I lost my cool & yelled at my kids.
Like really yelled.
To be fair, my cool had been hanging by a thread for far longer than it should’ve been able to. Like all you Mamas, I’m tired, overworked, & burned out. This quarantine life is hard. I’m simultaneously living some of the sweetest, most beautiful days of my life right alongside some of the most exhausting, trying days of my life. There really aren’t any breaks and there’s really no backup. It’s just us. Which frankly is how I love it, but it’s also what’s wearing me out.
As I helped my kids clean up their rooms, I snapped and yelled at my kids. Louder than ever.
I don’t ever yell at my kids and I feel like I am exceedingly patient in my Motherhood. So today when I just let it rip, they were pretty shocked.
And then after yelling at my kids, I shut the baby gate so no one could follow me and ran to my room and just cried. I cried because I was frustrated. At them and at myself. I cried because I was tired. I cried because I regretted yelling. I cried because they’d hurt my feelings by just making every single thing so difficult when I give them the world day in & day out. And I cried because the tears just kept coming, so I let them.
I overheard my kids talking as I tried to pull it together. My youngest went & apologized to my oldest for screaming at him & me. We’ve been working hard on apologizing & also on her not screaming (it’s her go-to emotion), so that was Validation #1: Our kids listen to what we’re trying to teach them, even when they act like (& say—she’s sassy, this one) they’re not.
I heard my oldest tell her thank you for the apology. Then they said “I love you” to each other. Validation #2: Our kids love & respect each other.
Then my son told my daughter to go back to her room because he thinks that’s where they’re supposed to be. Validation #3: Our kids follow directions, even when we’re not there to enforce them.
Meanwhile, of course I was listening to all that sweetness & just crying my eyes out.
I felt guilty for yelling at my precious kids, even though they’d driven me to the absolute edge with their fussing, complaints, and not listening—the list could go on.
I finally pulled it together(ish) & went back to see them.
My daughter heard me coming and said “Mama, I know you’re disappointed in me. I’m sorry for screaming and not cleaning.” She hugged me. Validation #4: Our kids have good hearts.
She commented about how I had a lot of “tearses” and then asked if I could help her go to the bathroom, because she’s 3 and also #momlife.
Then I walked in my son’s room. He had cleaned his entire room. By himself. Because he knew that’s what I had wanted from them. What I’d been trying help them with. He’d organized his desk just like I do. He’d made his bed like I do. And he was waiting patiently for me. Validation #5: Our kids really do model what we do & how we do it.
I burst out crying. If I wasn’t already overwhelmed by the emotions that washed over me after yelling at my kids, I sure as heck was now.
That precious little boy—my boy—waiting patiently for his mama to come back after she yelled & ran away from them.
That brave boy who said he cried because his heart felt “crumbled,” but then he realized he knew how to make it “turn red and pink again”—by cleaning up his room by himself & making Mama happy.
That empathic little boy who hugged me & held me as I cried. Who soothed me just like I do for him. Who kissed me. Who told me exactly what I always tell him—“Sometimes we just need to cry & get all the tears out, & that’s okay. You can cry as long as you want & as loud as you want.”
And guess what? I did.
I cried (or I guess I should say I kept crying). In front of my child. That’s something I never really do.
Then that little boy stood up & said—once again, verbatim what I say & do with them—“Let’s shake it off.” And he started to shake. And then I started to shake it off, too.
And when we opened our eyes from shaking like crazy, I couldn’t help but laugh. Because I was so in awe of this little being who had just walked his Mama through a total meltdown—the only one he’d ever seen her have.
The same way I walk him through his meltdowns, and my daughter through hers.
Validation #6: It works. The way I love them works. And that love feels good.
That day my son made me feel how I make my children feel when I walk with them through the hard moments. He helped me catch my cool after I’d lost it, just like I do for him and his sister.
He eased my guilt over yelling at my kids, just like I ease theirs when they lose control of their emotions & yell at me or each other.
He made me feel better.
In some ways, I’m kind of glad I lost my cool & yelled at my kids that day. It helped me find something else that I must have really needed: Validation.
That I’m doing a good job. And that the way I “mom” is working.
Because for a few minutes that day I got to feel what my own version of “momming” feels like, and it felt good.
Validation #7: I’m a good Mom. I’m raising kind, smart, loving—and loved—children.
And next time they get overwhelmed with their emotions & scream or complain or fuss or cry or just have an epic meltdown, I’ll remind myself of the time I—a full grown woman—did the same thing.
Have you yelled at your kids?
(I mean like really yelled because yelling “put your shoes on!” doesn’t really count) How’d yall get through it?
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