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yelling at your kids

I was halfway through lunch preparations and the water for pasta was about to boil over. My kids were out on the deck playing and for the moment, all was quiet.

Then came my son, announcing that he was ready to come inside. He also claimed that my daughter wanted to come in, too, even though she was still happily playing. As he continued to argue his case, the sizzling sound of water boiling over echoed through the kitchen. And still my son stood in the doorway.

I knew the chicken nuggets were probably already burning and now my daughter was also trying to get through the doorway, ready to make a beeline for the oven. And so I did the only thing I could do.

I yelled.


I yelled at my son. I committed what felt like the ultimate parenting faux pas. Even though there are countless articles and books out there about resisting the urge to yell at our children (and I'd read plenty of them), I did it anyway.

I wasn't even angry. I was frustrated with him, sure, and I was worried about ruining lunch, but I wasn't angry. I just needed him to come inside and close the door. So I did the only thing that I knew would guarantee that he'd come in. I yelled at him.

The effect was instantaneous. He began to cry. He closed the door. He went into the living room to retrieve his teddy bear. I continued preparing lunch as I debated the appropriateness of my actions. Was I wrong to have yelled? Was there something else that I could have done? Had I damaged my relationship with my son by yelling?

Less than five minutes later, my son was in my arms chatting with me as if nothing had happened. Only the salt stains on his cheeks were left as proof. And as we sat down to lunch, I realized something important.

Sometimes you just need to yell. Sometimes yelling is the only way to guarantee that you'll be heard. And at that moment, I needed to be heard.

I don't yell very often. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times that I've really yelled at my children. I'm just not much of a yeller. It's probably the biggest reason my son responded immediately. Yelling is not normal in our house. But at that moment, I needed my son to listen to me, so I did the only thing I knew would get him to hear me.

I didn't do it out of anger. I did it because I needed to be heard. With the oven beeping, the water boiling over and both of my children talking incessantly, I couldn't run the risk of my voice being drowned out. I needed my son to listen to me for safety purposes—I didn't want both of them to run in right toward the hot oven. I just needed him to listen.

Yelling doesn't always have to be bad. When a child is in danger, yelling might be the most effective way of keeping a child safe. When the environment is loud, yelling might be the most effective way of being heard.

I'm not advocating yelling all the time—I think my yelling was only effective because it is so rare. I don't generally yell at my kids, and I try really hard not to yell out of anger. I don't want to scare my son, but I do want him to listen. I need him to listen, especially when someone's safety is on the line.

Most importantly, I know I'm not ruining my relationship with my son if I yell at him every once in a while. Occurrences are few and far between, and I know he falls asleep every night knowing I love him.

After I yelled, I spent a few minutes wondering if I had done the right thing, but by the time we sat down to lunch, all was well in my son's world again. I knew everything was fine the moment he came to sit in my lap, looking for comfort. He still came to me even though I'd yelled at him. Because he knew I would hold him. Because he knew I would comfort him. Because he knew I loved him.

And when love is overflowing and yelling is rare, that's all that matters.

So, mama, know that sometimes we're going to yell—we're only human, after all—but it doesn't make you a bad mom. We're doing okay.

In This Article

    An expectant mama's to-do list can feel endless… but here's the good news: A lot of those tasks are actually really exciting. Planning your baby registry is especially thrilling: You get a say in what gifts friends and family members will buy for your new addition!

    But it can also feel a bit overwhelming to make sense of all the gear on the market. That's why we suggest mentally dividing your registry into two categories: items you need to prepare for your baby's arrival and items that sure would be nice to have.

    Here at Motherly, our editors have dozens of kids and years of parenting experience among us, so we know our way around the essentials. We also know how mama-friendly the registry-building experience is with Target, especially thanks to their recently upgraded registry and introduction of Year of Benefits. Just by creating your baby registry with Target, you'll snag a kit with $120 in discounts and samples. The savings keep coming: You'll also get two 15% off coupons to buy unpurchased items from your registry for up to a year after your baby's expected arrival. Change your mind about anything? The Year of Benefits allows for returns or exchanges for a full year. And as of August 2020, those who also sign up for Target Circle when creating a baby registry will also get the retailer's Year of Exclusive Deals, which includes ongoing discounts on baby essentials for a full year.

    Here are 10 items we agree deserve a spot in the "need" category on your registry, mama.


    A crib to grow with your baby

    Delta Children Farmhouse 6-in-1 Convertible Crib

    First-time mamas are likely creating nursery spaces for the first time, and that can get expensive. Adding a quality crib to Target registry gives friends and family members the option to join forces to make a large purchase through group gifting.

    $269.99

    A safe + convenient car seat

    Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat

    The list of non-negotiable baby essentials is pretty short, but it definitely includes a car seat. In fact, most hospitals will not allow you to leave after delivery until a car seat check is performed. We recommend an infant seat, which can easily snap into a base in your car.

    $99.99

    A traveling nursery station

    Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

    It's hard to beat a good playard when it comes to longevity. This item can be baby's sleeping place when they're sharing a room with you for the first months. Down the line, it can function as a roving diaper change station. And when you travel, it makes a great safe space for your little one to sleep and play.

    $99.99

    A swing for some backup help

    4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

    A dependable swing can be a real lifesaver for new parents when they need their hands free (or just a minute to themselves). Because many babies are opinionated about these things, we appreciate that the mamaRoo has multiple modes of motion and soothing sounds.

    $219.99

    An easy-to-clean high chair

    Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

    Our best registry advice? Think ahead. It really won't be long before your child is ready for those first bites of solid food, at which point you'll need a high chair. We like one that transitions to a booster seat atop an existing dining room chair.

    $99.99

    A diaper bag to share

    Eddie Bauer Backpack - Gray/Tan

    When you're a mom, you're usually toting diapers, wipes, clothing changes, bottles, snacks, toys and more. You need a great bag to stash it all, and if you're anything like us, you'll choose a backpack style for comfort and functionality. Bonus: This gender neutral option can easily be passed off to your partner.

    $64.99

    A hygienic spot for all those diaper changes

    Munchkin Secure Grip Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad 16X31"

    We can confidently predict there will be a lot of diaper changes in your future. Do yourself a favor by registering for two comfortable, wipeable changing pads: one to keep in the nursery and another to stash elsewhere in your house.

    $29.99

    A way to keep an eye on your baby at night

    Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8

    Feeling peace of mind while your baby sleeps in another room truly is priceless.That's why we advocate for a quality video monitor that will allow you to keep tabs on your snoozing sweetheart.

    $165.99

    A comfortable carrier to free up your hands

    Petunia Pickle Bottom for Moby Wrap Baby Carrier, Strolling in Salvador

    A wrap carrier may be about as low-tech as baby items come, but trust us, this product stands the test of time. Great for use around the house or while running errands, this is one item you'll appreciate so much.

    $39.99

    A full set of bottles + cleaning supplies

    Dr. Brown's Options+ Complete Baby Bottle Gift Set

    Whether you plan to work in an office or stay at home, breastfeed or formula feed, bottles are a valuable tool. To make your life as simple as possible, it's nice to have an easy-to-clean set that is designed to work through the first year.

    $39.99

    Target's baby registry is easy to create from the comfort of your own home. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with the Year of Benefits featuring exclusive deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

    This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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