Parental Laryngitis

370 days without yelling!  Republished since I literally, can not speak. At least I know it isn’t from yelling! (First Published November 13, 2012 when I had gone 280 days without yelling and had 85 days of loving more to go!)

Dear Doctor,

Help! My throat really hurts. It’s been throbbing for about three years actually and some days I can’t even speak. I wake up fine but then within ten minutes of the kids waking up and arguing with me about their clothes for the day, it flares right up. It settles down when they are watching their morning T.V. show but then oddly enough it starts scratching and pulsing at breakfast time, normally right around the time someone throws his food or complains that he didn’t like what I served. It’s the oddest illness I’ve ever had. It comes and goes all day and on the worst of days is accompanied by a throbbing head ache and a massively aching heart and tears. Lots of them. Taking deep breaths and telling myself it will go away isn’t helping. I’m at a loss. Please help me. I haven’t reached out to you before because some days, the really good days, I have no symptoms at all, and others well other days I don’t think the pain stops from the minute I open my eyes in the morning. Well and to be honest, I am kind of embarrassed about my problem. None of my friends seem to suffer from it, or at least they don’t say that they do. Please don’t judge me. Just help me!

A frustrated parent

*

Dear frustrated parent,

Based on what you’ve described it sounds like you have Parental Laryngitis, more commonly known as “Yelling at your kids too much.” The defining symptoms are: that it goes away when kids are sleeping or at school then comes on quickly, sometimes with a warning and sometimes not, and immense guilt. The good news is that you are not alone – at least 80% of parents suffer from this. Personal, marital, family, and social stress set up any parent to feel crappy and tired, two known causes of this condition. Children also experience extreme exhaustion and crappy moods further on setting the symptoms.  Take two of these Orange Rhino “pills” that I created as an alternative to yelling and read about The Orange Rhino Challenge, a community to support people like you, and then call me in the morning.

Dr. Orange Rhino

*

Dear Dr. Orange Rhino,

I looked up Orange Rhino pills online for the first time ever. I like to understand the medicines I am prescribed. I found “as of 2009, orange rhino are ecstasy pills.” Um, hello? Doctor? Are you an idiot? Did you mean to prescribe me that? Don’t you do your research?????

A frustrated, and now questioning, parent

*

Dear a frustrated, and now questioning, parent,

Well, well, well. What a funny Freudian slip, eh? And a wee bit embarrassing  Yes, I did mean to write The Orange Rhino. I specifically chose the name because Rhinos are calm animals except when provoked which I think is how most parents truly are. We are calm beings but when triggered by our children’s actions, or in-actions  we charge or scream. And I intentionally chose orange to inspire the sense of warmth we as parents want and to give us energy and strength to not yell.

I actually think it is kind of funny that I missed this tidbit of information when I did my research naming the prescription. Oops. But the thing is, in a way, MY Orange Rhino prescription is like an ecstasy pill (I’m guessing here, not based on my personal research!) MY Orange Rhino prescription is also about feeling happier, lighter, freer, more confident, more loving. Not yelling will induce these feelings. So while my name was indeed a slip, I am okay with that.

Again, take two of these and call me in the morning.

Tonight I moved these to my kitchen cabinet where snacks and cereal are, in other words, where I get frustrated with my boy’s indecision. A LOT. And to be clear, these are ORANGE M&M’s not pills! Other popular storage places: purse, diaper bag, bedside table…

Directions: When cranky and feeling your throat start to twitch, your hands start to sweat, and your eyes start to pop out of your head, take two “pills” and remember what The Orange Rhino stands for: a promise to your kids to be more warm and loving.

Then logon to the www.facebook.com/TheOrangeRhino and yell there via typing. You do not have to store in a cool place. Simply store in a place where you are most apt to yell. Additionally, for more alternatives to help reduce your parental laryngitis, read this document: 100 Alternatives to yelling at your kids. WARNING: You may look like a fool trying some of them.

SECOND WARNING: It can take more than 10 days for the laryngitis to lessen. Please keep trying all alternatives until you are at a place where you feel better. Don’t give up.

Best of luck,
Dr. Orange Rhino

*

Dear Dr. Orange Rhino,

You were right. My throat isn’t scratching as much. I feel happier. I feel better. It did take a while but that’s okay. Well worth it.

An ecstatic parent

Note: This post is intended to be sarcastic and fun. I am not way endorsing illegal drug use. It is also not intended to make fun of anyone who does suffer from real, chronic laryngitis. 

 

Pressure Cooker.

369 days of loving more!

Here’s the thing, I feel like I haven’t really talked to you all in a while! Why is that? I have been feeling so overwhelmed by different things in my life that I have felt like I couldn’t “really write.” I felt like I was going to explode instead. Or is it implode? Or perhaps both? Either way, I don’t just mean yell, I mean totally lose it and have a full on, crying in hysterics attack. My to-do is growing exponentially, which is good but stressful. My personal challenge I alluded to before isn’t growing, but it also isn’t disappearing. My kids are having some new challenges that need addressing and well, shoot, there are a lot more things to add but the point remains the same,

I feel like I am in a giant pressure cooker. Now mind you I write that and I have to stop. I don’t cook; I bake. If the saying was “I feel like I am getting squeezed out an icing bag” I’d get it. But I have NO idea what a pressure cooker is. So lets see if I used the right example!

Oh my grandmother would be devastated that I don’t know what a pressure cooker is! But at least she would be proud that I can bake cakes and muffins!
Photo Source: google images

pres·sure cook·er
Noun

  1. An airtight pot in which food can be cooked quickly under steam pressure.
  2. A highly stressful situation or assignment.

Okay, I am not an airtight pot, although I am uptight and I do bake in the sun rather quickly. So yeah, so far so good. Am I in a highly stressful situation? I’d say yes.

Again, details are irrelevant. What matters is I feel like I am under pressure; that I am cooking quickly. It isn’t a pretty feeling, is it? I have felt it before when my kids were driving me nuts and pushing. every. single. button. trying desperately to make me yell.  But they didn’t prevail. I did. And I reminded my self how just last Friday, and yesterday and today and well lots of days lately.

Just take it one moment at a time.

One moment at a time.
One problem at a time.
One step at a time.

However you look at it, the idea that keeps me from exploding is simple: think small, don’t let the stress overwhelm you.

One of my favorite business leader quotes is by Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines. It goes something like: “Think small, act small and get bigger. Think big, act big and get smaller.” I find it to be so true!

Think small, one moment at a time, act small, one moment at a time…and you’ll get more done and feel better.

Think big, think about all the stress, act big, try to do it all in a fury of stress…and you’ll get smaller, you’ll get less done and feel worse.

Or here’s another application, which ties directly to yelling less.

Think small, choose just one moment to improve, act small, work on just that moment…and you’ll get more confidence, more success and ultimately grow your moments of not yelling.

Similarly, if you are having success, don’t get too confident! Been there, done that. Don’t think big, I got this, and act big, I don’t need to try, because your yelling less moments will get smaller.

So instead, keep doing the one moment at a time thing. It seems to be a powerful notion.

Is it hard to not yell? YES. Is it hard to feel under pressure and stress sometimes? YES. Is it possible to manage both? Well you know I believe so to the yelling thing and gosh, I certainly hope so for the second part. I am just going to keep chugging along one moment at a time, letting steam off by exercising and talking to friends. And, AND I am going to keep enjoying the Orange Rhino Community’s outpouring of love and support for me and each other, that is growing rapidly like a ball of dough in the sun. See, I don’t cook, I bake!

 

Don’t forget to vote for our community!
https://www.facebook.com/parentsmagazine/app_124605674371692?ref=ts
 

“I Can Feel Again!”

It’s Favorite Song Friday! I know I have missed a few Fridays but I have just had other stuff to share. Since I still haven’t been able to put into words how I feel about this past year, I wanted to share this song. I love this long, it just really energizes me and puts me into a good, happy place because it reminds me about all of you and this Challenge. It reminds me how I sometimes felt before The Challenge – lonely, confused, and stuck and how I feel now – alive and full of love. Have a listen – I hope this song goes right into your heart and gets you moving like it does for me.

“I Can Feel Again” by One Republic (lyrics and my comments below video)

It’s been a long time coming since I’ve seen your face
I’ve been everywhere and back trying to replace everything that I’ve had
(I lost who I was for a bit when I became a mom. I struggled. I wasn’t totally me.)
Till my feet went numb
(Somedays the stress of parenting paralyzed me and kept me from “walking forward.”)
Praying like a fool that’s been on the run
(Daily, hoping it would get easier.)
Heart still beating but it’s not working
(Heart wanting to be better, to love more, to be happier. Heart hoping things would get better.)
It’s like a million dollar phone that you just can’t ring
I reach out trying to love but I feel nothing
(That part is not true, I don’t feel nothing, I feel everything with my kids. I feel so much love it can even hurt at times!)
Yeah, my heart is numb (But it is all good! I wouldn’t trade that for the world)
But with you (The Orange Rhino Community)
I feel again
(In having to write, I have pushed myself to dig deep and to feel again. In writing, in meeting all of you, in learning not to yell, I feel alive again. I feel so much more happiness.)
Yeah with you
I can feel again
(And it’s awesome. My heart had closed off for a while and in not-yelling it is opening up and loving more again.)
Yeah

But with you I feel again
And with you I can feel again

But with you
(I’m feeling better since you know me)
I feel again
(I was a lonely soul but that’s the old me)
Yeah with you
(I’m feeling better since you know me)
I can feel again
(I was a lonely soul)

I’m feeling better ever since you know me
I was a lonely soul but that’s the old me
A little wiser now from what you showed me
(You showed ME to believe that I could do it, you showed me support, love and patience. Oh am I wiser.)
Yeah, I feel again
Feel again…

“This is Gonna Be a Grrrrrreat Day!”

366 days without yelling…366 days of loving more! 

You know those mornings where you just want to crawl back in bed, pull the covers up over your head and hide until bedtime because the kids are running around screaming…and it’s not even 6? The mornings where every single kid woke up the night before and is starting the day all sorts of cranky? The mornings where you go into the shower for some peace and all you get are kids banging on the glass doors crying hysterically that “he hit me” and “I can’t get my sock on” and “I don’t want to go to school.” The mornings where you feel like since you are stuck out of bed, you might as well just bang your head against the wall because it is going to be one of those days?

Yeah, I don’t know about those mornings either. They NEVER happen in this house. Never. Accept if three or four times a week is the definition of never.

One day during this past year it was a wonderful, scratch that, it was a wonderfully insane morning. Luckily, my husband hadn’t left for work yet so he too could experience the chaos that was happening around us. The boys were playing a game of tag. But it was a different kind of tag. It went like this, or at least this is how I imagine the conversation went down between all my boys at say, what, 5:30 am that morning?

“Okay. Here’s the deal. I am going to cry and cry over the smallest thing possible that mommy can’t fix. Then I tag you. When I tag you, I’ll stop crying but you have to start. And you have to cry louder. Then when you are tired, you tag your brother. Then he has to start and cry even louder. And then finally, someone has to pinch the baby really hard so he starts screaming, not crying, but screaming. At that point, that is our signal to all start sobbing horrifically and become completely inconsolable. The trick? We have to make sure we all start the inconsolable part at the same time.  The objective of the game? To see if mommy and daddy lose it.”

It’s funny. I never even once felt like I was going to lose it even though given all the loud shrills and valiant efforts by my boys, I should have! In the old days, I would have no doubt. NO DOUBT. But not that day.

That day my husband and I looked at each other, and at eerily the same moment both chuckled and sarcastically said a line from the movie Jerry Maguire: “This is gonna be a great day!“ (See the clip below if you wish to reminisce!)

And while we were both being phenomenally sarcastic when we said “This is gonna be a great day!” and we both knew that it would actually indeed be a long, hard day full of tears and fights; just saying that it was going to be a great day put me at ease. Just sharing a laugh at how weird it was that we said the same thing from the same movie at the same time put me at ease. Just sharing a laugh about how it sure didn’t feel like it was going to be a great day put me at ease. Laughter is good like that. Laughter changed my mindset and helped me to be able to smile and then walk over to my terribly upset boys and be compassionate.

I think of that scene from Jerry Maguire a lot and it helps me get going on rough mornings, like today. I was in the middle of changing a very dirty and explosive diaper and one of my sons lovingly ran at me to give me a huge hug. Well, he gave me a huge hug all right. It was such a big one that it knocked me forward and I put not one, but both hands in the diaper. I went to wash my hands, dirty baby in tow, only to then stub my toe and find my other son squirting toothpaste all over his brother’s toothbrush. Cue the fighting and the crying.

Before I could even scream, I found myself imitating Dicky Fox and laughing out loud saying “This is gonna be a grrrreat day!”

And it worked. I started chuckling at the absurdity of the situation and the tension oozed out like the toothpaste now oozing down the counter onto the vanity. And I am so glad that it did because yelling back “hey, knock it off, it’s just a toothbrush” or “hey, why did you have to hug me so hard I put my hands in poop” would have gotten me nowhere except a more stressful situation. It would have just cued non-existent sobbing or make existent sobbing louder and louder. Obviously, that was NOT the desired outcome!  But that is only half of the story. It would have sent such a wrong message. It would have said “hey don’t hug me” and “hey your feelings don’t matter.”

Yeah, I don’t want to send those messages.

And I also don’t want to send the message to myself that the entire day is gonna suck because the beginning was less than hot. I don’t want to catch myself saying “This is gonna be an awfully hard, long, crappy day!” because that also gets me nowhere but a more stressful situation.

So yeah, now instead of letting the morning stress get to me and push me to yell on hard mornings, I send the right message to myself and my boys by imitating Dicky Fox and sounding outright ridiculous! But it makes me laugh, changes my attitude, and helps me to stay calm so I can “show my kids the love.”

 

WOW! 365 Days without yelling. Wow.

365 days without yelling! 

Wow. Wow. Wow.
I did it.
I actually did it.
I went 365 days straight without yelling at my 4 boys.
I think I am shock.
And really tired!

Because this not yelling thing? It takes energy, focus, patience, love and lots of it!

And I don’t just mean energy, focus, and patience to hold myself back from yelling, it also takes all those things to stop and figure out why I wanted to yell in the first place! Did I want to yell just because the kids were “misbehaving” or was it because I was in a bad mood? And in both cases, what was I going to do to create a new plan to resolve those? Oh the questions went on and on and on and oh so did the opportunities to show self-control and not yell.

And as for love, well, I don’t just mean finding love for my kids even when sometimes I didn’t want to (oh say when there was marker all over my house), but I mean finding love for myself.  Taking care of me is such a part of learning to yell less; if mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy! And that means forgiving myself in the beginning days when I did yell and telling myself that I could do it.

I think I exercised parts of my brain and heart this past year that I never knew I even had! Okay well that might not be the best example, but you know what I mean. I hope! Seriously, though, I had to work hard this past year. But I will say this. While it was hard in the beginning, with each moment that I didn’t yell, it became easier, and easier and easier to the point where I lost most desire to yell.  Truly.

And now, here I am 365 days later and I could be happier. All the hard work, all the exhausting and frustrating moments were all worth it because of the loving moments I gained. So yeah, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Wait, I am going to do it again. You all have inspired me to keep going as have my kids. But more on that later. Right now, I am tucking my kids in with a quick kiss, giving the babysitter instructions and going out to dinner with my husband. And when I get back, although I will be tempted to write a more in-depth, thoughtful and thankful post to all of you, I am going to eat some Orange Rhino cake, look at my pretty orange flowers, read the beautiful notes you have posted and probably take a nice, long, well overdue bubble bath. And then I am going to pass out relieved that I made it 365 days without yelling and happy as can be that I made it 365 days of loving more.

Xoxo,
Thank YOU,
The Orange Rhino

What To Say to ALL Moms

363 days of not loving, 2 days of loving more to go! 

Dear Orange Rhinos old and new,

This post is dedicated to you. If I were to meet you on the street or in Starbucks, I would say everything below to you. And as you continue to try to yell less and love more, I want you to remember each of these thoughts because I truly believe them and want you to also.

Best,
The Orange Rhino

*

By now, if you are a mom I am guessing you have seen the recent articles about what not to say to SAHM’s and the inspired equivalent piece, what not to say to working moms. In my Facebook feed I have seen all moms like and share “their” post with the comments, “amen!” “yes!” and “finally!” I am not surprised at all by the enthusiastic response these posts have received. The subsequent blog posts that have emerged also do not surprise me: what not to say to a single mom, what not to say to a mom with twins, what not to say to a mom with one kid. Why am I not surprised by the passionate responses?

I am not the least bit shocked because I have witnessed firsthand that unfortunately as moms, we so often hear unsupportive thoughts that we never, ever want or need to hear again. Unfortunately, as moms, in the absence of frequent, positive support, we passionately rally around the more “negative thoughts.” Okay, maybe not all moms feel this way, but I know that I do! Some days I am passionate about what not to say to me because I question my decision to stay home. Some days I am passionate about what not to say to me because I question my parenting. But most days, I am passionate about what not to say to me because I am putting every ounce of energy and every bit of my heart and soul into being the best mom that I can be and I just want to hear “GOOD JOB.”

Which got me thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to read a post about what to say to moms? I believe that behind all this passion about what not to say are some moms that are doing a great job and who just want to hear that; who just want unbiased support and understanding about how hard it can be to parent.  At the end of the day, ALL moms, no matter what kind of mom you are, SAHM, working mom, single mom, mom of boys, mom of girls, mom of quadruplets, are working hard and we all need and deserve support and positive reinforcement. Parenting is hard. Period. So lets start supporting each other more by saying the following things to all moms.

1. You are doing a fantastic job. I don’t know one mom that wouldn’t LOVE to hear this. Because lets face it, who hasn’t ever felt like they were doing a crappy job? Who hasn’t felt that their mommy friends were better moms? I am pretty sure we have all been there and in those moments, especially those moments, we need to be told we are doing a great job. Even when we are struggling, we are showing up and doing our best and that deserves credit.

2. I admire you. I know I admire every mother I know – each for different reasons. I learn so much from all the moms around me. Sure I am a little jealous too sometimes but in those moments I tell the mom how much I admire them. Again, who doesn’t need to hear that? You never know how much a compliment might help another person.

3. That is a great outfit, but um, you have handprints on you’re a*s and food in your hair. This is a must. If you forget to say all these other things please, just say this! As a mom of four boys I always have handprints on me in the worst places. Please tell me and save me from embarrassment.

4. It’s hard, isn’t it? Don’t you just want to run and hide some days? I know I have but I have been afraid to admit it. Motherhood can feel so lonely at times. When someone said this simple phrase to me, I finally breathed and felt understood and not alone. And when someone said this to me in line as we waited for coffee and I balanced two kids on my hips and felt two tugging loudly on my legs, I felt supported and not judged. It was a beautiful thing.

5. Here, let me help you. Yes, I confess I am not good at taking help but whenever someone offers to hold the door as I push a double stroller through with one more kid on my back and one holding my hand, I’m grateful. I often am too proud (foolish?) to ask for help, even when I need it, so when someone blatantly helps, it’s wonderful.

6. Do you need a friend, someone to listen, or perhaps a tissue? I clearly remember when I walked into a store frazzled beyond frazzled with tears in my eyes. I had fought with my husband and was trying to still keep calm with the kids and someone offered me a tissue. Did I want to tell this stranger how hard balancing everything was? No. But it was so nice to know that someone cared. It gave me strength to keep going.

7. I know you love your kids; I can see it in their smiles. Whenever someone reminds me my kids are happy, I feel that of all the things I am doing “wrong” at least I am doing something right. It is the greatest gift to point out to another mom how happy their kids are. Trust me.

8. We are all in this together. We have all had good days, bad days, totally terrific days and beyond horrific days. But that’s the point. We ALL have, no matter what kind of mom we classify ourselves to be. And if we all start saying the right stuff to each other, those bad days won’t feel so awful. And who wouldn’t love that?