I know I’ve said it before, but I’m not really one for making New Years Resolutions. On the odd occasion that I have, it’s been one of those that the majority of women tend to make. You know the ones: spend less money, lose a certain amount of weight, try to socialise more instead of being a recluse. And you know what? I’m rubbish at sticking to them! I love chocolate and shopping way too much to just give them up.
So when my friends and family were telling me recently what their resolutions for 2018 were, I decided I was going to give making one one last shot. And instead of making a frivolous one that I was bound to fail at a couple of days in, I decided I was going to make a serious one. One that I don’t just want to stick to, but one that I really need to stick to. And so the only resolution I’m making this year is to stop being a shouty mum.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I went from being a fairly calm mum to the shouty mum I am today. And I’m sure it didn’t just happen overnight. But I am ninety-nine percent positive it started at some point during the last couple of years while I was both physically and emotionally drained from lack of sleep. You see, Oscar, my youngest, suddenly decided that sleep was for the weak. And for the best part of that two years, he would happily get by on just an hour or two a night.
I feel like I just got to that point of exhaustion where yelling to get the kids to listen to me came all too easily. I was tired, fed up, and bottling up a lot of anger towards Nathan because he never got up in the middle of the night to help, no matter how much Oscar and I cried. I won’t go into too much detail, but he would basically refuse to help because of having to get up and go out to work the next day. To me, that was just an excuse, because he didn’t help on the weekends or when he had time off, either.
The housework soon fell by the wayside, and Oscar and I would spend all day slumming it in our pyjama’s. The only time we ventured outside was when we planned to meet up with friends or desperately needed something from the shop. And at some point, while all this was happening, Stacey’s teenage hormones kicked in, and I suddenly had her attitude to deal with too. The timing could not have been worse.
I try to be sympathetic towards her. I really do. I mean, it wasn’t all that long ago that I was a teenager myself. I remember quite clearly how difficult it can be. But her constant back chatting and need to be right is out of control. But then again, so is my yelling. I yell when I’m cooking dinner and Oscar won’t leave me alone, I yell when the kids are yelling at each other (setting a great example there, I know). I yell when Oscar’s whinging over not wanting to go to school, I yell when we’re in a rush, or when we’re late. But most of all I yell because I feel like no one’s listening to me.
Since starting school in September, Oscar’s behaviour has spiralled out of control too. Where he would once come and cuddle up to me on the sofa, smothering me in kisses and telling me how much he loves me, he now hits, kicks, bites, headbutts, and constantly tells me he hates me. I think a lot of it is resentment because I’m no longer around him all day, every day. He’s recently started hitting Stacey, too. As well as touching things he’s been asked not to touch, trashing the living room, throwing Stacey’s devices at hard surfaces, and pretty much doing anything he knows will make me lose my cool to get attention. And where I once would have handled it in a nice, calm way – you guessed it – I now yell.
You’re probably reading this thinking I’m a right bitch. He’s only little, after all. But the truth is, it’s utterly exhausting! I’m exhausted from his constant lashing out, I’m exhausted from always having to second guess his next move so I can make sure nobody gets hurt, I’m exhausted from constantly cleaning up after him, and I’m exhausted from the constant reminders of how I’d like him to behave. But most of all, I’m exhausted from my constant yelling. And for that, I have no one to blame but myself.
Once upon a time, I used to speak softly and be heard. I wasn’t a shouty mum. I had a brilliant discipline technique that worked, and I would stick to it rigidly. I would crouch right down to the kids level and talk them out of whatever tantrum they were having. We’d then have a cuddle, and everything would be right with the world. But now I just shout. I tell myself I’ll count to ten before I speak to them when they’re driving me nuts. But in all honesty, it rarely happens. Maybe it’s me who needs time out. Me who needs to sit and cool off. And me who needs to re-evaluate her behaviour.
So I’ve come to the decision that now is as good a time as any to stop the shouting. Before my kids decide they really do hate me and start acting out in other places as well as at home. And before someone who is truly innocent gets hurts. It’s time for me to hold my hands up and say enough is enough. I’m going to take responsibility for my shouty behaviour. After all, it’s my own fault that I do it, no one else’s. Yes, I may be tired and cranky, but that doesn’t make it OK for me to take it out on my kids.
From now on I’m going to work on building my energy back up. I’m going to perfect my discipline techniques. And most of all I’m going to work hard to build up the patience that seems to have diminished over the last couple of years. This is my new year’s resolution. The only resolution I’m going to make this year. And I know if I can see it through, 2018 will be amazing.
This is me being accountable for my actions. I’m nipping yelling in the bud. I don’t want to be a shouty mum anymore. Wish me luck guys. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how things are going.