Monday, February 11, 2013

Confessions of a Screaming Mom

Last week, in my parent education class I take with Georgia, we were discussing discipline.  We started talking about how we mothers always ask our kids to do something about five times before they actually do it. Most of us eventually get to the point where we are yelling and turning purple.  The dads, on the other hand, seem to get results out of our kids from the first time they ask.  What the hell?

This prompted two different discussions among us.  The first being, what are we moms doing wrong that dads are doing right?  The second; I confess.  I'm a mom who yells.

I am.  It sucks and I'm not proud, but for some reason I always end up screaming at my girls when they don't listen to me.  I said this to another mom during our class discussion.  

I told her, "I won't lie, I am a yeller."  

Her response was, "Me too!  Thank you for admitting that.  I always end up doing the same thing."

So maybe it's not just me.  It's not like I start out being a complete yelling lunatic.  In fact, quite the opposite.  This is kinda how it goes:

"La, la, laaaaa...giiirrrirls, please get your shoes ooooonnnn," I will say in my most singsongy Disney voice.  "We need to leave in fiiiive minutes, my loves! Okay?" 

No movement.  A couple minutes later:

"Ladies, we have to go soon," I will say a bit more stern, less Disney, but still not yelling.  "Shoes on now please.  Okay?"

It's like words are not even coming out of my mouth, as they continue to play and completely ignore me.

"Who's listening to me?!"  This is where I start to lose it. "We need to leave.  Shoes!  NOW!"

At this point I might have one who starts to slowly put on her shoes. Usually Sonya.  However,  at that point I've entered into the yelling lunatic zone.


Yeah, that happens. Like I said, I'm not proud of it, but they sure do get their shoes on then.

So why do I have to get to a point of yelling, when all Andy has to say is, "Girls, get your shoes on now.  We are leaving." Then they comply.  Well, most of the time.  Sometimes he has to say it twice, but he rarely gets to a point of yelling.  Yes, it's partially because they listen to me all day and aren't as phased as much by my demands.  That certainly plays a part.  There is one thing I'm doing that plays a bigger part, however.  It's one little word that I realized I use all the time.  A word that according to the teacher in my class, we not only use as moms, but as women in general.  It's a word that we put at the end of our requests to make the request not so demanding and make us seem nicer.  It's this word:


"Kids, I need you to clean your room now, okay?"

"Honey, the car needs washed, okay?"

"Hey (name of Co-worker) I need that report on my desk by the end of the day, okay?"

I know all of you woman out there reading this are nodding and thinking- I SO DO THAT!!  Because that's what I did at class when she mentioned it to us.  By adding that "okay" to the end of everything, we make it seem like it's not really that important to us and the party being asked to do something doesn't really have to do it right now.  They only have to do it whenever it's okay with them.  At least that's what translates.  And that my friends is NOT OKAY.  

We have to be more demanding as moms, wives, and employers to get what we want done, without resorting to yelling and turning purple.  We need to stop worrying about being nice and be more, well, bitchy.  I mean nobody likes to be called a bitch, but you have to admit, that woman who get called bitchy get shit done.  Just sayin'.  It does suck that we feel that just by elimating that word we might feel more demanding and mean.  Yet, when was the last time you heard a dad say,

"Kids, it's time to clean up your room...okay?" 

or a male employer say,

"Bob, have that report on my desk by 5pm....okay?"

NO!  They do NOT do this!  They say clean up!  Do the report! The end!  There is no "okay".  Do they get labeled as being bitchy, or a dick in a man's case, of course not.  It is a double standard, but you know what,  I don't give a crap anymore.  I'm ready to be a bitch because I'm tired of resorting to yelling and I want my girls to listen to me the first time.  Or at least the second time!  So for the past week, I have made a mental note to stop putting that word at the end of my requests and ohmygod it is HARD!  Just about everyday, I will say it at some point, then curse myself for saying it.  Obviously, I am still working on it.  Guess what though?  It's kinda working.  Now, I have to keep in mind that my kids are already used to me asking and then yelling before they do something.  However,  I made it clear to them that I wasn't doing that anymore.  I laid down the rules.   If I asked once and they didn't start doing whatever it was I asked, I then would start counting to a timeout.  

I would love to say this has worked perfectly and I haven't screamed once, but come on,  you are familiar enough with me and my girls by now.  Pus, you know, Lana.  It's hard to change a behavior you've been used to for 8 years and even more difficult to make the kids change with you.  There is a learning curve. 

 I will continue to work on eliminating "okay" from the end of my requests to the girls and even to Andy.  Yes, I may come off a bit more bitchy, but I think it's better than resorting to yelling.  So I challenge all of you woman out there to try to do the same for the next week.  Realize when you are using the word and see if it helps at all to eliminate it.  Then come back here and report back to me, okay?  DAMN!  Now I will have to ask you again in the next post.  Hopefully,  I'm not yelling yet.  

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