I woke up to a glorious Sunday morning, the sun was shining the birds were chirping and there were four wild children laughing, wrestling, and yanking the covers off of me in an exhausted attempt to get me out of bed. Honestly though, who doesn’t want to wake up to the contagious sounds of little giggles? These are the moments I know I will one day miss. This is the first Sunday in four weeks we haven’t had to rush around and get six monkeys ready to spend the day at the football field watching the two oldest play games. Nope, instead today we got to lounge around while waiting until this evening to rush around getting the six ready for the games. Why is it that the more time I have to get ready the more I find myself rushing around to get everybody ready right before we need to leave? I’m hoping one day I can find an answer to that question.
It’s days like today that I find myself evaluating my life. Such as the choices I have made, the path I am on, the way I parent, the kind of wife I am and the list goes on and on and on and on. I like to make a mental list of everything I need to work on and I usually get pumped up to change, be better, be healthier, be more frugal, be, be, be, be……….. You know it’s amazing how quickly a leisurely day can become exhausting!
It never seems to fail that when I get in these moods Snookums is experiencing his own version. He usually wants to declutter something and if any of you reading this are like me when the husband wants to declutter you find yourself wishing you had drawn up that emergency exit plan! When Snookums starts cleaning, he wants to throw it all away and hem and haw about how I am border line hoarder. Let’s just say it’s not my kind of fun. But today was different. Today our house felt a little zen. Just a little, not a lot, our house could never be a lot zen. Nope, definitely not!
So as Snookums and I were downstairs enjoying our zen morning cleaning. All of the kids were upstairs cleaning their rooms. We could here them laughing and carrying on together and I’m not sure how Snookums felt but I was feeling pretty good about the dynamic of our family. It was in this moment that I decided to challenge Snookums to a whole month of no yelling. My pitch went something like this….”Hey Snooks, I’ve been thinking and I think that you and I should challenge ourselves to a whole month of no yelling! Let’s see what happens when we refrain from yelling at the kids for 4 whole weeks. I really think we will be surprised at the outcome! I think maybe we’ll be happier and experience a good change!” He of course replied with an enthusiastic “Ok.”
I for one, am a screamer and I hate that about myself. The more stressed I get the louder I yell and for no reason really. I swear sometimes I think my neighbors can probably hear me! This is something that I come back to often. Something I beat myself up for and constantly try and change. I always seem to complain that my voice is not heard. Does anybody have this problem? You talk and talk and talk to your family and after your finished one of them looks up and says “what?” AAAAAGGGHHHH!!!!!! It’s so frustrating and I wonder why I yell all the time! I’m getting loud in my head while I’m writing this! I’ve spent a lot time thinking about this and how this is probably the number one thing I want to change. I would imagine my children get tired of hearing my voice holler, heck I get tired of hearing my voice! I know it’s annoying, hahaha! I think sometimes maybe if I stop yelling they will start listening. Maybe they are tuning me out. I’m sure what they hear is Charlie Brown’s mom…”Wah- Wah- Wah”
The worst however, is when I hear them yell at each other. My first thought is how rude, I can’t believe they are being so disrespectful to each other! And then I fall back to earth and it hits me….why would I expect anything different from them when this is what I do! Children learn from experience. They do what we do. They say what we say and they act the way they see us acting. If we want our children to be more respectful then we need to start having more respect for them. This is what brought me to my decision to do this challenge. I want to raise respectful children, so I need to be a respectful parent. Does this mean I am not going to discipline my children when they act out? Absolutely not, I’m just not going to scream in their face to make myself feel better.
So imagine my elation when Snookums said “ok” to doing the challenge with me. This is going to be great I thought. I mean really how hard could it be, I thought. All I will need to do is remember their smiles and laughter when I feel the need to scream, I thought. And then it happened, no more than five minutes after we agreed to the challenge. We heard a blood curdling scream from upstairs, followed by a few more cries and then running footsteps coming down the stairs and of course more screams. As I walk towards the staircase I repeat to myself don’t forget the challenge, don’t forget the challenge. “What’s wrong?” I ask. “Waaaghhhh, *sniff*, *sniff*, aaaahhhhggghhhhggaahh, akdfja kdjflakjdf” is what I hear coming from Sporty McGee’s mouth. “Sporty, what happened?” I calmly ask him. Why for, not far behind Sporty interjects “It was an accident mom! Oh man I’m so sorry, I’m a terrible brother! I thought he was trying to scare me, I didn’t mean to throw the toy so hard mom!” As he finishes up his account of what had happened, Sporty smiles at me to show me his big, beautiful, glorious, broke, FRONT tooth! Did I mention permanent tooth? I turn to look at Snookums, praying that he remembers our challenge, and I see him walk away to another room in response to this catastrophe. My response was a quiet, deflated “go to your rooms now” as I am burying my face in my hands. But guess what?! We didn’t scream at them!!! We remembered the challenge!!! Now if we can just get through the other three weeks and six days……and the rest of the days of our lives with six awesome kids! In the words of the great, Little Engine that Could…I think I can, I think I can….
Oh…. and Sporty is the SECOND child of ours to break off a front tooth in the last three months!
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