I’m Ashamed That I’ve Become That Mom Who Yells At Her Kids
My parents were, for the most part, calm leaders of the household. Their discipline was delivered from a place of respect, even when angry, and we always talked everything through. There was no spanking or hitting in my house, no emotional abuse or cruel words. They were excellent parents, so much so that the parenting flaws they did have became something of a family joke.
As adults, my brother and I teased them about the times they’d turn around while driving and try to whack at us when we fought. We laughed remembered moments we were certain they wanted to smack us, but didn’t. I gleefully recalled over and over my mom’s rage when I stole my brother’s popcorn while watching Live Aid. Her yelling was another thing we mocked. She didn’t do it all the time, but when she was furious, she roared.Â She called herself a “shrieker,” and when she was mad that’s exactly what she did. And now, I’m doing it too. And I hate it.
As my kids get older I find myself having a harder time managing my reactions to when they misbehave. Most of the time I’m calm and measured. But when I’m frustrated and tired and no one is listening to me, the shrieker emerges. And I can already tell my kids hate it as much as I do, just like I did when my mom would scream at us.
It’s hard, because not only can I see why I’m yelling, I now understand why my mom did too. She was a stay-at-home-mother with two kids. We were pains in the asses at times. And when that frustration builds, and your demands are being met with attitude, or not being met at all, and it happens over and over and over again, well, you just kind of…explode.
For a second it works. I will shout my kid’s name and she will look at me in wide-eyed terror, wondering “Who da fuq is this beast that just emerged out of my mom’s mouth?” And for a second, it quiets her – she shuts up and listens, which is all I wanted in the first place. SUCCESS! I think for a hot minute. It DOES work after all! But then, for the most part, she is scared and upset, and I feel like a monster for not handling myself better, for upsetting her, for not being the kind of my mom my kid deserves. I apologize, and we talk about her behavior and my behavior and why I yelled and how it’s not okay. And it’s resolved and we’re cool, but I still end up in a shame heap at the end of the day.
It’s hard to really know how other moms parent. I see them at the park or Target, and they all look so chill and centered. Like, if their kid took a dump in the middle of the cat litter aisle and then had a tantrum and rolled around in it, they’d calming handle the situation like Olivia Pope, ending the tantrum and cleaning the poop off without raising their voice or dropping the least bit of arm pit sweat. I see these amazing goddess moms all around me and wonder – am I the only yeller among us? Am I the only one who gets so frustrated and furious that I have to give MYSELF time outs sometimes, because I don’t want to scream at my kids? Am I the only one who is straight-up mortified by my terrible parenting moments, but also can’t stop having them?
I know that I’m an awesome mom. But boy, do I screw things up on a daily basis. And yes, that’s fine. I mean that’s what this whole parenting thing is about and why Xanax was invented. But the feeling of thinking you’re terrible at it and loathing your parenting flaws while everyone around you seems to have it covered is lonely. So lonely, that sometimes I want to scream. But I’ll try to remain calm this time.