How’s That No Yelling Thing Working Out for You?

So it’s been almost one month since I took my Lenten oath of not yelling…mainly at my kids. Forty days of keeping a perfectly calm tone and not screaming like a maniac.

I know.

What was I thinking?

Could it actually be done or would I crack under the pressure of a sassy-mouthed little girl who insists that she has nothing to wear when, in fact, I actually did all of the laundry and put it away?

So this is what I can tell you.

Has it been easy? No way!

Have I almost lost my cool? Of course!

Did I have to leave the room a few times so I wouldn’t yell? Absolutely!

Has it been worth it? Yes. Really, I’m not lying.

Although lightning wouldn’t strike me if I did let out a howl or two, or at least I hope it wouldn’t, I’ve really tried to stick true to my word. I guess it’s Catholic school guilt that’s still lingering!

I want to show my kids that when mommy says she’s going to do (or not do something in this case) she means it. I also think not yelling has benefited my blood pressure and all-around mental status!

Not yelling has meant finding new ways of problem-solving. Instead of screaming when my daughter knocks over the entire container of Nesquik on the floor that I vacuumed less than two hours ago, I simply tell her not to worry about it, but also give her the broom to sweep it up.

The yelling mommy would have lost her cool and went on a rant about how no one looks at what they’re doing and I’m not the maid, yada, yada, yada. In reality, it’s just an accidental spill that can be cleaned up in minutes. Without yelling, the mess still gets cleaned up and no one feels bad or has veins popping out of their head.

Mission accomplished.

When my daughter wants to wear a shirt to school that’s too small for her, the yelling mommy would lose it while visions of the teenage years would give me heart palpitations. The Lenten, non-yelling mommy, says what she thinks is appropriate and then dishes out a consequence in a calm voice. “If you choose to wear that, then you can’t go to the birthday party this weekend.”

Hmmm…and what do you think she chooses? I’ll take the appropriate clothes and the birthday party mommy.

Yep, that’s what I thought. After this scenario, the shirt in question mysteriously disappears, never to cause problems again.

By not resorting to yelling I’m finding other ways to get my point across without acting like a maniac. “Maniac mommy” is not a good look for me nor is it one I really want to be embedded in my daughters’ brains as part of their childhood.

The real test is going to be not yelling once Lent is over. There will be no real guilt holding me back. Hopefully, I won’t relapse, lol. I think everyone likes non-yelling mommy a lot better, myself included.


40 Days of Less Yelling…Can You Do It?

So, today is the first day of Lent. If you’re Catholic, like me, that means you usually have to give something up for the 40 days leading up to Easter. When I was little and even as a younger adult, I would rack my brain trying to thing of the one thing I loved the most that would torture me to give up. In years past that meant chocolate (several times), cookies, sweets in general, and even gossiping…I know, the humanity! Other years I pretended Lent didn’t even exist, so I didn’t give up anything at all.

I can’t say I stayed on the wagon for all those endeavors. I snuck a Reese Peanut Butter Cup or two…or three. I snatched a few cookies here or there or everywhere. Of course, someone annoyed me enough that I had to start talking smack. Needless to say, I was anything but successful with the whole “give up something and stick to it” for Lent thing.

So, now I’m a mom and I’m supposed to know what I’m doing to set a good example. But,  I once again had trouble trying to think what I could give up for Lent. My daughter came home from CCD last week and told me she learned all about Lent. It was interesting that she told me she was going to do something nice. She never once mentioned giving something up. Her “do something nice” was to be nice to her sister. Hopefully she’s more successful with her mission than I have been with mine.

That got me to thinking. What could I do for Lent that would be difficult for me and benefit others at the same time? As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew what it was already. I could yell less. I know I said this was part of my New Year’s resolution. Honestly, it hasn’t been working out so well. Time to hit the restart button and have a do-over.

Yelling less doesn’t mean my girls won’t get reprimanded if they do something wrong. It means I won’t feel as though I’m going to have an aneurysm when I do get mad at them. It means I won’t look like one of the characters from “Where the Wild Things Are” when I let them know they are doing something wrong. It means giving myself an interior “time-out” if you will. It’s probably a win-win all around.

As much as I may not want to admit it, yelling really doesn’t solve any problems. My kids may stop doing whatever annoying activity… for awhile. They may clean up a mess…only to mess up the same spot again five minutes later. They may decide to stop screaming like animals…for a few minutes.

In the end, I’m still annoyed.

So, let’s try this yelling less thing for 40 days. Can I do it? Hopefully! Can you?

3 Resolutions Every Mother Should Make

Now that you’ve cleaned up the confetti and thrown away the champagne bottle, it’s time to look ahead to the new year. For some of us that means making resolutions. For others not making a resolution is your resolution. But, if you are one of those mommas looking to make a resolution, I’ve got three ideas you really should consider.

Lose weight? No.

Get Organized? No.

Spend More Time with Family? No.

Stop Gossiping? No.

So, if a momma doesn’t want to lose weight and clean her house, what could she possibly want to do in the new year?

For starters, limit your phone time. No, I’m not crazy. I’m including myself in this one. You don’t need to memorize everyone’s Facebook status or see everyone’s tweet pronto. You don’t need to accept every game invite. Playing Farmville 24/7 won’t make you a farmer. It just won’t. Your phone is not going to explode if you don’t check your e-mail every five minutes. The messages will be there.

If you’re like me, there’s just some unexplainable obsession with checking or being on your phone all the time. The hold that the tiny screen has on us is undeniable and sad at the same time. How many times has your child asked you to get off your phone? Raise your hand. I’m raising mine. How does that make you feel? It certainly doesn’t make me feel like a good parent.

If we spend less time on our phones, we’ll have time for real conversations. I’m not talking about text convos or snap chats. I’m talking about honest to goodness verbal interaction with another human being. I know, it’s crazy to imagine. I’m talking about having more quality time with our kids so they don’t have to compete with our phones.

So once you’ve limited your phone time, you can think about yelling less. After your child has used your hardwood floor as a canvas, it’s hard to not want to yell like a maniac. Trust me, I’ve been there. How about when you’ve asked your children to do something three times and they don’t even acknowledge that they’ve heard your voice? They’ll hear if you yell, right? They will, but what will it accomplish? You’re going to get even more mad.

I think as parents we sometimes forget that our kids are just that…kids. They don’t have the same reasoning skills as we do. They just want to have fun. They just want to be kids. Sometimes we may fall victim to wanting our kids to act more like adults than they should or than they are capable of. Raise your hand if this includes you. I’m raising mine. By yelling less, we can actually talk to them and think of other ways to remedy situations. In the process we can try to let them be kids. Maybe we can be kids sometimes too. Wouldn’t it be fun to just color like no one is watching?

Ok, so you’ve limited your phone time and yelled less, what’s left to do? How about take better care of yourself? Chances are you know or are one of those moms who doesn’t really take care of herself. Whether it’s keeping annual doctors’ visits or just making sure you get a haircut more than once a year, you need to take care of yourself. If you’re a hot mess from the inside out, how are you going to take care of your family? We all know the answer.

I’m not talking about being in full make-up when you’re hanging out at the bus stop. But, maybe brushing your hair and getting out of your PJs is a start? Taking better care of yourself doesn’t mean going shopping every week. But, maybe you don’t have to wear the flip-flops that are being held together with duct tape. Taking better care of yourself will not only make yourself feel better, it will also set an example for your kids. We all know kids are the biggest copiers ever.

While these are just three resolutions, they are not easy to keep. I’ll be practicing what I preach as I try to make these work in my life. What’s the worse that can happen? I’ll be having more real conversations without yelling while feeling better about myself. Not a bad way to start the new year.