Now, I’m not talking about the beautiful and tragic story of a boy and his dog. I’m talking about me and my struggle with yelling. Somewhere along my parenthood journey, I became a yeller. Not a screamer, but a voice-raiser that escalates to a yeller. It’s not something I set out to become, but yet, here I am.
I have always considered myself a happy and loving person. I certainly never identified myself as an angry person. When I became a mother for the first time, I felt like a different person. The joy and responsibility that came with motherhood definitely changed me in good ways. My heart was capable of such love. I was a nurturer by nature, and my desire to be a good mom was there. There were moments when I’d look at Evie, our first child, and I’d feel so overwhelmed with love. How did we even live life before the incredible blessing of being her parents? How did we know true happiness and love before then?
Evie was my sidekick and came with me everywhere. Going back to work and leaving her was extremely difficult. When I came home from work, I was still able to give Evie my best. We made our time together count.
When Evie was three and a half, we had our second child, Bennett. It was an adjustment in so many ways, but we were so happy. However, it was after having two kids that I started to yell. Things escalated when I had Lachlan, our third child. Where did all this anger come from? Like for real? Irritation and annoyance? Yes, that was definitely in me. But the anger? I didn’t know I had it in me.
It was hard for my husband to hear me react out of anger. He’s a pretty calm person and rarely has raised his voice at our children. We were talking about my tendency and we came up with me being an Old Yeller. We took things to the next level and came up with new yelling names. We were able to turn a concern into something fun. Just call me Sarah Michelle Yell•er, Boris Yell•tsin, Yell•anie Griffith, Yell•y Clarkson, or Ang•Yell•a Lansbury. (I even made a Facebook post about this and my friends added to the list. I have some funny friends. Please feel free to add to the list! Pure entertainment!)
This has been one of the biggest things I’ve tried to work on. My anger, not my clever yelling name list. I’ve taken parenting classes, talked openly with family and friends, prayed, watched videos, and read articles. I’d do well for a bit and then default to yelling. I was so disappointed in myself. I felt like I could never change. One day, I saw something in my newsfeed about angry parents (Facebook listens to my conversations, I’m convinced. Let me just readjust my tinfoil hat.). I prefer to borrow books from the library now, since my big purge of belongings. So, I was on my library’s app and searched for the author. I didn’t find her, but I randomly found this, and it spoke to me:
Exchanging parents’ angry reactions for gentle biblical responses
Written by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake
Read this description and maybe you’ll be touched like I was.
“Do you believe your struggle with anger stems from the wrong behavior you see displayed in your children? The knee-jerk reactions and blow-ups you’re facing are often a result of a bigger set of “triggers.” Some of these are external, like a child’s disobedience, backtalk, or selective hearing, while others are internal, like an overflowing schedule, sleep-deprivation, or perhaps your own painful experiences from childhood.
Triggers: Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses examines common parenting issues that cause us to explode inappropriately at our children. Moving beyond simple parenting tips on how to change your child’s behavior, authors Amber Lia and Wendy Speake offer biblical insight and practical tools to equip and encourage you on the journey away from anger-filled reactions toward gentle, biblical responses.”
Guys. This was my answer. Why hadn’t I thought to include God even more in this particular struggle? I know it wasn’t a coincidence that I found this book. I NEEDED it in my life. I borrowed it from the library as an audiobook first. I was so touched by the content that I bought the physical book. I also bought the accompanying study guide. I was able to dig deep and I was able to make changes.
I still sometimes default to anger and yelling, but I now have tools to correct myself. I’m pretty good at apologizing to my kids now. I am able to give myself grace more than ever. And I definitely rely on the Lord more.
I have a lot to say on this blog, but I felt pulled towards writing about this. Maybe because I’ve felt my anger bubbling up recently. I noticed I’ve been defaulting to “loud talking”. Maybe I need this refresher more than any of you do. My husband and I have felt so strongly to have peace and unity in our home. One of our biggest desires is for our home to truly be a haven. This reminder is going to help me be the catalyst in our home towards achieving our goal of peace and unity. As we all know, if momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy. As women, we truly have power to set the tone of our home. I’ve been a little off-key lately, but I will work on my pitch.