At 7.45 this morning I yelled at my son while he stood on the side of the road refusing to go into his before school care.
It had been one of “those mornings”. You know the ones.
The ones that start off in hell and go downhill from there.
It was the last straw literally.
“For crying out loud. Just listen to me.” I said a little too sharply.
It was either too loud or too sharp or too angry as it made the head of a nearby woman swivel, she gave me one of those looks.
You know “those looks” you always get on “those mornings”.
On another day I might have been bothered, but this day I wasn’t.
She didn’t know my story.
She didn’t know what had gone on that morning.
She didn’t have a clue who I was or why I yelled or what it was about.
Really she would have been more shocked if she heard the swear words I was muttering under my breath.
I yell at my kids. It’s not something I am proud of but I am not really ashamed of it either. Its not a regular occurrence, but sometime, just sometimes it’s the only way to make my three young kids take notice that I am serious, to break the circuit, to make them stop and listen.
Sometimes it’s the only way to show them that I am fed up and frustrated and actually really seriously over them being naughty.
Sometimes I yell and later explain to them why they pushed me to the brink and what I was feeling.
Sometimes I yell because I have asked my eight-year-old to put his school shoes on 35 times and nothing else, not reasoning, not sending him to his room is going to make him listen.
Sometime I yell because it works.
But these days yelling at your kids is becoming the new parenting no-no.
Just the other day columnist Jacinta Tynan declared that the “the shout has replaced the slap.”
She spoke to child psychologist Dr Fiona Martin, who told her that yelling is a "red flag".
"Yelling isn't constructive. It doesn't work. It creates tension and it changes the emotional climate of the home. It can crush their self-esteem. When you're yelling, who's got the problem?"
Now my degree is in communications and journalism not psychology so feel free to dismiss my laypersons view but I disagree.
I’m fully in control when I yell.
I have no problem.
I am so in control that I know the only way to make myself heard occasionally is yelling. I yell when I have to because I know full well that in the midst of that bedlam and anarchy it’s the only thing that is going to cut through the noise.
Of course its important to distinguish between yelling at your kids occasionally and verbal abuse, and no one could dispute that verbally abusing your children is wrong – but sometimes yelling is the only tool in the parenting toolkit that works.
Sometimes even if it isn’t perfect parenting you just have to lose your shit.
Look the thing is there is a whole truck load of things that categorise “imperfect parenting” that I do on a regular basis – feeding them foods with food colouring, skipping the hair wash for four days in row because you can’t bear the screams of complaint, eating their Easter Eggs from the fridge and blaming it on the dog.
I've let them sleep in my bed and made them wear disposable nappies. They even had a bottle AND a dummy.
I’ve sent my son to school without his lunch forcing the office to call me and ask me why I was starving my child.
I’ve forgotten about birthday parties they were meant to attend. I’ve thrown out old noisy toys that annoy the hell out of me, I’ve sent my kids to bed early when I needed a break and I’ve put on a movie instead of reading to them when I was just too damn tired to move.
And this morning on the side of the road I’ve yelled at my son to LISTEN.
If the mother yelling at her child on the street this morning wasn’t me, then it could have been you. It could have been any of us. If you haven’t been pushed to that point then thank your lucky stars because you could be, you might be.
You just don’t know.
But what I know is that he’s okay.
I know that when I see him this afternoon I will hug him and kiss him and smother him in love and we will chat and play and read and kick his soccer ball until my toes ache.
Sometimes I yell at my kids and I’m okay with that.
WATCH: The Motherish team confess who their favourite child is, and why.