Mommy needs a hug.

207 days without yelling, 158 days of loving more to go!

Dear Orange Rhinos,

I am at my breaking point! My baby is teething and hasn’t stopped fussing since 630. My 3 year old hasn’t stopped whining since the same time. My insomniac 4 year old has been up since 4 am and is bouncing between the walls when excited and the floor when exhausted.  And my 6 year old is so anxious about Kindergarten that he is going between bawling and asking the same questions over and over about Kindergarten. Everyone needs me and I am having a hard time keeping it together! Does anyone have any strength or patience to spare? If so, please send it to me!

Many thanks,
The Orange Rhino


Quite frankly, sometimes, four kids is too much to handle. And it gets to me. Like really gets to me. And I find myself ready to scream because I just can’t handle the intensity of four needy children at once. Especially when I have my own crap going on. Like not sleeping well either because I too am nervous, and sad, as in wicked nervous and wicked sad, that Kindergarten is starting. Like feeling anxious about some health issues going on in my family. Like feeling worried about some adult challenges and changes facing me right now.

Yeah, I kind of have a lot on my mind trying to keep it together amidst 4 crying/screaming/emotional kiddos wears on me. I just want to scream ENOUGH! Enough of the bad news. Enough of the change. Enough of the worrying. Enough of not feeling I am a good enough mom, a good enough person, a good enough friend. Enough of the CHAOS, mental and literal!!! I just need some peace and quiet.

This morning if I didn’t get some peace and quiet, I was gonna lose it. And I mean full on, full throttle, out right, bloody lose it. I was going to go absolutely bat shit at my four kids. And I didn’t want to go there because I knew it wouldn’t be just a yell. It would be a raging scream where my face turns bright red. It would be the release of all the crazy pent up emotion I am feeling and it would be the size of the angst I am feeling. Nope, I definitely did NOT want to unleash that on my kids.

How did I know it was going to be that big? I felt my heart racing. My palms were sweating and the cold water wasn’t cooling me down. I was snapping left and right at silly things. I just felt like I was going to burst. Truly.

So I did what I could do. I put the baby to nap a few minutes early and I sent the other three boys to the basement to play without supervision. I knew this was a risk. A gigantic one. I knew it meant tears would ensue and that every toy bin would be turned upside down and it would look like a war zone but I determined that was a better option than mommy losing it.

And then I went to my computer. And I wrote to you all. And I immediately, and I mean IMMEDIATELY, felt the angst slowly release. Why is that? How does that work? Truly I think just going to my Orange Rhino Facebook Page reminded me of my commitment  to love my kids more, it reminded that I can do it. That I WANT to not yell. I pressed “Post” and perspective found me.

I needed to find love with my kids. I wasn’t angry at them or with them. I was just overwhelmed with emotion and I was keeping it inside, again. I was playing this little silly game of “let’s see how long I can pretend nothing is on my mind, let’s see how long I can be in denial of some big things on my mind, let’s see how long I can put on a show that I am all pulled together but really I am unraveling second by second before I explode.”

Yeah, totally stupid game. I NEVER WIN.

At that moment, all I needed was a hug. Just some reassurance that it will all be okay, that I will get through this overwhelming moment in my life. And I knew just the place to find it.

I headed downstairs to the warzone.

“Okay guys, mommy needs a hug, like a really, big, gigantic, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious hug”

“What’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? And why do you need a hug? We’re busy!”

“Never mind super blah blah blah. Bad choice of words. I am cranky and need to snap out of it, how is that for an answer?”

“Oh, okay.”

I kick some legos to the left, some blocks to the right, some costumes towards the wall and some balls behind me to make room on the basement floor and plop a squat almost as ungracefully as I handled the morning.

#2 ran towards me and squeezed me hard. The tension started to fade. Then #3 snuggled into my lap and being the little Casanova that he is, he put his hand on my face and gave me a kiss on the lips. And last but not the least #1 ran over and jumped on me from behind, wrapping both his legs and his arms around me, squeezing my tension out and making sure it was gone by saying “We love you mommy.”

And I felt better. Not 100% but better. And then you all posted words of encouragement every few hours and I felt even better. And I made it through the day.

Thank you…

200 Days of Loving MOMENTS.

200 days of not yelling, 165 days of loving more to go!
(So this was written days ago but my computer wasn’t feeling the love until now….)

Dear Orange Rhinos,

200 days.

2.0.0. days. Wow. That’s a lot of days not yelling. A lot of moments not yelling. I should have started off the day ecstatic, jumping for joy. But to be honest, I started the day pretty bleh about the potential achievement.

Until I saw this.

“(name) Mom Love.” An Orange Rhino. For me. Just for me. I might not make it to 365 days but I will ALWAYS know that my almost 6 year old son believed in me. And that we shared this moment. And that makes this Challenge worth it.

And this.

My 4 years old’s own Orange Rhino sign (he traced the one I made for him to hold up when I got cranky). See below.
















And finally, this.

My Orange breakfast to “make you smile mommy.” Carrots, gold fish and Vitamin Water I keep in case I want to yell.

Really? My boys did this all on their own without daddy’s help? I was flabbergasted. For everything I feel I am doing wrong as a mom, for one MOMENT, three really, I realized, holy sh*t, I am actually doing something right. In taking on this challenge, I am teaching my kids to support someone going after a goal, a dream. I am teaching my kids to be MORE LOVING.

Oh wait, there is more.

This conversation summed the morning up:

“Mommy, what’s wrong?”

“Well #1 I called the local radio statio today to tell them about 200 days and The Orange Rhino Challenge Day. You see, someone did that on Day 100 and it made me really happy so I thought today I would try to do the same.”

“Did you get on the radio?”

“Kind of. I talked to the DJ but didn’t get on the radio.”

“Oh, you didn’t win the contest?” (He thinks everyone who calls the radio is trying to win a contest.)

“No, I didn’t win.”

SILENCE. I can see the gears turning.

“But mommy, didn’t you already WIN because of The Orange Rhino gifts we gave you. Right?”

Oh. My. God. YES! Yes, yes, yes my sweet son! Why did it take my 6 year old to put things in perspective for me? Why did it take him to teach me to be grateful for what I do have instead of being sad for what I didn’t get? Because kids are pretty darn amazing, that’s why.

My son is totally right.

I already have won.

Because we had THAT Moment.  A moment that will be a memory of mine forever. That I will cherish forever. That I will tell my grandchildren some day when I am talking to them about their daddy.

And that moment happened all because I didn’t yell “GOSH DARNIT YOU KNOW YOU DON’T GO DOWNSTAIRS WITHOUT ME!!!” when I heard #1, #2, and #3 running downstairs early this morning before they had a chance to tell me “we’re doing something special for you.”

All because I didn’t yell “OH MY GOSH STOP!” when I heard things falling out of the fridge while I was changing a diaper because I knew in their heart of hearts they were just trying to do something nice.

All because I didn’t yell “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING? CLEAN UP THAT MESS!” when I saw the entire cupboard of plates being emptied in search of just the orange plates because I knew it would crush their hearts.

All because I didn’t yell I received those beautiful gifts from my boys, I received that moment, that precious memory.

And that is what The Orange Rhino Challenge is about. It’s about LOVING MORE so I can have MORE LOVING MOMENTS.  Sure, when I look back at the end of my 365 days I am going to be proud that I went 365 days without yelling but what I am going to remember and truly cherish are moments like today. Moments where I let my relationships with my sons became that much more special because I didn’t yell.  

So if you are taking the challenge and feeling defeated because you can’t go a day or longer or meet a goal you have set for yourself, think about at least ONE loving moment you have had because you didn’t yell. Cherish that one moment, that memory that you will have forever. I KNOW you all have at least one moment where you Loved More and Yelled Less. Be grateful for that moment because no one can take it away. And be excited for the future when you will have MORE of those Loving Moments because they will come.  They will come. They will come.

I have had a lot more Loving Moments these last 200 days and for that I am grateful. In fact, because my life has been filled with more love and less anger, I am finding myself not only a happier person but also one who wants to give more to others .

So in honor of The 2nd Orange Rhino Challenge Day, despite my pledge to donate only if 200 people participated, I am STILL going to donate $200.00 to Habitat for Humanity. I want to create a happy moment for someone else, just as my son did for me this morning and just as you all do for me whenever you read something I write and indirectly support me in my promise to my kids. This Challenge has given me so much – you all have given me so much – it is only right to give back somehow.

Thanks for reading,
The Orange Rhino