Confession: I’m loud… About pretty much everything. And I get louder when I’m upset. Which can happen quite a lot when you have kids (especially when you have five of them, like us). Kids are always doing something they thought was a good idea, and ends up hurting someone or breaking something or making an obscene amount of noise, and they are very good at ignoring adult voices, as loud as we may be.
I sound a bit vindictive. Let me back up.
I didn’t always yell, or get upset. Sure, some days with young kids can be frustrating, but I usually handled it decently. But amdist the chaos of three, then four, then five children (the last of which while living with another family of 6), a switch flipped. Maybe it was too many of us in too small of a space, maybe it was trying to do too much in too short a time… It doesn’t matter. I turned into angry mommy. I lost sight of the good times.
I found it really difficult to be happy, at that point. Everything was hard. Everything was emotional. I wasn’t able to do enough to keep myself sane, because everyone always needed something (or at least that’s what I let myself believe). I didn’t have any downtime between kids and babies and work and food and life, pulling at me from every direction.
A close friend brought me some Evening Primrose Oil to help balance my hormones*. That helped a lot. I started taking multivitamins again, and forcing myself to get breaks.
Then things got crazy again. I was happy, but we were on the move and in entirely new cultures and living situations and my world was upside down. I stopped having any freetime again, I stopped taking vitamins again (or really, taking care of myself at all), I stopped being “me” again. Because they needed me.
They needed… Me.
We had a talk. A family pow-wow, if you will. I realized something very important had been left out of my daily life again.
I wasn’t taking care of me. I was taking care of everyone else, but I wasn’t taking care of me. And everyone and everything else was getting so loud that I couldn’t even hear “me” anymore. And “me” didn’t like that. “Me” was revolting. “Me” was getting very loud about the lopsided deal it was getting, and adding to the already deafening noise.
So what did I do?
I did something so completely opposite of everything I had done in the past. I chose quiet.
Every time I want to be loud—because I’m angry and someone didn’t listen to me or made messes I had to clean up or loudly banged or dropped something or treated me as though I had no worth—I take a deep breath (walk into another room for a minute even, if I need to), and choose to make my voice softer, instead of louder. I deliberately choose to whisper, where I feel like yelling.
Easy? No. But it gets better. The kids actually respond. Miraculously, they listen when I’m whispering—even right after they blocked me out while I was trying to get their attention by any other means. They give me hugs and respond sweetly—they trust me.
Choose quiet with me. Let’s start fresh. Forget yesterday, forget five minutes ago. NOW is your chance to take a deep breath and make the future different than the past.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.
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