Not yelling is harder than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be pretty hard. Some days it's a breeze. I calmly and quietly handle misbehavior, my heart rate stays normal, and our day is nice and smooth. Some days it is a physical and emotional struggle. Some days I can feel the yell in my throat. Like it's a seed or something I choked on. My heart goes faster and faster, and I fight so hard against the urge to yell. I don't always win, but I'll ya what, the times I DO win? Man it's a sweet sweet victory. It's such an amazing feeling to push down that yell, and speak calmly instead. The times I don't win? Well, those are not good times, but I make every effort to stop it as soon as I possibly can.
Some things I've learned:
-I am more likely to yell at Sam if Kate is fussing. And that is so not fair.
-Sometimes I feel like yelling, not because Sam is even doing anything particularly BAD, but because I'm frustrated with how slow it's happening or how much of a mess it's making.
-Yelling makes a temper tantrum/bout of misbehavior last at least twice as long as calmly dealing with it does.
-Time outs are more effective if they're used incredibly sparingly (continued misbehavior after several attempts to calmly stop it/redirect or repeated actions that could cause harm to himself or others)
-Sam is more likely to act out when he's bored. Sam is more likely to be bored when I am very busy with other things. I am more likely to yell when I am very busy with other things. I need to slow.down.and.simplify.
Some things I've done when the urge to yell is about to overtake me:
-Close my eyes and take several VERY deep breaths
-Shut myself in the bathroom or laundry room for a few moments
The last one ^, go outside? A.m.a.z.i.n.g! Particularly when it's cold! I make sure both kids are safe (Kate is buckled into her swing or something where Sam can't mess with her) and I step out onto our front porch. It's like as soon as the fresh air hits my face I feel immediately better! I've always liked utilizing time outside for the KIDS when they're having a bad day, but now I love to utilize it for ME.
Even better than stepping outside for a moment to pull myself together? Getting a chance (if Daddy gets home early enough) to go for a run on my own.
Yesterday was a TOUGH day. I did not win against the yelling. I was extremely tired. Kate's naps were all off and she was very fussy. The house was messy. Sam was messy. Sam was tired and slightly bored. It was an all around bad situation. James got home early, I nursed Kate, said, "I'll be RIGHT back", and laced up my running shoes.
3 miles and a shower later, I was a new Mama. I scooped Sam up to snuggle on the couch and told him that Mama was sorry for yelling so much. He said, "Mama! Look at Sam's orange cement truck!" and gave me a hug. In Sam's world, that means all is forgiven ;)
Sam, my sweet sweet Sam, has started doing something that is both heart breaking and such an awesome reminder to keep my promise to him and to myself and stop the yelling. When I am upset with him, he grins, and says in a quiet voice, "Mamaaaaaaa. Smile.". Oh Sam, Mama wants to be able to always smile for you!
And so I will trudge on with my promise. I will be calmer. I will be quieter. I will be the very best Mama that I can be because I have been blessed with 2 amazing little people who deserve nothing less :)