9 Practical Ways to Yell Less & Love More

9 Practical Ways to Yell Less & Love More

I was blown away by your response to my post earlier this week about How I Stopped Yelling. Thank you for your encouraging comments, for sharing the post with others, and for your kind emails.

Many of you asked for specific ideas for how to respond in love during those moments when you just really want to lash out in anger. I took the past few days to put together a post with some practical ideas that I hope will encourage you as you seek to join me in this journey to yell less and love more:

1. Invite your child to cuddle with you.

I’ve noticed that when my children are frustrated and acting out, it’s often because they are craving attention and affection. Inviting a child to come sit next to me when they are getting on my every last nerve can be so hard for me to do. In fact, I usually want them to be as far away from me as possible. But distance is only going to make matters worse.

Lovingly and gently asking my child to come sit next to me and be with me helps to calm both of us. It helps me to communicate love for the child (even if I don’t feel all that loving at the time) and it causes the child to feel special and cared for.

Moms, we get so busy with life. The list is never ending. But the truth is: Our kids don't need our productivity. They need our presence.

2. Stop, look, and listen.

Moms, we can get so busy with life. We have places to go, things to do, messes to clean up, meals to fix… the list is never ending.

Our kids don’t need our productivity. They need our presence.

If a child is misbehaving, don’t shush them just so you can get back to what you were doing. Stop, look into their eyes, and gently ask them, “Is everything okay?” Or, “What’s wrong?” Really mean it. And then really listen to their answer.

Taking time to do this — even in the middle of a very busy day — has made a world of difference in our home.

Just the other day, one of my girls was moping around and having a bad attitude. I wanted to snap at her, but I caught myself before doing so and instead invited her to come sit by me. I then looked into her eyes and said, “What’s wrong?”

At first, she didn’t want to tell me. But I asked again in a really caring voice, “What’s going on?”

She finally blurted out, “I just need a friend.” This took me by surprise! We talked some more and I realized that all morning long, she’d been struggling with our move and struggling with feeling lonely.

We talked some more and I encouraged her by sharing about how I’d struggled with those feelings in my own life, too. Then, we made a game plan for reaching out to some girls on her swim team and seeing if maybe they’d become closer friends for her.

Guess what? Two of those girls she reached out to as a result of that conversation have since become good friends for her! I’m so grateful I took the time to stop, look, and listen!

9 Ways to Yell Less & Love More

3. Pray With Your Child

When Silas is struggling, I’ll often ask him if I can pray for him. He always says yes and then calms down while I pray with him asking God to help him be calm, obey, love his sisters, or whatever it is that he’s struggling with.

Usually, by the end of my prayer, he’s calmed down and in a much better mood. I think, for him, my willingness to take time to pray with him helps him to feel loved. It also communicates to him that we need God’s help in our everyday life — especially when we’re struggling.

I was chatting about this with Diana from My Humble Kitchen when we met at Allume. She shared with me that when she’s struggling to respond with kindness and gentleness to her children, she’ll ask them to gather around and pray for her. She said that it’s basically impossible to respond in anger after your children have gathered around you and prayed for you! I definitely plan to try this soon!

99 Practical Ways to Yell Less & Love More

4. Go Outside & Take a Walk Together

If you feel like things are about to explode inside the walls of your house, call everyone together and tell them you’re taking a walk in 5 minutes. (Or, make it a family bike ride if you have older children.)

Exercise and fresh air can do wonders when things are uptight! Plus, a fresh change of scenery can provide a better setting for talking through issues in a calmer manner.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses along the way, breathe in the fresh air, soak up the sunshine, and notice the beauty around you. This will boost your spirits for the tasks that lay ahead of you the rest of the day!

9 Ways to Yell Less & Love More

5. Share Three Things You’re Thankful For

As I often say, “There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.” But sometimes we can get bogged down by all the problems, stresses, and struggles that we forget to count our blessings.

In those moments when you want to yell and be frustrated with your kids, challenge yourself to stop, breathe, and call your children together and each share three things you’re thankful for. This might seem really difficult at first if everyone is at odds with everyone else, but force yourself to do this and it will most likely change the tone in your home.

Plus, it might help you step back and gain some perspective: in light of all you have to be grateful for, the small things that someone is doing to irritate you won’t seem so upsetting.

9 Practical Ways to Yell Less & Love More

 6) Have a Tea Party

If you have young children, this can be especially helpful to do on a hard day. When things feel like they are falling apart, set aside your to-do list and plans for the day and declare it a Tea Party Afternoon. Brew some tea or hot cocoa, cut up some fruit or some other special treats, set out your best china, light a candle, and turn on some soothing music.

Sit down, smile, and just enjoy your children. Take time to laugh together, read a story (or tell stories!), and maybe also talk to them about how they are feeling about life, things they are struggling with, or even some encouragement for them in some areas they need to improve in.

9 Practical Ways to Yell Less & Love More

7) Put Yourself In Your Child’s Shoes

Recently, one of my children was having a difficult morning and I could tell this child needed some extra attention. I had a lot to do that day and some appointments and events we couldn’t miss, but I knew that spending time with this child was more important than anything on my to-do list. So I invited this child to come up to my office and have a breakfast date with me.

We had bowls of oatmeal and we talked. Ss I was talking with this child about their attitude and really listening to them, I realized that something they had really been looking forward to this week had gotten cancelled and they were very disappointed about that. This was at the root of their bad attitude that morning.

I tried to put myself in their shoes and think how I’d feel if something I was really, really looking forward had gotten cancelled at the last minute. I’d probably want to be in a funk, too!

Putting myself in my child’s shoes allowed me to really express empathy and understanding. Our Breakfast Date lasted less than 15 minutes but those short minutes together totally pulled this child of their funk. And it gave me a glimpse into their heart and struggles.

9 Practical Ways to Yell Less & Love More

8) Play With Your Children

When was the last time you played with your kid? I mean, really got down on the floor and engaged in their world? While I don’t think we need to entertain our kids 24/7, I think it’s important to regularly take time to spend time with our kids by doing things with them that they love to do.

If you’re having a bad day, here’s an antidote: Think of what your children love to do (playing outside, playing Legos, playing games, playing dress-up, etc.) and tell them you’re going to set the timer for 30 minutes and have a Lego Party or a Dress-Up Party or a Game Party together. Then just have fun together and give it your all for those 30 minutes. I bet you end up having as much fun as they will… and you’ll probably forget all about the bad day you were having!

Moms: Take a Time Out

9) Take Mommy Time Out

Moms: Taking time to replenish your supply is not selfish; it’s actually enabling you to be a better wife and mom. If you’re just pouring and pouring and pouring into your family and never taking time to replenish your supply, you’re going to feel burned out, exhausted… and this will often cause you to feel more irritable and frustrated.

What energizes you? What refills your tank? Carve out time in your schedule to make this a priority each week. Get a babysitter, trade baby-sitting with a friend, have dad watch the kids on the weekend or one evening a week… whatever it takes to make Mommy Time happen.

Making time for YOU — to breathe, to refuel, to feel energized again — will make you a calmer, happier mom. And a calmer, happier mom is one who is going yell less and love more.

What practical ideas would you add to my list to help you to yell less and love more? I’d love to hear!

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How I stopped yelling at my kids… & how it’s changed our home

How I Stopped Yelling at My Kids

I thought I was a patient person… then I had kids.

I said I’d never yell at my kids… and then I had kids.

I pictured myself as a sweet, loving, always-cheerful mom… then I had kids.

Motherhood has stretched me and humbled me. It’s brought out the best in me and the worst in me. And, recently, with all the processing of our big move, there has been a lot more of the worst and very little of the best.

I found myself snapping at my kids more and more frequently, which only served to frustrate me. The more I snapped at my kids, the more frustrated I was at myself. And the more frustrated I was at myself, the more I’d snap at my kids.

It was a vicious cycle and I felt trapped.

One night, I was up late thinking of the kind of mom I’d been and feeling so ashamed of my behavior and the example I was setting before my kids. I started praying and asking God to help me to love my children, to help me have patience with them, and to stop getting so angry with them.

My 4-Week Commitment

As I was praying, an idea birthed in my head. I decided to make a commitment to my husband for the next 4 weeks.

I woke Jesse up to tell him my commitment (I have such a gracious husband — poor guy!). It was this: every time I was tempted to lash out at a child I would, instead, find a very practical way to love that child.

It was a BIG commitment, but he agreed that he thought I could do it and said he was willing to hold me accountable. I went to bed resolving that, by God’s grace, I was going to change the tone in our home.

It Was SO Hard

The first day was very, very hard. One child in particular has been getting on my every last nerve recently. This child knows how to push buttons and seems to make a game of trying to see how much they can annoy me.

Well, the first few hours on that first day of my 4-week commitment, this child tried all their usual tactics. I didn’t get frustrated. I didn’t yell. I didn’t even raise my voice.

Oh, it was very hard. But I’m a stubborn person and I was determined to stick with my commitment to my husband.

Instead, of lashing out, I asked this child to come snuggle next to me. I poured love, love, and more love.

The Change Has Been Amazing!

Within a few hours, this child’s attitude had drastically changed. They were calm, happy, and asking what they could do to help me. I could not believe it!

And this only continued for the next few days. Until finally, I felt like I almost had a completely different child living in my home. It was amazing!

We’re now headed into week #4 of my commitment and I can safely say that this one change in me has changed the tone in our whole home. My children are more helpful and respectful. I am so much happier. Jesse is happier because we’re happier. And our home is much, much calmer.

All because I’m choosing to love instead of lash out.

I decided my 4-week experiment was a smashing success. And I’m going to extend it for another 40 years. Or something like that. :)

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To help me remember to choose love instead of lashing out, I’ve been wearing this bracelet. It came shortly after I made this commitment. It’s a Mother’s Bracelet from Spark of Amber and it has amber beads — which are supposed to be calming — plus, a bead birthstone for each child.

I received mine as a review product for an upcoming giveaway I’m doing and I’ve decided it’s my physical reminder to stay calm with my children. It’s been surprising to me how having this physical reminder has worked so well. It might sound silly, but every time I see the bracelet on my wrist — which is often! — it reminds me, “Stay calm. Love. Love. Love. Don’t lash out.”

P.S. Another change we made around the same time was to have our children be completely electronics-free (no TV, movies, iPads, etc.) except for family movie night. This has also made a HUGE difference in our home… I’ll have to do a post on that sometime, too!

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Why I May Have Changed My Mind About Stitch Fix

PicMonkey Collage

Stitch Fix is an online clothing shop designed to provide personal styling services for women at an affordable cost. It was specifically created for women who need to wear nicer clothes for events/work but who don’t want to spend hours and hours combing through clothing stores to put together outfits.

At the end of September, I did an in-depth review of Stitch Fix. It was a very honest review sharing why the service hadn’t worked well for me and why I’d sent all of the clothes back.

I had told you that I was going to try the service again because I had a little bit of referral credit to use and because multiple people had told me that the stylists got better at choosing clothing for you if you gave really honest feedback.

So I wanted to tell you about my recent box of clothes from Stitch Fix and why I may have changed my mind about Stitch Fix. But first, if you’re new here, here’s a refresher on how Stitch Fix works.

How Stitch Fix Works

1. Sign up for a Stitch Fix account.

2. Fill out your style profile. You’ll give very specific details on sizes you wear, styles you like, colors you like, types of clothes you like, and what types of clothing you are specifically looking for (more casual, all business, a mix of both, etc.) You can be very detailed in your descriptions and even share a Pinterest board with them to give Stitch Fix some ideas of your tastes in clothing.

3. Go to checkout and pay a $20 styling fee (this is reimbursed if you choose to keep any of the clothes).

4. One of the Stitch Fix stylists will take your style profile, sizes, and preferences and put together a box of clothing based upon what they think you’ll like and what they think will work well for you.

5. They’ll send you this box in the mail. You’ll have a few days to go through the box, try on the clothes, and then choose to keep any that you liked and ship back any that didn’t work (they provide a postage-paid envelope for you to use).

Why I May Have Changed My Mind About Stitch Fix

And here’s what was in my recent box from Stitch Fix:

Izzie Striped Fit & Flare Dress ($64) — I instantly adored this dress when I saw it, but the waistline was too high on me and I thought the dress itself hit me at a bad spot. All in all, it wasn’t figure flattering on me at all. Verdict: Sent back.

Why I May Have Changed My Mind About Stitch Fix

Benson 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer ($78) –I thought the material this blazer was made out of was perfect for traveling (it was more of a knit material than a typical stiff blazer material) and wanted to love it so much, but it was too long for my short frame and therefore the last 1-2 inches of it looked weird/too long on me. Verdict: Sent back.

Why I May Have Changed My Mind About Stitch Fix

Moni Abstract Chevron Stud Detail Blouse ($58) — I loved everything about this blouse, except the price was a little too high for me and I didn’t like the color at all. If it were teal, I would have kept it because of how well it fit me. Verdict: Sent back.

Why I May Have Changed My Mind About Stitch Fix

Jaclynn 3/4 Sleeve Button-Up Cardigan ($38) — I really liked this cardigan, but it had a snag in it when I pulled it out of the box and I thought the price was too high for a very simple cardigan. Verdict: Sent back.

Why I May Have Changed My Mind About Stitch Fix

At this point, you might be wondering why I said I may have changed my mind about Stitch Fix. Well, it all changed when I pulled out these Jimmy Ankle Length Skinny Jean ($88).

I LOVED these jeans!!! It’s so hard to fit jeans that fit my short frame well. These were PERFECT and I’m so excited that they fit me so well!

Honestly, I wanted to buy multiple pairs of these exact same jeans because they were exactly everything I want in a pair of jeans. I needed to buy one more pair of jeans for this Fall/Winter and I found that when I went shopping, I was comparing every pair of jeans I tried on to these. They have now become my new standard in jeans. :)

$88 is a LOT to pay for a pair of jeans. In fact, it’s quite a bit more than I’ve ever paid for jeans. However, I realized that I will probably wear these jeans hundreds of times over the next few years. In that case (and because I only have a few pairs of jeans), I decided it was worth it for me — especially to get a style and fit I love.

Here are my overall thoughts on this recent Stitch Fix experience:

  • I had a lot of fun filling out my style profile. It really helped me to think through what I love and what I don’t love. Since I’m not a fashionista, this isn’t something I’ve spent much time considering. So I thought that was a very valuable exercise.
  • I also loved the anticipation of getting a box in the mail that you didn’t know what would be in it. It’s fairly rare that I get to open and go through a mystery box, so looking forward to the box made the experience more fun!
  • Since I don’t enjoy shopping, it was really fun to get a box of clothes in the mail — SO much easier than going shopping! Plus, I loved being able to try them on my own bathroom and try them on with items already in my closet to help me decide whether I should keep or send each item back.
  • I love the styling cards they gave you with each of the items to give you ideas of how to accessories a piece/what to wear it with. These are great especially for someone like me who has no idea how to put outfits together.
  • I loved that this box had a few items I never would have pulled off a rack myself. And it inspired me to look for similar items — such as the knit blazer — when I’m clothing shopping next time.
  • I was so happy that the stylist seemed to take my honest feedback from my last fix to heart and do a MUCH better job of picking out items that were things I’d love this time.
  • The prices at Stitch Fix are going to be much more than you’re going to find at the thrift store or on the sales rack. This service is designed specifically for women aren’t on a extremely tight budget who want to dress fashionably without spending a lot of time shopping. For busy working women, it could be a lifesaver. However, I think you need to be somewhat adventurous for it to work well for you.

Overall, I was so much happier with this fix and so thankful that I tried again — especially because I would have missed out on a fantastic pair of jeans, otherwise. I still have a little more credit left and I earned a little bit more after my last post (I guess a few of you are so adventurous that you decided to try it out — despite my very negative review!), so I’m going to try another fix. I’m hopeful that maybe it will be even better than this last one. We’ll see.

Have you tried Stitch Fix before? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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When You’re So Proud of Your Friends (+ enter to win a copy of God Made Light)

God Made Light

I’ve been acquainted with Jessica and Matthew Paul Turner for a few years, but it’s only been since we’ve moved to the Nashville area that I’ve really gotten to know them well. And let me tell you, these two are the real deal.

They’ve loved on us, invited us into their home multiple times, asked us to come with them to events, listened to us, and gone out of their way to truly welcome us to Tennessee. Their friendship has been a gift to us and has been an answer to many prayers we’ve prayed for authentic friendships and community.

You know how there are people who just make you feel so special and loved and cared for? That’s the Turners.

And I couldn’t be prouder of them today as they are launching their brand-new children’s book called God Made Light. They have poured years into this project and have funded it with a significant portion of their savings.

This book is a playful, whimsical adventure through the creation of light. It encourages children to remember that they were created for a purpose — to shine and make a difference in this world.

I am really hoping that this is the first of many children’s books they produce because it’s beautiful and so meaningful. The pictures are very well done and its rhyming lyrics make it so fun to read!

God Made Light

This book would make a great gift for Christmas presents this year. Plus, DaySpring has partnered with Matthew and Jessica to produce a line of adorable products you can purchase in addition to the book. My favorite product was probably the encouragement cards, but my kids thought the puzzle and night light were the best. :)

You can get free shipping from DaySpring if you purchase $35 worth of God Made Light products and use coupon code SHIPLIGHT at checkout.

You can read more about the book, the message behind it, and see pictures of the inside of the book over on Jessica’s blog. Also, be sure to check out Matthew’s post on What Happens When 11 Publishers Say “No”.

To purchase a copy or read reviews from others, you can head over to Amazon here.

Win a Copy of God Made Light!

I know not all of you can afford to purchase God Made Light, so I wanted to buy 10 books to give away to readers here. To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post telling us who you would give this book to if you win a copy.

I’ll choose 10 winners on Thursday and will notify the winners via email.

 

And the winners are:

Jane (jane_jaimes2731@)
Megan (megsmiller@)
Kate (kate.e.rhea@)
Theo-Ann (tpfrog2001@)
Mickey (mickeydachs@)
Denise (kdhannibal@)
Maria (mjsotomayor@)
Kathy (southerncountertops@)
Shaunta (taychambers@)
Tamboliya (tamboliya@)

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