The Mom Abides

I haz a mad

I am not the most laid back person you could ever meet.  In fact, I’m more like a tightly wound rage monkey, and although it is not something I like to shout from rooftops, it is something I will freely admit.  I could chalk it up to lack of sleep and a million other things and pretend I’m like The Dude on a good day, but that would be disingenuous at best (I am definitely more Walter Sobchak). Truth is, I’m pretty quick to anger and easily blow my top.  I like to think I know my parents pretty well, and I’m fairly sure I know from where I might have inherited this delightful little personality quirk (Hi, dad!).  I also see it manifesting itself daily in my son.  Let me tell you, there is nothing in this world that will make you want to improve your short-comings more than having to deal with a five year old version of yourself.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine linked me to The Orange Rhino Challenge.  The Orange Rhino is a blogger with four sons, (aged 5 and under!) who set herself the challenge of not yelling for a year.  A YEAR.  She’s gone over 400 days without yelling.  I just had to sit and stare at that sentence for a while, because I still can’t wrap my head around it.  Her website is filled with tips and stories and honesty and I highly recommend it.  It is full of good, helpful info.  It also really got me thinking about exactly who it is I am and who it is I’d like to be.

    Do I want to be the sort of parent who nurtures my children, who they can trust with their problems and who helps them to become well adjusted, happy adults?  Or do I want to be the person they tip-toe around and hide their problems from, AKA, the crazy yelling woman in the kitchen?  The answer may be obvious (it is obvious, right?), but getting there is a little harder than just knowing where you want to go.

    It is easy, I think, to say, “I am tired” or, “I am grumpy”, and they’re both true enough statements.  But are they good excuses to snap at my son or my husband, or to be humourless and generally unfun to be around?  The difficult thing, the important thing is to do something about it once you’ve discovered the problem.  I may not be able to take a nap, but I can slow down and try to do less (I can’t actually do any less, but other people probably could), I can take a deep breath and count to 5 and think about what I am going to say and how I’m going to say it. I can make a choice to not let my grumpy mood ruin my day.  I can decide to have fun.

    There will, of course, be set backs.  I set myself a 10 day challenge and totally managed it.  Then I set myself a month challenge and am on day 1 for what I think is the 9th day running.  Not my most shining moment, but perfection is an unattainable ideal.  The point is to be, each day, a little bit at a time, better.  Because how can I expect my son to deal with his anger in a constructive and appropriate manner if I haven’t figured out how to deal with my own?  Who is going to teach him, if not me?

    So, I am back at day one of my 30 day self challenge.  Hopefully, with a bit of effort and a lot of humour, I can make myself a better parent and a little bit more fun to be around.

 Read more from Shannon here, and more about parenting here



  1. “Let me tell you, there is nothing in this world that will make you want to improve your short-comings more than having to deal with a five year old version of yourself.”

    HA! Yes.

  2. Good luck Momma, you’re doing a great job.

  3. I dont think I couldn’t shout for a year… I would lend up like a zombie just staring into mid air with no happiness in me:P

  4. I need to participate in this challenge. I don’t even have kids, but I do have a lot of rage…And I am sure a lot of it is just because I am in the habit of being pissed because that’s just what I do.

  5. Anonymous says:

    shannon 1 question- am i the crazy lady in the kitchen? i know i did a lot of yelling when you were growing up- if i am -i am sorry

    • shannonhumphreys says:

      Nope, mom. Wasn’t picturing you when I wrote that. You did most of your yelling in the car, and it wasn’t directed at me. 🙂

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