What's with the ranting mama?
"I work just as much as my husband, yet I'm the one doing all of the housework, the cooking, cleaning and the laundry. He leaves his clothes and dishes wherever he wants and just plops down on the couch and does nothing and I'm the one who has to tell him to play with the kids."
Have you ever said words like this or ranted online about something similar, or had the unfortunate experience of having to listen to someone go on and on with a litany of complaints? Time for some real talk, moms. It is really childish and unproductive to rant about your lives and your significant others about situations you can 100% control.
I think of a rant as when you’re speaking passionately about a topic but turn it into a long, rambling, repetitive speech that rehashes the same irritations over and over. Ranting is a waste of time because – a) all you’re doing is getting more and more spun up about it, which b) makes the problem feel bigger and bigger, yet c) you’re not actually making any progress toward a solution.
Ranting is just poorly handled emotion. When people use rants as their go-to form of communication about their anger or frustration, they are essentially using the moment to get attention, whine and reinforce their own views. Ranting does not make it possible to engage with anyone else or exchange ideas.
If you're a ranter and want to get off of the complaining carousel here's what you need to do:
Awareness is everything. When you notice yourself on the precipice of a rant, stop talking or typing and take a breath. Either change the subject to a different topic or log off and physically walk away from your device. Ask yourself before you're about to go off, "Am I about to say something positive or negative and will it improve the situation?"
Determine your communication goal.
Do you want to keep spewing vitriol and talk about the same topics over and over or actually do something about it and improve your life?
Here’s how you can be a better communicator so that you don’t get caught up in the rant routine:
1. Speak your mind calmly and professionally and just be nice. I often find in my coaching business that moms really let loose on those closest to them because, well, they’re there, and that simply makes them an easy target. So I ask them, “Would you use that tone, volume and language toward a boss or an elder? No? Then why are you using it with the people you love the most?”
2. In a calm moment, tell your partner exactly what you need. Be clear, be direct and leave no room for misinterpretation.
3. Explain how the status quo is affecting your relationship and needs to change.
One of the most common ways couples fall out of sync with each other is in the distribution of household responsibilities. So here’s how to fix it once and for all and stop ranting about it:
1. You and your partner need to make a list of the household chores you're each responsible for. I promise when your partner sees the list in black and white and realizes yours is a mile longer, unless they are a complete jerk, they will understand that there needs to be a better balance between the two of you.
2. Shift the responsibilities around and set expectations for when each one should be completed, like confirming who will take care of the dinner dishes and making sure they will be cleaned up right after dinner.
3. Check in with each other regularly to see how it's going, in case one of you is starting to feel like a tweak is needed. Life is constantly changing, so if responsibilities can't be met, a simple proactive advance communication will work wonders. Say you’re too tired to whip up a gourmet dinner tonight, send a quick text that says, "I'm beat - ordering in dinner tonight!" and everyone is immediately on the same page.
4. Offer positive reinforcement. "I really love when you do X, Y, Z." Positivity is a way more effective way to get cooperation out of your partner than bitching at him constantly.
Sometimes no amount of communicating will change a person and you'll have to decide if you can live with it or not. People are definitely shaped by their childhoods and the homemaking roles they learned in their families growing up, but change is possible!
Ranting in science:
In 2013 The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay actually did a study on why people rant online and whether or not it's good for us. Here's what they learned.
1. At first, study participants felt better and were more relaxed after a rant.
2. Quickly afterward, however, participants expressed higher levels of anger because they had prolonged the amount of time they were spending on negative feelings.
The takeaway - Anger fuels negative thinking which then fuels rants which then fuel more anger – so don't even think you're going to get somewhere with your emotions using this approach.
The GIT Mom way to gaining control over your ranting:
Take control of yourself, woman, and remember that you are not helpless! Ranting is a victim’s game, and you are not a victim! Why waste your life being so upset? Stop enabling your partner by doing everything for your family, and take a stand for your wants and needs. No matter how much your friends and family love you, nobody wants to listen to your tirades anymore.
And the great news? When you don't talk endlessly about a problem, it will ease up and dissipate. Less negativity means more room for positivity. Yessssssss!!!