I've been reading a book called Scream Free Parenting. There used to be a time when I read for pure enjoyment but with the birth of my children that quickly changed.
I confided in a friend that I was reading this book but I felt that trying to be a Scream Free Parent was possibly going to kill me. She thought that was pretty funny but not in a "ha-ha" sort of way. More in a "holy crap, I can totally relate" sort of way and then she told me "There are times when I am calm on the outside, but on the inside, I'm screaming at the top of my lungs, "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!"
When she confessed she was silently screaming for everyone to JUST SHUT UP I felt an instantaneous connection and relief. Thank god somebody else is feeling this. And then it made me wonder. How many other mothers are walking around at any given moment feeling this rage building up, wanting to erupt? How many other women are calmly talking to their kids while silently screaming at them on the inside. I wonder what affect this is having on our health? And what are we supposed to do about it? We can't walk around screaming at everyone who pisses us off, but raging silently isn't going to help either.
I try my best to be calm and collected. Like when I go to change my youngest son's diaper and each time he tries (and sometimes succeeds) to kick me. I feel the rage start to build up in the pit of my stomach, my blood pressure rises, and my heart starts to beat harder.
Or when I ask them for the 17th time to please, please PLEASEEEEE.....get your boots and jackets on, we need to go......NOW. I know that if I let out one little yell, one little scream, they will get moving and I'll have released that inner pressure. But I'm supposed to be the adult in the situation and evidently screaming doesn't help. Well I have news for you "Mr. I'm Going To Write a Book About Screamfree Parenting", it will help....it will help ME. But *sigh* apparently it's not all about me...
When you didn't have kids and you heard a mother yelling at her child, it's quite possible that you thought to yourself "I'll never yell at my kids like that". I know I did and I'm ashamed of my snap judgement. But the Gods of Irony, who know irony quite well, smile upon you and you are given a child of your own who has fought you on every little thing since they woke up at 5:00 a.m. Everything from getting dressed, to what they want to wear, to eating breakfast, what they want to play with, what they don't want to play with, getting into their car seat (where they amazingly become the human ironing board and not even Hercules himself can fold that little body into his seat) and everything in between.
And let's not forget the "I do". Not the fun and romantic "I promise to love you for the rest of my life, I do". The annoying, please god, don't let them say it..... "I do dat Mummy". Yeah, yeah yeah.. I know. All the books say that you should let them do it. Never mind you're going to be late. Never mind about a schedule. Never mind that you know it's going to add on an extra 10 more minutes when you're already 10 minutes behind and you really don't have the time to let them try to master their zipper on this particular morning. Whatever.
Or even worse, you have two or three children fighting you on every single thing, and fighting amongst each other and wanting to do it all themselves. Again, I say, whatever. Sometimes things need to get done and we have neither the time nor the inclination to allow our little munchkins to do everything themselves. But we don't want to yell and have people judge us so we silently rage within.
So what are we to do about this silent rage, this silent screaming? I don't know. Maybe we can start by acknowledging that it's something that does happen; that at some point in our parenting career, many mothers (and fathers) feel it. We are human; we make mistakes. Screaming at our children isn't the answer but neither is keeping it inside where it's festering and affecting our health. Maybe we can stop judging other parents when they have a bad moment. Maybe when you see a parent losing it, you can go over and offer help or a sympathetic ear. And maybe, just maybe...in return, when you have a bad moment, they will do the same for you.