Lately I have been yelling at my children.  More than once a day.  And this is probably the second or third day in a row that I have.  It seems that no matter how many promises I make to myself every morning, by evening I am done with my resolve.  I yell, getting them to accomplish what I want – generally going to bed – and then spend the evening scouring the internet in complete guilt wondering why an almost 40 year old woman feels the need to yell at three very small children.

And the advice as to how to stop yelling at a 6, 4 and 3 year old is vast.  Divide and conquer, generalize the rules across the board… just grow up and stop yelling!  It can all be all together overwhelming and not helpful at all.

So, today, I sat down and made a list of the things that frustrate me to the point of yelling.  And then I wrote a solution  next to them.  Not an easy task, I will admit.  In fact, it was probably the hardest thing in the world as I had three children and their friend here and the noise was deafening.  And two of mine kept fighting.  And I was tired.

But it had to be done.  I had to come up with a way to solve my bad parenting habit so I could teach my kids to overcome their bad acting up behaviors.   I have, in the past, been consistent with time out, removed favorite toys, ignored bad behavior and – via Michelle Duggar – had them repeat everything 10 times.  All with frustrating results.  So I wanted to come up with something NEW, innovative, effective.  Anything to make me look like a parenting genius instead of a mad woman!

Here is a little of my list.

Problem:  Won’t go to bed
Solution:  Ummmmmm

Problem:  Hits sister
Solution:  Ummmmmmm

Problem: Destroys her room
Solution:  Ummmmmmmm

Problem: Tells me no
Solution: Ummmmmmmm

And then I gave up.

And then I laughed.

Really?  Me, a woman driven by creativity could not come up with one single way to redirect my children to a better outcome when they drive me to complete insanity!

And then it dawned on me.  I am looking at this parenting thing all wrong!  Instead of approaching it as an “I MUST be stern and raise them right now matter what so help me God!“, I should let my carefree, fun loving personality shine through!

Can’t I laugh through raising my kids?  Approach it with a sense of humor instead of a sense of desperation?

So, I tried it.

And come yelling time for bedtime, I took a deep breath, put a smile on my face and attempted to laugh through the repeated coming out of the rooms, the begging to ‘sleep over’ in each others rooms – I promise, this is NOT a good idea – and the constant asking for things, also known as ‘what can I make mom do so I don’t have to go to bed?’ hour.

As they threw tantrums, went limp on the floor to prevent being carried, and ran in circles expecting me to chase them, I just smiled and found humor in their scrunched up faces, their determination not to get some much needed sleep and, even at one point, was full on laughing at the familiar antics.

“Mom, don’t laugh at me!”

OK, so maybe I need to perfect my technique.

But at the end of the battle of the bedtime blues, an hour and a half later, all three girls were in their beds.  There were no tear stains, I was not exhausted from the experience and I felt like I accomplished something really great!

So instead of scouring the internet for tips to help me, I am reading reviews of the latest toys to plan for Christmas.

And that is what I really thought motherhood would be like.

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