Overwhelmed and Yelling

English: A hungry baby yelling and crying.

Often babies yell and cry not because something is wrong, but because they are overwhelmed. Me too.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to share this amazing blog. It is about the importance of accepting others and not yelling. It is about what lies underneath our urge to yell at those around us, those we love the most. It hit me close to my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I have a 9 year old daughter and she would never say those things to me. It also made me think a bit more about myself. I welcome your opinions here, even if you disagree.

http://www.handsfreemama.com/2013/05/22/the-important-thing-about-yelling/

Excerpts:

“So what was it about my then 3-year-old and 6-year-old children that caused me to lose it? Was it how she insisted on running off to get three more beaded necklaces and her favorite pink sunglasses when we were already late? Was it that she tried to pour her own cereal and dumped the entire box on the kitchen counter? Was it that she dropped and shattered my special glass angel on the hardwood floor after being told not to touch it? Was it that she fought sleep like a prizefighter when I needed peace and quiet the most? Was it that the two of them fought over ridiculous things like who would be first out of the car or who got the biggest dip of ice cream?

Yes, it was those things—normal mishaps and typical kid issues and attitudes that irritated me to the point of losing control.

That is not an easy sentence to write. Nor is this an easy time in my life to relive because truth be told, I hated myself in those moments. What had become of me that I needed to scream at two precious little people who I loved more than life?”

There is way too much yelling in my house, from both parents. It has gotten better over the past year or so, but I still cringe at the sound of Hubby’s or my own raised voice.

The Mama in that blog blamed her fried nerves on too much email and work. I live and breathe stress. I’ve never been without stress.

Some days I am already wound up so tight inside that it takes no external events for me to lash out in frustration. Someone simply speaking to me can set off an ugly reaction that pains me later. So have a child dump the cereal or make us late to something, and I can become an ugly creature. I don’t know how to cope with just being me sometimes, so how do I cope with unpredictable kids? How can I be there to forgive and accept my children’s mistakes when I struggle to accept my own? The answer is not one I like, but I truly think the answer is that I can’t. So this is yet another example where I must heal myself as quickly as possible. I must love myself to accept Hubby’s love for me and return it to him. I must accept my own human errors and demonstrate that I don’t hate myself for making them. Am I unintentionally modeling self-hate and perfectionism? Yes, to some extent, yes. It is undeniable.

This adds to my need to be better now! I am so impatient to get through this already. Not just improved, but all the way better.

But having a noble cause like being supportive and available and nurturing to my kids does not make the healing any faster. Healing takes time and work, then more time and work, and then even more time and work.

So I guess the only thing I can get from this article then, is that raising kids is hard for anyone, and that I should give myself more credit for what I have accomplished. Why is that so hard to do though?

The other thing I think that is missing from this article – is that I know she still has bad days and yells like a crazy woman. If I can’t be perfect, than I do not accept when others make out like they are either.  So shame on her for acting like this was an easy transformation and that the rest of us are lousy Moms for not being like her. Or shame on me for feeling like that. I dunno.

I have to accept that humans are imperfect, forgetful, often self-centered, emotional beings. Even Moms.

Excerpt:

“I am not sure I would have thought to write about this profound transformation had it not been for the incident that happened last Monday afternoon. In that moment, I got a taste of life overwhelmed and the urge to yell was on the tip of my tongue. I was nearing the final chapters of the book I am currently writing and my computer froze up. Suddenly the edits of three entire chapters disappeared in front of my eyes. I spent several minutes frantically trying to revert to the most recent version of the manuscript. When that failed to work, I consulted the time machine backup, only to find that it, too, had experienced an error. When I realized I would never recover the work I did on those three chapters, I wanted to cry—but even more so, I wanted to rage.

 . . .

Finally, the day was almost done. I had tucked my youngest child in bed and was laying beside my oldest daughter for nightly Talk Time.

“Do you think you will get your chapters back?” my daughter asked quietly.

And that’s when I started to cry – not so much about the three chapters, I knew they could be rewritten – my heartbreak was more of a release due to the exhaustion and frustration involved in writing and editing a book. I had been so close to the end. To have it suddenly ripped away was incredibly disappointing.

To my surprise, my child reached out and stroked my hair softly. She said reassuring words like, “Computers can be so frustrating,” and “I could take a look at the time machine to see if I can fix the backup.” And then finally, “Mama, you can do this. You’re the best writer I know,” and “I’ll help you however I can.””

I’ve never cried out of frustration in front of my kids. I feel they are too young to lean on and would not understand or be able to be supportive as her daughter was. Oh, and I wouldn’t have cried about losing a few days of work in the first place. I guess that is a scale issue there too, as she said that gave her a “taste of life overwhelmed”. I am not belittling this woman, or not trying to, but simply contrasting and I guess showing myself my inner strength, as her overwhelming day would go unnoticed by me. I think it safe to assume that one of my overwhelming days would send her quickly over the edge.

And so I don’t feel so bad about teetering on that edge for a few days. Not so bad at all. Because you see, I have been over that edge, I know what lives down there, and yet I can still look at it, square in the face. Yes, I feel fear. But I choose to keep looking anyway.

I completely agree with the intended message of the author, I really do. And I plan to check out her links and see if anything there is helpful on my own journey. I just had to take it a step further, look at at it from every direction, because that is what I do.

 

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3 thoughts on “Overwhelmed and Yelling

  1. Interesting. I remembered how horrible I felt when I yelled at my dog or my horse. I mean, really? What are they supposed to get out of a rant from me? My horse, blessedly, ignored me, but the shame I still feel regarding my dog because I only scared her.

    I’ve learned yelling lets me release a lot of pent up energy at once. I yell when I’m alone more often than not. No one cares. No hurt feelings. I know, this from someone without children. Not really the point either.

    As I continued to read I wondered: “What if the focus is all wrong?”

    What if instead of sparing children the unpleasantness, which does not mean it’s okay, but instead taking the opportunity to teach children like: “I’m angry because I’m feeling overwhelmed. It is not your fault.” Instead, giving children permission to accept their own overwhelmed feelings and talking about good ways to work it out… teaching children problem solving for themselves and learning to recognize when it isn’t about them. Talking about when it is and why and how it makes you feel makes the problem more manageable when they feel the same way. It’s also a good time to teach about apologizing and what it really means. Not the meaningless or completely absent words but honestly recognizing one is over-reacting. How else will children learn to handle their own frustrations? NM and EF yelled and punished. So I yelled and punished, at first.

    I am able to look back as the years went by. I yelled at my dog less, and when I did, yes, I acknowledged to my dog I was wrong and apologized. I learned to let a lot of things go, including being woken up at 3 am and having to clean the dog and bedding, toward the end. She mattered more. It wasn’t anywhere near perfect, but it was a lot better. I accept responsibility, but didn’t stay in the guilt because it interfered in my precious time with her. And yes, she learned to be less overwhelmed as I learned.

  2. Pingback: The Important Thing About Yelling | Kitchen Cures

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