“I must shout less”
I hear myself say it. The little angel on my shoulder claps with glee. Yes! Shout less she says. You’ll be happier.
Shouting makes me miserable. Yet still I do it. I do it all the time. Every time I hear myself shout, I hate myself a little more.
The shouting isn’t really about how miserable it makes me though.
It’s about the beautiful little toddler that calls me mama. It’s about the handsome patient and caring man that chose me as his wife. It’s about the teen that asked to come and live with us so she could have a British education. Sometimes it’s even about the poor cat who dares to tell me her food bowl is empty and gets slung outside in return for her gentle meow.
But why? Why do I shout so much? Why does every little thing make me incandescent with rage?
When I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a scathing temper why must I still shout?
I grew up scared of my mum.
Petrified of her. Constsntly fearing being shouted at for something. It was easier to sweep up and hide the broken glass and hope she doesn’t notice. To lie and tell her I cut my hand climbing a tree than to admit I cut it on the glass I broke. To be apprehensive about getting in the car after school in case I forgot to put my cup in the sink before I left the house that morning, or to panic about being 2 minutes late walking out of the gates because it was getting dark and we needed to feed the animals. To instantly reject party invitations in fear that it would inconvenience mum, because I didn’t want to be shouted at for asking if we could get my friend a gift.
I don’t want that for my children. Ever. Children should never fear their parents. That’s no way to grow up. I don’t want that for my husband either. What ever gives me the right to raise my voice and bully another human being?
I’m quick to chastise the parents that use controlled crying on their children, the parents that smack their children “do you realise the emotional harm you are causing? Do you even have a clue? You’re teaching your child you don’t want to be there for them. You’re teaching them that violence is ok! You’re putting your own need for sleep above your child’s wellbeing. Shame.on.you.
But what about that time I screamed at the toddler;
The time I shouted at my husband
Get this f**king child away from me
The moment I slammed the door in my husbands face as hard as I could
I’ve had enough. F**k you
When the teen doesn’t answer her homework question immediately
Jesus Christ child, are you a complete moron?!
How is that not emotionally damaging? How is that ok?
It isn’t. Not in the slightest. It’s shameful. Disgusting. Pathetic behaviour.
Yes. I’m exhausted. The exhaustion that only a parent understands. But that is no excuse. My husband is exhausted too. Exhausted mainly because of me. Because of the constant pressure to “keep me happy” the mantra “happy wife, easy life” I hear the jokes about him being under the thumb.
“How do you put up with that! “
She keeps me on my toes
“You don’t take any shit, you’ll scare them in to giving you what you want”
No. I don’t take any shit. In fact. I’m not accepting of much at all. My way or the high way do as I say or God forbid the hell I will unleash upon you.
This is no way to live. Not for me. And most certainly not for them. For my husband. For my children. For the friend that dared to disagree with me. For the stranger that walked in my way.
So next time the toddler is clawing at my thighs, whingeing at me whilst I try and make a cup of tea, rather than break his little spirit by shouting “Get off Me” I will count to 5. I will breathe in, then out. “Qu’est qu’il y a bébé? Tu veu aider maman? (I’m much calmer in French) I will get a chair that he can stand on and a cup that he can fill with cold water. I will let him “help” me. I won’t shout when he makes a mess of the freshly scrubbed worktops, instead I will pass him some kitchen towel and we will wipe it up together.
I won’t try and kick the bathroom door down next time hubby “escapes” for 5 minutes. I won’t resent him needing time to chill out after work. I won’t scream at him for sitting on the settee without removing his work boots. Instead I will ask him about his day, I will kiss him and ask him nicely could he please remember to take his boots off at the door?
I need to be a better person. A kinder person. A more patient one. So this is my challenge. I will shout less and listen more. I will count to 5 and breathe. And on days where I fail to control my temper I shall not take it out on those I love because shouty mama is not a loveable mama. A shouty wife is not a good wife. She is a monster.
I’m oh so tired of my monster. Of my dark side. It needs to be gone before my temper is all I have left.
I just hope I’m not already too late.