5 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling at My Kids
Sometimes, the burden of our daily lives causes us to forget the wonderful work we have before us as parents, and we end up yelling at our children and arguing with them.
We don’t do this because we are tired of them, but because the fatigue that comes from the endless tasks we have, in addition to being a mother, can take a toll.
They say being a mother is a difficult task, and it sure is! But it can also be the best gift in the world.
Sometimes we are the ones who set very lofty goals for ourselves. We want perfect children who do not raise their voices or get their clothes dirty, and who are also quiet and greet us with a kiss.
We want children to get good grades, have perfectly clean rooms, read whole books at 6 years old, not mess up their hair, never lose their toys, and do their homework on their own…
We want the kind of children who only exist in magazines!
So what I learned when I stopped yelling at my kids was:
Perfect is the enemy of good.
When I stopped yelling at my kids, I learned that I don’t need to be a perfect mother. I am not in a daily competition to prove anything to anyone.
I understood that my children prefer me when I’m not perfect and don’t plan everything, and can be more spontaneous and happy.
Maybe folding the clothes tomorrow or washing the dishes at another time makes me more human, happier, and a more relaxed mom. This makes me a better mom.
Maybe my house doesn’t look like a magazine cover, but my kid’s smiles do, and it’s because I stopped yelling at them.
I don’t have perfect children, and I don’t want perfect children either.
My children are perfectly imperfect. They are real children: they spill juice, don’t like to bathe, whine about cleaning their rooms, don’t like vegetables, and always want a new toy… and how could they be any different? They’re kids!
I love them just as they are, like a whirlwind of laughter and sloppy kisses, sometimes reckless because they are spontaneous, sometimes grumpy because they have their own point of view on things, sometimes capricious because they just want to be happy.
That’s who my children are: perfectly imperfect, they are children.
I am the mom my kids need.
Even before they came into my life, I already had ideas about how I wanted to raise my children. When they were on the way I planned what I was going to do in every situation. I didn’t want to be an unprepared mom.
I figured out how I was going to teach them to pray and have good table manners. I told myself that I would never give them junk food and that I would teach them to be courageous, independent, and generous.
In a nutshell, I made plans with people I hadn’t met yet – big mistake!
Then, I realized that I have to be the mother that each of them needs, not the one that I planned to be – sometimes firm, other times warm; sometimes protective, and sometimes pushy.
Because every child needs me in a different way, because each one of them is different.
Other people’s opinions don’t matter.
I have very good friends, with whom I can be honest about the difficulties that I sometimes have when raising my children, and I listen to theirs too.
We laugh and worry together, we try to solve problems or we warn each other about what lies ahead. They are my partners in parenthood, after the father of my children.
But I have also learned that there are some words and looks that are not necessary, those of insincere people who fake perfection just for appearances.
Their opinions and advice are worth nothing to me now. I think they need me to have someone to brag to.
I learned to motivate myself.
One of the many things that my children have taught me, is to go the extra mile in those moments when I feel exhausted. That’s right, they have taught me to push myself, to be a better human being, to forgive myself with unwavering faith in the next opportunity.
They have taught me to realize that I am strong and persevering, more so than I thought. They taught me to focus on the goal, not the obstacles, and that I can do it without yelling at my children.
Today I really am a better version of myself compared to when they were born. They have made me reinvent myself and challenged me to be better.
Maybe my body and the dark circles under my eyes say otherwise, and I won’t even mention my fingernails!
I’m not saying that I don’t miss the way I looked before, but I would not trade having become who I am today for anything in the world.
Every day I wake up with the desire to be a good mother for them, and the unstoppable strength to be able to raise them in the way that each one of them needs, not in order to satisfy my ego.
Truthfully, I don’t go to bed every night completely satisfied with myself. Some nights I do and some nights I don’t. But other nights I go to bed feeling like I owe them a better day, more hugs, and perhaps a lot of patience.
Those days, more than any others, I go to bed with the full intention that tomorrow I will have a new opportunity not to yell at my children.