How does it feel NOT yelling at my kids for 56 days?

56 days down, 309 to go! 

Dear Neighbor,
You asked me how it feels to not yell for 56 days. Are you sure you want the answer? The real answer?

Prepare Yourself,
The Orange Rhino

*

Yesterday I told you not yelling felt great. Amazing.
And it does. More than most of the time.
In the beginning I told you it made my kids listen more.
And it does. More than most of the time.
But I can’t lie.
Sometimes not yelling doesn’t feel amazing because sometimes
my kids don’t listen more.
Because they are kids.
And just like me, they have good days and bad days.
And during those moments when they don’t listen,
I mean REALLY DON’T LISTEN and it feels like they are all giving me the middle finger  and don’t give a hoot what I have to say…
I want to yell.
I want to yell because Yelling used to be my go-to parenting method when all else failed.
And it always worked. It always got my kids to stop and listen.
Because it scared them.  And I don’t want to scare my kids. I love them.
And so I can’t yell.
And it turns out, I can’t even cry…

This afternoon was brutal. Change is coming to the Orange Rhino Household and mommy is anxious, and overwhelmed, and nervous, and scared, and sad. The list goes on and on and on. And my boys sense it. When I am anxious #1 is twice as anxious and his response is to be over silly and hyper and to not listen which of course gets #2 and #3 acting the same way. The three feed off of each other and the house goes from acceptably calm and quiet for having 4 boys in it to loud, rambunctious, and intolerable. Simply stated, if mommy shows signs of being anxious, even if she isn’t yelling, then my household spirals into a world of chaos. A world where I feel like I have no control, no power, and I just want the madness to stop.

And today I just wanted to cry. I stood in the middle of the chaos surrounding me – my boys running around yelling and my to-do list yelling at me to get to it – and I wanted to cry. I wanted to bawl. I wanted all my feelings of being overwhelmed to pour out of me and be gone. But I couldn’t.

The tears wouldn’t come.

I was pissed. I felt cheated. How come my boys can release their anger, their frustration, their anxiety via a good ‘ole fashioned temper tantrum, with tears pouring out, and I can’t? I was pissed I couldn’t cry and I was pissed I couldn’t yell. Because both would have made me feel better and I couldn’t do either.

Harrumph.

What did the situation feel like?

I felt weak, truly. I felt like I could just collapse.
I don’t think I could have even screamed if I wanted too, I was so tired.
I felt overwhelmed.
I felt desperate.
I felt hopeless. Powerless.
I felt defeated.
I guess you could say I felt pretty sh*tty.
All I wanted to do was cry.
And the tears wouldn’t even come.
I couldn’t yell and I needed to release.

I couldn’t move my legs to stomp out my frustration because they were too weak from walking back and forth, room to room, talking directly to my boys to try to get the desired behavior. My legs were too weak from going up and down the stairs bringing #1 to his room to cool down, again and again.

I couldn’t even whisper because I was tired of trying to communicate.

I couldn’t even bring myself to get the camera because well, what was the point? The kids were running around me in a whirlwhind, a camera wouldn’t catch them, there wasn’t a photo that would make me laugh.

I couldn’t even take deep breaths because my heart was beating so fast from my blood boiling.

I felt hopeless. Powerless.
I felt defeated.
And all I wanted to do was yell.
Because I knew that would work.
I knew it would stop my kids dead in their tracks.
It would demand they give me attention. It would demand that they listen to me.

If only for a moment.
One moment.
But then the tears would come. Not mine, but theirs.
And with it the guilt, theirs and mine.
So I knew I couldn’t yell. And I didn’t know what else to do.
I didn’t know how to stop the madness.
And so all I wanted to do was cry.
And the damn tears wouldn’t come.
They wouldn’t free me from my feelings.
They wouldn’t let me body release the frustration it felt.

So I stood still, paralyzed by frustration.

I stood still.

And suddenly I stopped trying to control the situation. I stopped trying to control their behavior. And I started trying to control MYSELF. I searched for calm. And clarity.  And tried hard to not pull out my hair or throw something across the room in the process.

Clarity came first. Get a book. Just start reading. They will come.
And I did.
And they did.
And then the calm came.
I survived another whirlwind of boys’ insanity without yelling.
Phew.

*

So how do I feel not yelling for 56 days?

Well at the beginning of this post tonight I’d say I felt powerless.

Because yelling gave me power to handle and stop the most difficult situations. And without it…I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to discipline when the going gets really tough without saying mean things and raising my voice to a ridiculously loud level. And it is REALLY frustrating. So frustrating that the tears wouldn’t even come because my body was so tense. And it kind of sucks to realize that. To realize how heavily I relied on yelling.

But, wait, I just realized something else. LOVE when that happens. I DO know what to do. Don’t yell. Stand still. Just stand still and wait until composure finds me. Because it will. Because I want it to find me. And when there is a will, there is a way. And boy am I glad it did find me. Because really, choosing not to yell and following through, feels pretty amazing. In fact, I don’t feel powerless anymore, I feel powerful.

What do you do when you feel like you have lost control of your household? Do you yell? If not, please tell me your secret! Do you stand still? Do you get a book? What do you do when all. Else. Fails?! Comment below…

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7 thoughts on “How does it feel NOT yelling at my kids for 56 days?

  1. I to turn on music and that gets the kids to at least pause. The honest answer is the music is my new orange rhino trick… I used to ignore them when it got really bad and just let them tire themselves out. Ignoring them meant going to the bedroom and laying there listening to the chaos and feeling powerless to do anything…wanting to cry and wondering why I am such a failure. Thank you for sharing….it helps knowing I am not alone.

  2. Orange Rhino, I gotta say, you are one inspiring mama… I was introduced to your challenge 27 days ago. I completed day 1 once (my 4th day). I am reading your posts from the beginning, and while almost every one brings tears to my eyes (because I can relate to every ounce of what you have written), this one is me. I too, feel hopeless, powerless, and defeated every day, every hour. Except that I’m still yelling 🙁 and I’ve known for a long while that it only makes everything worse. I want to thank you, orange rhino, for having the courage to lay it all out on the line for complete strangers, for sharing your complete honesty. Even if you think your words don’t come out the way you want them to, your message comes across loud and clear. Thank you

    • This is how I am too Stacie. I feel alone and powerless to stop yelling which makes everything worse most of all how I feel about myself. I feel like I am the worst mom ever. I feel like I am destroying my kids’ future and self esteem. I had to go on bp med this week which makes me feel more pathetic-overweight and out of shape. I am tired and overwhelmed. By reading these posts I don’t feel so alone but still feel bad that I haven’t been able to go more than a couple of days without losing control and yelling.

  3. Wow, I thought I was the only one that felt that way. As I sat here and read this it hit me to the core. I feel this way! I’m so thankful for this blog, I’m thankful that I’m not alone. I’m thankful that there are other mommies out there trying to do things right and make things better.

  4. My friend hooked me up,with OR about a month or 2 ago and I read from time to time and I am impressed. I have never been impressed enough to find the courage to stop yelling until today’s post.
    It really struck me in a new way. I could relate 100%. I am envious that you have a place to go to tell your stories and be supported. I have 3 children and both my husband and I yell, a lot. I am firmly committing to not yelling today, Day 1. I have you and your readers to thank! I have a feeling I will be reading and listening to a ton of music today…..

  5. I’m almost 70 however, don’t let that fool u in 2 thinking it’d been awhile 4 me bcuz I raised my children as a single parent & THEN I raised my 1st grandchild as a single grandma. So I have been doing this thing we refer to as “parenting” since 1973. That grandchild I have been privileged to raise is now 19 & a sophomore in a very reputable Christian university via his earned scholarships. Now, what did I do instead of yell…..PRAY. I also read spiritual materials including the Bible. It has not always been this way for me. In fact, this spirituality did not come to me until I was 60 yrs old. However, you younger moms can start earlier than I did & please believe me when I tell you, you cannot go wrong with praying in place of yelling or as I’ve heard it put: “PUSH”…Pray Until Something Happens. I hope this helps someone.

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