This is my second “Good Dog” post, the series where I talk about my adventures (nice use of word) trying to lower my yelling ratio. I found I was yelling at more than loving on my kids.
My ego kept making excuses: These are your stepkids. You weren’t ready for full-time motherhood; you didn’t know how to be a good mother. You were thrown into this role too fast, no wonder you’re stressed so much.
But I know Truth. I know Jesus has given me His mind and that mind does not create the thoughts I have when I get so angry that ugly spits out of my mouth. I know that I can control these negative thoughts; I can take them captive.
So no. I could not blame my yelling on my circumstances, only. I could not blame it all on the fact on my inexperience or lack of readiness.
Because I believe God never puts in a place where we won’t be ready for. We might not be ready yet…
but God turns our yet into yes.
I might not have been ready at first, but through God’s molding, God’s refining, I become ready.
I just have to accept the training God gives me.
So there’s no blaming anymore. I was yelling because I felt out of control due to our various family stress. I was yelling out of fear, pure and simple.
I was not listening to who God says I am.
I am listening now. I join other parents who have had enough yelling and want more loving.
I’ve been journaling about my yelling and anger for a few weeks now. I’ve tried alternatives to yelling and worked very hard. My yelling has actually decreased.
But the anger hasn’t.
So what happens when the yelling decreases but the anger still remains at the plateau?
My yelling morphed into things I, personally, think are even worse:
sarcasm, meanness, snapping, rude weariness.
Seeing those words typed out in loud, bold print, seeing my most ugly side out there for all to see – it’s humiliating. I catch myself thinking I am the only one with this problem and I must be the worst parent in the world.
But then I read The Orange Rhino’s latest blog entry and read some of the community’s comments and I know instantly that I am no where near alone on this island of anger.
We’re all trying to find some paddles to swim to safe land. We find them differently. We even paddle differently.
So with this revelation of my yelling morphing into still-damaging coping mechanisms, I continue the uphill battle of loving my kids more.
I find myself spilling over with attitude and grumpiness, crankiness and hard snaps. Then, I feel awful and get into the horrible cycle of feeling bad about what I did and then being so stuck that I keep doing it.
How to rise out of the molasses?
One trick I did which I learned from The Orange Rhino: launch into an animal noise.
I crowed like a rooster to jar myself out of my icky-place. And, by jove, it worked!
The anger left me and I felt more able to talk appropriately.
So my yelling has decreased, but somehow my need for control has found new ways to grip life hard.
I want to stop that as well.
I will not let this biting sarcasm and sharp off-hand comments harm my kids anymore than I would let my yelling.
I cock-a-doodle-do-d my way out of yelling, I can moo myself out of snapping.
And I will.
Because I have two things, among many more, on my side – but these are the best two:
Grace from God
a host of animal noises to make.
With a baah baah here and a neigh neigh there.
On knees, head low, arms high…