Old Yeller Yelled Old Yells

As you’ve probably gathered from the title of this post, I failed in my two-week yell-free challenge.

I tried, I really did. I tried really hard.

Apparently, really hard wasn’t hard enough.

Maybe it’s the stress of the holidays. Maybe it’s the stress of knowing that I’m now trying to balance three jobs: blogging (which is, for me, my primary job), babysitting my friend’s daughter part-time, and booking parties with Tastefully Simple. Maybe it’s the stress of trying to help my husband financially while still staying at home with Joshua. Maybe it’s the stress of being a mom, a teacher, a chef, a nurse, a playmate, a housekeeper, a librarian, a referee, and a cheerleader 24/7 to one little boy.

Maybe it’s the stress. You think?

I can’t make excuses, though.

I’ve really tried, and some days have gone much more smoothly than others. Some days over the last two weeks, I’ve gone whole days without raising my voice past that of a warning level; it sounds ridiculous, but I’ve felt the desire to pat myself on the back after I’ve put Joshua to bed on those days. They’re the days that I’m really proud of myself.

And then there are days like today, when Joshua pitches a screaming fit for no clear reason, scaring his cousin (who I babysat today) into a puddle of tears; when he tosses every toy, every puzzle piece, every book onto the floor of the living room and then blatantly refuses to clean anything up; when he gets caught trying to feed the dog a chocolate-and-vanilla ice pop; when he spends an hour fighting sleep and instead chooses to systematically take apart my closet before nearly smothering the dog.

On days like today, no matter how hard I try to rein in my temper, I just fall apart. I lose it. I freak out.

And then I immediately feel like the world’s worst mother.

I mean, it’s not like I’m neglecting or beating Joshua — I would never physically harm him on purpose. I’m not throwing him into his bed and locking his bedroom door, leaving him to scream and cry until he can’t scream and cry anymore. I’m not leaving him to fend for himself for food or diapers or entertainment.

But still, when I yell, I hate myself for it the moment the shout escapes my lips.

I’m going to try for another two weeks. This time, I hope the fact that the holidays are literally upon us helps me. It’s a joyous time of year. It’s a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate the love they share. It’s not a time to yell at anyone, especially at the children. So I’m going to try again, and I’m going to keep the spirit of the holidays in mind as I go through these next few weeks. I’m also going to adopt a new mantra for this cycle:

Scream in silence.

If I feel the need to yell or scream, I’m going to stop myself the moment it begins to come out of my mouth and, instead, I will scream whatever I need to scream in silence. That way, I’m getting my frustrations out without raising my voice toward Joshua, and then I can speak to him in a more reasonable voice.

So that’s the goal. Try not to get upset, but if I can’t help myself, scream in silence.

I can do this.

Two weeks. Fourteen days. Bring it on!