You know that moment when your blood pressure starts to rise, beads of sweat start forming on your forehead, and your eyes feel like they are going to pop-out of your head? I'm describing the moment stress starts to take over your world.
We all deal with stress in different ways; unfortunately I'm terrible at dealing with it. When I start to feel like things are out of my control, I can lose it. This usually comes in the form of yelling.
We have a lot of bodies roaming under our roof, so it's naturally going to be loud. Everyone feels the need to scream when they want to be heard because everyone wants to be heard at the exact same time; I get that. We are just a loud family, no way around it. I wouldn't change it... we have a lot of fun! But lately stress has been at an all-time high around here, and the rudeness and yelling have become excessive.
Erik and I know the problem... it's us! We are the example and we do a very poor job of being that example. I watch it unfold; I yell at them for something and then they turn around and bark and their siblings minutes after. I speak to them in kindness, to pick up their shoes in the middle of the floor, and they turn around and talk to each other in a loving way. It's a powerful thing!
My prayer lately has been that we could have a peaceful home. My prayer is we would use our words to encourage, strengthen, and empower one another; to speak out of love rather than frustration.
This is easier said than done for a family that has developed a very bad habit, but I'm determined to change.
I am the one apologizing the most, "I'm so sorry for raising my voice, mommy needs a minute."
Erik and I are holding each other accountable. When voices start to rise, we remind each other to "do the opposite." It's a lesson we took from a Seinfeld episode titled "The Opposite" to help us laugh through this time of change. On the way home one day we decided to start doing the"opposite", exaggerating what it would look like to do the opposite of how we would normally react. We would say everything in a whisper, sing-song voice. We did this because, like George Costanza, we realized that every decision we had ever made was the wrong one and we would be better off doing the complete opposite of our natural response.
"No, no, honey, we are not going to hit, that's not nice."
"It would be really lovely if you all could talk kindly to one another."
Instead of how we would normally respond.
"I AM NOT GOING TO SAY IT AGAIN, QUIET!!!"
"DON'T HIT EACH OTHER, HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT!!!"
I think when you are learning something new that's totally foreign to you it's best to over-exaggerate your efforts. After it beings to sink in, you can bring it back down to a level of normalcy.
It was funny to see how long it took the kids to start getting annoyed with us. About five minutes into our new "opposite" persona, Abby piped up "why are you guys talking so weird?"
We don't want to change our fun, loud, crazy family; we just want respectfulness and kindness to be more prevalent in our home. If a simple lesson from Seinfeld helps us get there, then so be it.