First of all, it is quite embarrassing to admit that I need to give up yelling. By stating it, I am admitting that I have a problem with yelling.
The problem goes much deeper than just yelling. Allow me to explain.
I haven't always been a a yeller. I'm willing to bet that many people don't realize that I yell as much as I do. It has definitely become worse in the past few years. For the most part, I'm a pretty laid back person. This thing. This really ugly thing has entered my life. A thing called stress. Now, don't get me wrong. There has always been stress in my life. My stressors have exponentially grown in the past several years. I generally yell because I feel stressed and out of control. Guess who gets the brunt of my yelling? My family- and probably 95% of that is at my children.
In order to give up yelling, I've had to really think about why I yell. Yelling is a reaction. It is a reaction that I have defaulted because of chaos. I don't handle chaos well. When my children do not obey me, I yell. When I do not feel like my family is listening to me, I yell at them. When too many little people are talking to me at the same time, I yell. When I'm stressed about bills, medical stuff,
or selling our house, or my crazily packed schedule with very little "me" time, I respond by yelling. When I am in sensory overload, I yell. I finally realized that it is likely all of this stress probably isn't going anywhere anytime soon. However, one thing can be changed and that is me. I can only be changed through God's grace.
I have always yelled a wee bit, but I feel that it has progressively gotten worse since homeschooling. I've been thinking about that quite a bit too. I have no doubt that God's plan is for us to homeschool our children right now and honestly for long term (it has taken me awhile to admit that). However, committing to homeschooling means that I am always with my children. Because they are with me mostly 24/7, they see the good, bad, and ugly. They see all of my character flaws. We are very exposed. In this current season of my life I am not able to have very much alone time. I am an introvert and thrive on alone time. As a working mom, I was in a cubicle all by myself. Even though I had co-workers and customers calling, I still had periods of silence. I would often eat lunch at my desk to be alone. I usually had 30-60 minutes in my car by myself as well. I also only had one child at the time and he played by himself quietly and incredibly well. (Please know that I am in no way say mom's who work outside the house have it easier. I am simply explaining how the solitude I got in my particular situation was beneficial to my personality. I realize that isn't the case with everyone working mom. This was just my situation.) While on maternity leave with a newborn Kadie and having three year old Harrison at home with me ever day, I began to lose a bit of this solitude. Kadie was a fussy baby and Harrison was an incredibly challenging three year old. However, we began to figure out a rhythm and things got better and easier. I found bits and peaces of solitude again. When Harrison started kindergarten, I also put Kadie in Mom's Day Out twice a week. I had about 8 hours of time to myself each week. I generally spent that time running errands or cleaning, but I didn't have any little people dictating conversation or being loud. Then Sam was born and things changed again. We ended up pulling Kadie out of Mom's Day Out due to a tighter budget, so I had two little ones with me all of the time again. Then we decided to homeschool. The entire year of 2012 was difficult. Summer of 2012 was a particularly difficult one, especially for our marriage -and then I went straight into homeschooling. It was basically one stressor after another. And I got into the habit of yelling as a reaction rather than taking time to respond. So here we are...this is the path that lead to my yelling.
So because I have decided to give up yelling, there are many layers to this goal which will continue to unfold. I will have to continue to identify triggers and be very aware. I will have to really seek God's peace and self control, when I would have normally reacted by yelling. I will have to allow myself time to respond in an appropriate manner and that may mean walking away from a situation to allow myself time to process a situation. It may mean I have to reduce stressors in my life. Side bar, but sort of related - we are currently studying the fruits of the Spirit in our morning Bible time. This ties in wonderfully with my goal of no yelling and is a wonderful for character building my children. Next week we start self-control. It is all tying in beautifully for no other reason than God's perfect timing.
I've tried to do this no yelling thing several times and I've honestly never been successful. I've never tried it for Lent. Here is why I think it is different this year. I have a completely different mindset during Lent. I am more determined during the Lenten season. I also have been seeking joy this year and I feel like this is a huge piece of the puzzle. I want to be the old me. The me who didn't spaz out over ridiculous things. The happy little hippie that I truly am on the inside, but have let stress eat away at me. I anxious to see the transformed me in 6 weeks. I'm really excited about this, in case you can't tell!