Last week I discovered there’s a magical mom out there who went 538 days without yelling. I imagine she smells like cotton candy and leaves a silver glitter trail wherever she goes — kinda like dandruff, but, you know, fancy. She is a SAHM to four boys and writes the blog The Orange Rhino.
A friend on facebook linked to a post by this wondrous, non-yelling, mom creature. It was the post where she broke her 538 day non-yelling streak and, you know, yelled at her kids. As I read the post, I waited to feel the tingle of inspiration offered by a fellow mom who took on this amazing challenge. I anticipated feeling inspired by her self-control and her motto of “loving more and yelling less.” I expected the urge to take on the no yelling challenge myself.
But it didn’t happen.
Instead, I felt bad. I felt inadequate. I felt, yet again, like a bad mom. Like someone else was doing it better and gentler and with less yelling. Which was true — well, the no yelling part anyway.
But then I rallied.
I respect what this other mom is doing. I bow down before her honesty. (Seriously, full props for writing about the yelling after she has a whole blog and masses of dedicated followers who are all about not yelling.) But I know that not yelling isn’t realistic for me right now. If I set that goal I would fail.
And, in a moment of amazing growth and parental maturity, I realized . . . that’s okay.
I don’t like that I yell. Zoey doesn’t like it. But it happens. I yell. I’m snappish. And it doesn’t mean I love my daughter any less. She knows I can be grumpy (and sometimes even mean) and still love her to pieces. She knows this because I tell her so. She knows this because she sees it, feels it, and knows that it’s part of how our family functions. We all get angry, frustrated, sad. We all act in ways we shouldn’t sometimes. We say things we don’t mean. We apologize from the bottom of our heart. We move on. And the whole time, we love each other.
What works for one mom, in one house, with one set of kids doesn’t have to work for me. There are things I can learn from The Orange Rhino. I can cheer her on in her quest because I believe that’s what moms should do for one another. But I don’t have to compare myself to her. I don’t have to take on her goals as my own.
I’m not saying yelling is okay. It’s definitely not something I’m proud of. But it is real. For us in our house anyway. For us in our kind, loving, not always perfect home.