How to not yell and wine

Hank and I before the vow.

Hank and I before the vow.

Have you ever noticed how six weeks can just suddenly rush past you like a raging river torrent surging with climate-change glacial melt, engulfing all in its path? Just me then? Not that I’m one to be overly dramatic of course but that’s a reasonable approximation of life since my last post here. I know, it’s been that long. Appalling lack of commitment so early in the piece, if I do say so myself.

“It’s June already!”, comes the frantic cry as people everywhere over the age of 40 run around in circles, freaking out at the apparent ever-increasingly rapid passage of time – like it’s all just getting sucked down a giant plughole somewhere, faster and faster, never to be seen again. Yes we’re a cheery lot, just a tad prone to panic. The answer to that is usually wine.

Admittedly, I may have taken on a little too much lately. Three online courses, research, assignments, trying to work at night and weekends, school, three kids. Yada yada. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for the blog to be unceremoniously shoved down the arse crack equivalent of the backseat where all crushed arrowroots and squashed sultanas go to die. Poor old blog.

In the midst of all this, Hank and I have taken A Vow of Not Yelling – otherwise known as Being Nice To The Children. Funny how in my head, I picture an instant hush descending over our house as if the only other option is a kind of unholy silence.

Something had to be done though. Over time, with each addition to the ranks, the noise level in our family has reached deafening decibels. Yelling has become the only way to make yourself heard. Even normal conversations are shouted. When I observed the boys yelling at each other while conducting a casual chat about trains, I knew we had to nip it in the bud.

I don’t want to raise a bunch of yellers. And I don’t want to be an old yeller either.

Such a vow seems to be all the rage lately (you’re welcome). Clinical psychologist and founding editor of AhaParenting.com Dr. Laura Markham has even coined it a vow of Yellibacy. I’ve been dipping into her book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids on the recommendation of a friend, and it has rung a few bells, in particular how do we teach our kids to regulate their emotions, if we cannot regulate our own?

Hank and I are naturally fiery people it must be said, and our little apples have not fallen far from the tree. And while I like that about us, we could probably learn how to better harness that firepower and have more measured empathetic responses to life’s challenging moments. With three equally feisty and assertive kids, we’re not short on those.

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We’ve all been there.

The initial plan was for a week to begin with, the idea being that surely even we can manage to keep a lid on it for that long. However if all is going well, we’ll go for gold and aim for a month. Who knows, by then we could all be a happy little family of monks communicating solely by the power of thought.

We’re only at at the end of Day One but the day has ended on quite a lovely calm note. Who’da thunk it? But the question is, can it be maintained? Particularly without wine. Oh yes, I forgot to mention we’re also abstaining from alcohol for a month as well.

Now before you go and dismiss Hank and I out of hand as some kind of of non-yelling, non-drinking cultish freaks (accurate as that may be right at this moment), it is for a productive creative purpose – Hank has three chapters of his book to finish and I, well you know what I have to do – and sadly the dear-god-are-they-in-bed-yet evening tipple is not really helping. Also I suspect deep down he and I are just creatures of extremes. Neither of us particularly mind the occasional birch branch denial of our hedonistic appetites as long as we can eventually launch back into orgiastic normality, guzzling wine from a bucket and rolling around naked in authentic Italian pizza.

Like I said it’s only Day One. Shhh.

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Emma x

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