I used to hide the fact that I yelled at my boys because I felt like I was the only parent out there who yelled more than she/he pleased. I mean, why share my weakness so I could feel even weaker in comparison to all the other clearly perfect, super-pulled-together and patient parents?
I used to hide the fact that I yelled at my boys because I feared that if I shared my secret that I would be ridiculed and judged by said perfect parents. And besides, let’s be real. Yelling is just one of those parenting topics that isn’t delved into deeply at play dates or date nights because no one wants to talk about it…because so many of us do it and so many of us carry the shame and guilt! Who wants to bring up such a heavy conversation during a fun time? Not I said The Orange Rhino. Yes, in my experience, “yelling at your kids” is a taboo, off-limits subject that you loosely laugh about, “hahaha, I yelled today, who doesn’t” but don’t really talk about, “yeah, I yelled, and I hate myself for it” because it is just too hard, too uncomfortable to talk about!
I used to hide the fact that I yelled at my boys because well, because I felt so incredibly ashamed and disappointed in myself; both for yelling and for not being able to stop said yelling! I didn’t want to admit to anyone how much I struggled because I knew that “going public” would just make my struggle more real, more embarrassing, and more importantly that it would push, no demand, me to actually change. I didn’t want to try to change again because I didn’t want to fail…again.
Yes, I used to hide the fact that I yelled at my boys because it was easier and safer than sharing my dark, ugly, guilt-ridden parenting secret with anyone. Hiding my secret so often left me feeling alone, screwed-up, and sad. I yearned to talk about it, to ask for advice from friends, to find support from my family, but I hesitated because I worried that I might just end up feeling more alone, more screwed-up, and more sad. So I kept my secret hidden for a good couple of years.
During those years I cried myself to sleep sometimes because I felt so awful that I said good-night to my boys on a “yell-filled” note instead of an “I really love you note.” I cried to my husband because I felt such anger at myself that I had become a yelling parent, something I never in a thousand years dreamed I would be. I cried to my mom because I felt such frustration that I couldn’t get my act together and just stop yelling already. And I cried to my boys after I yelled…again…and again when all I wanted to do was find patience, calm, and love.
Now, to be clear. I didn’t yell around the clock, 24-7. Maybe I lost my cool a few times a week. To be honest, I have no sense of how much I exactly yelled. I just have a very strong sense that it was too much for me; for my kids. I had the strong sense that I didn’t want to yell anymore; that I didn’t like how it made me or the kids feel. So I decided to change. I decided to come out of hiding and find the support I knew I needed.
Of course, I didn’t come completely out of hiding. I created the name “The Orange Rhino” for myself to not only protect my children but also to give me a name to inspire me to not ell for 365 days. Rhinos are naturally calm animals that charge when provoked (um hello?! Yep, I totally charge with my words.) And the color orange, well that was to remind me to be warm and to give me the energy and determination to keep it together and succeed! I have loved being anonymous – not because I am hiding, but because it has allowed many others to read my story and feel it is his/her story as well. Without a name or face, what I share isn’t just mine, it is ours.
Tomorrow that will change. I will officially put my face out there. I will not lie, I am nervous. I knew this day would come but I just didn’t think it would come with only 24 hours notice and not a lot of time to prepare me, my family, or well, this Community! But, I am also excited because I truly believe in this Community and I want to talk about it louder and wider so that we can reach more people and hopefully help a couple of parents fall to sleep at night with a happy feeling instead of a huge pit in his/her stomach from “crap, I yelled again,” guilt!
And to be honest, I am excited because it means I can really push the conversation about yelling. I can hopefully encourage people to start talking more about his/her struggles with yelling so that we, as a collective parenting community around the world, can learn from each other, get support, and well, find comfort knowing that we aren’t the only ones struggling! Parenting is hard. Period. Parenting with hidden struggles is that much harder. And who needs harder? I know I don’t! So lets talk about yelling. Talking about sex is so “been there done that!” Okay, bad pun. But you know what I mean! It is time to talk about a new subject without embarrassment.
It is time to talk freely and comfortably about yelling so we can help each other.
Okay, call me idealistic, but I so very much hope that sharing my face and no longer hiding will help take the “yelling conversation” out of hiding too. I so very much hope that our Community, our supportive, nonjudgmental, and resourceful Community, will continue to spread the word about “Yelling Less and Loving More” so that talking about yelling is no longer taboo, but tolerated. No, scratch that.
So that talking about yelling is no longer taboo, but totally welcomed and appreciated.
Want to “Talk Yelling” with me for the next 30 days? Do you want support to get started to yell less and love more? Join my 30 Day Challenge starting WEDNESDAY, January 22nd. Click here to learn more and sign up!