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