She must be a saint

I met a woman at the playground the other day who proudly informed me that she had never once yelled at her child. The child in question was four, almost five. My first reaction was to slink off into a corner and hang my head in shame as I couldn’t remember a day when I didn’t at least raise my voice, or at the very least shriek “NOOO!” to my children. “I yell too much” I thought to myself. “Even this woman who has never met me before sees that I yell too much.” But honestly, when you run to the bathroom to grab a towel to wipe up the milk someone spilled on the floor, then come back ten seconds later to both children about to jump off the dining room table, what’s a mom to do?

I started to wonder “Is her child that well behaved that she doesn’t need to yell? Maybe I’ve been going at this all wrong. Maybe if I spoke to my kids in an even tone they wouldn’t be prone to jumping off of whatever high, dangerous object they can find. Maybe they would sit quietly when I told them to, and would refrain from gorging each other’s eyes out over who gets to hold which Thomas train.” Then I began to watch her child. And he wasn’t any better behaved than my two. He certainly wasn’t any worse, but he wasn’t winning any gold stars in the behavior category either. He shoved and pushed, talked back to his mother, and pitched a fit when it was time to go.

I have to say, it made me feel so much better. But I also have to believe that she must be a saint. Because if my child kicked me and bit me on the way out of the playground, there is no way I could remain calm and repeat quietly “It’s not nice to hurt people. I know you are upset that we have to leave, but we use our words.” I just don’t have that kind of inner zen right now. So to those mommies out there who manage not to yell, I salute you. And send some of your patience my way, OK?

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