When I Yelled At My Kid So Hard I Ran Out of Breath
Nerves are on edge these days.
The Baby is due on Sunday, but the doctors have been saying "any day now" for almost a month. Side note: if you're a doctor, NEVER SAY THAT TO A PREGNANT LADY. Moving on.
I'm in a constant state of waiting and don't always know how to feel about it. My house renovation still isn't fully done, so even though the chaos is at a minimum, it still lingers. And it physically hurts to do anything, but I still have two other kids I need to feed and get to school and keep alive.
Yesterday, all of that emotional weight started to crush me, and I took it out on my six year-old. Granted, he threw a fit that would make a blowup on Real Housewives look like a tea party, but when he threw himself on the floor and start pounding his fists against anything he could find while screaming horrible things at me, I picked him up and threw him on the bed. Like, literally threw him. Then I yelled at him so hard that my face turned red and I had to sit down to catch my breath. Fun times.
I'm not sure why I'm sharing this other than solidarity. Sometimes moms - good moms - yell. Sometimes we do things we hope we never do again. But rarely do we move past those things without another pound of Mom Guilt added to our load.
With each poor choice, each angry word, each moment of reaction, we make the joke, "There's another hundred bucks to save for my kid's therapy." If we laugh about it enough, we can pretend we're not dying inside. But here's the truth.
1. Good moms yell sometimes.
We wish we wouldn't and didn't, but it happens. We're regular people who have awful moments, but that doesn't make us awful people. It was wrong of me to act the way I did. Without question. But I can't let that dictate how I value myself as a mother. Do I shame my kid for yelling at me? Is he less my son because of how he acts? Of course not. The same goes for us as moms.
2. Good moms apologize.
It's hard to admit we're wrong. It's hard to be vulnerable about how we screwed up and hurt someone we love as we look them in the eye. But I'm convinced that every time we admit our failures to our kids and acknowledge how we hurt them, we take one more step into an authentic relationship that can handle anything.
My kids know I screw up, and when I tell them I'm sorry without the disclaimer that if they had been nicer it wouldn't have happened (a very tempting approach), things change. They trust me even when I lose my mind. They feel more comfortable admitting when they're wrong because they recognize our home as a safe place to do that. They know I love them no matter what either of us do.
3. Good moms encourage other moms.
I'm grateful for friends who, when I tell them I yelled so hard I ran out of breath, say, "Oh, girl, I get it" and don't try and fix me. We do enough of that on our own. We don't need to add to each other's guilt by sharing our tips for not yelling and maybe you just need to count to ten first! and oh I remember when my mom used to yell at me and it was terrible.
We're each other's freedom fighters, guys. Listen to other moms without adding to the guilt they're already heaping on themselves. Better yet, take some of it away. Be a friend who lightens the emotional load and reminds others, as you remind yourself, of the truth.
I hope I never again yell at my kids so hard that I run out of breath, but I'm grateful that grace exists when I do. For you, too.