So, I'm a total monster who made Willow cry today because I yelled (not really at her, but definitely in her general vicinity) about the mess in the living room. Why are you crying? I asked her. I'm not MAD at you, I just want you to pick up your shistuff. (That's what happens when you start to say shit and then remember this is the six year old, not the twelve year old you are talking loudly to.) She looked up at me, all snotty and red eyed, Because you are mean, she said. Because you are yelling and mean and I was TRYING to play with my toys in the living room.
I left the girls with Lex then, so I could drive over to the skate park and drop off Nate. When I got back, they'd thrown away the wrappers and trash that was on the floor, picked up the dirty dishes, put away the shoes and papers. The rug was three quarters of the way vacuumed, and two little girls jumped out from behind the couch yelling Surprise!
I really did yell at them before I left. I know it's a bad idea, even when the words are flying out of my mouth, but I get tired of my kind and reasonable requests being ignored. Still, though, I love these people, why the hell do I have to yell at them?
I apologized. Especially to Willow. She was over it by then, and brushed off my apology, gave me a hug and a smile. When she was so tiny and so sick, I couldn't have imagined ever yelling at her. All I wanted to do was protect her. Keep her safe and happy and make her feel loved. Same goes for all my kids, of course. I don't want to fight with them, but I also don't want to live in a sea of crap where everything is gross and I can't find anything. I don't want them to grow up to be slobs, to expect someone to clean up their messes, to not care about how their actions ripple across the household where they live.
Later SG came by on his motorcycle and stayed for supper (quinoa with chicken apple sausage, bell peppers – orange, yellow, red, and spinach) and then let the kids sit on his bike before taking us all out for ice cream. The kids were messy and tangled after a long day, but I looked at them, laughing and talking all at once, and I looked at SG, so patient and funny and kind with all of us, and decided that this is the picture of my family that I need to call up when I find myself angry at the kids. Yelling really doesn't have a place in my house. Or anyone's.