how you made them feel
I feel all I do is yell
One of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Somedays I feel like the worst mom ever. ALWAYS harping on my kids every other hour, or more like every other minute. Emotions flood my mind and I wonder if I am doing this parenting gig right. Do I make them feel good, bad, sad, mad?
Are you wondering how you made them feel too? I feel like I start having a good day and feel like oh yes, I have this parenting gig down. Then it hits. I fly off the handle once again, and immediately feel as though I have been sucked down a black hole. I’m trying baby steps of “hey, crazy mom, stop swearing at your kids! You’re killing their childhood memories of you!” Eeeeeek!
I understand yelling at our kids all the time can be terribly damaging. I try desperately to break that habit and really think through on whether or not I really need to yell. However, the occasional yelling isn’t going to cause any permanent damage. I have acknowledged that I am imperfect and I own it. Therefore I do yell sometimes, but I also give out a whole lotta love in return!
Shaping their memories
Can you relate to the times of being an asshole parent? I’m sure we all have! No one has intentions of being that angry mom. It’s just part of parenthood. There are several actions we can follow to help tone down our voice, and truly enjoy these little monsters we created! In the midst of chaos and stress, I know I can be quick to anger. When no one is listening or obeying, my inner voice turns all shades of angry. We gotta remember though that no one becomes a parent and immediately thinks “I’m going to be angry and yell all the time at my kids.
My mom yelled very few times that I can recall. She was a single mom. The stress she was under of a single income, raising me (and I was a total a snot), on her own had to have been hard. I can remember the times she raised her voice. I DON’T WANT TO GIVE THOSE MEMORIES TO MY BABIES! It’s just so ironic how the yelling works and those socks and toys end up getting picked up. Is it just my kids or does yelling spark motivation and obedience in other children as well?
Parenting is tough
Kids will make you lose it in ways you never imagined before. I think moms who never yell at their kids must have totally opposite DNA than myself. I often wonder if they ever have spontaneous kitchen dance parties, or if they laugh when their children tell silly fart jokes. Sometimes I wonder if they even joke at all! My kids definitely have made me go a little more bonkers than I had ever expected. I sometimes pause and think to myself, if I can’t keep my $HIT together than how are they suppose to keep theirs together?!
I hate getting to the point when cabinets doors are slammed, unfair consequences are given, swear words come out, and then guilt sets in. This isn’t how I wanted to parent. This definitely wasn’t what I had expected parenting to feel like or be like. I slowly try to breathe, find ways to repair the relationship, give myself a do-over, and an apology never hurts.
Try not to let guilt get the best of you, or leave you feeling like a failure. It can actually come as a reminder that no parent is perfect. Instead, look at it as a work in progress. We are all learning from our mistakes and trying to move forward in a positive direction. And that right there is a sign of a good parent.
Find what triggers you
Here’s the thing: it’s normal to get triggered. It is normal to feel frustrated. You can learn to control your response to anger. This episode “How to train your emotions” by Mel Robbins will teach you how. (Bonus the video is less than 4 minutes!)
I started setting reminders on my calendar to help diffuse my “tense trigger times” of the car ride from daycare, or while trying to get dinner ready and my kiddos demand my attention or are wired. This way it alerts me on my phone and on my watch. So, at 5:15 pm my calendar alerts me “#5 calm down – slow down emotion” those are my “trigger” words to slap myself to 5-4-3-2-1 that I picked up again from a Mel Robbins self-help video. I love how honest and real she is! However, it seems to work. Simple and to the point to catch me.
It’s not what you’ve said
Notice that she’s referenced, “it’s not what you’ve said they will remember you, it’s how you made them FEEL.“ That has hit me the most, I don’t want to raise my girls to be inferior that they are not good enough just because their mom can’t keep her shit together as a parent. I want them to continue to be confident and grow into strong women. Unlike their mom was, until like…4 years ago when I got cancer and had a life scare to make me realize this beautiful life I was blessed to live today. We shouldn’t have to have such a life event to appreciate the ONE life we get. Not to treat the ones we love the most like crap.
I’ve also used trigger word, BLUE when they are acting up, it’s like a warning but a stronger meaning (or code word for TIMEOUT) and I encourage them to say it to me when I start to go on a rant. Now that I mention it, I think we’ll revisit that again. Currently, we are running through reminders and warnings without any change of behavior until they get yelled at or something is taken away. I don’t like to be the bad guy, but I also want them to realize the respect of listening to someone. Or even more important, safety. There is a reason I’m warning them, not because I love to harp on them.
YOU GOT THIS!
Another great talk I’ve heard at a woman’s conference in Omaha by Amy Cuddy and her research on Power Poses was amazing to see live. (This video is close to 18 minutes but very important to your confidence and something you can teach others in your lives, especially girls.) Amy talks about how simply shifting your body posture and holding for 2 minutes can adjust your brainpower. Huh, maybe we can use this trick to not only gain confidence before an interview or event where you need to draw up your confidence but maybe even just kick your mood?
When the girls are having an off morning, I ask them to do their power pose of choice before they leave the house to get on the bus. Almost always I can get a smile out of them and kick their mood to the curb and set out to have a good start to their day. That simple!
I really hope some of this advice and references help you manage your attitude by realizing the triggers that set you into the “momma-snap” mode. It’s tough when you know how sweet they are, and they give you attitude so young already. Keep top of mind before you might blow, how what you do and what you say will affect how you make them feel.
We are all human and make mistakes but it doesn’t mean we can’t grow and learn from them.