55 days down, 310 to go!
Dear Fellow Orange Rhinos,
I have some very exciting news to report. We have another Orange Rhino in the making! My dear husband, someone who inspired me to be a better person from the moment we met (truly), someone who supported my wish to start and take on this Challenge from Day 1, someone who RARELY ever yells, has decided it is time he takes the Challenge. I couldn’t be more excited. Not just because it means more love going around the house, but also because it means I have an immediate Orange Rhino Challenge partner at my side. Challenges are doable alone, but hard. Challenges shared are more fun, more rewarding, and easier. Easier because we can watch and learn from each other real time. Or so that is my hope.
Here’s to you “Maxwell.” I’m proud of you! I made this to help you since you so lovingly made me something the day I started. Hope it helps!
The Orange Rhino
I am going to out my husband. I hope he doesn’t mind. Pretty sure he won’t since we’ve all been there, done that. Me A LOT more times than him. Yesterday we were struggling as parents. Really struggling. The three older boys were just wound up beyond belief and we were, well, tired from the night before. From a crazy night of staying out until, get this 11:30. WHOA.
So we were basically spent by 4pm. And that is when the boys just got really started. So considerate of them. They were running in and out of the house, up and down stairs, calling each other poopy faces, throwing pillows, making a deliberate mess, yelling. You know, they were being kids (perhaps not well behaved at this moment, but we all have our moments!) But today neither my husband nor I had a lot of patience for it. We wanted to sit on the couch and be lazy. Like the good ‘ole days. We had no desire to try and keep peace in the house…we had no desire to parent.
But obviously, we had too. We tried. Oh did we try!
And nothing we did to settle them down worked. Nothing. We kept trying old ways, new ways. Even our tried and true start whispering didn’t work. They just were h*ll bent on not listening to us. We both looked at each other. Exasperated. It was time to clean up for the night. So we split up. He went upstairs. I stayed downstairs.
Through the chaos, I remained calm.
My husband, however, finally lost it. Completely. So bad that our 2.5 year old came running to me saying “Daddy yell. Daddy not nice.”
Oh and was that an understatement! (I am NOT passing judgment. My rants were far worse and more frequent than his. And no one is perfect. Especially me. I might not be yelling but I still have other areas of improvement. Trust me.)
I heard the tears from #1 and the tone of my husband’s voice and ran upstairs. This had to stop. Forget it being mean and hurtful and all that jazz…I knew it wasn’t going to work. Yelling wasn’t going to inspire my son to clean up. It wasn’t going to stop him from calling us “garbage cans.” It wasn’t going to stop him from being “silly” and throwing books at us. It wasn’t going to make him less mad at us for stopping his party. No, it really wasn’t going to accomplish a darn thing except piss him off more and make him feel unloved. And it is our job as parents to make him feel loved, unconditionally.
So I flew upstairs and the following words calmly came out of my mouth:
“Sweetheart, you need to stop yelling. It is not going to work. He needs love and empathy.”
I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth. My trash talking, yelling, ridiculing mouth. I used to be the yeller in the house. I used to look to my husband with wide eyed wonder, thinking how does he stay so calm, so patient? How does he never yell? How come I always do?
Now the roles were reversed. And it felt great. Not just because of the good ole husband vs wife “I told you so” spats that go on J but because it felt great to be on the other side of the yelling spectrum. Mostly because when I was on the yelling end, I felt crappy an awful lot. And guilty. And disappointed in myself. Now I feel proud, empowered, present, mostly calmer and so much more.
I really hope that my husband finds the same feelings. Especially the so much more piece that I can’t yet put into words!
After we managed to regain calm in the house and got the kids settled to bed my husband looked at me and said “I think I need to start The Orange Rhino Challenge.”
This was one time I was actually eager to say, “Yes dear, you are RIGHT!”
Are you trying The Orange Rhino Challenge? Are you doing it alone or with a friend? The more the merrier! Even try getting your kids involved. Read “The Orange Rhino Game” to see how my kids are involved.