|Mom of the Year!|
I know all of the reasons that yelling is a bad idea. I understand that yelling is supposed to release stress hormones and induce fear. I understand that it can be scary and that it's a sign of losing control. I understand that it's not "positive" or even "productive". I understand that calm communication begets calm communication. I know all of the rules listed in every modern day parenting book, magazine, and website. (Which I secretly believe are all involved in an intricate conspiracy to further feed the guilt complexes all of us parents have, which leaves us feeling inadequate and desperate to read more parenting books, and magazines, and websites. It's a supply and demand relationship. Brilliant play though, parenting experts. I tip my hat to you.)
But it's not always rage and irritation and a loss of control that causes the yelling. Is anything in parenting (or life for that matter) so cut and dry. Have the holier-than-thou parenting experts made yelling such a black and white topic that we cringe to admit we might have raised the decibel level of our speaking voice ever so slightly?
No there are plenty of reasons for yelling that fall in what I consider the Gray Area. In fact, most of parenting falls somewhere on this spectrum of gray. Heck, most of my best parenting falls somewhere in the Gray Area.
So just hold on a minute before you go snatching my Sculpey clay and glitter award, my friend. Here are the top reasons I yell at my kids.
1 It's a freakin' zoo in this house. No, seriously. We have two large and rambunctious dogs, an epileptic cat that falls of the furniture in a seizure fit at the most inopportune moments, an inherited overly squawky cockatiel, and FOUR children... It's never quiet. It's never calm. Never. Calm speech is most often swallowed by the chaos. My grandmother had this ear-splitting high-pitched whistle she used to use to get your attention. I wish I could whistle like that. Then maybe I wouldn't have to shout to be heard over the bedlam.
2. Repetition doesn't seem to work. When I've asked them to take out the garbage not once but 5 times, and the garbage is still sitting like some intricate game of trashcan Jenga, and the dogs have filched peach pits and potato peelings to spread all over the house, and I'm thinking we could start a genetics experiment with the fruit flies that have settled in to breed, I might raise my voice. Since the first five times I said "Take out the trash," didn't seem to sink in, I'm apt to see if a louder version of the same command might soak through the distracted fog of a childhood attention span.
3. It's like Eco-location. It's a big house. I never really seem to know where anyone is. (And I don't really like to climb the stairs if I don't have to.) So I just yell out a name and I almost always get a yell that echos back. It's a handy trick. Like bats finding bugs. Only it's me finding my kids... so maybe it's not really like bats at all. Either way I know exactly where they are and can then holler back instructions like, "Come to dinner!" or "Will You Take Out The TRASH Before I Lose MY SANITY!"
4. Electronics are like hypnotists. Whether they are sitting in front of the television, or their laptops, or glued to the screens of their phones, it's like these offspring of mine have been lulled into some other dimension of consciousness. Their eyes glaze over and their posture slouches and they can't seem to hear normal conversation. They're like zombies, only the electronic devices are devouring their own brains. Sometimes it takes a loud noise to snap them out of their hypnotic electronic-induced sleep. Man, I really wish I could whistle like Grandma.
5. I like to exercise my vocal chords and strengthen my diaphragm. You just can't accomplish that from speaking quietly. It's really like controlled meditative breathing... only louder. (This one is really just bullshit, but I needed a number five.)
If you still want to confiscate my homemade Mom of the Year Award because I yell at my children, so be it. Whatever. My kids gave me that thing anyway. So they must think I'm a pretty awesome mom in spite of the occasional shouting. And that's all that really matters to me.