One night, we were putting the kids to bed, and had all the windows open. I was giving my kids a semi-loud lecture on listening when I heard the doorbell ring. My first thought was, “Oh crap. What did they just hear?” The cute older couple had smiles on their faces as I blurted out without thinking, “Did you hear me lecturing my kids?” They smiled like older couples who are done raising their kids do, and said, “No. Did they need lecturing?” I laughed it off while my husband was probably dying to hide somewhere. The kids in their PJs stood there with hair still wet from baths not knowing what to think.
I’m a great mom. I Promise. I just yell a little.
You see, I can imagine that from about my earliest days as an innocent child, I vowed to be the kind of mom that did NOT yell. But, the problem with making promises when you’re a child is that you don’t know what you’re talking about. And, really, anyone who has not BIRTHED A CHILD does not get to comment on my parenting skills, or lack thereof.
Kids will make you lose it in ways you never imagined before. And, the moms that don’t yell? Because, yes, they do exist – well, I’m convinced they just have a different set of DNA than I do. I imagine they are horrible at other things though like laughing when their kids tell fart jokes or having spontaneous dance parties after dinner (two things I’m great at by the way).
So, I feel the need to let the entire world know right now, that I really, truly am a GREAT MOM. It’s just that, well, kids make me a little crazier than I expected. And while I have done many things to kick my bad habit, and I feel I’ve made huge improvements in the 11 years I’ve been a parent, I still yell.
So to the lady giving me the side eye in the Wal-Mart parking lot when I’m yelling at my 3 year old to just get buckled for the love of all things important in this world: I promise a I’m a great mom. It’s just that what you didn’t see was how he stared into space for a good solid 2 minutes while I patiently waited for him to turn around and get buckled. And when he did turn around, it was as slow as a sloth with a limp, and I’m pretty sure I saw my own life flash before my eyes while I was waiting. So forgive me for losing it.
I promise, I love my kids, and I’m working hard to kick the habit.
And, to THE NEIGHBOR that hears me yelling at my kids while the windows are open because they can’t tear themselves away from dancing naked in front of a mirror to focus long enough to get not one, but all of their teeth brushed, I’m a great mom. Promise. I just yell a little because my kids have the attention spans of woodland creatures.
To my friend that sees me lose it at the neighborhood kids because they tried to pick up my kid and put him in a trash can, well, that kid deserves my wrath, because I kind of like the neighbor kids being scared of me.
To the random customer service guy on the other end of the phone that hears me yell at my kid to just be quiet before I lose my ever loving mind, just know – I’M A GOOD MOM. They just don’t ever let me talk on the phone.
I have to say that I’ve cut back quite a bit on my yelling. I do think it’s important to have goals for yourself as a mom and try to achieve them. Yes, yelling constantly at kids is damaging – I’m aware. That’s why I try desperately to STOP yelling. But, I also have learned to apologize and mean it. I’ve learned that breaking bad habits takes time. And, I’ve learned that an occasional yell because they are going to be late to school isn’t going to permanently damage anybody.
But, I’m imperfect. I own it. And, therefore, I yell sometimes. Just know, I’m a good mom. And, I probably have a good reason.
And, also know, I’m always working on this goal to be the mom that doesn’t yell at her kids. But, I refuse to quit being the mom that laughs at fart jokes at the dinner table.
This post originally appeared on Perfection Pending.
Read more from Meredith Ethington here on her Facebook page Perfection Pending. Meredith Ethington is a writer and a mom to three, trying to help her kids understand sarcasm and her need for personal space. Meredith’s debut parenting book, Mom Life: Perfection Pending, provides an uplifting yet realistic look at all that is expected of moms in the 21st century.