I am Totally That Mom

246 days of not yelling, 119 days of loving more to go!

Dear I am Totally That Mom,

I am Totally That Mom inspired by you! Thank you for the guest post below; for writing so honestly and eloquently what I feel but couldn’t express. Last weekish when you wrote on your blog about your desire to become a non-yelling mom, about your decision to change, just like that, you showed a “go get ‘em attitude” that completely inspired me.


After reading tonight’s post, I felt equally inspired, more so actually. So thank you. I might be on Day 246ish of not yelling but I still need inspiration to keep me going day in and day out, I still need help staying focused, I still need help being the change I want to see in the world (one of my favorite sayings by the way). When I am feeling lost, I will turn to this post.

Thank you,

The Orange Rhino


Recently, I wrote this, about my desire to stop yelling (http://www.iamtotallythatmom.blogspot.com/2012/10/so-i-changed-just-like-that.html).

I felt strong. I felt capable. I was making a decision. It was hard, but I could do it.

Today, I feel like crap. The last few days have been hard. While I am not yelling like I once was, I have yelled. I have yelled unapologetically. I have started my way back down the slippery playground slide into my old ways. Old ways (okay they are not that old) that do not help me and that do not help my kids.

In those moments, when the kids’ volume is set on super-high-let’s-damage-mom’s-hearing and the dishes, clutter, and laundry are threatening to EAT me, my body goes into survival mode. Make. it. stop. MAKE IT STOP. Make it all stop. I can’t think of anything else besides a fierce, intense, primal need to make the world go black. I need quiet, darkness, and calm. I need a sensory deprivation chamber. And yet it’s not there, and I can’t run to find it. Fight or flight. Flight’s not an option and so I fight.


I have big dreams. I have high expectations. Some would say I put too much pressure on myself; I do too much. They say give yourself a break, no parents are perfect. They say what you want isn’t realistic, life is messy. They say the kids will get older and it will get easier, just hang on.

All of those things are true in some way or another. But I don’t want to be perfect, and I don’t want to hide until my kids are older. Life is messy. To be honest, I love life’s messiness. It’s in some of life’s messy moments that I have laughed the hardest and smiled the biggest. In others, I have cried the hardest. I can’t feel or experience any of life’s messiness, in all its beauty and intensity, when I am in fight or flight mode. When I am in fight or flight mode, I can’t breathe. Life isn’t messy then, it’s mean.

And so today, I re-focus. I re-read the words I wrote two weeks ago. I breathe. I do handstands. (I know this isn’t for everyone, but I swear it is the single most effective thing in helping my body believe it’s not being attacked by saber tooth tigers, small boys, or dishes). I sit with my coffee, and I write. I breathe in the fresh fall air (that’s a tad too brisk to be sitting on the porch) and I marvel at the beauty in my backyard. I notice the bottle of glue sitting on the table next the kids ever growing pile of drying crafts. I notice a few marshmallow roasting forks and some empty cups outside on the patio by the fire pit leftover from an evening with friends. And I hear the boys inside getting louder as they are immersed in imaginative play that might involve tying each other up or practicing their long jump from the arm of couch over whatever other furniture may be in the way. It’s messy, but it’s beautiful.

I think about what I want for my family. I want them to know unconditional love. I want them to know that their home is a safe place when the world is scary. I want them to know the value in peaceful communication. I want them to know that we don’t use our bodies or our words for hurting. I want them to know and understand true respect for other beings – not just the version that means shutting up and listening to big people. That won’t serve them in life, but them knowing the inherent value in every living being will serve them and the world. I want them to thrive in life’s messiness – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the awesome.

So I need to be the change I want to see in the world, my world, and the big big world. Yes it’s hard, but it’s also real. These last few days are a just a part of the journey. It’s messy and beautiful. This week my goal is to live it all, feel it all (even if that’s sometimes from behind the locked bathroom door, it’s better than losing it), and not let myself slip into fight or flight where not only does the yelling start but all the beautiful mess fades into the background.

Next week on my blog, I’ll look at what’s working and what’s not, but for now I needed to remind myself why I was doing this.

For more of “I am Totally That Mom’s” posts, go to http://www.iamtotallythatmom.blogspot.com

Would you like to write a guest post? Please email me at theorangerhinochallenge@gmail.com I would love to have one featured writer a week. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be real and a pleasure for you to write! 


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