As parents, there are days when it seems impossible to make it through without yelling. Sometimes, our kids leave us no other choice. They misbehave, talk back, ignore us, and ironically, yell at us, so yelling back is either a knee-jerk reaction or something that just feels good.
While most yelling sessions are forgotten about and forgiven shortly after, others can stay with you for a long time. When I was 15 years old, my dad took me outside to teach me how to parallel park. My birthday and driving test were one week away. My dad reversed the car into the street and set up two garbage cans along the curb to act as the cars I was supposed to park between. My future car was a brown 1979 Caprice Classic. You know, the old cars with the bench seats? At five feet tall, driving this boat was difficult enough, but trying to parallel park it seemed impossible.
I don’t want my house to become a yelling house, but sometimes, yes, I lose my sh*t.
I tried multiple times, and failed. My dad grew agitated, and I started sweating. “What in the hell are you doing?” he said. “You’re never going to pass this damn test!” It got much worse from there. His swear words shifted to Greek (never a good sign), the neighbors started to poke their heads out of their windows to see what the commotion was about, and my adolescent angst wasn’t having it. I ran into the house crying. And on the day of my driving test, I hit the big orange cones. I failed to parallel park, but somehow still managed to pass the test and get my license. Bad move, state of Michigan. Bad move.
Yes, my dad yelled at me that day, and I still remember it vividly, but everything worked out. Do I remember him yelling at me on more than one occasion? Of course. But are those the first memories that pop into my head when I think of my childhood? Absolutely not. I remember days filled with love, laughter, and warmth. I remember the family vacations, picnics, and soccer games that were never missed. And while I do remember days that involved yelling, I know they too were a direct result of my parents’ love for me. They wanted to teach me, give me tough love, and help me learn. And I’m very grateful for that.
But now that I’m a parent, I’ll admit that I hate yelling. Everything about it makes me feel awful – ugly even. In the moment you feel like you have to, but the guilt that it brings afterward is the real kicker. I ask myself things like, “Did I need to yell about that? Was I too loud? Did I scare them? Did I scar them for life?” I’m sure the answers to all of those questions is yes and no. I upset them, but they’ll be fine. And nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes, raise our voices, and say things we regret. I don’t want my house to become a yelling house, but sometimes, yes, I lose my sh*t.
If you’re like me – a mom who doesn’t like to yell but knows it’s sometimes a necessity – don’t let it drag you down. You’re a good parent for teaching them what they can and cannot do, even if they shed a few tears over it sometimes. You’ll feel guilty, but you’ll move on. Your home is much more full of love than it is yelling. Remember that. And if it makes you feel any better, today, at 36 years old, I still don’t know how to parallel park.
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