How to Yell Less This Holiday Season

DSC_0492

(c) The Orange Rhino

At 12:30 today, my 12-day Christmas vacation with my entire family begins. I must admit, I am equal parts excited and equal parts nervous. Oh how excited I am to see my kids smile on Christmas morning, to hear them squeal with joy when they see what Santa left, to feel them all snuggled up next to me as we watch movies together and just lounge around without a care in the world. And oh how excited I am to have my husband around as a second hand to help out, to not have to drive to appointment after appointment, to not have to jump out of bed for fearing of running late. Yes, there is much to look forward and I can feel the excitement growing in my belly.

But of course I can also feel the nerves, the nerves that know that Christmas break is a hard time for me to “Yell Less and Love More.” There are just too many personal triggers that get all fired up!

Like being around too many people without any alone time.
Like eating too many sweets and junk food and eh hem, drinking too much wine.
Like seeing too many things that need to be cleaned up and organized.
Like hearing endless tantrums because my kiddos are overtired and overstimulated.
Like feeling disappointed that Christmas, the most magical day of the year came and went so quickly. Too quickly.

Ugh, and these are just the holiday triggers! Shoot, these are just some of my holiday triggers! Oh how I am nervous that I will not enjoy my holiday vacation as much as I hope because I will be so busy fighting off these “seasonal” triggers on top of all my other normal ones! Ha! It’s a good thing that a super simple, super inspiring, super helpful acronym about Yelling Less came to me as I flew back from Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Ya ready?

I plan to “Yell Less and Love More” this holiday vacation, to embrace all the joy of the season, all the joy that my children bring me, all the joy I feel from being with my family, by simply finding J.O.Y! Yep, it is as simple as that! I am going to,

J. Jot down all my known triggers that appeared during past holidays.
O. Observe my notes to find both trends and which triggers are the most “popular.”
Y. Yell Less by creating a plan to manage said popular triggers when they arise.

J.O.Y.Simple, inspiring and helpful, right?! I know, simple is a bit of an understatement. Taking the time to write down triggers (when and why I yell) and observing notes isn’t necessarily a simple task; it actually can take a lot of focus, thought and time. That said it is a straightforward task that leads to straightforward and useful answers. Once I know my triggers, I can create a plan to manage them. And once I have a plan to manage them, I can act on said plan. And once I act on said plan, I can start to change, I can start to Yell Less and Love More; I can start to find more JOY-full moments in the day and enJOY said moments more! And when you give a dog a donut…. Oh wait, wrong example.

But speaking of donuts, this is how I am currently embracing J.O.Y. so that when 12:31 hits later today, I am less nervous and more excited! Here are my

Top 5 Holiday Triggers and Solutions
Trigger:
Too many people and not enough alone time
Action: Create a secret signal with my husband that means “I need a quiet breather now or else I will explode.” Encourage him to do the same. Go to the “bathroom” as soon as everyone sits down to a meal. Kidding. Kind of?!

Trigger: Eating crappy food (eh hem, Chex Mix for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!)
Action: Prioritize exercise; do not skip just because it is vacation! Explain to husband and family that the best gift for me is time to exercise, that it makes me a more pleasant and present person to be around! And try to drink as much water and as little wine as possible. Ha!

Trigger: Being overwhelmed by new gifts and the immense need to organize
Action: Give one laundry basket to each person to collect gifts; have each person bring basket up to room at the end of the day. Tell myself over and over and over again that, “It will all get cleaned up. Focus on the joy that grew as the mess grew.”

Trigger: Endless tantrums
Action: Find empathy. This is easy. I remember crying as a kid because my brother got better toys. I remember falling into heaps of tears at bedtime because the day was over. I remember stuffing my face with candy while decorating the gingerbread house. I remember sneaking downstairs after bedtime on Christmas Eve to catch Santa. I remember all of this leading to lots and lots of lots of meltdowns. I plan to manage this trigger by remembering that my kids are doing just what I did and that this week isn’t just hard for me, but for them too!

Trigger: Feeling disappointed that a great day is over (and that maybe I missed out?)
Action: Look at pictures from the day and share fun memories from the day out loud! When I relive a moment that was wonderful, the disappointment fades as the realization that it was great and that I really was present grows.

And when all else fails, I will just ask for a hug from my kiddos or just give them one as hugs from my kiddos have the most magical way of bringing me immense joy. Are you ready to Yell Less and Love More this holiday? Here are two free downloads to help you get started! Click on the image for the trigger tracking sheet and trigger action plan!

Orange Rhino Trigger Tracking Sheet jpgOrange Rhino Trigger Action Plan jpg

Happy tracking and enJOY having more JOYfull days with your family as you wrap up 2014! And no joyfull is not a typo, totally intended as yelling less has made my days much more full of joy!

 


YLLM1Learn more about tracking triggers and creating a plan for all different types of triggers in my new book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids and How You Can Too!” It’s a 30-day guide complete with 100 alternatives to yelling, simple steps to follow and honest stories to inspire you on your own journey to yell less. Prepare yourself: it isn’t just a parenting guide, it is also a parenting memoir with stories that you will probably relate to and will most definitely make you both laugh and cry! 

 

Yell Less by Saying “No” More

I wrote this article for Empowering Parents earlier this fall when I felt a huge desire to say “yes” to every volunteer opportunity that came my way. I have learned from my journey to Yell Less and Love More though that saying “no” really is okay and a great way to say “yes” to a more calm me and household! I share this today because the idea totally applies to the Holiday Season and the inevitable pull to do perhaps more than one needs to or should! Enjoy…

10703595_10152767635452177_5860047255170585397_n-2 Read here: Yell Less by Saying No More  

 

The Thanksgiving I Yelled at my Kids.

Unfortunately, before I started my Orange Rhino Challenge to go 365 days straight without yelling at my four boys, then ages five and under, the “Not-so-Great” Thanksgiving of 2010 happened. Oh how I wish that I decided to teach myself to “Yell Less, Love More” before that turkey day for then this story wouldn’t still be stuck in my memory because it wouldn’t have happened in the first place! Nope, all the lessons I learned on my 520 days straight of not yelling would have come in to place and prevented me from ruining that Thanksgiving with my relentless yelling. Sigh. Oh well. Here’s how it went down, literally.

* * * * *

I don’t like turkey.
Or cranberry sauce.
Or any of the foods that one typically serves on Thanksgiving for that matter.

Except well, for the white stuff: bread, butter, mashed potatoes, and more butter! But I love Thanksgiving Day. I love making a big, roaring fire and then cuddling up with my boys to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love “oohing and ahhing” over all the floats together and sharing stories with my boys about when I was a kid and couldn’t wait to watch the Parade. I love sitting down to eat and first having cranberry juice with rainbow sherbet and telling my boys that this is a tradition passed down from my great-grandmother.

Oh, there is just so much to love on Thanksgiving Day.
And yet, I hated Thanksgiving 2010 because I ruined it.

I ruined it by yelling, big-time. Over a picture. A freakin’ picture. Seriously?! Yes, seriously. As soon as the parade wrapped up, I deemed that it was therefore the perfect time for the annual “Let’s watch Mom jump up and down and act like a clown to make us smile” holiday card photo shoot. Yes, of course, trying to get James, Edward, and Andrew, then ages, four, three, and one, to sit still and cooperate—after they had just been sitting peacefully and quietly for an hour and just wanted to run outside and play—was the perfect time to ask them to sit still, again. And smile. And keep their hands to themselves. And try to be patient with my constant requests for, “Just one more picture, please?” I knew at the time that I was pushing my luck, given the circumstances and their ages, but yet I still pushed.

As expected, given my picture-taking history, my boys whined when I told them it was picture time. As I geared up to corral them into the living room (and to start offering bribes galore), Andrew took off as usual and ran into—of all rooms—the living room. He jumped onto the couch, laughing hysterically as he crashed into the pillows. James and Edward of course followed suit and all three boys started laughing and tickling each other and having a grand old time. So much so that, when I shouted, “Hey, look at me!” they didn’t realize I had just taken a picture. It was, and still is, one of my favorite pictures in the entire world. The happiness. The love. The joy. The smiles. It melted my heart.

So you think I would have stopped right then, right?
No more pictures needed, right?!
Wrong.

Who needs the "perfect" picture when priceless pictures like this exist?!

Who needs the “perfect” picture when priceless pictures like this exist?!

I wanted to make sure that I had the best picture. The perfect picture. I wanted to see if I could do better, even though I felt I had just been delivered a miracle. I got greedy, really, really greedy, and I asked, “One more picture, please?” They acquiesced for a few minutes, but understandably soon grew tired of my never-ending demands to sit still and smile. They had behaved wonderfully and cooperatively for so long; now they were done. They had reached their limit and started squirming, whining, pinching each other, and refusing to cooperate. So I started yelling. And I didn’t stop. I didn’t stop because I so badly wanted the perfect picture and I thought that yelling would force them to behave.

“Sit still!” I barked.
“Just one more! Be good!” I whined.
“WHY CAN’T YOU JUST DO THIS FOR ME?!” I yelled.
And my famous, or rather infamous, Thanksgiving 2010 line:

“It’s Thanksgiving, for cripe’s sake! I would be so grateful for just one good picture. PLEASE! Just smile!” I screamed.

The more I yelled, the more they cried. The more they cried, the worse the pictures were, so the more I yelled. Finally, I gave up and said ever so shamefully and nastily, “That’s it! I have had it. All I wanted was a picture. Thanks for nothing.”

James, Edward, and Andrew then promptly ran out of the room, crying to Daddy and the grandmas. James screamed, “Mommy’s a meany.” Edward sobbed, “I don’t like her.” Andrew just cried and cried, clearly scared by how loud and nasty my voice had gotten. And I went to the bathroom and also cried and cried, feeling all the same thoughts as my kids. I pouted the rest of the day as I felt so mortified and ashamed that I had screamed at my young children for behaving well; ashamed that I had unnecessarily taken my own problem with perfection out on them.

I couldn’t look any of the other adults in the eye for the rest of the day. I felt so sad that my need for the perfect picture pushed me to lose it so horrifically. My guilt and shame then kept me from enjoying the holiday. Thanksgiving is one of the days where I often feel nothing but love, and yet, that year, that year I couldn’t feel it because I had yelled to the point where all I felt was hatred for myself.

The sad thing is, that Thanksgiving wasn’t the only time I felt such anger at myself for yelling at my kids over trying to get a picture. Nope, it had happened many times before. And while I sit here wanting to write that it’s all just because I am a perfectionist and seek perfection in everything I do, that’s a partial cop-out. It goes deeper than that.

Yes, yes, I seek the perfect picture of all my boys looking at the camera, smiling flawlessly and not picking their noses. But it’s not just because I am a perfectionist; it’s also because I am insecure. Oftentimes in life, I seek comfort, confidence, and reassurance that I am living a happy, good life, that I am doing good at this parenting thing, that I have happy children. And well, whenever I feel that way, I find that looking at pictures soothes my insecurities and proves to me that I am doing okay.

If I feel frustrated and down and overwhelmed by the challenges of parenting, I can look at that “perfect” picture and look straight into those gorgeous twinkling eyes and remember that it is all worth it, that my kids are happy and it’s worth the work. If I find myself feeling sad that life is passing by too fast, my kids are growing up too fast, and I feel I have missed out, I can look at that “perfect” picture and remember: no, I didn’t miss it, I was right there and it was wonderful. And if I feel stressed about life in general, then looking at pictures of my family having fun, enjoying a special vacation, enjoying a special holiday, enjoying each other helps soothe my negative mood and move me to a more positive, grateful, happy, and definitely less stressed place.

Pictures bring me comfort by helping me feel secure in this world, and rightfully or wrongfully, I rely on them for this. That is the real reason I push for perfect pictures. I don’t refrain from yelling at my kids during picture time because I want the most beautiful picture ever; it’s because I am afraid that if I don’t get that picture, then I won’t have something to look at when I need it most. I yell at them because of me, because of my insecurities, not because of them and their inability to sit still longer than children their age should.

The Orange Rhino Challenge and all the trigger digging I did helped me to see the real reason I yelled. And by default, it helped me let go and chill out during picture time. Now when I find myself struggling to not yell at my kids when I desperately want a picture, I say to myself,

Thanksgiving Quote“Hey, just relax. You’ll get what you get. Don’t push it or you won’t get a thing expect crying kids, an upset you, and therefore a bad picture and a more upset you. It’s not worth it! (Yelling doesn’t work, it just makes things worse!) Remember, it’s not them you are frustrated with; it’s you. They are doing fine, you are causing the stress. Chill out. Just chill out. Remember, the goal isn’t the perfect picture. It’s enjoying the moment. Don’t ruin it by yelling.”

I can happily say that I now enjoy those special moments in my life even more than before because my plight for perfection and my instinct to yell aren’t dampening them. Do I still struggle and have to push myself to let go of perfection at times? Yes. Do I still struggle and have to push myself to “Yell Less, Love More” during trying times? Yes. I am the Orange Rhino, but I am not perfect! But I struggle a lot less and for that I will jump up and down, act like a clown, and do all sorts of crazy things to make me smile and feel good about my progress. Because of all the things I have learned on my Orange Rhino Challenge to Yell Less + L.O.V.E. More, one most definitely is this: the goal is not about perfection; it’s about progress.

And I am making progress, I am yelling less and loving more, and that is what matters to me more than perfection.

YLLMcrop2This story is from my newly released book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids­–and How You Can Too!” Part parenting guide, part memoir, part journal, her book takes you on a 30-day journey full of honest stories, alternatives to yelling and steps to follow so that you too can Yell Less. Find more about my book here: www.TheOrangeRhino.com/the-book and join The Orange Rhino Revolution at www.Facebook.com/TheOrangeRhino

{Sometimes} My S.P.D. Makes Me YELL at My Kids

Below is an excerpt from my book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” I post it here because it is an important story to share and not just because sharing it gives me more strength to cope, but also and more so because sharing it will hopefully help you gain insight into some of your kid’s (and maybe your) behaviors. My hope is that said insight will help you gain empathy for your child’s sensory-related behavior and therefore help you “Yell Less, Love More.” My other hope is that if you comment, you comment with kindness and not judgement.


I am going to let you in on a very personal struggle, one that I have only shared with a handful of people in my life because it is so embarrassing and frustrating that I have just hid it and ignored it for years. Oh, how I hoped that it would just magically disappear and that I would finally be free of the pain and shame I feel whenever the struggle rears its wicked ugly head, which is at least three or four times a day. But it never disappeared and once I started the Orange Rhino Challenge, I could no longer hide from it, or run from it. When I started tracking my triggers and gaining deeper awareness as to what made me explode, I discovered—or rather, was finally forced to admit—that this little struggle of mine wasn’t just real, but it was also a really big (like gargantuan) trigger. Yes, there was no ignoring the fact that if I wanted to stop yelling, I needed to start managing this struggle of mine STAT no matter how hard it was.

Ya’ ready for my struggle?

I have Sensory Processing Disorder, also know as S.P.D.

Um, what the heck does that mean, you ask?

Block out NoiseIt means that I have “sensory attacks,” brought on by any, or all, of my five senses being overloaded to the point where I can’t keep myself together and I go from calm(ish) to anything-but in a split second. It might come on from too much noise or too much chaos, or maybe I feel too hot or my clothes feel too tight or itchy, or maybe I taste a mushy food or smell a disgusting odor, or maybe it is a combination of all of the above that sends my body “under attack.” Sometimes the attacks come completely out of the blue; sometimes I sense they are coming. Either way, I respond in what feels to be a very irrational, very over-the-top way. It can take thirty minutes to an entire day to feel calm again and in control of my body (and it takes a lot longer to forget the embarrassment and disgrace I feel for losing it).

During a “sensory attack,” I literally feel the physical desire to lose it in a rather aggressive manner. I feel like the inside of my body is on fire, that my body is trying to burn my skin so that it can get out and escape. I feel like I want to run away at full speed and keep running until I cool down, until my heart stops beating so hard my chest hurts, until my skin stops itching so much that I want to tear it off, until the intensity that overwhelmed me stops. My body, my mind, and my soul want to flee the intense physical response and displeasure they feel from the sensory attack, but they can’t.

I feel trapped and that’s because I am trapped, trapped at the mercy of the “sensory attack,” and all I can do once an attack has hit is to wait it out. And since I can’t flee the pain or the frustration, I fight. I fight my body by throwing things. I fight my body by crying. I have even fought my body by pulling my hair, by hitting my head. And I fight by yelling.

a text block-19I would love to write that my children have never witnessed one of my attacks, that they never saw me shove my dinner plate across the table and then refuse to eat because my Italian sausage was just the wrong texture at the wrong time. I would love to write that my boys never saw me tear a brand-new (and very fashionable and cool!) scarf off from around my neck and throw it in the garbage while yelling, “I hate clothes. Hate them, hate them, hate them! Nothing every feels right!” I would love to write that they never watched me go berserk when my husband turned on a sports radio show to catch “the big game” and all the scratchy noise of the poor reception made me start screaming at him uncontrollably to turn it off before I exploded. Yeah, I would love to say they have never witnessed any of the above, but that would be a lie.

And I would love, even more so, to write that my children were never the targets of one of my sensory attacks, but that would also be a lie. The bad news is that they have indeed been on the receiving end of one of my sensory moments, but the good news (okay, better than bad news) is that at least it was yelling and not worse. Oh, oh, how I have screamed bloody murder at them when my body just couldn’t handle another noise, no matter how discreet or unintentional.

I have yelled, “Back up now, or else!” when my kids innocently chewed popcorn near me, not next to me, but just near me, and with their mouths open so that I could hear every crunch.

I have yelled, “Be quiet NOW, it is just too much! I can’t stand it. I am going to leave!” when all my boys are talking at once and getting louder and louder so that they can each be heard over each other.

I have yelled, “Okay, enough of the hugging! I don’t want to be touched anymore! Get off of me!” Yeah, that was an awful thing to say, and worse, I have said it a lot.

And I have yelled at myself after the fact, “Get a grip! All you want is for your kids to be quiet and not overly playful because you can’t handle noise and chaos. Then why did you have kids?! And four of them?! All you do is constantly squash their joy and enthusiasm just because mommy can’t handle it. Seriously?” I have tried so hard my entire life to keep my S.P.D. under control and hidden. And when I became a mom, I did learn to control it better because there is nothing I wanted more than to love my kids and not unleash my wrath on them. And I did keep it under control many moments. But yes, there were moments that I didn’t, and those left me beyond humiliated, beyond discouraged, beyond heartbroken. What kind of example was I setting?!

But the good news, yes, the really good news, is that the Orange Rhino Challenge forced me to finally manage my S.P.D. My S.P.D. no longer causes me to Y.E.L.L.—yell exceptionally long and loud—because tracking my triggers increased my awareness and forced me to figure out how to manage this really big trigger.And luckily for me, at the same time that I became aware of and accepted my S.P.D. as a trigger, one of my sons started some occupational therapy for his own struggles with S.P.D. Everything he learned, everything he told me, and every exercise we did together to “help him” actually helped me learn how to manage my own S.P.D.

Tip #2I learned to do push-ups when I felt an attack coming on.

I learned to put earmuffs on when the noise overwhelmed me.

I learned to pull my fingers gently to calm down.

I learned to eat crunchy foods like apples to organize my mind when it felt fried.

I learned to take deep breaths, even though I hated to, big-time.

I learned to prioritize sleep because it is key to regulating my mood.

In fact, all these little tricks worked so well to help me cool down and prevent and put out sensory attacks that I decided to try them to help me cool down and prevent and put out yelling attacks as well. Well, wouldn’t you know … my S.P.D. tricks work great on Y.E.L.L. attacks too!

Looking back, learning to manage my S.P.D. has been a heck of a lot easier than I expected. Have I been able to make it completely disappear, as I have dreamed of for years? No, I am just the Orange Rhino, not a fairy godmother! But, but, in finally having a more complete awareness of the depth of the problem, I was able to start actually managing it to the point where it is no longer as major an issue, which let me tell you, is nothing short of awesome.Not only am I not yelling at my kids unnecessarily, but also I am much more able to model how to control emotions and calm down. This helps me sleep way better at night.


 YLLMcrop2“Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” is a 30-Day Guide complete with 100 Alternatives to Yelling, Simple Steps to Follow, and Honest Stories to Inspire you on your own journey. It is available for sale now at all favorite on-line retailers and in select stores. Click here to order from your favorite site.

“Yell Less, Love More” A Non-Judgemental, Loving, Motivational and Humorous Parenting Book

Release Day Photo!Thank you to everyone who has read my book and shared such touching and glowing reviews. It means the world to me! If you would like to get your own copy of the book so you can share your review, you can order it anywhere online. Top places are listed here: www.TheOrangeRhino.com/the-book

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Hands Free Mama

Source: Hands Free Mama

“Yell Less, Love More yanks the cover of shame off yelling in a way that I have never experienced before. Through powerfully honest anecdotes from her personal journey, Sheila McCraith empowers, inspires, and heals the person holding this book. With every turn of the page, you are reminded that you are not alone, and there is hope. Yell Less, Love More will help you choose a more peaceful response in times of stress and overwhelm, but it doesn’t end there. This book will enhance every aspect of your life by enriching your relationships, your health, and your happiness. This book is a life-changing gift.”
– Rachel Macy Stafford
New York Times Best-selling Author of Hands Free Mama

 

 

Source: www.ahaparenting.com

Source: AHA! Parenting

“If you want to stop yelling at your kids, this is the book for you. There’s a reason parents flock to read the Orange Rhino online – she helps us feel better about ourselves as parents when we blow it entirely – and who doesn’t, sometimes? She inspires us to dig deep and try again. But as delightful as this book is to read, it isn’t just a feel-good book. It’s a full-blown program to stop yelling, complete with day-by-day action steps, revelations, and original, powerful tips. Yelling is a hard habit to break, and we have to work on ourselves as well as change how we interact with our children. As you follow this program, you’ll be able to feel your brain rewiring. And in a few months, you’ll look back and realize you can’t remember the last time you yelled. Well-organized, motivational, funny, supportive, and EFFECTIVE!”
– Dr. Laura Markham, www.ahaparenting.com

 

She Just Glows Janie“In it, she makes some pretty dark confessions (like that she once dented her wall in a sippy-cup-throwing rage), and by 20 pages in, you trust her completely. She is you. She is a loving yet flawed, passionate yet frustrated, authentic yet human mother who’s trying as hard as she can to show grace to her children, even on the days when she really just wants to scream in their face. By the end of the book, her brave confessions about real-life mommyhood, paired with her accessible, no-yell application points at the end of each chapter, accumulate to make you feel that it’s possible for you to get through the next hour without yelling at your kids. And then, who knows, maybe the whole day, week, month and year.”
– Janie from www.SheJustGlows.com

 

trueparentingredcrop“Sheila from Orange Rhino has a fabulous way of helping readers feel safe and capable of reaching their goal of not yelling. She invites you into her story, gently takes you by the hand and shows you the way to overcome your compulsive outbursts. She doesn’t scold you or demand that you change overnight. Rather, she explains she is right there with you experiencing victories and setbacks. Her stories share the new found joys that come from a life without the yelling. Her determination to get up again and again helps you realize you are not alone in your struggle against yelling.”
– Andy from www.TRUparenting.net

 

“This book is a lifeline to regain hold of your sanity and help you stop yelling at your children. With Sheila’s practical and doable ideas you can uncover the calm and caring parent you always hoped you’d be. She doesn’t make you feel guilty; she empowers you and shows you how anyone can start from today and truly Yell Less and Love More.”
– Alissa Marquess, founder/editor of CreativeWithKids.com

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.01.05 PMYell Less, Love More is a quick-witted and lighthearted read written by a mom who has been there and isn’t afraid to bare all, from her fist-pumping wins to her most embarrassing lows. Sheila doesn’t sugarcoat or finger-wag, she walks with you. I finished the book with an overwhelming feeling that I can do this; I can yell less and show my kids that love is what I have for them. This book is how we’re all going to get there – sanity, humor, and heart all intact.”
– Galit Breen, blogger, writer, mama of three, and converted yeller

 

“I loved every word of this book. Sheila’s advice is honest, humorous, and most important, effective! As a clinical social worker and a mother of two young daughters, I highly recommend Yell Less, Love Moreboth personally and professionally.”
– Carla Naumburg, Ph.D., author of Parenting in the Present Moment

 

Honest Parenthood JessicaUnlike how I feel reading most other parenting books, Yell Less, Love More felt like spending time with a friend who is both compassionate and courageous.”
– Dr. Jessica from www.HonestParenthood.com

 

“You’ll find yourself in these pages. The honesty and self-revelations that Sheila shares are genuine and authentic. She’s very brave to be so honest and she encourages you to find that strength in yourself. For me, The Orange Rhino Challenge…is like that non-judgmental friend who always says the right thing at the right time. It was so helpful for me on this journey.”
– Anna from www.TodaysMama.com

 

More than once, a poignant story she shared brought me to tears.  She mixes a touch of comedy with her endearing realness in describing her journey as the original Orange Rhino. Her story never comes across as pompous or superior, just another mom in the trenches, struggling to make it through the day. Or just breakfast.”
– Suzanne, Orange Rhino

 

JillyHeader“If you struggle like I do and are looking for a book to bring more peace into your home and your life, and to help you tackle the “yelling monster”, you have to get this book! It is one of the best books on parenting I have ever read.”
– Jillian from www.HiItsJilly.com

 

“It is like talking to Sheila in person. Like sharing those down and dirty parenting secrets with your best friend. Those secrets you would never share at book club or bible study because they make you feel that embarrassed! In Sheila’s book, Yell Less Love More, you get to take that journey with her in a safe no guilt place! This isn’t about making ourselves feel bad about what we have done, it’s about discovering ourselves and learning a new way to walk through our days with our kids, our spouses and ourselves! It is brilliant!”
– Joanne, Orange Rhino

 

“There are only positives to this book. It is set up as daily chapters of 3-4 pages each.  This is great for the busy, tired parent who doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to reading each day. The daily tasks don’t take a lot of time, but are so very insightful.”
– Island Mama, Orange Rhino

 

“With wisdom and humor, Sheila quickly becomes an encouraging friend and mentor who gently teaches you how to manage your frustrations while building your self-confidence. You’ll have fun reading this ultimate self-help book and will find yourself turning to it for love, support, and guidance when you fear you may be losing ground.
– Laura Deutsch, co-founder of Mommybites (mommybites.com)

 

“An inspiring and realistic program for the busy parent who wants to ‘Yell Less, Love More.”
– Melissa, Orange Rhino 

 

10342427_10152165808335028_5885805031878323622_n“She shares honest moments from her failures to stop yelling, making me feel like I’m not alone in occasionally having a mommy meltdown.”
– Shell from www.ThingsICan’tSay.com

 

 

Umbrella Tree Amy“Sheila isn’t a parenting ‘expert’ any more than the next mom. Yes, she has 4 boys, which alone makes her highly qualified to write on the topic. But she doesn’t write as an expert and the book never seems ‘judgey.’ It’s real.”
– Amy from www.UmbrellaTreeCafe.com

 

“Yell Less, Love More” is loaded with so many tips and ideas that can be adapted to fit any family.”
– Carrie, a fellow Orange Rhino
“The Orange Rhino’s (a.k.a. Sheila McCraith’s) parenting guide and memoir, Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids – and How You Can Too!, shares more touching personal stories from her journey to stop yelling as well as manageable actions, practical tips, and genuine, loving support so that you too can succeed on your own journey to yell less.”
– Huffington Post
“An absolute MUST read for all parents. Sheila’s friendly, honest voice is like a dear friend helping you through and cheering you on!” 
– Melissa Kaye, co-founder of Mommy Business (mommybusiness.net) 

“What a blessing! Her story of her ‘need to change’ moment is one that was easy to relate to in that ‘I’ve been right there’ kinda way.”
– Kelly of www.AMothersDesign.com

Yelling Does NOT Define Me as a Parent

Hi, my name is The Orange Rhino and I used to yell at my kids.

In fact, I yelled so much that I started The Orange Rhino Challenge, a promise to not yell at my four boys, then ages 5 and under, for 365 days straight! As I started publicly writing on my blog about my journey to yell less, I received a boat load of wonderfully loving and supportive comments such as, “Thank you so much for sharing your story and letting me know that I am so not alone!” I also received a couple of well, how should I put it, um how ‘bout, outright nasty and hurtful comments. The following is a sample of one of the nasty comments. Mind you, it isn’t verbatim because the email was so incredibly hurtful that I erased it immediately so that I wouldn’t dwell on it. (I knew at that point that dwelling leads to yelling and that it needed to be avoided at all costs when possible.) Anywho, after reading about my challenge, one woman wrote to me,

“You know, maybe yelling isn’t your problem. Maybe your challenge shouldn’t be about not yelling. Maybe it should be about not being a parent. I think your problem is that you shouldn’t have had kids in the first place, that you are an awful mom if you yell so much that you needed to create a Challenge to stop.”

Um, can I get an, “Ouch!?”

I felt incredibly attacked at the moment and her comment immediately started pushing me into self-criticism mode. Was she right? Was I an awful parent? Did I have no redeeming qualities? Was I not meant to be a mom? Fortunately for me, my oldest son had ever so quietly snuck up behind me and read the entire email and then started a heartwarming conversation that quickly pulled me right out of self-criticism mode.

“Mommy, why is she saying you shouldn’t be a mom? Are you not going to be my mom anymore?” he asked tears forming in the corner of his eyes.

“Oh sweetie. You weren’t supposed to see that. Of course I am always going to be your mom. I am not going anywhere.” I said as I pulled him into my lap.

“But mom, why did she say those mean things about you?” he implored.

“Well, because she thinks that because I used to yell at you ‘so much’ that I had to become an Orange Rhino that I am an awful parent.” I stated, fighting back tears.

“But mommy, you aren’t an awful parent. You are a great mom.” He said ever so sweetly as he wiped a tear off his cheek.

Um, can I get an “Awwww?!”

blog_v4To be honest, I haven’t thought of this story until just today. I had simply pushed the memory as far back into my mind as possible because not only did her accusations hurt, but more so, they really, really struck a nerve. But then I received numerous emails today in response to an old blog post titled, “A Mom’s Regret About Yelling,” and this painful memory came flooding back. Fortunately, a powerful insight came right after!

In the post, my son was headed off into Kindergarten and that to me symbolized the start of him officially being with teachers and friends more than with me. I wrote about how disappointed I was in myself that I spent so much of the last six years, my unshared years, with my son “complaining and yelling instead of loving.” I felt so incredibly sad and let down and wrote that I regretted that I hadn’t enjoyed all the time I did have with him because I was so often yelling and being, well, grumpy.

Sitting here tonight, processing the comments and my post and my painful memory, I just want to go back two years and give myself a hug. I just want to go back and say to myself,

“Girl, it’s okay. Yes, you used to yell. Yes you regret all the times you did yell. That’s normal and expected. No one likes to do not nice things. But you know what, you’re missing something. You were looking at the situation from your eyes and not your son’s. You saw yourself as having yelled sooooo very much that you missed soooo very much. You saw yourself as just a yeller and nothing else. I am not sure that is the truth. Is that what your son experienced? Did he sometimes see you as a yelling parent? Yes. Do you wish that weren’t the case, does he wish that weren’t the case? Yes.

But do you know what else?
He didn’t just see you as a yelling parent.

Because even though you did yell more than you felt comfortable with and probably more than acceptable, you didn’t yell 24/7. You did a lot of other things too, a lot of great things that you shouldn’t regret for a moment. It is because of those great things that your son saw you as a parent who sure, used to yell, but who also used to and still does…

DSC_0810Give him kisses on his boo-boo’s.
Tuck him in at night.
Comfort him when he has a nightmare.
Play Candyland with him all night long.
Encourage him when he’s lacking confidence.
Take him apple picking.
Plan special birthday parties for him.
Teach him to do new things like riding a bike.
Help him with homework.
Laugh with him during water fights.
Advocate for him.
Teach him how to build a master Lego.
Throw footballs to him.
Love him fiercely in a way no other person could.

So dear self, please, please don’t beat yourself up about the past, about the moments you yelled. Yes, by all means remember the past just enough so that it continues to inspire you to daily work at being an Orange Rhino, but don’t hold onto the past so much that it is the only thing you see when you look at yourself as a mom. Those yelling moments aren’t the only moments that make up your journey as a mother. Those yelling moments don’t define you as a mom. The whole package defines you and the journey has just begun.”

community_v4Obviously I can’t go back two years and tell myself this to help me feel better and perhaps stop a few tears. But I can write it now so I can and share it here with all of you, so that is what I will do!

Dearest Orange Rhinos,
You aren’t an awful parent because you are struggling with yelling. You aren’t just a yelling parent, you are a heck of a lot more too! Don’t let yelling define you as a parent. Instead let how you find the strength, courage and determination to change, along with your fierce love and commitment to your kids define you.

Xoxo,
The Orange Rhino

challenge_theP.S. I write this now and in a few days, maybe weeks if I am lucky, I know I will begin to once again doubt myself as a parent and will focus on all I am doing “wrong” instead of seeing all that I am doing “right.” I know I will forget that all my inadequacies and mistakes as a parent don’t define me. I know I will forget that there is more to me as a parent than the negative stuff I love to highlight. And I know that I will forget that every day I tip the scale away from “yelling/cranky/not-doing-this-or-that-right” towards “Loving More” and that THAT is what really matters.

 

 

book_v4To learn more about how to tip your personal scale towards the “Love More,” side and to realize that yelling doesn’t define you, check out my new book due out this Saturday, November 1st! “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” is a 30-Day guide with 100 alternatives to yelling, simple steps to follow and honest stories to inspire you on your own journey to “Yell Less, Love More.” You can pre-order it here! 

Learning to “Yell Less, Love More”

TORC_logo_blogTour3-2

This post is the last in the “Yell Less, Love More” Blog Book Tour. I have been touched (and humbled) by every single story shared by the 23+ Orange Rhinos who participated. Thank you to all of them and thank you to you all for reading and supporting the writers. They each bravely share a very personal story and you all made them feel safe and not judgement. This last post needs it especially. Please give your love to “Island Mama,” a single mom to two beautiful children.

Who am I?  How did I become this angry, yelling idiot?  I grew up in a home where we were called “honey bunch” and “sweetie pie”.  I don’t ever remember being yelled at as a young girl.  I was spanked on the very rare occasion, but not yelled at.  My childhood home memories are of nothing but love and happiness.

I have always wanted to be a mother.  So much so, that I said that I would have children by myself if I wasn’t married by 30.  I always imagined myself in a loving marriage.  I would have a husband who was a loving and fully engaged father, just as my own father has always been.  I didn’t know any different…  So much for that plan!  I ended up in a crappy marriage with a man who was disengaged as a husband and a father.  A man who expected our son to listen to me at all times and who would get angry with ME when our beautiful, innocent son didn’t obey me (when he was 1-2 years old, may I add).  I’m pretty sure I started yelling at my son as an anxiety reaction.  I would get so worked up thinking about his dad’s angry reaction towards me for his disobedience.  When he wouldn’t listen, it was like I went into full-out fight or flight mode.  And I would yell….  

Things only got worse when we moved very far away from any type of family support network.  I was alone with my son 10 out of every 14 days with no friends and no family.  Let’s just say the yelling became engrained in our household fabric.  I was such a silly woman… I felt so much emptiness inside, so what did I do?  I got pregnant with baby #2.  He walked out 11 weeks into the pregnancy.  My son and I then moved home to be near family and my support network.

Here I am 5 years later.  My kids’ dad and I are now divorced and live on opposite sides of Canada, which leaves me as a completely single mother with little time to myself.  I haven’t been in a real relationship since the separation.  I have dated a bit, but have never involved the kids.  I’m not looking for sympathy by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s really bloody hard doing this job on your own!  I’m sure many of you reading this know exactly what I mean when I say that….  Unfortunately, I’m still yelling at my son.  The weird part?  I rarely yell at my now 4 year old daughter…  He’s 8 and this fact does not slip past him.  He sees that I’m different with her.  Part of me feels as though I can’t help it… which I know not to be true.  I’ve known for a long time that I need to change.  Then I found The Orange Rhino.  This amazingly brave woman who bares her soul to us is my inspiration every day.  In her story, I know that I, too, can stop yelling!

I started following The Orange Rhino’s story in early 2013.  I stumbled upon her Facebook page and felt an instant connection to her.  I signed up for a 30 day challenge via email in June of that year, but failed to complete the 30 days.  My children went to their father’s for the summer, and I gave up on the challenge.  I have continued to follow her blog via Facebook for the last 15 months.  When the call for emails to have a chance to review the book Yell Less, Love More: How the Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids – and How You Can Too! came up, I jumped on it.  The email challenge didn’t work so great for me.  I do much better when I have a physical object like a book to refer back to.  I was one of the lucky Yellers randomly chosen to partake in this extraordinary opportunity.  Here is my experience…

One of the first things that struck me about this book was the feeling I got when I started reading it.  It feels like you are sitting having a conversation in your home with Sheila, aka The Orange Rhino.  She has written her book in the same way she has written her blog…baring her soul…holding nothing back from us…just telling us the unbridled, raw truth.  Her complete honesty inspires the reader to be completely honest with yourself.  And boy, does that truth sting at times.  I lost count how many times this truth has brought me to tears over the last 30 days…And I’ve laughed almost as much as I’ve cried.  

There are only positives to this book.  It is set up as daily chapters of 3-4 pages each.  This is great for the busy, tired parent who doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to reading each day.  The daily tasks don’t take a lot of time, but are so very insightful.  One of the most important things asked of the reader is to track our yelling triggers…this is where we really see who is to blame for our yelling…us!  There is even a worksheet to keep all our trigger tracking in one place!  Each day, we are given revelations, actions and tips… these are fantastic, not to mention very useful!  There are also quotes each day that are extremely pertinent to this journey of “yelling less, loving more”.  Each and every one of them could be a personal mantra.

I have been forced to look deep into myself during this journey.  I know now that I am the reason I yell…not my kids.  I’m choosing to react to them how I do.  Whether it is consciously or subconsciously, I’m making the decision to yell. [pullquote]I have been forced to look deep into myself during this journey.  I know now that I am the reason I yell…not my kids.  I’m choosing to react to them how I do.  Whether it is consciously or subconsciously, I’m making the decision to yell.[/pullquote]  Most of the time, my “tank” is on empty.  I’m a pharmacist in one of the busiest pharmacies on the East Coast of Canada.  I have to give 100%+ every day at work and when I come home, my kids want even more of me.  I’m spent… I know I need to take care of me more, and I’m working on that…my gym membership has been bought and I’m working on adding more “me-time” into my evenings.  I know I have to give up on my self-pity for still being single after all these years…I have to love myself more, and remember that “I am enough”.  I have to embrace the little family I have and live in the moment.  I’m sure I won’t be alone forever, but until the time is right, “I am enough”!

I would love to say that I have been yell-free for more than a couple of days.  The truth is that I can’t seem to get past the third day.  But I keep trying!  My kids deserve it and I want to feel good about my relationships with each of them.  They are truly wonderful, loving children who are just that… children.  I can’t expect them to act like adults when they are 8 and 4.  Besides, I have to teach them how to become good adults, which means I have to practice better self-regulation.  Thanks to Yell Less, Love More: How the Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids – and How You Can Too!, I have the tools and insight to be the mother I have always wanted to be.  I have enjoyed every moment of this journey, even the tears.  This book is so worth reading…I highly doubt there will ever be a “yelling parent” who doesn’t feel the same way after reading this wonderful book!

book-squareIf my story has touched you at all, please share this post.  One of my readers who shares this post will receive a free copy of Yell Less, Love More.  Do it!  You won’t be disappointed. And if you don’t win it, you can order it here!

* * *

Thank you “Island Mama” for sharing your very, very touching story. Your vulnerability touched me and will stay with me.

 

Am I an Orange or Grey Rhino?

TORC_logo_blogTour3-2As I sit down to officially write my review of  “Yell Less, Love More,” I look back over my own life since I found Sheila McCraith’s web-site and how it has changed not only me, but my family as well.

Two years ago, my children were in first grade and kindergarten, I was teaching at a local school and my husband was working for a restaurant chain that called for him to be “at work” at least 65-70 hours a week. We were doing great, or at least I thought, when we were given a huge hurdle to cross.  My husband was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. Tension was at an all time high and to say we were worried, well that was an understatement.  Our family was in a downward spiral that I could not see us coming out of without many, many wounds.  I stumbled across the Orange Rhino Challenge web site one day and was almost too afraid to read any, but knowing if I did not, my children would become just another statistic of having divorced parents. I did not want that happening.  I began following Sheila’s blog and stayed up one sleepless night until 3am re-reading it all from the start.  Yes, I had to re-start a few times  and there have been days were I had to re-start more than once during the day, but The Orange Rhino Challenge has helped me by allowing my to be accountable to myself and not to make excuses as to why it’s OK to yell. [pullquote]I stumbled across the Orange Rhino Challenge web site one day and was almost too afraid to read any, but knowing if I did not, my children would become just another statistic of having divorced parents[/pullquote]

Fast forward two years and we are now cancer free, our children are blooming into amazing young people and we all have taken on a responsibility to one another to create a loving and caring home.

What will soon be available to you is an amazing book/study guide/diary/and mirror all rolled into one self help book.  Even that sentence does not do this piece of writing justice. This challenge has been my lifesaver on more than once occasion.

I am a very visual person and when it comes to this book as a study guide, I would read the end of the chapter that is titled Revelations, Actions, and Tips first so I knew what I was going to strive for that day, even before my feet would hit the floor for the day. There is a section that shows how to handle the situation depending on in you are level-headed, annoyed, or ready to blow-it that to me was priceless. Using this book as a diary, I was able to use the Today’s Actions sections as a time to reflect on my day and if it was an Orange Rhino day or one that was more Grey Rhino. I also treated this area as a mirror, so I could go back and examine past days looking for ways to have great actions and not reactions. logo-transparentThere is a Top 10 section as well as a FAQ that becomes a handy reference section allowing you  jump to an answer during those moments when you think “Bed time better happen soon or I’m going to loose it!” Turn here or the Triggers/Solutions section and feel yourself deescalating. This book also has great reprint-ables that allow you to keep track of your own triggers and a rhino on the back cover that now graces quite a few places in our house.

Lastly and honestly, the part of this entire book/challenge that makes it completely doable is the fact that there are so many others out there creating a community of care ands support that can offer a helping hand. The Blog as well as the Facebook page offer you the reader a listening ear and moral support with out fear of judgment.

I want to thank Sheila for having the courage to put this all out into the open where others can benefit from her experiences.

* * *

And I want to thank Christy for sharing her story with us!! Come join the wonderful Community that Christy is talking about by joining in the “Yell Less, Love More 30-Day Challenge Book Club” (read all about it here.) To pre-order the book, order from your favorite online book retailer here.

 

 

Yelling: The Unspoken Shame Among Parents

 

TORC_logo_blogTour3-2This guest post is part of the “Yell Less, Love More” Blog Book Tour! Thank you Suzanne for so bravely sharing your story and sharing an important message that Yelling Less isn’t just about having a better relationship with your kids, but also about having a better relationship with life in general!

I have always been hot tempered. I was the kid who threw my toys, the teenager with the dramatic outbursts, but by the time I graduated from college, I had control of myself. Or so I thought. When I first became a mother, it seemed like I totally had a handle on this mothering business. Pinterest had nothing on me! I was going to be a great mom! And then reality set in, about the time my first started walking and I became pregnant again. Oh, I learned some humility from toddlerhood!

So I realized I was not the perfect mom, by any stretch of the imagination. I was actually a mean mom. I yelled at my kids, and I hated myself for it, hated what it did to my boys, but I couldn’t seem to stop. Yet I knew I had to stop. For my boys. Because I am modeling behavior for them, and teaching them how to handle anger and frustration. I want to raise good, kind men. I want them to be better than me.

I started searching the internet late one night and happened upon the Orange Rhino Blog. Eureka! I found I was not alone with my burden or newfound goals. I dabbled in the Orange Rhino community and followed her on Facebook, but I had never fully immersed myself in all it means to be an Orange Rhino. I picked up bits and pieces of advice, but I’m one of those girls that need something tangible in hand. [pullquote]So I realized I was not the perfect mom, by any stretch of the imagination. I was actually a mean mom. I yelled at my kids, and I hated myself for it, hated what it did to my boys, but I couldn’t seem to stop.[/pullquote] One morning over (cold) coffee, I saw that she was extending the offer of doing a book review to all moms-not just those with blogs! I immediately reached out to Sheila, and I was randomly selected for the opportunity to read her book, “Yell Less, Love More,” before it was published! I couldn’t believe it! As soon as my book arrived, I literally tore open the package and began to read.

Sheila has a gift for writing that is so easy and open-it feels like talking with someone you know and could trust. She opens up with her own heartbreaking struggles, and it deeply touched me in so many meaningful ways. More than once, a poignant story she shared brought me to tears.   She mixes a touch of comedy with her endearing realness in describing her journey as the original Orange Rhino. Her story never comes across as pompous or superior, just another mom in the trenches, struggling to make it through the day. Or just breakfast.

Sheila’s book, “Yell Less, Love More,” is broken down into 30 easy to read sections, so you can take it day by day with your morning coffee or in huge swaths when you have the time. Each chapter has a relatable story, tips, actions to help you on your way, and inspiring quotes that embody the Orange Rhino goal. She includes a “Yelling Meter” to help you define what exacts constitutes yelling-from the nasty voice to yelling in an emergency.

The chapter on tracking triggers is the one that makes you take a long, ugly look at yourself to determine what it is that makes YOU yell-whether it’s a cluttered house or being hungry-which is painful and strangely cathartic. Because once you are aware of your triggers, you can work on managing or controlling them. [pullquote]Because once you are aware of your triggers, you can work on managing or controlling them. [/pullquote] There are even tracking sheets provided in the back of the book to help you get started. Realizing YOU are the problem (and not your kids being kids!) is a tough to stomach, yet necessary.

Each day has some clever advice in the “Today’s Tips”, like changing your password to reflect your goal-“yelllesslovemore”- and meaningful tips that actually work, like posting inspiring quotes (on orange sticky notes) or posting pictures of your children as babies around the house, which was perfect for me since I’m a very visual person. The book is filled with advice that will appeal to a wide range of personalities-it is definitely not a one size fits all approach, and she encourages you to find solutions that will work for you (I found that jumping in the kiddie pool was a perfect way to cool off and stop a yell!) It’s not the type of book you never want to open again once you have finished, and I’ve actually gone back and reread some of the chapters or flipped through for the tips for desperately needed ideas.

I wholeheartedly recommend Sheila’s book, “Yell Less, Love More,” to anyone struggling to stop the yelling. It seems yelling is the unspoken shame among many parents, and whenever I open up to other moms, my confession is always met with great relief that they are not alone. I definitely needed help to stop yelling at my kids, which is not something I’m proud of, but I am proud to be making a change, and this book has been instrumental in helping me implement that change. And it’s not just about stopping yelling, it’s about changing your whole outlook on life-and loving more.

November 1st BC ImagePre-order “Yell Less, Love More” by clicking here!

Curious in getting daily support from The Orange Rhino and a loving community? Join the “Yell Less, Love More 30-Day Challenge Book Club!” Read all about it here! 

* * *

Thank you Suzanne for such a beautiful piece, truly!