Before I had kids, I knew a few things to be true: I was never going to own a minivan, I would never wear yoga pants, and I was not going to be a mother who yelled at her kids. I would see harried yoga-pants-clad moms driving their veritable clown cars around town, and I was amazed to see just how short their tempers were when in Target. I’d stare openmouthed when I’d see a mom lose her shit in the grocery store, and I was certain that if I was blessed with children, I’d never, ever raise my voice — ever.
Boy, did that thinking ever come back to bite me in the ass. Motherhood came along and not only caught me with my yoga pants down but also gave me a giant bitch slap right into reality.
Turns out, a certain amount of yelling is required when raising kids. And I eat my words every single day when I’m hissing at my kids to be quiet in church or using “asshole lips” to get my point across when they are misbehaving in the grocery store.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Yes, I’m a mom who yells at my kids. But before you come at me with your pitchforks, I don’t mean scream-yelling. I am not a mom who always raises her voice. Rather, I’ve come to realize that there are many ways that I “yell” at my kids, and I suspect that you, too, yell at your kids using the same techniques.
1. Pursed Lips, aka “Asshole Lips”
Usually accompanied with a stern “Get. Over. Here.” the pursed lips method of yelling at your children is usually best for those times when your kids are misbehaving in front of your in-laws, or those moments in libraries when your kids are disturbing the peace by running through the aisles like maniacs. And pursed lips are almost always the optimal choice for shutting your kids up in a movie theater.
2. Clenched Teeth, aka “I. Said. NO.”
If you troll the aisles of any Target or grocery store, you will inevitably see a mom with clenched teeth issuing a cease and desist order to her children. This form of yelling is reserved for those times when you are in public and you just cannot even with having to say no one. more. time. Clenched teeth are also used when the ice cream truck rolls down the street and when the kids beg for more tokens at Chuck. E. Cheese’s.
3. The Single Eyebrow Raise, aka “Stop. Right. There.”
Of all the methods of mom yelling, I have perfected the art of the Single Eyebrow Raise. In fact, my kids stop in their tracks when they look at me from across a crowded playground and see my right eyebrow raised in a distinct arch. The Single Eyebrow Raise is best used when your kids behaving like assholes but out of earshot. Museums, community pools, and playgrounds are all places you will see moms executing the eyebrow raise of discipline.
4. The Unsettling Smile, aka “The Singsong Voice”
I don’t know about you, but my brothers and I were masters at misbehaving at corporate functions, company picnics, or any place where my parents were trying to impress others. We always knew we were in for it when my mom would say in a sugar-sweet voice, “You need to stop that right now, sweetie. It’s rude to stand on a chair that way.” She’d always say it with a creepy smile and wide eyes, and we knew that we’d hear about it on the way home.
5. Complete and Total Rage, aka “Your Neighbors Will Behave Too”
Okay, I admit, this style of mom yelling is the least acceptable, but we have all had those moments when motherhood has gotten the best of us. Whether it’s discovering that your kids have cracked an entire carton of eggs on the floor or someone just flushed your favorite sweater down the toilet, we have all lost our mom shit Incredible Hulk style. And usually, it’s when your windows are open.
6. Total Silence, aka “Shit Just Got Real”
And then there are those moments when yelling just won’t do — those moments when you have to stop and take stock of the situation because you are speechless from rage. Moms of teenagers know this type of mom yelling well, because let’s face it, teens can be total assholes. Total Silence isn’t used often, but when you invoke this style of yelling, let’s just say, the kids quake in their boots.
I am not proud of losing my patience with my kids sometimes, but the fact is, sometimes a mom has to do what a mom has to do in order to get her kids to act right.