The Orange Rhino Charges Towards the Future

Hi! As you know, I have been evolving. As I learned to yell less, I learned that the real secret was making sure that I was in a good place. And as I learned to be in a good place, I learned that my life needed to support my ability to stay in a good place!

That said, The Orange Rhino® is a huge piece of that and I need help figuring out how to get it to where I want it to go in the future! I can’t do it alone. You all have been a huge part of the community getting to where it is today – it only makes sense that you are a part of where it goes now! I have loads of ideas and dreams and I want you all to come along with me. Your input really matters to me. I don’t need a lot of time. Whatever you can give, awesome!

I am imagining small brainstorming calls. Maybe a few surveys. And I am imagining giving out some of the stuff we create 🙂

Share your info below and I will be in touch soon, Sheila-timeline-soon! In the meanwhile, please feel free to message me any wishes, hopes, dreams you have for The Orange Rhino community. How can I help you?! What topics beyond yelling matter to you? What products would interest you?

All my best always, and forever grateful, and I mean that!

Sheila a.k.a The Orange Rhino.Or is it The Orange Rhino, a.k.a Sheila. See? I need you!!!

The Orange Rhino® Charges Towards the Future Team!

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Gaining Teenagers, Losing Family Traditions

Today is oddly tough for me. It marks the beginning of the end of many traditions. I shouldn’t say end. I should say it marks the beginning of many changes. But sometimes changes feel like the end, don’t they?

Stone Harbor, NJ.

We first went there July 2009, a week after July 4th. Only two kiddos at this point. The place we rented was so god-awful and so bad that we literally almost left after two days. But, on day three of dealing with the smell of the apartment and kids being off-schedule, the tides turned and the beauty of the beach and the town had won us over. It was worth staying.

Fast forward one year, my kiddos were now 10 months, 2, and 3.5 ish. We decided to try again. We found a better place to rent but the only week available was late June, ending on July 5th. It felt a little early for a beach vacation in NJ; high risk of cold weather and definitely a cold ocean. But if we didn’t want a stenchy smelling apartment, this was the option. So we went with the date, hoping for the best. And well…

We, and then I, went back every week that included July 4th for the next twelve years. Thirteen years straight I have spent at the beach on July 4th watching massive fire work displays over the ocean. One year I think got rained out? That is it.

Today I am in NJ. But not at the beach.
And I am full on sad.
And I had a little meltdown about it yesterday, akin to the kind my kids had when I started going to the beach with them years ago and it was time to leave. Or the kind of meltdown they had when a seagull swooped in and took a potato chip or sandwich from their little pudgy fingers. Or the kind of meltdown they had when their beloved sand castle suddenly got washed away by a wave that came out of nowhere. My meltdown, their meltdowns, all understandable and all about the same things. Loss. Sadness. Disappointment. And all meltdowns stemming from the same place – have experienced joy.

Today, today we are home because two of my boys now have summer jobs and going away this week wasn’t possible. Last summer July 4th was a Monday so we made it work. We did a long weekend at a hotel and then drove home at 5 am on July 5th. Not possible this year. And I am sad. I am sad for losing what started July 4th, 2010 and I am sad for what starts today, July 4th, 2023.

What starts today?
Independence Day, in a way, parent/teenager style.

What starts today?
My boys having even more of their independence, their responsibilities, their summers, their plans, their schedules, their lives.

What starts today?
Family traditions changing to reflect my kids becoming even closer to young adults living independently.

Sure, traditions have slowly been changing as my kids and family changed. Thanksgiving started being celebrated every other year on a different day when I divorced. Santa Claus suddenly took on a new meaning when my kids became older. Summer vacation started ending two weeks earlier to accommodate pre-season sports. Weekends started filling up with more time face-timing with friends than having actual face time with me.

So yeah, I guess this “independence day” has been in the works for a while. But those moments, as hard as they have been, didn’t explode my heart like today. There is something so extra real and in my face about today. Something about jobs and responsibilities being the reason for our family change that just has my heart knowing it needs to take hold and hang on…that this is just the beginning of many changes to come. Years ago we didn’t want to change weeks at the beach because it was a risk and look what happened. Here I am upset that I am losing that exact change.

And so I take note.
Change can feel like the end.
It can feel risky.
And it can be beautiful and wonderful too.

So, today I am holding on and embracing the change the best I can….with full blown tears when no one is watching and probably when they are watching too. I am grateful that all my boys are here, in my home, and we can still celebrate together and I can still make them put on the Old Navy 4th of July shirts like I do every single year since 2010.

We will do the traditions we did at the beach and be together, just without the sand. So it isn’t all bad. And I will wake them up early (and they will be thrilled, insert sarcasm) and take them out to the diner for ice cream and waffles as we would if at the beach. And tonight we will have the same meal we have every year: hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob with loads of butter. And then we will do sparklers. And for good measure, my boys will bicker to make the day feels like every year 😉

I will adapt and adjust today to make new memories and to make the most of what I do have – all of us together.

It isn’t the end, end. It is just the end of one tradition, to make way for new ones that are yet to be created.

Sending warmth and strength to you today…and all the Independence Days of Parenting that follow for those of us with teenagers…

How I Stayed Motivated When I Wanted to Quit

“Are we there yet?” Except it wasn’t my kids saying it, it was me thinking it, which believe it or not, is just as exhausting to hear! Why? Because the real question I was asking, “Am I there yet? Am I done?” I was exhausted responding to my mental questioning and trying to keep myself motivated.

I just didn’t have it in me yesterday.

I love my walks, truly, especially this time of year but yesterday for some reason, I just couldn’t fully get into it and well, I just wanted to take a short cut and go home. I was getting bored. I was getting antsy. I was slowing down. Even my favorite podcast wasn’t motivating me.

I just wanted to stop pushing myself to achieve my goal of an hour towards a healthier me. But did I really? No, of course I didn’t. But oh I was close. The stairs to home were right there. Calling me, “Come on Sheila, come home. It’s all good.” It would have been easy to just go left, climb the stairs, and call it a day. But then I would have been disappointed in myself and that wouldn’t have been easy.

Just then, a woman ran past me on the track, from the other direction. And it hit me, what if, what if instead of “giving up early” or “short cutting” what if I just changed direction? What if all I need to keep going was a new view, a new perspective? What if I turned around and simply started walking the other direction, following the woman?

So I did.

And wow. Same place. Same track. Same me. New view.


Expansive view.

Peaceful view.

I found myself re-motivated to keep going. And going. And going. I finished my hour easily. And with so much satisfaction and pride.

I didn’t short cut my goal (or myself); I achieved it – all I had to do was change direction.

This realization was powerful, and simple, and well, familiar. So often on the way to achieving goals, I get stuck. When I do, it is hard to remember to change it up, to try something new, to find a new perspective. But when I do, voila! My mind opens and I become unstuck and I reach a new level of motivation or problem solving.

If you are trying to yell less…
and finding yourself wanting to give up, don’t give up on the goal, just change direction. Perhaps choose a new trigger to work on. Or choose a new mantra to help you in tough moments. Or start giving yourself grace if you haven’t yet, remembering you are human and the goal isn’t perfection. Just try something new.

If you are trying to improve your connection with your teens…
and want to give up and accept it will always be this way, don’t give up on the goal of a close connection, just change direction. Perhaps try a new time of day to connect. Or a new means of communication, perhaps a hand written note? Perhaps over Dunkin’ coffee instead of in the house? Or simply cook a favorite meal that says, “I love you” and leave it at that.

If you are trying to achieve a life goal…
and you want to give up, don’t give up on the goal, just change direction. And this is where I am struggling so these next words should be interesting and fun to read. Perhaps I should try a new perspective. Perhaps I am looking at the challenges I am facing in the wrong light. Perhaps I need to add some new tools to my motivation and resilience mindset. Perhaps I need to simply slow down and accept the speed of the process, much like I appreciated the view around me as I walked the new direction. Hmmmm….

Whatever meaningful goal you are going after, itsy-bitsy, small, big, gargantuan, if you feel like giving up on it, don’t.

Simply change direction, change your mindset.

Same goal, new approach.

It won’t be easy, but then again, not going after a goal that matters to you won’t be easy either.

(And yes, there are times when our heart knows that it is indeed time to stop or even to take a pause, a break. That isn’t giving up. That is honoring your instinct and yourself. Your heart will know which direction to go. Trust it. And yes, Sheila, read your own words and take them to heart, will you?!)

Sending warmth and strength to you today and always,
Warmth because it is Monday and who doesn’t need some warmth at the beginning of a week?
Strength because going after goals is hard, hard work. Fulfilling work, but hard work. It takes determination, courage, often times composure, and strength.

You are resilient. More resilient than you realize.

Will My Teens Turn to Me When “Lost?” I Hope So.

*Tissue warning*

Ah, the good ‘ole “Lost and Found” basket at schools, at homes, at wherever.

I, of course, naturally thought about this basket soon after I thought about myself being “Lost and Found.” Because well, you all know the random connections my brain makes and also, with the end of the school year approaching way too quickly, the “Come check Lost and Found one more time” email reminders are as plentiful as ever.

The emails always make me chuckle as they reflect the trends for the year; you know, the things the teens absolutely had to have. This year? Well this years’ photos were especially funny; fancy water bottles to keep water super, duper, wicked cold, next to “hoodies” to keep one super, duper, wicked warm and cozy. Lol. I love teens. And kids. Especially my kids. Why? Lots of reasons but mostly because of alllll the photos…between all the schools…and yet not one of our missing water bottles can be found. Where oh where did they go? To the land of the spoons and phone chargers? One shall never know….

But I shall always know this.

And this deep thought came to me as I ended my walk on Sunday and it led me to tears. So here is where you grab the tissues (I had none, so sleeve it was.)

The beauty of the “Lost and Found” basket in the schools – and at hotels, and concerts, and everywhere you go, is that everyone knows that they exist. Everyone knows that there is a place to go when you lose what matters to you. And additionally, there are always meeting points and places you know to go when you are literally, lost.

I want to be the “Lost and Found” basket for my sons.

I guess I am the basket already (literally at night and figuratively otherwise.)

I am always there.
Even when empty,
when my kids are doing fine
and are on their ways
and doing well in their worlds
and not lost at all, I am there.
I remain.

Like a “Lost and Found” basket,
I am never put away.
I patiently wait for when I am needed,
for when my children feel lost
and need help finding their way,
however that looks.

Whether it be when they feel overwhelmed and lost in school, and need help studying so they feel confident again.

Whether it be when they feel confused and lost in a social matter, and need help navigating it so they feel comfortable.

Whether it be when they feel down and out and lost in life in general, and need help… NOPE… just need a listening ear so they feel less alone.

Or, whether it be when they feel frustrated because they literally lost something that mattered to them and need help finding it, so they feel less anxious. (Oh I get this. And oh I want to lecture on responsibility but my kids are as human as I am when it comes to misplacing things – it simply happens sometimes and when it does, I am there to help them.)

Whatever it is, whenever it is, I hope to always be the “Lost and Found” basket for my sons – the place they know that is always there to go to when they feel lost.

And I hope that when they move on to college (way sooner that I am ready to admit) and then onto their own lives and go on walks like I did and realize they are lost on a greater scale, that they still call me.

And I know that what I do today, will directly impact whether or not I get that phone call in the future. So I continue to focus on developing a strong, trusting, loving relationship with my teens (as I did when they were little ones.)

I continue to work on…

Connecting before “correcting.”
Listening more, lecturing less. (oof this is hard)
Working with them, not against them. (Same team!)
Taking things less personal, period, so I don’t overreact and escalate matters.
Remembering they are humans too – with good days and bad days, just like me.
Focusing on what matters, what really, really matters.
And making relationship repairs after I have yelled or made a mistake because if I don’t, my “Lost and Found” basket will end up with lots of rips and tears and holes in it. And I don’t want that. It is a privilege to figuratively be my childrens’ “Lost and Found” basket and I so want to remain as such. So repairs I make, as frequent as needed.

Finding my way as an adult is hard.
Finding my way when I was a teen was hard.
Finding my way AS A PARENT of a TEEN is hard.

I can only imagine how my teens feel finding their way in this world.
And so I remain.
As the “Lost and Found” basket.

Always there.
Always waiting,
even when not needed,
so that I am ready for the moment I am.

Sending warmth and strength to you today and always,

Warmth today if you are feeling the feels of the thought of your kiddos going of into the world soon,

Strength today if your child is feeling lost and you currently are there for them, remaining, listening, supporting, just being. I know how hard it is to be there. It is heartbreaking. So I send you strength (and love, lots of love, to you and your child.)

All my best,
The Orange Rhino

(And fear not dear Fellow Orange Rhinos, this lovely sign does not always exist so crisp and perfect. In fact, it doesn’t exist! It was made solely for the purpose of this picture. I wrote this post as part of yesterday’s post and decided to make it its own. Then I decided that the post needed a picture. And then well, filling the basket – which yes does exist as a “Mom’s Lost and Found Basket” was super easy to fill. It contains a hat, an iPad, a t-shirt, some socks. Actually, lots of socks. And no, no missing water bottles. Or spoons. Or chargers.)

I’m Not Looking Forwards to Mother’s Day

Full disclosure. I am not looking forward to Mother’s Day. It is a complicated day for many and not the Hallmark holiday that is offered. To all those feeling this way, I see you, I feel the pain. I send you warmth and so much love this entire weekend where you are surrounded by reminders of the holiday.

My first mother’s day was idyllic. James was seven months old and just as squishy and adorable as could be. He and his dad “made” me breakfast and we ate it outside on the most perfect spring day North Carolina had to offer. Blue skies. White, wispy clouds. Light breezes coming and going. Birds chirping. Colorful flowers lining our backyard. I received a few gifts that I wanted to make my diaper bag less of a mess but the ultimate gift was the activity I did with James. We made a painting together of his and my hand prints and foot prints. It was a mess! Paint everywhere. I was laughing. He was giggling. It was the most perfect moment motherhood could offer.

Many Mother’s Days that followed when my kids were young young were precious like that, with fun art activities or family activities where we laughed and connected. When my boys entered elementary school and started writing, the Mother’s Days cards just melted my heart. The misspellings were perfect. The sentiments perfect. The paper flowers or paper hearts, perfect. The cards were always such a nice touch to whatever was planned at home. Thank goodness for teachers.

I always felt loved and appreciated and the day was always special.

I got divorced two weeks or so before Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day hasn’t been the same since.
It just hasn’t.

In the early years of the divorce, when the boys were younger and the schools still talked about Mother’s Day, it went better. Like I said, thank goodness for teachers. Those cards saved Mother’s Day for me. I knew that because of teachers, I would get a card on Mother’s Day. I knew that my boys would remember to say “Happy Mother’s Day.” I knew that I would get one hand-made gift wrapped in tissue paper. I knew that I would have a moment of special on a tough day.

And during those earlier years and now, to my ex’s credit, he worked with my boys to remind them and help them get cards and gifts. My boyfriend has also stepped in and done the same but…things just are working out differently, especially as they have gotten older. I know it “should” be easier because they are older, because perhaps they “should” take on the desire to do things on their own, but….It’s complicated. Thinks aren’t always as simple as they seem.

Add on the dimension of my boys bickering more because again, older, and well there hasn’t been a Mother’s Day without massive fighting that I can remember. (“Happy Mother’s Day! I hope it is peaceful!” people wish me. Yeah, right.) I am guessing the bickering is also partly because of the underlying reminder that there parents are divorced – holidays are still tough for some of my boys. That is okay. I feel that. I GET THAT. They just are. They are very clear reminders of very specific memories of togetherness as family. Even though the days were centered around me, Mother’s Day for us comes from being a family, from having a mom and dad that were together.

Like I said, Mother’s Day is complicated.
And not just for me.
It is for many of us, for a variety of reasons.

I know Sunday will have sweet moments. And I know it will have moments of sadness, of wishing it were slightly different. And I know people are reading this and are going, “Girl. It isn’t about presents or cards or yada yada.” I know that. I am well aware of that and I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t even need Mother’s Day per say but it sure is nice to have one day to help my kiddos recognize all I do, do!

And also, Mother’s Day is still hard because it is full of GRIEF.
Loss. Sadness. Pain.

There is loss of how the day used to go and pain in the fact that now I am the one asking my kids if they need help getting a card or anything. I know if I don’t ask, if I don’t give the loving reminder, the day will come and nothing will happen because again, things have changed and it’s complicated. I know my boys, they are good kids with loving, huge, well-intentioned, hearts and they would be devastated if they forgot or did nothing. (There are factors at play I am not sharing so please do not judge why I am having to give the loving reminder given their ages.)

Again, Mother’s Day is complicated.

I am planning for the ups and downs of emotions so that I can make the most out of it – so that I can find the JOY in the day and move on from the complicated, from the inevitable disappointments, from the guaranteed frustration from sibling fighting.

I have allowed myself to feel the pain – the real pain.
I have allowed myself to think and say the thoughts that are taboo – that I am not looking forward to the day.
And now, I am shifting my mindset, my expectations.
I have spent the last few days re-envisioning Mother’s Day.
I see fighting in the afternoon. I am ready for that. It is part of the picture. I expect it so when it happens I won’t be disappointed! It is part of the plan!

And I see four beautiful boys that made me mom. That’s it. Well, that’s more than it. That’s A LOT. They are the ultimate gift and my expectation is to be with them, fighting and all. Because they remind me that I get to be a mom. No pomp and circumstance around it. Four reminders that I have the honor to be their mom. And I lied. They ARE pomp and circumstance, just in their existence – they are a celebration of motherhood.

If being with them leads to actually playing some of the family games as I have requested, win. If we have a peaceful meal together, double win. But I am dropping those expectations so that I can be in a BETTER PLACE going into Sunday so that I can enjoy what the day offers, instead of what it doesn’t.

Sending warmth, strength and peace to all struggling this Mother’s Day weekend. You aren’t alone. I see you and I am thinking of you.

CLICK HERE to share EMAIL in Case I Lose FB Page – Because That Almost Happened Today

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Good morning everyone,

Nothing like starting the day, hopping online to write an important post that kept you up all night because you were so fired up, only to go online and see a message that reads “Your page has been temporarily disabled.” I hadn’t had coffee yet so it took me a bit to realize it was a scam but it was enough to scare me into finally doing something I have been putting off – collecting emails in case I ever do lose my Facebook page to a hacker.

I saw this recently happen to someone. I want to say their site had several hundred thousand followers? A Community that she had built over years gone over night. Poof! I should have acted then but, well, welcome to my mind, I don’t always get things done when I should.

But I am doing it now. You all mean so very much to me. I can’t imagine waking up and not having The Orange Rhino® Community! So please, I hate asking, but would you join my in case of emergency email list? Which is interesting because in school papers, and medical ones, the in case of emergency people are those we trust. Those we are close to. Those in our community who are there for us – you are all in many ways my ICE people already! you have been there for me this year as I have returned!

I promise this list is just in case I lose the site. I will create a separate opt in for weekly emails or newsletter or whatever it is I decided to create in the near future which is coming because Facebook (1) this morning wakeup call not cool and (2) your algorithms are also incredibly not cool.

Thank you for being here with me – for supporting me, believing in me, laughing with me, and living along life with me!

The Orange Rhino

How to Not Yell At Teenagers – According to My Teen

“Mom, why do you look like you are about to scream and lose your…?” my teen lovingly and genuinely asked.
“Do you really want to know?” I asked back.
“Not really, no, but…ok, fine. Go ahead. What’s up.”
“Well…I was just googling some stuff for The Orange Rhino. And stumbled upon an article from that person that copied a lot of what I did…and then publicly bashed me. And I am just fuming. Absolutely fuming. I am frustrated that I can’t let it go. It bothers me that all these years later and I still let this get to me. Harumph.”
He sighed with me. He’s a great kid – love him to pieces. Are you ready for this wisdom? This is my silver lining kiddo.
“Mom, the past is the past. She copied The Orange Rhino ideas because she liked them. Compliment to you. And besides the past doesn’t matter now because you are focusing on not yelling at teens and that’s new stuff!”
(Yes, yes it is my dear. A whole lot of new stuff and a whole new level of patience!)
“Okay, but I haven’t totally figured it out yet. The whole not yelling at you teens.” I stated.
“No, no you haven’t! But you are improving. You are way better than last year. Look, I am sitting in the front seat actually talking to you now. See, progress! AND I am not wearing my headphones, I actually listened to you when you said it was rude to do so during a conversation.” He shared proudly, loving having an “adult” like conversation with me.
“Okay then Mr. Teenager. What is the secret to not yelling at teens? What did I do right? Enlighten me so I can share?”
“Oh, it is simple. Really simple. Leave us alone. Give us more space. Let us try things. Don’t lecture so much. Don’t nag. It’s okay if we screw up. Only start lecturing and reeling us back in when we are doing really stupid things. Like really stupid.” He stated matter of factly. Like it was that simple.
“Okay, makes sense. Gotcha. But what happens when you are, I don’t know, doing a lot of really stupid things, a lot of the time? Then what? Then I will need to step in more and that is certain to piss you off. Which will probably make things tough between us and I will probably feel like yelling again out of frustration. So, how do I handle that situation?” I asked, kinda afraid (in a good way) of the answer because of his silver linings and insights.
“Well, yes, yep that will definitely annoy the heck out of me. I will probably be rude. Nope. Definitely will be rude. But that’s on me I guess. Just don’t yell. It won’t help. And I will just put my headphones on and not listen anyways. So I guess, the answer to all of this mom? The best way to not yell at teens? Just don’t do it. It’s useless.” Again, stated as if it is that simple.
But maybe it was that simple?
There is a whole lot of truth in his statements.
I trusted him more.
Gave him more space.
More responsibility.
I removed some rules and put in some boundaries and said when the boundaries are broken, the rules and my being more present return.
Do we both still yell? Yes – we both still get moody and we are both still human!
But the interactions are way less intense, shorter and he genuinely apologizes after. It is progress as he says, and progress is the goal. I mean look where progress got us – to a conversation in the front seats of my uber cool minivan!
And, he is right. Yelling doesn’t work – kids literally don’t hear us when we yell.
It achieves nothing. They tune us out and teens – they especially tune it out. And not only do they tune us out, they then get more pissed at us and put up a wall to tune us out even more the next time we yell or even talk. There isn’t much upside to yelling. It kind of is that simple. That easy to just not yell? No. But remembering that it doesn’t work is a simple, helpful tool.
There are a few other things I did that he doesn’t see…
When he really gets going and rudely starts up, I walk away and dis-engage after I state calmly and without emotion, “I want to talk to you and hear what you have to say, but I will not be spoken to that way.” (His feelings do matter, I don’t want to shut them out. I am not walking away from him or his feelings, just the disrespectful behavior. Which we always address later when we are both calm.)
When he is frustrated with me for whatever I did, even if that is just breathing, I state, “I am here if you want” and again, walk away and don’t wait for a reaction.
I do random acts of kindness for him to remind him I love him and positively build our connection during good times (like make him hot chocolate for when he is studying.)
I joke around with him and get him to laugh with me and even at me. These moments are some of the best and have really strengthened our relationship. When he rolls his eyes at my intentionally bad jokes or bad dancing or bad singing, they are his silent way of admitting he loves me.Eye rolls aren’t always bad!
I stopped focusing on the bad behaviors he was demonstrating and focus more on the good kiddo I know he is.
And, I remind myself that this is a hard time for both of us and that in a couple of years he is off to college and I want these years to be more positive than negative – and that means (amongst a lot of things) working hard to not yell, even when frustrated.

(c) The Orange Rhino 2023

*Creator, The Orange Rhino Challenge® to Stop Yelling at My Kids

*Free 30-Day Challenge to Start Yelling Less Starts January 18th

Loving Myself More…So That I Yell Less in 2023

This time of year is hard for me and I can just be out right grumpy. Spending holidays divorced are really hard and to boot, my wedding anniversary is days away. I am not really in the yippee-yahoo-lets-go-get-em-tiger-and-crush-a-new-resolution kind of mood. Which is kind of a bummer because I am a reflective person. I love thinking – what’s working, what’s not? What should I stop doing? Start doing? What do I want to see happen? But, it is all good because I reflect daily, not just on December 31/January 1. I know what I am all about in 2023.

It’s the same as 2022. And arguably the same as 2021. And probably even 2020 and 2019! Not so much before that. Didn’t see it yet!

I don’t necessarily like the following phrase because it has been overused and has therefore become cliché but… if I am going to be brutally honest, I am all about finding inner peace. Strengthening my inner peace.
Gray Rhinos are naturally calm and peaceful animals.

When I started The Orange Rhino years ago, I thought, yeah, I am a Rhino, I am naturally calm and totally peaceful. HAH! I have come to realize, I am sooooo not! I am not naturally calm and really not so much at peace, even when at rest. I want to be. I want “calm” to be my natural instinct, but it isn’t. I can be calm. When there is a legit emergency, i.e. blood everywhere from another “we need stitches” situation, I am calm and confident as can be. Totally an Orange Rhino. But generally speaking, my system isn’t calm or naturally peaceful. And ohh, oh how I want to be naturally calm and peaceful instead of being in a constant state of stress.

Stress from myself.
Stress from my environment.
Stress from life.
Stress from others.
Stress from sensory processing stuff.
Stress from living with anxiety.
Stress. Stress. Stress. Stress.

It is always fun to go to a new doctor and tell them about my life. Their eyes widen and they just can’t believe all the stressors (no, I don’t share everything here, some stuff is purely private.) They then hear me list everything right I am doing to manage the stress and then agree that I am doing the best I can under the situation and to carry on the best I can.

BUT there is one are where I am not “doing my best” well, at least yet. I am working hard at more inner peace by letting go of negativity. I am being more critical of what I accept/don’t accept in my life because my life depends on it.

A huge source of that negativity comes from the one and only…me! My self-doubt and critical talk is abundant. So I am working on that. Kind of had enough it to be honest. Here is a trick that I use when I am being too critical. I simply ask myself,

“What good is that statement?

Is that helping you?
Is it making you feel better?”

The answer is always no, not at all and that is enough to help me stop ruminating on it.

Last night. This morning. These last couple of weeks.
“I have nothing to offer.
Other people are better.
I’m rejected daily (oh social media and your insights, you stink!)
I’m behind schedule.
I’m not doing it right.”

I could go on and on. But I stop myself because – these negative thoughts DO ME NO GOOD. They aren’t helpful (nor true, but I don’t fully believe that lol…yet). They just aren’t. So why waste time on them?

I am not perfect on telling these negative thoughts to go away. But I am doing my best because that is what I have right now. I am continuing to work on the negative self talk or put another way, in Orange Rhino terms…drum roll…

Loving (myself) More

The upside to Loving (myself) More and strengthening my calm and peaceful inner rhino?
It leads to yelling less, a lot less.

So, today, as you go about a New Year’s Resolution, or even begin perhaps to start slowly yelling less…if you find yourself being critical and talking in any unloving ways to yourself, try asking yourself,

“Is this helpful?”

And then say to yourself,

“I’m doing my best”

Love yourself more today – and see what naturally happens. Good things…like yelling less…I am pretty sure.

Sending strength, resilience, never-ending determination and lots of “you got this,”

The Orange Rhino

(c) The Orange Rhino 2023

Yelling Less is Possible! 30-Day Challenge Starts January 18, 2023

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Not yelling can be really hard! Not stating anything new, am I? But, it is also really possible and I know this because I have done it (and re-done it)! I went 520 days without yelling at my four boys who were all under the age of 6 at the time. And then I yelled because well, I am human and yells happen! Life happens! It doesn’t make me a bad parent, it just means I had a tough moment and I yelled. The good news is that because of the tools, tips and insights I learned from my year of not yelling, I was able to start yelling less again.

I will share these same tips, tools and insights with you during The Orange Rhino Challenge® 30-Days to Start Yelling Less

Wait, why Start? Why Yell Less – not Stop Yelling? Well…here’s the thing. I too am a parent. We are all under a lot of stress already and I will not add to it but overpromising. You will also quickly find that I am, to a fault, honest so I will only write and share my honest experiences.

So…why Start? Learning to stop yelling is a never-ending, always learning journey. Everyday you start the journey. Everyday you challenge yourself. There is no true beginning or end. Why? Because kids change. We change. Life changes. Our environment changes. With all the changes – the tools and responses we learn, need to change too. The core remains the same, but they get tweaked. Your triggers change as time passes. Your kids’ triggers change (um, hello teenagers!!) So no, I am sorry but this is not a 30-days and you will be no longer yelling program or a 30-days and the yelling-cycle will be gone forever. I can not promise you that.

And yelling less, not stop yelling all together, like I did for a year? Again, this is a journey. You very well might stop yelling all together during the 30-days. For real. It is possible! And…you might not. BOTH are okay. Neither path makes you a better or worse parent. In fact, both our good days and our not-so-good moments matter!! We can learn from both – and teach our kids from both. So celebrate the moments you don’t yell and embrace the moments you do. At the end of the day, what matters most is that you do your best at any given moment. Eventually, all those moments do add up to more “yelling less moments” and all those moments do eventually add up to hours without yelling, then days, then maybe weeks or months. You might have a day where you stop and think, “WHOA! I have stopped yelling!” And then you might yell again – wait, you will, again, you are still human! – but because it is so much less, it won’t phase you as much. You will identify as a parent that doesn’t yell at this point. Trust me. You will then take the tools, tips and insights you know, apologize to your child for yelling, offer yourself grace, and start the journey to yell less again.

If this all sounds good to you – sign up below! More details will follow!

* Owning the book “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Stopped Yelling at Her Kids – And How You Can Too!” is not a requirement, but helpful! It is available hard copy at amazon or
PRE-ORDER the audiobook!


Helping Hands Do More Than Yelling Demands

Just another friendly reminder that I am not perfect…

Last night, I came in the door from picking up a child from the one-thousandth activity of the day, to find one dear child still on the couch. Hand’t moved an inch in ten minutes despite being asked to do so before I left. Eyes still glued to the phone. Before I knew it – before he even spoke a word, or moved a muscle – I started being wicked cranky.

“What are you doing?” I barked.

“Why are you still on the couch?” I demanded.

“I thought you had work to do?” I implored.

“Did you email me that document that needed printing?” I practically yelled?

My son’s response, “WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME?!”

And pause…how could I not? That stung. Ouch. I don’t know why. Sorry kiddo, not how I want to treat you or who I want to be at all. Darn-it. And also pause because that is the best thing to do when triggered and even though I was clearly already triggered – this was a new trigger and set me up to legit yell if I didn’t pause!

As I paused…so many thoughts started flying through my mind, by two main take aways:

1. I wasn’t yelling – but my tone was impatient, rude, demanding, and had quickly grown close to yelling. To him, it felt mean-ish. Yelling isn’t always loud. The true concept behind yelling is about how our words make others feel. Tone, and the words we chose, count chose as much.

2. He asked a really, really good question. Just because I am the adult and he is a kid doesn’t mean I always know everything or am always right. His question needed to be asked. Why was I being so impatient and rude? What had flipped my peaceful, I’m in a good place mood, to I’m in a cranky mood so quickly?

I want to share what happened next because, well, that’s what I do.
I immediately paused and remained in the moment and the uncomfortable feeling of, “yuck, I was just a total jerk.”

I started reflecting and asking myself all sorts of questions because I didn’t know why I was suddenly in this mood. All I knew was that I no longer wanted to be in it! I wanted to get back to a peaceful place so that bedtime could go smooth (and quick!) and I could go to be feeling good about how the day ended!

Why am I in this mood?

Did something happen in the car ride home?
Did I see something on social media when I got home and scrolled for two minutes before entering the house?
Was I hungry?
Was I anxious because it was late in the day and still so much to do?
Was I jealous because he was on the couch chilling and that was so out of my reach?
Was I fearful that this child didn’t get what he needed done while I was gone and therefore that it was going to be a long night?
Was it all of the above?
One of the above?
Some of the above?
As I sit here, I think what happened was the following.
I walked in.
I saw the beautiful Christmas tree.
I remembered how I was looking forward to getting this particular child (who struggles to sleep these days) to bed, hopefully early, so that I could watch cheesy Hallmark movies while wrapping presents.

I was anticipating PEACE and me time. This sweet child had told me he had work to do. Had told me he was going to shower. His being on the couch, are you ready for this cheesy insight? It felt like a threat to my peaceful moment. So I charged with my words. I acted like a Gray Rhino…

Many of you ask – why The Orange Rhino? Long story short – I needed a moniker because I was anonymous when I started. My son was picking his nose once and said, “I can’t yell but I can still pick my nose” which led me to google Rhinos because somehow the word “rhinoplasty” came into my mind at that moment. The symbolism was striking and still is to this day, perhaps even more so.

Gray Rhinos -tenacious, vigorous and naturally peacefully animals who aggressively charge when provoked.

Whoa. I considered myself peaceful. Looking back, I laugh at that. I am not peaceful, but I wanted to be peaceful! But I didn’t want to charge aggressively (yell) when provoked.

Voila – The Orange Rhino – determined and resilient people who choose to remain peaceful and respond warmly when provoked – whether by kids, themselves, or life.

Last night, last night was a Gray Rhino moment. I needed to turn back into having The Orange Rhino mindset of remaining peaceful and warm so I apologized to my son for my cranky responses, I told him there were better ways for me to share my feelings and that I was feeling frustrated that I asked him to do several things and he hadn’t done them yet. Then, to ensure he didn’t charge back at me, that he didn’t meltdown or get aggressive with his words, to ensure that we remained in a peaceful, productive place, I asked him, “how can I help you get these things done?”

Just kidding. See, not perfect.I did apologize and share my frustration politely and in a more productive manner. But I forgot the working with him part, the problem solving together part. Being an Orange Rhino isn’t just about my behavior. Our kids have their own inner Gray Rhinos too! We need to bring out their Orange Rhino’s.

Since I missed the latter piece of working with him – he was now in a charged mood. He barked back at me some more and stormed off upstairs. I gave him space. I arranged a floral bouquet I had bought earlier to bring me some joy and get me to a peaceful place. I then when upstairs when I knew I was ready, truly ready, to interact in a productive, peaceful, Orange Rhino kind of way.

During these last nights of Hanukkah, these last days before Christmas, last days before Holiday break (or early days of break), likelihood is our kids are in more charged moods. Meet them with warmth. Meet them with a problem solving, let’s do this together attitude. It will go a lot farther. It is easy to think, “They need to learn to do things on their own!” Yes, they do, but sometimes our kids – like us – benefit from a little breaking of always learning and doing things on our own. If this doesn’t resonate, I leave you with this question.

How do you feel when someone decides to offer a helpful, loving hand and help you and do something with you, instead of you being left to do it alone by yourself? Would you rather, this week in the week of heightened stress, get into a fight with your child and them have a meltdown over a chore OR would your rather work with them and teach them empathy and the gift of helping others by extending a hand by working with them? Just food for thought. More so a really direct, blunt reminder to MYSELF. eh hem. Read your own words The Orange Rhino.

EDIT: CRAP. I just realized something. The REAL trigger? I mean I knew I wanted peaceful me time, but really the deeper meaning behind that? I just wanted, realllllly needed, a break. I needed someone to ask met he exact question I didn’t ask my son. I needed someone to ask me, “How can I help you?”

(c) The Orange Rhino, 2022