Shout, shout, let it all out
Updated: Jan 8
‘I was Shouty Mum today’.
It’s a phrase that I often see guilty mums using on their Instagram feeds. Usually it’s accompanied with a sombre-looking selfie or a photo of a chaotic living room. These remorse-ridden posts rarely go into detail about what drove Shouty Mum out of her lair. Instead they’re filled with promises that tomorrow will be better, tomorrow will be calmer. Tomorrow they will be Perfect Mum.
But here’s the thing: is shouting at our children really something we should be beating ourselves up over?
Granted, no one likes being Shouty Mum. For starters she’s totally embarrassing. And she’s volatile; she can lay dormant for days on end, then be unleashed over something as trivial as a spilt packet of pasta.
But it’s always worth remembering that, even though Shouty Mum can be unpredictable, she’s never entirely unreasonable.
Often her appearance is the result of a perfect storm of tiny daily dramas. Caused by having to intervene in one too many sibling arguments. Or after finding crayon marks on freshly painted walls, followed by an hour spent in the kitchen trying to prepare a nutritious meal which then goes untouched when it’s placed on the table.
Shouty Mum is a mother who is trying her best but can no longer cope with the lack of recognition she’s getting for her efforts.
Shouty Mum is a totally reasonable human being.
And do you know what? It’s good for your kids to see you lose your rag once in a while. They need a reminder that you’re not designed to give on-demand attention 100 per cent of the time. That, contrary to popular opinion, you are an actual human being.
Give your children unconditional love, of course. But love is never perfect, and neither are you. And that is OK.
I say it’s about time we started being more honest about Shouty Mum’s existence, because as much as we’d all like to banish her to the ends of the earth, she can serve a very important purpose.
Shouty Mum isn’t the enemy. She cares deeply about your mental health. She’s conscious of your family’s wellbeing too. But Shouty Mum is also very stubborn, and sometimes she refuses to leave until she’s made her point.
So if you find she’s becoming a more frequent houseguest, you may need to start acknowledging her presence, otherwise she’s never going to leave.
If you take a moment to listen to Shouty Mum, you’ll begin to understand her.
She’s trying to tell you that you don’t need to be ashamed if you’re finding things tough at the moment. And that it’s OK to let people know if you’re struggling and need some support.
So next time Shouty Mum rears her ugly head, remember she’s not there to tear you down. She’s there to fight your corner.