An unexpected ending…

233 days of not yelling, 132 days of loving more to go!

Dear Internet World, again,

My name is The Orange Rhino and I don’t yell at my kids (anymore). I stopped yelling at them 233 ish days ago and I have no intentions of turning back.

Every night (more or less) before I started The Orange Rhino Challenge my husband would come home and ask me how the day went. Was it good? Was it bad? Or it was it outright ugly? I just about never really wanted to engage in the conversation to be honest. Mostly because I knew the conversation would sadly go like this:

“The day was mostly good. #1 did this #2 did that #3 did this and #4 did that. But I yelled. I yelled more than I wanted today.” I would then annoyingly go on and on about my maternal guilt and personal disappointment and dwell on the bad part of the day instead of the good.

My husband would listen intently, and lovingly tell me, “It’s okay. Tomorrow is another day. You’ll do better. The boys know you love them. Hang in there.”

And then as he headed to change out of his work clothes I would stop, think and debate whether or not to tell him, to ADMIT to him, about the one really bad screaming fit I had that day; the one that mortified me. The one that I was so ashamed of that I didn’t even have the guts to tell my husband. My loss of self control, my being a mom I never wanted to be, and certainly not the mom my husband would want me to be. Because well sometimes it is too embarrassing (and scary?!) to admit to certain behaviors.  

But for the last 233 days I haven’t had to have that mental debate with myself. I haven’t even spent the night trying to avoid the “how was the day” question. I actually initiate the chat.

Instead of sitting at the kitchen counter looking pouty and beat up from the day as I recount to my husband the day’s DOWNS and some ups, I am often the one jumping in with, gasp, a little smile and pep in my voice, as I share the day’s UPS and few downs.

I no longer spend the entire night’s check-in focusing on me and my guilt, focusing on what the kids did wrong instead of “right.” Instead I now NATURALLY focus on the funny things the kids did, the sweet things, the seriously-are-you-kidding-me things. Sure, I share some frustrating things too, but even those I share with a different tone. The tone of anger is gone and has been replaced with concern or simple frustration. What a NICE CHANGE. What a nice, nice change. I honestly attribute this change to learning not to yell. Either that or there is something in the water I’ve been drinking!

No seriously, I know it sounds cheesy, and perhaps I am looking through rose colored glasses, but I really think this change in how I reflect upon my day is a result of not yelling.

In not yelling, I have less* to complain about in regards to my parenting.

In not yelling, I feel less* mama guilt which makes me feel lighter and happier which surprisingly, to me at least, makes me see, seek, and share joyful moments more than before.

In not yelling, I have learned that to keep my desire to yell at bay I need to let go more* often of the negative feelings towards my boys’ negative behavior which again surprisingly, at least to me, makes me feel lighter and happier and again makes me see, seek, and share joyful moments more than before.

In not yelling, life is less negative and more positive. Across the board.

My night time chats with my husband used to be a real downer and therefore a real waste of quality time with him. Now we actually connect over my daily download. We share laughs. We share “shakes of the heads” in agreement that wow, our life is a circus, a fun loving one, but still an outright circus. And we share moments of concern about our kids but even those are more positive moments. Because I am not pouty and focusing on me and my faults I am actually present and more open to the discussion about how we need to help our kids.

Our conversations used to always make me feel crappy afterwards.

Kind of like yelling.

Not yelling makes me feel more connected to my kids.

And I guess it makes me feel more connected to my husband too.

I used to go to bed, full of hope for a better day tomorrow and still full of guilt for how that day went down and full of fear that I’ll lose it again tomorrow. I used to go to bed mentally preoccupied and frustrated and disconnected to my husband because I wasted the night being moody.

Now more often than not I go to bed after laughing about some other memory from the day.

Yeah, I would say learning not to yell has been good for me. And my marriage.

My name is The Orange Rhino, and I will go 365 days straight without yelling at my kids because I am doing better, I still want to keep doing better, and because my kids AND my husband deserve better.

*Emphasis on less and more. I am not perfect. I still have my moments, rest assured. Like my boys, I am a work in progress! 

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