As back to school is near and I am preparing to send my second son off to a new school, my stomach is in all sorts of knots. I just went back and re-read two posts from when I took my first son to the first day of Kindergarten because I knew they would somehow bring me comfort. They both did. This one though, well, it really reminded me how important it is to keep on being an Orange Rhino right now during the tough back to school season!!!
211 days of not yelling, 154 days of loving more to go!
Dear Orange Rhino,
Um, I am failing to see the connection between not yelling and your post yesterday (read here) about your first three days of Kindergarten? You talk about feeling left behind and not wanting to let go but how the heck does that tie to the Challenge? Just curious.
Every once and a while I have a deep profound thought about how The Orange Rhino Challenge has positively impacted my life in a way I never expected. Tonight’s post about my son’s first day of Kindergarten attempts to express one of those thoughts.
As I watched my son walk away with someone else holding his hand, as I watched him leave me behind at the car to start a new part of his life, a new part where I couldn’t easily be a part of it like I could in pre-school, so many intense and conflicting emotions hit me at once that I truly hurt all over. I didn’t know what to feel, what to think, what to do but, well cry.
I was so overwhelmed with love and pride, oh how I love you sweet boy!
But also so overwhelmed with sadness, oh don’t leave me!
And so overwhelmed with disappointment, oh I didn’t cherish these young years enough!
The love and the sadness faded so quickly as the disappointment rolled in and took over my mind. Disappointment that my summer days filled with freedom to have strawberry daiquiris at our “beach” in the sandbox were over. Disappointment that my time with my son was going to start changing soon, that he was going to want to play with friends more and me less. That he was going to be with teachers more and me less. But the biggest disappointment, the one that hit me like a Mac truck? The disappointment in myself.
The disappointment that I had all summer and the 6 years prior to totally enjoy my son’s presence, to not have to really share him, and yet, I didn’t take advantage of that precious time, at least not to the extent I ever dreamed of or hoped for when I envisioned myself as a mom. Nope, much too much instead of appreciating him and appreciating OUR time together, I so often complained about him, about our time together.
Complaining that he doesn’t sleep well. Complaining that he is a picky eater. Complaining that his tantrums are unbearable. Complaining about this behavior or that behavior.
Complaining and yelling instead of loving.
Yes, in these last 6 years I have loved my son and I have enjoyed his presence but I am going to be honest. I could have enjoyed it more. I try not to regret decisions in my life, but right now there is a huge pang in my heart that I “slightly” regret not taking advantage of these last 6 years more. These early years were free of classes, teachers, homework, team practices and full of desire to be with me. Me. Me. Me. The days were full of opportunity to bond and now the days will be less full of opportunity to be with Me. Me. Me.
So yes, right now I wish that I had done my “to-do list” less, cleaned the house less, said go entertain yourself less, YELLED LESS and instead PLAYED MORE, LAUGHED MORE, SHARED MORE and LOVED my son more.
I know it is hard to enjoy every moment as a mom. Oh how I know! I have 4 beautiful reminders that take turns showing me how hard motherhood is and inspire me to not want to play with them at numerous moments throughout the day due to their lovely antics. And oh how those antics make it hard to stay in the present and not dwell on the crap that comes with motherhood.
But today, today, oh how I wished I tried harder to complain less and enjoy more. Because then today as I dropped my son off at Kindergarten I wouldn’t be thinking “darnit, there he goes. These precious young, fleeting years are really starting to go behind me and I didn’t enjoy them enough because I was too busy complaining.”
I am so grateful for it.
The Orange Rhino Challenge is forcing me to be more positive about my children because getting caught up in the crap well, makes me feel crappy and makes me yell. And when I am positive about them, get this, I feel more love and enjoy my time with them more.
The Orange Rhino Challenge is forcing me to be more present with my children because when I don’t, when I get caught up in my daily crap instead of caught up with them, I get snippy with them for “interrupting” me and get close to yelling. And when I am more present with them, get this, I have more fun with them and enjoy my time with them more.
The Orange Rhino Challenge is forcing me to be more patient and understanding with my children during massive meltdowns because when I am not, well, then I have to employ just about every of my 100 alternatives to yelling! And when I am more patient with them, get this, not only do I appreciate their struggles more but I also cherish the moment, and them, more.
Not yelling is helping ME take advantage of my time with my babies. It is helping me to enjoy their presence more. It is helping me to feel less regrets about the time I spend with them. Looking back, I might feel I have missed a lot of the last 6 years but at least this Challenge has helped me appreciate the last 211 days more. And I’ll take that. It’s a start. And I really hope it continues.
When I started this challenge in February I posted a question to people about how to be more present stating that I want to be more present with my kids, that I want to enjoy time my time with my kids more. People suggested several books. I haven’t read them yet, I haven’t had time.
Turns out I didn’t need them. I figured out one solution on my own. Not yelling.
I write all about how I successfully reduced the yelling in my life in my new book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” A 30-day guide with 100 alternatives to yelling, simple steps to follow and honest stories to inspire you on your own journey, “Yell Less, Love More” hits shelves this October. Pre-order it today though to guarantee the lowest price before launch! Click here to find your favorite online book retailer selling the book!