DAY 18 – Oh. No. He. Didn’t!

This post is for my hubby. A thank you.

I hadn’t clued him in to this blog right away. I knew his reaction. In my head, it went something like this.

  • [Me: Hey, honey, I’ve started writing a blog.]
  • [Him: What?] Usually, he’s multi-tasking, so half listening the first time around.
  • [Me: A blog. I’m writing about parenting, funny things the kids say, how I’m trying not to yell anymore, stuff like that.]
  • [Him: No yelling, huh?] Yes, there would be skepticism there.
  • [Me: Don’t even go there. I’m working on it.]
  • [Him: Is that on Facebook?]
  • [Me: No, it’s different. It’s like a website, really.]
  • [Him: Are you serious?]
  • [Me: Ummmm…maybe.]

Knowing his opinion of Facebook being a waste of time, I figured this would make even less sense to him. I worried he would be concerned about the time factor – just as I was, honestly – with me adding one more “thing” to my TO DO list.

That he might either be concerned about where I get my content – like am I writing about him – or not get the point of it at all.

hubby privacy_pinterest

I honestly wasn’t sure if it would possibly turn into an argument. So I kept it to myself while crafting it. I figured I’d find out just how against it he was before really putting it out there.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I need to preface this story by telling you that my husband is not a snoop. We respect each other’s privacy. We trust each other. Like if I bring home a new dress, he doesn’t ask how much I spent. He doesn’t question the five others in my closet. He doesn’t say a word. Except maybe that I look nice if I’m wearing it for the first time. He knows he doesn’t have to worry about these things. He knows I don’t make decisions without care.

All the more reason why this story is…surprising.

The other day we had a discussion about a decision neither one of us was quite sure about. He felt one way; I felt another. We each saw both sides, but couldn’t quite come to a conclusion. We decided to sit on it for a while; honestly, we were both a bit agitated and needed to cool. Just as he left to run an errand, he quietly said this.

“Maybe you should write about it in your blog.”


I had left the house in a rush that afternoon to meet a friend for lunch. My Word doc with my blog posts was still open on our home computer screen. At first, I figured he had just seen the name Blog in the document title and was putting two and two together…and likely wondering what the heck it was.

But I found out otherwise tonight when he came up and circled my waist.

  • [Him: I need to apologize.]
  • Me silent. I wasn’t interrupting this for anything.
  • [Him: Earlier I made a comment I shouldn’t have. About writing on your blog. And I have to admit to you that I read them.]
  • [Me: ALL of them?!?] I’m shocked at this moment.
  • [Him: Yes, all of them. And they’re incredible. You are so talented, and I forget that sometimes…]

At this point, I’m sobbing. I can’t tell you with certainty what else he said. Something about the newspaper, better writing than what he reads daily, funny, made him tear up, etc, etc. Honestly, I wish I had been paying more attention. But in between my sniffles, all I heard was, I believe in you.

Nothing at all against my husband, but it’s been a while since he’s given me such a meaningful compliment. I’m just as guilty about not doing the same for him. We forget to do this. It meant the world to me.

  • [Me: You have no idea how much that means to me. (sniff, sniff, sniff – that stuttery kind of sob that escapes after a hard cry) You really think they’re good?]
  • [Him: I really do.]
  • [Me: Really?]
  • [Him: ‘No, really.’] As in the title of my Day 17 post! He can be a funny man, by the way.

When did we forget to be each other’s friend? Ah, yes, parenthood. Some days we’re just trying to survive among work schedules, soccer practice, homework, nighttime rituals, 20-minute required reading, and eventually I enter the bedroom to one sound, snoring, sleeping husband.

(sigh) A wake-up call to put more time into our relationship. More consideration. More support. A little more faith in my partner.

Let us encourage one another – 
        and all the more as you see the day approaching.
                                                          Hebrews 10:25

I truly believe things happen for a reason. This one’s no exception. I thank God for taking my husband so far out of his norm – for making him snoop today.

It’s my turn to remind him of his talents.

  • He’s made me laugh so hard before, I’ve peed my pants (not a talent, but still true)
  • His ability to sketch intricate drawings amazes me (so thankful he passed this on to our son)
  • He can get us anywhere with no directions (while I can’t get myself out of a closet)
  • He deals with countless stress at work and still comes home with a smile (most days)
  • He never fails me when I really need him (never)

Thanks, honey. You mean the world to me, too. Not just your words.

Day 18 – Sorry, I totally don’t even remember today’s success rate. I was too floored by this other event! BTW – Totally got hubby’s permission to post this! 🙂

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DAY 17 – Kids Can Discipline Themselves (No, really!)

I experienced the power of silence today.

I’d been on a business trip, so I left the office to pick up my son a bit early. I had missed him.

He had just gone outside to shoot baskets and by the look on his face, was not happy to see me arrive early. In fact, he ignored my request to follow me into the school to head home.

I went into the school anyway, thinking when he didn’t see me standing outside, he’d follow. Nope. He was being stubborn.

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Now this would be just the situation where I might lose my patience. In fact, in my head, I was saying all the things I planned to say to him…as soon as we got to the car. About respect, disobedience, the way you treat others…

He reluctantly followed me when I went to get him a 2nd time.

I was silent.

We got into the car, and I explained I was going to grab a pizza to take home.

I didn’t say another word.

I started forming new words in my head. A different perspective than just my irritation. About how I understood him wanting to play. It had rained most of the week, and this was their first day outside in a while. About how much I had missed him and looked forward to picking him up and was sad that he didn’t see that.

But I never said a word. And didn’t have to.

This is when I experienced the power of silence.

With tears, he said, “I want to hug you.” So I reached behind my seat and grabbed his hand.

  • [Him: I’m sorry, Mama. You’ve been gone, and I just treated you badly.]
  • [Me: It’s okay.]
  • [Him: (sniff) I’m sorry.]
  • [Me: I know. I’m glad you’re sorry.]
  • [Him: (sniff, sniff) I missed you so much.]
  • [Me: I missed you, too.]

I drove on, realizing that could have gone so much differently. I could have nagged him with a list of all the reasons why his behavior was unacceptable. Fed into his guilt about me having been gone and missing him. You know what I mean – turn into the “lecture mom.” Thinking I have to use each disobedient situation as a learning episode in this thing called life.

And it dawned on me. His greatest lessons will be the ones he reaches on his own. As much as I put my faith in God to help me parent wisely, so must I put faith in God that He will be there to help my kids be wise, too. Realize their mistakes. Learn from them.

My son got all the points I had been ready to make. And I didn’t have to say a word. He recognized them on his own.

The Lord upholds all who fall
        and lifts up all who are bowed down.
                                                          Psalm 145:14

Now it was time to lift him up. When I parked at the pizza place, I got out to immediately give him a hug. He needed one. And so did I.

The power of silence is GOOD!

Go ahead. Give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be sorry. I wasn’t.

Heart Monitor: Days 10-13 – Fell off the wagon and couldn’t figure out how to get back on. Reverted to my old habits (ugh).
Days 14-16 – Had an out-of-town conference. No yelling. (pfft) That doesn’t even count – I wasn’t with the kids.
Day 17 – Back in the pilot’s seat, and hoping to fly steady!

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DAY 9 – Knew This Day Would Come

Darn it.

Darn it. Darn it. Darn it.

I made it a little over a week. That’s good, right? (If I had big, brown, puppy-dog eyes, I’d be looking at you imploringly right now. Is it working?)

I can explain my demise with one simple word: shopping.

May help if I had “clothes” at the beginning, and then “for me” at the end.

Yes. I can hear you all so clearly.

Why on God’s beautiful, green earth did you decide to go shopping – for clothes for yourself, mind you – with both kids and not realize that’s an invitation to your bucket of patience to completely spill over? Might as well have sent the invitation wrapped in a bow and with confetti. (Not glitter, mind you. See Day 4 post.)

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You are absolutely right. The patience bucket is so tough to keep full.  Why would I poke holes in it? BTW – Have you seen the trailer for the new animated film, Inside Out? It’s about our emotions inside of us: joy, anger, disgust, fear, and sadness. I’d like to see Patience added to that list. Maybe that’s not an emotion, but still. I’d like to learn how she acquires more patience when she’s run out. I know how she loses herself. I want to know how she refills! Does someone give it to her? Does she make it? Is it magic? Disney/Pixar, I need a sequel!

Let me explain why the invitation made it to the mailbox.

It was a good afternoon. Got things accomplished for the day, and headed out to pick up my oldest from school. Was feeling my 2-year old got the short end of the stick, so I stopped to let him swing and slide at the park a bit. Score for him…and me (I get awesome Mommy points)!

Picked up my son, and he was thrilled to discover we were going to buy him some new pants (racking up more Mommy points). Went to one store, had no luck with pants, but picked up a couple shirts. I even tried on two dresses (‘cause I have an upcoming conference to attend), and everyone was behaving.

Tried a second store with no luck for pants, which was a bummer for my son, but he didn’t get upset about it. Score again!

And I thought…ooooo, maybe today I get a FREE shopping card. It was going well so far. I’ll just take a peek at the racks of dresses over there. It won’t take long. I know what I’m looking for. I only need about 2 minutes to try it on and know if it works or not.

Scene 1: Despite my use of the handicapped dressing space (which the lady told me to use – no one was there), it’s a tight space for 1 adult, 1 never-still child, and child #2 in a full-size shopping cart. They got silly and giggly. My oldest thought it wise to start a tickling fight with his brother. The noise was deafening. Granted, it was laughter, but deafening. I pleaded with them to “please be quieter” and “settle down” and reminders that “we’re in a public place” and “there are others around us” who may not be used to such noise.

I got out of there as quickly as I could. Grabbed one dress I thought would work, despite the fact that I looked at it in the mirror, actually on my body, for only 8 seconds. That’s a really long bull ride, but I’m not sure it’s a good fashion rule.

Scene 2: Second mistake. Thought I’d check to see if they had a navy sweater to go with the dress. It was sleeveless. The two didn’t stop their little escapade, and I nearly tripped over the older one twice as he was trying to reach his brother for more tickling. I skipped the sweaters and beelined it to the checkout.

Scene 3: Eyed the jewelry near the checkout and stopped to look for a necklace. It would be far cheaper here than elsewhere. I’d save money, time, and another trip. Third mistake. Lotions are on display next to the jewelry, and suddenly I felt…wet.

My 2-year old had reached a bottle and squirted the pump (I realize this is a discount store, but why aren’t they on LOCK position?!). This led my 8-year old into a fit of hysterics, covering his mouth to keep it in as he saw, I’m sure, my gritted teeth. That’s when the first “yell” occurred. Although it was whispered (after all, I was in a store), it was still in anger, “That’s enough!” in both ears of my little ones.

Scene 4: I paid, left the store, got the youngest in the car seat, shut the doors, and proclaimed, “There is NO reason for you to act that way in a store!”

The good news is I didn’t rant. I stopped pretty quickly. The bad news is, they didn’t really do anything horribly wrong. And here I was yelling at them. It was my agenda they were messing up. And I realized…this is a common occurrence for when I get frustrated – when I’m focused on my own agenda. Should they behave mannerly in a store? Of course. Should they be able to settle down when I ask? Yes. I THINK that’s a normal expectation. (Anyone want to corroborate that? Please?)

The thing is, they weren’t whining or crying or running around the aisles. They were laughing. Having fun with each other. Trying to pass the time while they were along for the ride in my shopping agenda. Just being kids.

It’s not that I shouldn’t be able to look for a dress. But if it doesn’t work out like I’d wish, I need to let it go. And address the behavior later when I’m less testy.

Or just not take them shopping. 🙂

A person’s wisdom yields patience;

        it is one’s glory to overlook an offense.
                                                          Proverbs 19:11

I realized something else later tonight. My children will be my saving grace. The very ones that inspired this journey are always in my favor. My older son confirmed it.

  • [Me: I yelled today.]
  • [Him: Yeah. It’s okay.]
  • [Me: I really wanted to keep it going.]
  • [Him: You’re still doing good. You’re a good mama.]
  • [Me: I’m not going to give up.]
  • [Him: I know that.]

So simple. Accepting. So much love.

I won’t lie. As I lay on the floor of my younger son’s room while he fell asleep in his crib, I shed a couple silent tears.

They deserve the best of me every day. And today I did not give them my best. It wasn’t the worst. But I let myself down with even that slight fall.

We Moms are harder on ourselves than anyone else…including our kids. Remember that. We need to forgive ourselves more.

Here’s a great video I came across a while back. Moms were interviewed about their parenting skills, and then their kids were interviewed about their Moms. An excellent reminder that how we view ourselves – with a focus on our flaws – is far different than how our kids view us with open love. I watched it again tonight. I needed it. I hope it helps you if you need it, too.

A New Perspective For Moms YouTube Video

May we open our hearts as widely as our children do!

Heart Monitor: Day 9, I had to officially change the Heart Monitor today (sigh). Hoping for green next time.

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DAY 8 – The Germans Made Me This Way

Have you ever had your child roll over in their sleep and conk you on the bridge of your nose, or elbowed you in the eye socket? My 2-year old caught the corner of my eyebrow tonight with his head. Ouch!

  • [Me: Why is your head so hard?]
  • [Him: Because God gave me a hard head.]
  • [Me: I don’t mind you being hard-headed, but not when you’re sleeping next to me.]

I just made that up. We didn’t have this conversation. He abused me in his sleep. And given his not-so-easy sleeping habits, I wasn’t about to wake him to say he hit me with his head. It is hard, though. Really hard.

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I can be stubborn. Hard-headed. I’m 95 percent German, the small remainder Irish. That combines stubbornness with an additional likelihood of a slight temper. Or so the stereotypes say. We’re also supposedly argumentative. Umm, is yelling in there somewhere? Just want to know if I’ve got genetics working against me…

Stubbornness can be viewed as negative, or a good thing. I prefer to think of it as a benefit. Resolve. I can stand my ground. I can firmly believe in something and make it stick. I could always say no to drugs and smoking.

For example, something a bit unusual about me is that I don’t drink. No alcohol of any kind. This is unusual because most people do or have at some point. It’s a common social occurrence. Also unexpected because I live in the 5th top state of beer drinking, apparently.

I’m often asked why I don’t drink (and never have). There was no traumatic experience that led me down that road. Honestly, I think it started with a special program in middle school. I wish I could remember its name. It was an acronym. Was it D.A.R.E? (If you know what I’m talking about, and are old enough to have been in this program in the 80’s, let me know.) Anyway, I saw all the stupid trouble you could get yourself into, and quite easily decided, That isn’t for me!

Not only am I a safety-girl and avoid trouble at all costs – I also dislike not being in control. I sat in those classes, thinking, “Wait a minute. Something could alter my judgment and decision-making…make me act like a total idiot…and I have no control over it? WAY scarier to me than any peer pressure. I wanted to control what I did. If I was going to act goofy, it would be on my terms. Stubborn? Absolutely!

I am so thankful for this stubbornness. That decision has stuck with me all these years. I fully expect to go to my grave an alcoholic virgin.

Oh…THAT didn’t come out right at all. You know what I meant. 🙂  (Honestly, I could have deleted that sentence, but I found it so ridiculous to actually have finished typing it before I realized what I had said, that I figured I’d leave it in. I said I’d be real!)

So, I’m counting on my stubbornness to succeed in this journey to a yell-free home. I’m hoping it’s as easy for me as not drinking has been. But let me repeat that…a yell-free home. Not a yell-less home. A yell-FREE home, people. That’s hard!

But not as hard as my head.

Here’s to being stubborn! Prost!

Heart Monitor: I promised to be honest about my daily progress, even if I can’t write every day. Here’s the lowdown.

  • Day 5 – I got some good sleep. The kids got along. A good day!
  • Day 6 – Good. There was some stern talking (which is expected), but no yelling.
  • Day 7 – I made it. But not without effort. I felt testy. I had insomnia Sunday evening – laid awake until somewhere around11:30 pm. Note: sleep deprivation does not help this initiative!

Heart Monitor: Day 8 was continued success! Raise your margaritas (non-alcoholic for me, of course)!

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DAY 4 – Toilet Paper Does Not Count

Today was a true test. It was the first day I was with the kids for longer than 6 hours.

On Day 1, I shamelessly asked for kudos for my success from my 8-year old, who gave me a reality check. It went lovingly like this.

  • [Me: Hey, how did I do on Day 1 of no yelling?]
  • [Him: Good! (kiss) (hug) (pause) But we weren’t together all day. You were at work, and I was at school.]

Well, poo poo on you! 

          (Again, don’t tell the kids. Not supposed to use bathroom words.)

So I wanted to clarify the yell-free thing. I know darn well there will be times I raise my voice in the house. The point is not to be raising my voice in anger.

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I’ll give examples.

Example 1: Someone’s heading out the door and I remind them, “Grab a hat!” Because it’s still like 38 degrees outside, and kids think SPRING + ABOVE 30 = SHORTS. What’s wrong with them, anyway?

Example 2: I’m stuck in the bathroom when I hear the phone ring. I shout, “Grab the phone, please!” You KNOW I don’t want to miss those telemarketing calls. BTW – this is rare. Seldom do I have even 1 full minute in the bathroom all by myself. They just don’t want me to be lonely.

Example 3: I’m in the bathroom (with privacy this time), and realize there’s no toilet paper. Not just on the roll, but on the storage thingy next to the toilet (does that have a name? like T.P. Tower, or something?), and none in the nearby cabinet. So I yell, “Can someone bring me toilet paper!?!”

BTW – empty toilet paper rolls are one of my pet peeves. Are you with me? Next to glitter, of course. No, I take that back. Glitter is way higher!!! Another tidbit you probably don’t need to know, but I’m sharing anyway. If someone sends a glittery Christmas card, I gingerly remove it from the envelope, touching the corner only enough to prevent it from falling to my floor and giving me an anxiety attack, read the heartfelt message, and then immediately drop it, along with the envelope (‘cause you know it’s all over that, too) in the trash. It does not make it to my Christmas card string across the fireplace. Don’t hate ME. Hate the glitter. (Hey, that would make a catchy t-shirt! I think I may have filled my gift list!)

While we’re on the T.P. topic, just curious if you must have the roll with the paper under or over? Someone in our house is totally bugged if it’s under. I’m not saying who.

It’s not me.

Not the cat. She would play with it in either direction.

Not the kids either. Just saying…

Absolutely zero yelling in the house? No. But it’s a different kind. Not in anger.

Actually, one of my tactics on this journey has been to remove even those innocent yelling moments. The ones driven by distance. I remind myself to move to the other room to speak directly and calmly to someone to be heard, rather than shout down the hall. Hopefully, this will make it easier to avoid yelling for other reasons. It can’t hurt.

So, if you’re a telemarketer, I won’t be able to yell to someone to take your call. Sorry.

But if you send me an envelope full of glitter, the Heart Monitor below may just blow up!

Heart Monitor: Still making it work on Day 4!

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