Sunday, November 28, 2010

Operation No-Yell: "And on the seventh day, Mummy...."


You were expecting something different, perhaps?


In my defense, Mr. Super-Sassy-Pants and Mr. I'm-Not-Listening-Nah-Nah-Boo-Boo had it coming.

It's 6:30 pm, a full half hour before their bedtime and they are in bed, lights off. Matthew didn't get a story and even though neither boy has brushed his teeth, I am not going back up there.

Weirdly, I don't feel TOO badly about the yelling. What a change from the beginning of this week!

During the past seven days, I have reached a number of interesting conclusions about parenting,  the nature of discipline and myself:

 MOST of time, if I'm yelling, it has nothing to do with the children and everything to do with me. I am learning to recognize that and correct it before the vocal fireworks begin and all around, things are much better.

My children respond much better to praise and quiet voices than to hollering and anger. Huh. Go figure, eh?

Everyone has a opinion about Operation No-Yell. Some roll their eyes, some nod sagely, others want to know every detail of the past week, eager to either learn from my experience or to tear it all to bits. I am both thin AND thick-skinned about this: I know that I am good mother - my changing how I parent (or attempting to) is not an admission of defeat - it is an effort to be better. To be MORE.

To be better more often.

Not surprisingly then, I bristled at the assumption that I am trying to Super Mom, or that I am most concerned with being friends with my children instead of their guardian and protector and teacher. After chewing, bristling and spluttering indignantly, I realized an important truth:

I am not attempting to be anything more than the kind of mother  that I am absolutely meant to be and more importantly, the kind of mother that my children deserve.

I feel empowered and invigorated by this realization. I don't think that there is any shame in admitting that I need help or guidance. A friend of mine is horrified that I blog about my failings (perceived or otherwise) and can't understand why I feel compelled to reach out to the world at large - leaving myself open to criticism and judgement.

What I know for sure is this:
I reach out because that is who I am. I overshare, too. I feel too deeply, talk too much and seldom stop to think before I speak, emote or act. I reach out because I trust that those who know me best will understand and support me. I trust that those who don't know me will be drawn to my honesty and imperfections. I hope that they will recognize something of themselves in me and feel comfort. Kinship.

I write about who I am - as a wife and as a mother I am a work in progress.

I write about who I want to be: more often than not, a better wife and mother.

These parenting waters are tricky to navigate and as the boys grow into themselves, they take me into uncharted territory. Seems to me that by reaching out and admitting that I am lost, I stand a better chance of being found. Or of someone handing me a map.

Thanks to all of you for being part of the journey!


  1. Parenting is tough isn't it? But i think you are right- on all fronts- we are here to strive to be better- do better and shouldn't worry what the rest of the world thinks. You are a good mamma.

    I wish you could read this book i have been pouring over (i'm reading it for my 3rd time now in the last 2 months) it is called Blessings of a Skinned Knee and i know it is technically intertwined with Jewish teachings - it is a book that i *KNOW* you would glean great things from!

    Keep on mamma- i'm glad you had a good week and i too have started to take notice of when i am yelling and half of the time it has nothing to do with them- just the situation- most recently the very very cold weather when my middle child seems to think she should poke around in the snow as i'm trying to load kids into cars in -25 as quickly as possible. But such is life!!
    - carrie

  2. I was wondering how you would take that comment. I found it to be rather rude, to be honest, that someone would come on here and post that and not have the guts to post with their real name. Coward.

    Don't let stuff like that get to you. You are obviously a better parent than people with that type of attitude because you *do* care. You care about how you treat your kids and how it will affect them. I think just keeping all of that in mind will help immensely, even if you do blow your top from time to time, because keeping it at the front of your brain will help you so that you don't become the parent who blows their top all the time, every day.

    Take care, Liz. :)