a “less yelling home” as a shared goal. Day #7. So far, no day has been perfect, but each day is a wee bit easier.

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