7/10/2006

Urban Legends, LDS Style

Oh, low about these parts, there's the legend or Her. She is whispered of in breath-ey tones from podiums in stake conferences, She is touted from the pulpit in many a testimony, She is written of in articles in Church News, She is the mother of every general authority, and She makes unruly boys into apostles. Mention of Her makes normal women hang their heads in shame and humility, wondering what they can do to capture Her elusive secrets- Shhhhh... Women never speak aloud of Her- Who is She, we wonder? Where do I meet Her? Is She my visiting teacher? She is The Mother Who Never Yells... And I'm here to tell you, ladies, like Sasquach and the guy in the backseat with an ax, SHE IS AN URBAN LEGEND! There are lots of things in this life that are hard as rocks. That is part of why we are here, right? To make it through the hard parts, hopefully with our faith in tact? Motherhood is on of those hard things. Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of lovely things about being a mother, and I wouldn't trade my pile of rocks for anyone else's passel of troubles, but still, it's hard. So when we hear, over and over, about this Mythical Woman Who Never Yells, it only serves to magnify our own shortcomings. We make it harder on each other than it is already. Seldom do we knock a sister on purpose, but we all have been in situations where we can feel the looks, or someone makes a comment about our parenting-egad, is there anything worse?? Mothering is riddled with guilt- we are all keenly aware of the stewardship we hold over our little ones. Many of us have willingly given up careers, put our ambition on hold, stepped back from things outside the home, and willingly made sacrifices in finances and personal desires to be at home with our kids. We have done so out of love for our families, and don't expect any commendation for our choices. But cut a sister some slack! I will be the first one to stand up and say, I Yell At My Kids sometimes. And you know what? They are fine, happy, well adjusted, bright kids. There may be ways I am a better mom than SHE. Maybe She never yells, but I'm creative, and I let the kids paint on our windows, and pour a bag of flour on the kitchen floor and play in it- maybe that's good too. Maybe you are a bibliophile or drama student, and while you might occasionally yell, you expose your kids to fine art and literature and theatre- and maybe that's good too. Maybe you are a passionate person who expresses themselves in colorful ways, and maybe your kids are ok because of that passion. Maybe that's good, too. So, maybe there are lots of good ways to mother, and maybe not yelling is just one of them, and is not really the yardstick of good mothering we have been led to believe. Maybe I'm a Good Mother, too.

17 Comments:

Blogger The Wiz said...

I never yell. I don't know what you're talking about. I'm a perfect parent, always.

7/10/2006 07:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Matt Jacobsen said...

Is this really all that different than hearing about married couples that never get in arguments or husbands who never raise their voices towards their wives or children? I'm sure someone with more energy than I can find a quote about men who yell at their wives not being worthy to hold the priesthood. There's a guilt trip if you want one.

I usually take such statements to mean that raising one's voice and arguments are to be avoided, and I agree. I yell at my kids and wife sometimes, but I don't usually feel good about it afterwards.

As far as the urban myth goes, I don't recall my own mother ever yelling at me. She was a good mother, but not perfect, certainly not as fun as you are.

I think we all need to make trade-offs when figuring out what kind of parent to be. If not yelling is most important to you, then you'll probably only achieve that at the expense of something else, like creativity or excitement or whatever. The problem is trying to push our personal ideals on others in judgemental ways.

7/10/2006 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

Maybe its the yelling that makes you feel guilty, not the existance of mothers who don't yell.
When I yell, I know I am making a very poor choice.
Perhaps you speak of a different type of yelling. Perhaps you speak of the yelling because you are cleaning the tub and someone is looking for you and you yell, "I'm in the bathroom."
But I am speaking of the yelling because you are angry and can't control your temper.

7/10/2006 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

I do all kinds, and yup, I feel guilty whan it's the kind where I've lost my temper. But my point was, maybe it's not the end of the world. Maybe my kids are fine anyway...

7/10/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Erin Marie said...

The scary man in the backseat with an ax - not an urban legend. Well, more ot less. But it has happened.

7/10/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I am not either an urband legend. Geesh.

7/10/2006 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Somewhere in some 27 ways to a happy marriage dealio I heard that you need to say 5 happy things to outweigh even just one negative comment. When I am rough or sharp or unkind to my son (which, I have to admit, happens WAY more frequently than I would like), I just think, "Ok, 5 things to make up for this one." I have no idea if that formula works for motherhood, but it makes me feel better.

And even on the days that J and I have battled it out, he still likes to crawl into my lap at night for stories and songs, and he still likes me to lie down with him for a minute. So, he can't hold it against me for TOO long.

OK, he's only four, so I'm sure we have plenty of time for the resentment to build up, but for right now, he's pretty forgiving, and moves on much faster than I do.

7/10/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/backseat.asp

7/10/2006 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I am a yeller. I got it from my mom who got it from her mom who got it from her mom, etc. etc. etc. And I'm here to tell you that it's a vicious cycle.

The worst part is that I know it's wrong. When I am yelling in anger, I know it is wrong. And frankly, it's murder to stop. DH is always helping me to learn how to control my voice (he hardly EVER yells) and I'll be eternally grateful for him.

Even worse than that is #1 --my daughter. She now yells. At her siblings. Like I do. IT BREAKS MY HEART and I know IT'S MY FAULT. I am constantly trying to check myself, to make sure I'm not stressed, to calm down, leave the room, etc. and it still is hard to do.

Yes, yelling can be okay in moderation. But please, don't ever think that yelling is somehow "okay" and a part of being a parent. Yelling to save your kid from something, or raising your voice so they know you mean business is one thing, but to communicate that way all the time only damages their little hearts and turns them into yellers themselves. And that, my friends, is just like any other cycle of abuse.

I'm the bad side of yelling. Don't ever be like me.

7/11/2006 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Yikes! Ok everyone, I meant this post to be kind of tongue-in-cheek, a little humorous, to show that while we may fall short in some areas, maybe we are really good in others. Obviously my writing skills fell short of the task!

People, abusing your kids, belittling or shaming them is NEVER ok- nor do I advocate such. But raising my voice to make a point to my kids does not a bad mother make. And that's what I was trying to say.

7/11/2006 12:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Floyd the Wonderdog said...

I met that lady once, the mother who never yells. She was abused as a child and consequently became over submissive. Her kids ran all over her and became little hellions.

7/11/2006 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger nestle said...

Bwahahahahaha! Tracy I loved this! Yep I yell too. When time outs don't work and when little ones are running around and yes jumping off the piano while you're helping another one go potty you better believe I'm yelling "get off the piano or you're going to take a nap!"

I must say people, I'm betting a whole lot more of you yell at your kids than you are admitting or hey like floyd the wonderdog said they run all over you. I can say though for all my yelling it sure gets their attention. :-) Hee hee. I am so still laughing at everyone's defensiveness at the thought that they yell. *snort and snerkle*

7/11/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I wasn't trying to be defensive. It's a characteristic that I HATE about myself and am constantly working on changing. And I really don't think it's that funny, either.

Yelling works --if you do it in moderation, like tracy m is talking about (sorry, tracy, for bringing such a bad vibe to your post). When yelling becomes commonplace, then it doesn't work anymore.

7/11/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Cheryl- I know what you are saying, and no worries about any vibe- I just didn't do such a hot job tackling my subject.

I hope you do better with whatever your personal goals are. We all have things we need to work on.

7/11/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Oh, and yeah, thanks for that link. Legend or not, I will now be having nightmares about a man in my back seat, and I will never visit a gas station alone at night ever again.

Yeesh.

7/11/2006 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

The other part of the Legend of HER is that she makes beautiful art and cans her own strawberry jam that she has picked with her own hands....

Oh, wait, that would be YOU. You may be closer to that legend than you think!

7/11/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

tracy-
Thanks :)

7/12/2006 09:41:00 AM  

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