House Devils and Street Angels

I am pleased to say that I hear many wonderful reports about how well behaved my children are. Teachers, friends, random strangers smile and tell me what a beautiful family I have, how good they are, how pleasant.

They have never been in trouble at school for behavior-related problems. They are polite, respectful, kind and fun to talk to. Or so I've been told.

At home, there is another reality.

At home, they are evil to each other, and sometimes to me. Take today, for example. Since we got home, 34 minutes ago, I've heard yelling, screaming, crying, howling, door-slamming, stomping, whining, accusations and insults.

And there are multiple fronts: two are going at it in the dining room, one is running back and forth spewing venom and slamming doors, and one or two seem to be loudly proclaiming some injustice that the universe is guilty of.

If I could isolate the problem, I might be able to do something about it. Instead, I sit here blogging because I cannot be in three places at once, using my depleted motherly skills to negiotiate multiple peace settlements simultaneously. I am, for the moment, defeated.

On the one hand, I am thinking of starting my own 12-step group, YA: Yeller's Anonymous. "Hi, my name is Monica, and I'm a yeller."

On the other hand, how can a person be expected to spend any amount of time around the vitriole my children are subjecting each other and me to and NOT yell? I would talk in a calm, even, low-toned voice if anyone could hear me over the fray. This is not the case. The only way to be heard around here is to be louder than everyone else.

Am I really the grown up here? Am I the one in charge? What the hell am I doing wrong, then, because it appears that the natives have taken over and chaos is reigning.

A friend of mine once referred to the phenomena of having well-behaved children outside of the house and ill-behaved ones at home as having "House Devils" and "Street Angels."

That's great for the rest of the world, but right now, my future depends on my making a deal with the devil. Or rather, five devils.

Chances are very slim that I will emerge unscathed.

However, as Elasti-girl says in The Incredibles, "it's time to engage." Wish me luck: I'm going in.

* * *


Hillori said…
I never remember this at the moment it is important, but last summer, I had my thyroid out and could only whisper for two weeks. My five house devils listened so much better when I whispered. They were used to me being quite loud when they were, but now that I have my bark back, I seem to bark right along with them. I wish that I could remember that...
I used to work with somebody who had taught elementary school for years. She used to always say it was the kids that acted up at home that behaved at school and visa versa... I believe it now because I've talked to my son's teachers and they said things like, "oh really, you think he's stubborn? I never noticed." GEESH.

oh, and god yes I yell....
Heather said…
Hang in there house angel! I was a bit terrified to take my little devils back east where they would be expected to be seen & not heard on a whole new level. They rose to the occasion & picked just the right moments to let loose. That's where we come in. I suggest playing this song loud!

and let the little angels work it out.
Viv said…

I know that I have a problem with yelling, but, I am not willing to do a darn thing about it...otherwise I'm pretty sure that my own heathens will eat me alive.
Hillori -- such a good reminder! I'll have to keep that in mind.

Sandwich life -- yeah, one of my son's teacher's told me he is a "peaceful force" in the classroom. I about fell over.

Heather -- Just made a note to myself: "Let it loose." Glad your angels came through for you!

And Viv -- It's us against them. If yelling keeps us in the game, then yell we must. :)
Kate Hall said…
hello? if the choice is between yelling and beating them over the head with a lego , i choose yelling as the natural winner.
Anonymous said…
Hello Monica.
I am Laura-I yell because I care!
Thanks for your share!
Who's next?
Unknown said…
Yelling is SO easy. Too easy. I forced myself to try a different reaction every time I needed to “engage.” It keeps the kids guessing. They never know what to expect. When they cannot count on my yelling, they cannot tune me out. It isn’t easy, but then again, parenting isn’t for cowards. It may be for pre-alcoholics, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Viv said…
Monica, there is an award for you over on my blog.

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