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I Can’t Seem to Stop Yelling at My Kids but It’s Ok

You know the one, or maybe you are one, them who gets frustrated and yells at her kids when they aren’t listening. Yup, that’s me. I’m a yelling mom. I always aim to do better but then one of the kids won’t stop or start doing something while I’m dealing with a different kid and I lose my temper.

I’m not proud of being a yelling mom.

I feel guilty.

When it’s over and everyone is calm the guilt washes over me. It seems inevitable that the next time I open my Pinterest that my feed is filling with suggestions on how to be a happier mom or how to stop yelling. The guilt washes over me all over again.

I’m determined to stop feeling so guilty about it.

I’m not saying I don’t need to work on reducing the yelling that I do at my kids, but I am actively working to not let other moms or parents make me feel guilty for it all the time. I know that I’m working toward doing better and I’m doing the best I can most days. Plus, check out this Finnish study that argues that guilt, particularly mom guilt, (though they use a fancier term for it) is actually a social construct forced upon us by societies expectations of what a mother should be and do.

I don’t need some soft-spoken mom whose kids are 4 years apart telling me how to raise more kids than she has total in fewer years than she has between her kids.

Being a mom of three in 3 is so far out of what most parents understand that their attempts to offer advice fall flat. That’s not to say there aren’t some stellar moms out there with kids further apart with great advice. But I’m not going to attempt to tell the mom of multiples how to parent because I can’t even begin to truly comprehend their life.

I’m going to do better.

I am. I am working on actively keeping my temper in more situations and using strategies and tips from other moms to help me achieve that. It’s slowly working.

Some days I do great! It’s those days that keep me going. A day at the aquarium was wonderful and I love that my son took my picture. It showed me a bit of how he sees me. This is the face I want him to associate with his mom not one where I’m angry and yelling.

Young Mom Smiling at Aquarium

There are so many tips and tricks and advice out there that it’s a bit overwhelming. However, I wanted to share some of the best wisdom I’ve learned over the years from some much much wiser moms than me. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers had children very close in age just like I do. I often find myself reaching out to them because they know the life I am living and probably a much harder version of it without modern conveniences.

3 Things My Grandmother Taught me about Yelling at my Kids.

1. It happens, Move On

This one actually comes from my great grandmother whom I had the enormous pleasure of having in my life well into adulthood. She once told me the story of how she paddled the wrong child for some misdoing that happened in the house. Great-Grandma confided that despite the fact that she doesn’t remember what it was for, she distinctly remembers the wash of guilt that came over her when she realized what had happened.

She told me to never let a simple mistake haunt me as a mother. That there would be plenty of them over time and I had to let them go. She encouraged me to learn a lesson and work to do better next time. However, dwelling on my shortcomings would only cause me guilt and not solve them.

When it comes to yelling at my kids, this is a lesson I have to take to heart because moving on is one of the hardest things for me to do. Have you ever noticed how good we are at bashing ourselves as moms?

2. It’s an Everyday Battle

Motherhood is hard! Really really hard. My maternal grandmother reminds me of this whenever we are on the phone together. Not because she is trying to discourage me but to remind me that every day that I wake up and shoulder this job is a battle. I am fighting an internal battle to do the hard parts of parenting instead of giving in to what is easy. My Nana tells me that it’s ok to let out the frustration, even through yelling.

Mom and Son smiling at the Aquarium

She has also taught me that my little ones are watching. How I handle the aftermath of my frustration is just as important as learning to control it. I now seek to make sure my sons and daughter understand that I will always love them even if I get frustrated and yell sometimes. That no matter what I love them.

3. The Real World isn’t so Nice

My paternal grandmother taught me this lesson. She has had, well, a lot of years to hone in her skills in keeping her temper but she tells of a time when it wasn’t so easy. Mimi has a set of Irish Twins (children born within one year of each other) and she also took in the child of a good friend when both parents died in a car crash. She had 3 babies and no washing machine, dishwasher, or disposable diapers.

I cannot even image how many times she wanted or did yell at all those boys! The stories my dad and uncles tell are enough to make me yell at my kids two generations later. Just to discourage any similar behavior.

As we prepared to welcome our second son, she shared stories of how much she had grown as a parent. She explained that it took a lot of years and a lot of prayers to reduce that urge to yell. However, she told me that she is glad that the two older boys did get some of that. By the time my other uncle came along nearly 13 years later, she was much better at holding her temper. She confessed that maybe he needed a bit more stern talking to as he struggles now as an adult.

It’s Not the End of the World: What to do After you Yelled at Your Kids

Change Your Attitude and Possibly Scenery

My greatest challenge after yelling at my kids is changing my attitude in order to move on with my day. I tend to dwell on it, allowing it to sour my mood (which generally leads to more yelling because I already feel guilty). I have been actively working do something that reminds me of why I love being a mom. It just takes a few minutes of playing Legos. Heading outside for some fresh air and sunshine.

Mom and 2 boys making silly faces

This has served two purposes: getting me out of a sour mood and rinsing some of that guilt from my conscience and turning the moment and day around for my children as well. It only takes a moment of happiness for them to forget their woes and when I provide that opportunity to do something they love with mommy it drastically changes our day.

Say Sorry

We expect our sons (and later baby girl too) to apologize when they have had a bad attitude with us. Well, how can we expect them to do this if I won’t model that behavior? Getting down to their level and saying sorry and letting them know I still love them is one of those things that can turn their attitude and mine right around. There is something very humbling when you need to apologize to your preschooler and he still calls you out for your actions.

I like to tell them “I am sorry for yelling and let’s do _ to help us have better attitudes and a better day.” This gives both the kids and me a chance to refocus and gives us an action plan for what to do next.

Reflect

Not dwell. Be careful not to dwell on it but do take a few minutes once you are calm to reflect on why you were yelling at your kids. What situation was happening and what were you feeling that led to the yelling?

For me personally, it is usually when the boys are not doing what I asked or not stopping doing what I asked them to. Sometimes I don’t want my preschooler to explain why he has turned off the light over my desk. I just want him to turn it back on so I can see. I know some people will tell me that I should listen to why he did it and I don’t mind hearing why he wanted it off after he obeyed what I asked him to do. It’s a hard lesson to learn but they have to learn that sometimes they have to not say anything. That not everyone wants to hear the reasons in the real world.

As he gets older we will teach him about blindly obeying orders and when it’s appropriate to disobey your superiors but not at 3. At 3 we are working on learning first-time obedience and then you can talk with mom about it.

MomLife is hard. It’s hard every day even when we have good days it’s still hard. Yelling is part of my life right now. Maybe one day when I have a lot more mom experience and wisdom I will be like my grandmothers who have learned the hard lessons in life. I’m not there yet and that’s ok.

Want to remember these tips for when you need to be reminded you aren’t failing? Pin this to your favorite board!

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