The Shouty Mummy and the Orange Rhino

resolutions shouty

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to shout less. To take a deep breath, walk away and lead by example. After the first week of January, I think it was safe to say {or shout} that I had failed.

Last week I found myself yelling like an old fish wife, as I engaged in battle with a professional procrastinator. A master of wind-up. The King of selective hearing. The centre of my world {alongside his brother, of course}, the boy who lights up my life. And the one who knows how to push my buttons like no one else on this planet.

For those of you with young children, you may be familiar with Flop; the parent-type character on the Cbeebies series, Bing. For those of you that aren’t {oh how I envy you}, he’s the parental voice of reason. He’s cool, calm and collected at all times; he can diffuse a potential tantrum in seconds, he doesn’t get mad when Bing breaks his phone {WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIM?} and he probably wouldn’t even swear if he stood barefoot on a piece of Lego. And we all know how painful that is…

It all started last Thursday morning when Big Monkey refused to get dressed for school. After numerous polite requests had been ignored, I felt the rage bubbling. We needed to get downstairs, have breakfast, drop his little brother off at the child-minders, drop him off at school and I had to get to work.

I tried to channel my inner-Flop,  silently repeating his catchphrase in my head, “it’s no big deal”, while my son bounced around in his Spiderman onesie.

What would Flop do now? He would calmly explain why we need to get dressed right now because it’s 8am and we’re GOING TO BE LATE. Tried it, didn’t work. Child is now rolling around on the floor like a loon.

Flop would then probably change tactics and make it a game. So I jovially suggest we see how fast he can get dressed and win a sticker. Didn’t work. SHIT. WE’RE SO LATE.

This stand-off had been going on for almost 15 minutes now. As a last ditch attempt to get this now half-naked child into his uniform, I retained my inner-Flop calm, but told him that if he didn’t get dressed right now he’d have to go to school in his onesie and all his friends would laugh. But of course, it’s his choice, I explained.

Still didn’t work. Apparently rocking up to school in a onesie would be cool. Damn it. OFFICIALLY LATE.

So I mentally threw Flop in the bin, ripped up my resolution and yelled. The red mist had descended and I bellowed at the centre-of-my-universe until he was finally dressed. And then I bellowed some more because I was so mad.

Except of course now we were late AND upset. Him because I had shouted, me because I’d been driven to behave like a deranged lunatic and his little brother because he couldn’t find his ‘little teapot’ – which is a toy kettle to you and me. We all left the house {late} with heavy hearts, a slightly pounding head on my part and awful guilt that I hadn’t managed to get my son dressed without screaming at him. Quite loudly.

Of course we kissed and made up before drop-off and he skipped into school as if nothing had happened. But I was left feeling like a wounded soldier that had failed in her duties and in the execution of her mission. This may seem like ‘no big deal’ to you Flop, but this type of stand-off is becoming more and more regular and I don’t like it one little bit.

So as I was scrolling through Facebook later that day, I saw a picture of a book called Yell Less, Love More: How the orange rhino mum stopped yelling at her kids, and how you can too! 

My first thought was ‘stupid title and weird rhino analogy’. My second thought was ‘thank god I’m not the only yeller’ and my third thought was ‘hmmm, maybe I should give this a go’.

The book offers a 30-day guide {I love a challenge with a deadline} with 100 alternatives to shouting {probably written by Flop}, simple daily steps to follow and stories to share {hopefully from reformed yelling loonies that prove it works}. And so I’ve re-made my new year’s resolution and ordered myself a copy. Roll on 30-days time.

When all’s said and done, I’m realistic enough to know that I’ll probably yell again. But what I hope is that when this 4-year-old mastermind is pushing my buttons and testing the limits; that my first reaction isn’t to scream like a woman possessed and lose control. It doesn’t help him and it certainly doesn’t help me. I hope that by remaining calm, I can lead by example and diffuse the situation before it escalates. I want him to learn that shouting isn’t the way to get your point across.

You can just call me Flop.

And if it doesnt work, I’ll be the slightly deranged-looking mother at the school gates, with the child in a spiderman onesie.

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