This week we had our first parents evening at Curly Girl's school. She's only been there just over a week but we were invited in along with all the other Reception year parents to find out about the curriculum that our children will be learning from, how they are expected to behave and how we are expected to support their learning and growth at home. Great, no problem with that, OH and I want to be as involved as possible with Curly Girl's journey into learning and become a part of her school life. I expected this and I felt sure we could be model parents. What I didn't expect was to want to sink through the floor after the first couple of slides.
I was happily nodding along as the headteacher explained the seven golden rules that the children must abide by - how they should behave towards each other and everyone else at school - when she mentioned the behaviour of the teachers. "We never shout at the children," she said "We respect their difficulties and talk to them calmly and quietly and try to reason with them."
The pit of my stomach ached, my eyes misted and the realisation dawned on me that I am absolutely and categorically a SHOUTY mum.
I try hard to be patient, I make up games to help get Curly Girl through the things she struggles with like getting dressed and eating her meals. I count to ten. I leave the room and shake my fists. I try, really I do.. But when these things don't work I shout. I'm not proud of it, in fact I'm mortified just writing this down, but I feel that I need to admit to it. Every time I shout I promise myself I won't do it again. But I have such a quick temper. So I do it again. And again.
Yesterday morning we were running late again and Curly Girl was struggling to put her vest on and getting tied up in knots while Little Man flatly refused to drink his milk. I shouted in my own frustration and she shouted back in hers. We glared at each other like a pair of feral cats. Some role model eh? When we'd both calmed down I encouraged her to have a go at doing up a button and when she managed to do it all by herself I cheered and hugged her. She was so happy but when she pulled away she asked me "but why did you shout Mummy?" Good question.
I'm ashamed of my behaviour. If I can't behave appropriately with my four year old how on earth can I expect her to do the same? With the mixed messages she is receiving at school and at home I'm sure she must be completely confused. I HAVE to stop shouting and learn to be more patient and understanding. Nothing is so important that it's worth losing my temper. I know these things.
I want to stop shouting.
I will stop shouting.
How do I stop shouting?
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