Open letter to the mom who has yelled at her kids

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If you've ever lost your temper with your child, then read this letter dedicated to the "mom who has yelled at her kids " and know that you aren't alone.

First, listen, this is a safe space.

There’s no judging if you’ve yelled at your kids.

I can’t judge. I’ve been there. And it is the worst.

When they were little I could never imagine the exasperation that being a mom would be at times. Yes, exasperation. I think in childbirth class there needs to be a section titled your four year old will out smart you, out cry you and will bring you to a place of ultimate exasperation and you are to remain calm even though you are now thirteen minutes late and you cannot find shoes and the baby has decided this is the time to eat while the cell phone rings and it starts to rain and surprise someone is coming over for dinner as well and the laundry is all over the couch.

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Oh yes, it’s awesome as well and full of fantastic moments and wonderful moments but it’s also filled to the brim with moments where you are standing in a hallway dealing with a two year old or a four year old or a ten year old or a teenager who has a will stronger than the strongest of steel and not one bit of negotiating, consequences or everything you’ve read in those parenting books works.

The glitter water bottle time out on Pinterest. The whispering options. The walking away and counting to ten (at least ten times). Not getting emotional. Sticker charts. Bribery. Time outs. Grounding. No media. No cell phone. No friends over. Bedtime early. 

It’s the classic stand off.

None of it works.

And sometimes we hit boiling and in that boiling we yell.

And we all hate it.

Can we just let out a collective sigh of agreement there? I mean who wants to reach boiling point or critical mass?

I know. I know. Sometimes I get them to bed and go in my room and let out that silent scream into a pillow and then in the morning I wonder why in the world it was so frustrating. We don’t talk about that stuff too often. We just share cute bedtime routines and award medals and how we cut sandwiches into triangles and we feel pressure to be everything and then insert that yell and well, we judge ourselves.


Listen. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. Really, it doesn’t. It won’t ruin your kid’s lives. Really, it won’t. Should it be a pattern that we get stuck in as moms? Absolutely not. In fact, this is not an endorsement for yelling at our kids as the appropriate response. In fact, if you find this is a repetitive pattern I’d tell you that it’s problem time to look at the route of the issue and make a course correction. Or chat with a friend.

But this post is also not going to have the attitude that it never happens. Because truthfully it happens.

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And we’re so hard on ourselves.

We don’t talk about those moments because of fear of judgment or that we’re not a good mom or it’s embarrassing. Which, in my world, means we need to talk about it. Just like I’ve shared about being a single mom or that I have dealt with anxiety. Brushing stuff under the rug hoping it will go away doesn’t make it go away. It just brushes it under the rug until the next time we deal with it.

So I’ve yelled.

And every time afterwards I’m like what in the world was that about? Why did the tantrum in the floor from my dandelion picking five year old result in me feeling like that was the only option?  

For me, honestly, I get to those points when I’m overwhelmed and there seems to be no other option and I just want a break or some quiet or any of it or I’m just tired of fighting over Minecraft or if someone looked at another wrong or dealing with the words of it’s not fair and on and on.

Motherhood isn’t for wimps, I’ve decided.

So know that too. Know that being a mom is one of the most challenging things that we can do at times. We deal with pressures and expectations and relationships and mixed into that are those children whose independence we boast about and yet at times festers as strong will. I get it. Oh, my goodness, I get it. That book about the strong willed children should have been written as a direct response to mine. But you know what is funny? That tenacity that pushes me to the edge at times is the very tenacity I love.

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I bet that’s what makes you proud of your kids too. That bravery and determination and focus and fight for what they deem fair and so on. They just haven’t figured out how to channel it yet. I mean, after all, maybe the shirt really is itchy or we’re not listening or not being fair. But sometimes, hahah, they are just stubborn.

Let’s make a pact. We’ll all work on that yelling part of our lives – we’ll work to whisper or walk away or change one thing or take a drive or deal with it. But we’ll also talk about those motherhood days without shame, judging or unnecessary angst.

Because we are real.

Not perfect.

And to the super sweet mom who emailed me because she yelled at her three year old – you are not alone. And you are an amazing mom. Do you know why I know? Because it bothered you. You didn’t want to resort to yelling. All of that matters. Mega times infinity matters.

You can do this motherhood journey.

You’ll have bumps and ups and downs and whole lot of awesome and much normal too.

I’m proud of you for being you.

Love your kids. Apologize for the moments when we slip up (because we will). And brush off and try again.

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