I Yelled At My Boys.

520 days of loving more, yelling less

I have a confession.

On Friday July 12, 2013, after 520 days of The Orange Rhino Challenge, my public promise to not yell at my boys, I yelled. Big Time.

Yes, I, The Orange Rhino, yelled at my four boys.

There was no question if it was maybe just a snap or an emergency yell. Oh no, it was a full on, blood curling, yelling tirade complete with four children bawling and one mommy who just couldn’t stop herself.  And it was topped off with my feeling guilty, disappointed, and sad beyond belief.  And oh, oh how the look in the eight teary eyes staring at me proved that my boys shared my sadness and also felt anger, confusion, and fear.

“Mommy! You’re so mean. You’re back to day Zero on your Challenge!” screamed my almost seven year old.

“Too loud!!!!!” cried by almost four year old, the one closest to my rant, as he covered his ears and shook with fear.

“Ma Ma. Ma Ma,” sobbed my two year old who up until that moment, had never ever heard me yell.

“Why are you ye…lll…ing at us Mommy? We ddd…idn’t do an..y…thing! We got in the car like you asked!” my five year old tried to say between sobs.

He was right. Oh was he right. My boys had done absolutely, positively, nothing wrong. My yell was completely unnecessary, completely hurtful, and completely my own doing. I took my own sadness, fear and anger out on them, period. Blech.

You see my marriage boulder, which had truly started getting smaller, grew back a teensy weensy little bit that Friday morning and for some reason, I couldn’t handle it. As a result, everything bothered me.

The boys talking in normal voices? Too loud.
The boys asking me for some water? Too demanding.
The boys rough housing and laughing? Too much what, too much being kids?
The boys not getting ready for the pool when I asked? Too much what, not listening when I mumbled my request under my breath so quietly no one could hear it?

I felt my anger bubbling up and my sweaty hands, racing heart, shorter and sharper voice told me that I was flirting with losing it; that I was in desperate need of getting in control. So I tried. I tried so very hard to get in control of my personal stress by pulling out some of my Orange Rhino tricks. I talked to myself “hey Orange Rhino, you are not mad at the kids, you are frustrated with your situation right now.” I got a glass of cold water and physically tried to cool down and slow my breathing down. I talked to myself some more: “You can do this, you will get through this, just hang on, you don’t want to yell.” And I talked to my kids. “Boys, mommy is having a tough morning. I am feeling a little grouchy. Can you stop running around and help me get ready for the pool fast so we can go have fun and relax?”

It worked. For like 5 minutes.

For 5 minutes I found calm amidst the crazy, I found warmth amidst my anger, I found determination amidst my desire to just quit and scream. The boys stood in line for lotion, grabbed their towels, put their shoes on and got in the car. Yes! I went in the house to get my bag and came back to find kids not buckled in as requested.

And I lost it. In my loudest voice ever (or maybe it felt so loud because it had been 520 days since I heard it?) I screamed,


Seriously? I mean really just writing that, I feel ridiculous and ashamed. After everything they had JUST done to be helpful and wonderful I lost it because they didn’t do one of five things I had asked them? Was that necessary? Or even nice? No! But then again, I didn’t yell because they didn’t put their seatbelts on,

I yelled because of my own pain that was screaming to get out.

I yelled because, well, because I am human and sometimes despite best intentions, hard work, and a heart full of more love than ever, mistakes happen.

People slip up. I slipped up. I knew I would one day. I knew that even though I call myself an “Orange Rhino” I am still human. The only thing I didn’t know was, how would I react when I finally yelled? Would I react in a pre-Orange Rhino manner and let shame, guilt, and disappointment send me into a vicious cycle of self-disgust and negative thinking, making a one-time yell turn into a problem again? Or would I react in a new way, a way reflective of 520 days of personal growth?

Well, the most wonderful surprise happened as soon as my boy’s two minutes of crying and rightfully deserved yelling at me ended and heard my truly heartfelt apology. I didn’t turn into my old, pre-Orange Rhino self! Instead, so much of what I have learned and embraced the last 520 days came to life.

After I yelled, I immediately forgave myself and forced myself to think of what I had accomplished, not what I had “ruined.” This is an accomplishment in itself, a huge one! I have learned during this Challenge that in order to yell less I need to let go of negative thoughts, I need to be kinder to myself, and I need to focus on the positive as much as I can. After I yelled, my brain, clearly re-wired from 520 days of practice, actually focused on how I went 520 Days without yelling! That’s 1 year and 155 days. Or a little under a year and a half. Or a heck of a lot more than I ever, ever imagined. Before The Orange Rhino Challenge, I never would have forgiven myself or even stopped and written a positive post like this one. Nope. I would have dwelled about how I let everyone down and been negative until the cows came home.

After I yelled, I promptly took responsibility for my actions, reminded myself that sometimes “it’s me, not them,” and owned up to my mistake. Before The Orange Rhino Challenge, I would have just assumed that the kids were “at fault” and then justified my yelling with “well, my kids didn’t listen.” I never would have wondered and accepted that perhaps I was part of the problem.

After I yelled, I found perspective and realized that “hey I might not have been able to keep myself at the grumpy stage, but at least I was aware of my grumpiness and tried to control it.” Before The Orange Rhino Challenge, I wouldn’t have even realized my physical yelling symptoms or that grumpiness was a sign that a yell was coming and that I needed to stop and quickly find a way to calm down.

After I yelled, I very quickly said, “okay Orange Rhino, what do you need to do to take care of yourself? You clearly aren’t taking care of you and managing your stress and um, you need to!” Before The Orange Rhino Challenge, I wouldn’t have acknowledged for a second that taking care of me is important and I never in a thousand years would have known how to take care of me or tried to even make it happen!

And after I yelled, despite how painful it was in that particular moment to see in my sons’ eyes the fear and sadness resulting from my behavior, I actually felt a bit grateful. Yes, I felt grateful that I yelled because my response to this situation not only showed me just how much I have grown and changed for the better during this Challenge, but also how much I have learned.

I have learned that learning to yell less has taught me more than just that. It has taught me how to bring forgiveness, perspective, positive thinking, accountability, and so much more to all the relationships in my life and all the situations in my life making me a happier person all around.

I have learned that that mistakes are okay, that not being perfect is okay, and that trying my hardest and still charging forward to yell less even when I have had a “bad” moment, is way more than okay, it’s courageous and crucial. Because learning to yell less isn’t just a 365 day Challenge for me, it’s a lifestyle change and I am certain over the next however many years my boys are my sons, I will slip up and yell again, and I will need to charge forward, again.

I have learned that at the heart of The Orange Rhino Challenge is not just clocking days that are yell free but collecting more loving moments. Any moment that I don’t yell is a win and all the loving moments add up – that is what matters.

Yelling Less Loving More

And most importantly, I have learned again just how much yelling scares my kids, how awful it makes me feel, and no matter how hard it might be at times, I want more than ever to continue to be an Orange Rhino because it is changing me and my relationships in a heck of a lot more ways I ever imagined.

* * * * *

P.S. I was fine posting this until now. Now I am nervous that I will have disappointed you all. Please don’t let that be the case.

If you liked this post, you might also like these posts:
“Bottled Up Emotions Do Me No Good”
“(Sometimes) Marriage Makes Me Want to Yell”
“Choosing Perfectly Imperfect Moments”
“I Didn’t Rock Motherhood Today”

You might also like my new book due out in October, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids and How You Can Too!” Part parenting guide, part memoir, I include a 30-day guide with key revelations, actions, and tips to help you on your own journey. You can pre-order it now to make sure you are one of the first to receive it by clicking here. 

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75 thoughts on “I Yelled At My Boys.

  1. Now, almost 2 years later, I have heard of this site and finally decided to check it out. I am a single mom and a high school teacher, I love kids, but I also get so frustrated and grumpy with them when they don’t want to do what I feel like they NEED to do. I am tired of it. I know my son is tired of it.
    This post provides an important piece of the whole challenge to those of us wondering if it’s worth trying. It’s so good to know the goal isn’t really perfection but improvement and acceptance. I can’t handle more attempts at trying to be perfect and beating myself up for failing. Thank you so much. Your post brought tears to my eyes.

  2. I arrived here after a google search on ‘how to stop yelling at your kids’, and just wanted to let you know this post is still having an effect! I yelled at my four year old this morning for the last time – at least, I am going to take up this challenge in the hopes it will be the last time. I struggle to respond to any little thing with anything other than yelling.. he hasn’t gotten dressed in the ten seconds since I asked him? WHY AREN’T YOU DRESSED YET?! He forgot to pack his drink bottle into his bag? WHY DIDN’T YOU REMEMBER TO PACK YOUR DRINK BOTTLE?! YOU TAKE IT EVERY DAY! I AM NOT YOUR SLAVE!
    Thank you for this post, and the reminder that I am not the only person who has made this mistake.

  3. I am new to your site and read this entry about you “losing it” after 520 days. I am going to take this challenge. TODAY. I get way too over the top sometimes and actually yelled at my child this morning for something so ridiculous I can’t even admit what it was.
    Thank you. Your admission made me cry because I too know that sad little face plagued with confusion that is plastered on the faces of children after being yelled at. I never want to see that face again. 🙁

  4. I love that your boys know about your challenge – it’s almost like mini-accountability partners.
    520 days is amazing. I have a 2 and almost 1 year old & just moved into our first house. My daughter is a miniature version of me. It’s painful to see MY bad habits & attitudes show up in her behavior. I need to do this challenge too. On top of that – listen to every sermon I’ve miss on Sundays & beef up my devotions & prayer.
    Its no joke that ‘if mamas happy … Everyone’s happy … But if she’s not … Watch out.’
    Instead … my wods & actions should reflect proverbs 31.

  5. THANK YOU for being so openly honest with your challenge. Reading your words which describe the very way my heart feels after yelling at my kids, encourages me to pick myself and my emotions back up, re-situate it all, and go right on remembering the accomplishments, not the failure. Well done on your 520 days, you’ll be there again before you know it! You truly have blessed so many with this site and your willingness to share in the struggle.

  6. Hugs…Orange rhino in training, as I needed to hear/ read this post. Yesterday was a bad day for me, as stressors and 4 children, not enough sleep, etc, led to me having my own meltdown yesterday.
    I needed to hear that it will be ok, that I can (and will) just start over again.
    Thank you for your transparency, and thank you for sharing with us.
    (Hugs) from a Mama -who-loses-it-too-often-and is beginning Day 1..again

  7. When I saw your post on my FB page I actually breathed a sigh of relief. You see I have been working on yelling less (more realistic for me than “not yelling”) but I found it hard to see all the orange rhino stuff because it felt so out of reach. Knowing that even you can have a set back has given me a renewed hope that one day I might get to where you are.
    I’m really sorry that you have had this set back, and I’m sorry that my response sounds so selfish, but you are truly inspiring and this post has made you feel a little more real to me. I hope your marriage boulder shrinks down again soon.

  8. BRAVO!! You did everything right. We have a “loud” house. My husband and I know we each lose it, as does our son. Luckily one of us is generally far calmer than the other and steps in to fix whatever issue the kid has while giving the other parent and kid time to breathe.

    We ALWAYS apologize when we lose our temper. I live with a lot of pain and depression — I am officially disabled, but I STILL believe that no matter WHERE the anger came from you are responsibe for it. He is 7 now, but people used to think we were great because we started apologizing before he could talk. We try, we fail, we try again. I read something the other day (paraphrasing) “The key to life is realizing that taking one step forward and two steps back ISN’T failure — it’s the cha cha.” Indeed.

    We have been through hell and back in our marriage, with our health, with our finances…. But we are stronger because of it. If you had suggested we would be happy or even married 5 yrs ago I would have thought you were a fool. We made it because we are honest with each other and because we fight fair. Sometimes it is WHAT you say that is the problem — even in a whisper.

    The kid is a perfectionist and freaks out about SO many things. We actually have a developmental/behavioral pediatrician (his “talking doctor”) WE have learned far more the the kid has — and that is kind of the point. Sometimes we see her without the kid. We are both terrified that the kid is cursed with our genes, and it is heartbreaking to see him struggle with exactly the same things we did (granted, it also can infuriate us).

    But she said one of the 3 most useful parenting tips I have ever heard. After discussing how the kid lost his temper and how WE do and how my illnesses started at his age and …..oh nooooo!!!!! She said, “WHAT A GIFT FOR HIM!!”. Yep, it floored me. She explained that we were showing him that everyone gets angry, but he also see how we calm down, and that we sincerely apologize and actually talk about what happened. It is a gift to see us become furious with each other, or him, and yet we still love each other.

    I also think it will be ok because the kid is learning things at 7 that we just figured out a week ago…so he is a good 30 yrs ahead of anything we faced as kids. I have a million things we do to drill into him that he is safe and loved not matter what he does. There is NOTHING he could do to make us stop loving him (“What if I blew up the world??” Me: “You would be in SERIOUS trouble, but of course I would still love you”). I don’t lie to him, though I present things in an age appropriate way. A conversation about circumcision sounds the same as a conversation about how cookies and cake are both great, but different. I just play it all very seriously. Because so much IS very serious to him.

    Being a kid is awful. You have to make your very first friend, be potty trained, learn to speak and write, learn that even your best friends will be mean to you (and you will be mean to them) but if you apologize or ask for help it will always work out.

    Your challenge is very inspiring. I grew up in a house where NO ONE EVER FOUGHT. I had no clue about how my parents dealt with any grown up stuff (anger, money, stress…). The pediatrician is right — it truly is a gift to lead by example, even if that example scares you because you feel so out of control when you blow up. But you have used your energy to make good choices. There seem to be two kinds of people: the ones who make choices about their lives and accept that things will go wrong because that is how life works, and the people who just bob along through life as victims “because everyone is mean to me” or “the world is so unfair”. Victims don’t move forward, they don’t even see that they have a problem. YOU have made incredible choices and have found wonderful things about yourself and your boys along the way.

    I haven’t written before, and am new to the blog — but at this point, on your worst day you are a million times better than other parents on their BEST days. You listen to your kids. You respect them, and take their problems and ideas seriously. Most grown-ups can’t do that with ANYONE. But you have cracked the code. The most impressive part of this posting is that you didn’t go back to your old ideas that you failed, were a horrible person and all kinds of negative self talk. You ARE human. And everything you are doing IS a gift to your boys and to yourself.


  9. Of course you did not disappoint us! You were honest with us and yourself and pursue your goal of yelling less and loving more! no one is perfect and I think you set a very high bar for yourself, to stop yelling. My goal is to yell a lot less! and you have helped so many moms take a step of realizing that they want to change. I’m sorry you yelled but only bc you disappointed yourself but I also really commend you for accepting it and not wallowing and despairing. You forgave yourself and like you said you had a different reaction to yelling than you would have before you began this challenge and that shows how much you have changed. I am so much more conscious now of my interaction with my son and my husband all thanks to you and my good friend who told me about you! (I thank her constantly!) Thank you for sharing all of this with us. I hope today was better!

  10. THANK YOU for being so candid! As I read this, actually cried a tear for your boys, for your “reboot”, and for your personal pain that drove you yo that moment. And I also cried out of joy for you and hope for me 🙂 THANK YOU for giving all of us a place to encourage each other to be better moms and better people. You are a blessing to our family in ways you can’t imagine!

  11. I’m so glad that I found your blog! Oh my goodness, I’ve only read this one post (partially I admit because my mommy brain wouldn’t let me focus for the whole post), but I’m already inspired. I have a hard time with yelling, but I hate it. I have a very strong voice, so I don’t scream, but I’m sure I can be heard a mile away! I can’t wait to get to explore your site more.

  12. Awwww…. of course I’m not disappointed! Good for you for how much you’ve learned and are now able to handle a momentary slip sooooo much better!!!

    When I read the title, I thought, Oh No! Then I read the blog, and thought, Is that all? Well, that wasn’t so bad.
    And you did apologize and work it out amicably with the boys.

    You modeled for them how to handle a slip. Now they know what to do when they themselves have a slip. All is not lost.

    Onward. Day #2. May it be yell free. 🙂

  13. You are a disappointment to no one. It takes so much courage to share this with others, and I think that writing it is especially hard, because it makes it all that much more real. It would be great if you could go forever without yelling, but then there would be no Orange Rhino, and others who struggle with the same things that you do would feel more isolated. Thank you for your honesty (tear…sniff…tear).

  14. I really appreciate your post. Though I am trying to stop yelling, I still find myself yelling to the kids more often than I’d wish to, or just managing to stop myself, (high pitched voice and eye rolling). So I do feel conforted to know that it is not only me who losses it sometimes. I like your positive aproach and try myself to do the same, though I still find difficulty in shaking off the guilt.
    Thank you very much for your example, it is highly inspiring and encouraging.

  15. From someone who just ripped my 2 older kids to shreds I know how much I need to join a challenge not to yell. I’ve been reading your blog for a little while and knowing that you’ve slipped up and been able to move on from it is even more inspiring than the hugely inspiring 420 days. Your honesty is inspiring. Your candour with us all and with yourself is inspiring and one day I hope to be able to say I’ve gone even one day without yelling. Thanks for doing what you do.

  16. Ok, I admit I was a bit disappointed BUT I think that’s just my competitive nature. I just hate to see a good streak be broken 😉 However, you really just confirmed that I, little ole me, CAN accomplish the Orange Rhino Challenge!! Your slip only showed that you are human and that makes me feel like I don’t have to be some super hero to start this challenge. I have been pondering the Orange Rhino for a week or 2 (ok maybe more) and I have even talked to my son about it (he loves to hear and say Orange Rhino by the way, giggles every time) but I have been so nervous. I feel failure on the horizon, but you seem to be so open and real with your posts and the more I read the more I feel like I can take this on. So thank you for this and all your posts. Thank you for letting me know that if I do yell I’m not a failure because I can learn so much from all the times I don’t yell that can help me and my little one in the aftermath of when I have a slip up. Thanks again!

  17. I have welling up from reading this post. You’ve captured that awful sequence of moments from noticing, trying, exploding and the experience of the boys…all too familiar and fresh in my mind.
    I am so very very grateful for the work Orange Rhino has inspired and supported me to do so that my boys don’t go through that terror daily anymore (I have lost countof days, but I consider myself pretty successful).
    Thank you for sharing this terrible moment of family life. Thank you for taking responsibility for your actions. Thank you for apologizing to your kids. These have been my growing edges, the lessons I have, and continue to, most learn from.
    I often think our children learn more from how we handle our failures than from our successes.
    Rhino on!

  18. You know that we all support you and we can ALL relate and identify, that’s why we are here! You know what I think? I think you need to write about that marriage boulder. You have been writing around it, it is bottled up, and it is spilling over into yelling at the kids which you have been so strong not to do for a long time. Let it out. I’m sure in addition to yelling, most of us have gone through marriage boulders (or total disintegrations), or if we haven’t, we will… they happen. We understand, and letting it out will help you, and it will channel it away from your kids, and out of yelling. Another way to avoid yelling which you have demonstrated to us, is to write it instead.

  19. I’m just in awe of you more now than ever to be honest and you can’t know how inspirational you are to me. Well, I guess now you do… Just simply – thanks from the bottom of my heart from me and my whole family <3

  20. Phew – I feel rather better that you cracked and yelled as it makes me feel like Im not the only one who cant always control things. I am MUCH better than I was as Im now trying really hard and your blog and the supporting comments help me to keep it up. Hang in there honey….we all fail from time to time. It’s about learning and Im sure the kids will get over it….as will you.

  21. Disappointed? No way. Proud for what you have accomplished. Thank you for being brave and honest. The fact that you parent differently and you have a better relationship with your boys is amazing. To say you are going to change and then boldly do that is impressive to me. Yep. You lost it today. You took responsibility , said your sorrys and made a plan to do better. You are not just teaching your boys to stick to a commitment but how to handle a mistake with grace. It’s obvious how much you love your boys and committment you have made to yell less. That in itself makes you a great parent! Thank you for inspiring me to do better everyday!

  22. Big hug comming your way … cause that’s what your posts do for me 🙂 Remind me that I’m not the only one feeling this way, or reacting this way … we’re all just trying to do our best. And we DO need to look after ourselves as well … in the long run if affects everyone in the family. I hate when I get upset with my girls because my husband has upset me, but with your words of encouragement and other reminders I have for myself, I do my best to let his issues be his issues and continue to be the loving mommy I want to be for my girls. Big hug and continue on!

  23. I have to tell you how brave you were to post that, and no, you did not disappoint me. More importantly though is the great job you did with your own thoughts and the lessons you have learned over the last year. Thank you so much for being real!

  24. I have been following your post for a little over 2 weeks. This hit home for me today. I love your honesty and your willingness to share every aspect of what occurred in this situation. Thank you for being vulnerable in order to help all of us as mothers.

  25. Thank you OR for all your honesty & diligence !! Reading your posts give me a lot of perspective & encouragement !! Keep on Keeping On !!!

  26. How anyone could be disappointed with you is beyond me. YOU are an inspiration to so many people and losing it after all that time just shows us how human you are. Don’t give up and don’t not share – you are touching lives everywhere!!

  27. Thank you for being honest. I actually needed to see that you would post if you messed up like this… And no – I’m not disappointed in you. (I’m still disappointed in my yelling though – still far too often.)

  28. Sitting here trying not to cry because I empathize with you so much. Going 520 days without yelling is amazing—I can’t imagine going that long, but I’m really trying, and it’s in large part because of your blog. I felt so alone in struggling not to yell at my kids, but your willingness to share your own challenges has been such a comfort and help to me. Just wanted to let you know that you’re making a huge difference in so many people’s lives.

  29. You should be proud of yourself for having the courage to blog about it! As I read your post, I found strength in your words, that you had forgiven yourself. That’s the worst part for me about yelling…I carry around the guilt for the rest of the day. I am so glad that I found this blog and know that it helps me every day that I read it. Not disappointed…hopeful that I too can one day say I went 500+ without yelling! The personal growth this is helping me to discover is priceless.

  30. You are amazing. And while I am not a big teller, since my baby girl hit toddler-dom, I’ve found that I get frustrated easier. I have made an effort to calm myself more because I don’t like to yell at her and it doesn’t do any good. And that’s your fault! 🙂 You have made me a better Mom! THANK YOU!

  31. You have not disappointed. Your reaction is proof. If you yelled and didn’t care or tried to convince others that you were right…THAT would have been disappointing.

  32. Thank you for always being so honest! I think that helps the most, along with sharing your inner dialogue and how you talk yourself through things.
    I’ve been doing pretty good with yelling less, but yelled at my boys at naptime the other day – louder than I intended to – to “LAY DOWN!!!” My voice was so thundering and loud that right after, I thought “what was that? and why was it necessary?”
    My husband came into the room and asked “what was that!?” and I told him that I’d yelled like a bear at two boys who had an extreme case of the wiggles, and that it was completely, wholly unnecessary.
    And thanks to your example, I picked myself right back up, dusted myself off, and got back to yelling less and loving more!
    Chin up, TOR!!

  33. I think you are a wonderful mother and I appreciate your honesty so much. I read your posts all the time and this one really spoke to me. Thank you so much for sharing.

  34. Very well written. Thank you for your honestly, humility, and most of all your perspective of growth from all you have been through these past 520. you have definitely NOT disappointed me, in fact, i totally hear you. which is mostly what i’ll take away here.
    but really, there is some pleasure in this company…why can’t they buckle their seatbelts when they get in the car??? we have the same issue in our family and i always think ‘gosh, has something changed? has the law to wear seatbelts disappeared. it’s like closing the door just get in and do it!!’

  35. No one is perfect & that’s perfectly ok. 🙂 I read your blog because you’re honest, & real, & even when you struggle it’s more than plain that you have changed in the last 520 days for the better. It’s also plain that it’s always at the forefront of your mind to make the effort each day not to yell. Your kids see that even in moments like this. I never expected you to go forever w/o a yell. I only expect the same from you that I expect from myself & my son… to do the best job you can trying, & when you make a mistake learn something from it so you’ll be better prepared next time. I think you’ve done that & will continue to do so. That’s good enough for me. 🙂

  36. Longtime reader, never commented before – but oh, this one brought tears to my eyes! It’s okay, Orange Rhino! You’re an awesome mommy and I’ll bet you got some awesome make-up hugs from your boys once you apologized and you all made up, right?! Keep up the good fight. You are so right, it’s ALL about us, always about us, when we yell. Never about them! Poor lil guys! I always feel that (occasional) yelling is a good lesson for our kids to see that big people mess up too… and that when we do, we say we’re sorry and hug and move on! Sending lots of hugs your way.

  37. I have tried, failed. Tried. Failed. Couldn’t seem (to me) to get out of the Orange Rhino starting blocks. Stopped thinking about it. You are right, my anger and yelling is about me. But. This post. This post has inspired me to try again. My kids (and I) deserve it.

  38. I started the Orange Rhino challenge yesterday, and llike Dayna said, this just brings it home to the rest of us that it’s not about being perfect, it’s about trying really, really hard to make our families more loving places to be – not just for our kids and spouses, but for us too. I’m still buying my orange nail polish today, because you’re an INSPIRATION! 🙂

  39. I haven’t ever posted before but I read your posts religiously! You are amazing – thank you for your honesty and for coming back day after day to write. You have helped me (and thousands of others) more than you will ever know and you are literally making the world a better place for the children of all of those thousands. I’m so glad to hear that you were able to stay positive – keep up the amazing, loving work… I look forward to your posts every day!!!!!!

  40. Thank God, you’re human. I started the challenge and five days in I screamed “eat!” in a disgusting, loud, horrible voice. I have prepared myself for these things. One of my boys is grumpy in the morning and really just can’t decide what he wants. He’s like that every day. He needs nurturing the most in the morning and I just lost it – I was grumpy too. After posting about this challenge and making it public – I’ve had people respond with positive remarks for me but a lot have also stated that they “never yell” and I wonder, really, never… never, ever? For those of us in this challenge we are constantly monitoring our reactions, moods and triggers. We are hyper-aware of what is coming out of our mouth. Most people don’t do that and the result is the delusion that they “never” loose it. That is just BS, everyone loses it – maybe not the Dali Lama – but the rest of us do and what you have done here for a YEAR and a HALF is astounding! I am glad you forgave yourself and I am glad you shared. We – your OR followers – need to know you are human like the rest of us.

  41. Sobbing as I read this. I just realized how much the guilt, negativity and dwelling has paralyzed me from changing my behavior and moving forward. Most days I think I am the worst mom on the planet just because I can’t control how I respond to stress and chaos. You absolutely did not disappoint me with your post but rather inspired me to look at my situation differently. Thank you so much!

  42. Hey Orange Rhino,
    Just wanted to thank you so much for this post. I have been reading your blog for a couple months, casually taking it in and applying a few techniques, but honestly feeling like it was totally unattainable for me. Not that I’ve ever read your posts are thought you were preachy or arrogant, just that you had such incredible control that I would never be able to reach your level of ‘enlightenment’ as it were.

    And then I caught sight of this title in my email today. And my world was rocked. I had almost the exact same moment with my girls yesterday. Marriage issue + not taking care of myself + horrible bedtime routine = a yell that scared the pants off of my girls AND me. And after reading this post (which I could have written myself) I know that I can NOT yell too. One moment at a time.

    Thanks for being honest. Thanks for sharing your techniques. Thanks for this blog. I’m seriously starting this challenge TODAY.

  43. Thank you for posting this! Your transparency and honesty have always been one of the reasons I’ve read your blog. Add to that your willingness to not present yourself as someone who “is perfect and have figured it all out” and that makes you real and human. You know there are blogs out there that only show you the good ~ all shined up and pretty. Life just isn’t like that. Hoping you find some space today to take good care of yourself!!!

  44. Congratulations-on growing. I am just at the beginning and this post is so very heartfelt and true. It offers encouragement. To those whom it disappoints (if any) they think you are superhuman. None of us are. I thank you for your candid posts. I thank you for your struggles as they help me learn about myself too. I see so much of my issues in your issues. It is most definitely me. I have posted your yelling levels and struggle daily to keep afloat. Some days are good and others-well not so much. Next step is to hang a chart so I can see my progress. Thanks you again. I am sure your boys appreciate all you are doing. God bless.

  45. Thank you for sharing. You definitely did not disappoint your followers, and you took the time to share how to recover gracefully and “get back on the horse”.
    I had a terrible yell yesterday after 3 months of no yelling-a record for me. It was a really bad explosion. Like you, marriage boulder paired with a fibromyalgia flare up-and me not being aware and taking care of myself. My oldest daughter pouted and asked if the good mommy could come back. I instantly calmed down, explained to them my feelings and issues and asked for forgiveness. I still feel guilty, but like you I no longer dwell on it, I just refocus and am ready to start over and be more aware. I hope your day 11 is going much more smoothly on all levels.

  46. You are such an amazing inspiration to me! I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago and it has begun to transform my thinking and behavior. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share your journey with all of us.

  47. Hello Orange Rhino

    I tried commenting on your latest post but your site keeps telling me to go back and enter a spam password – yet there is no space for a password. Not sure what is up with that but thought I would take 5 minutes to email you my comment anyway.

    “Big hugs to you – i think counting your days is great and all but whether it says 1, 25 or 250 the real hope is that we all are changing for the better – not for the perfect – but for the better. I am glad you shared all you learned and how it was different than before as that is what I found to be a big part of my journey – not that I never yell ever again, but that when i do have a moment or a day, I grow from it, i recognize it is a sign of something greater (like you asking what do you need?), a chance to remember how bad it does feel when i yell and so on. Congrats to you for your entire journey!”

    All the best

  48. …Oh sweet Orange Rhino! I love you. It’s okay. You’re still awesome.
    I yelled today, too, darn it. I’ve done so well this summer. Tonight my 2 year old was screaming bloody murder, and it was screwing with my head like nothing else. I wanted to throw things and have a tantrum to get the crazy feelings out of my head. I only yelled once, but it was still not cool.
    Anyway, I hope you aren’t feeling like a failure. You are so brave to be so human with so many people watching you. Your boys will still know you love them…
    I hope you can find peace with them and in your marriage. Don’t give up.

  49. …After reading about how you have changed and how the one slip up affected you and your boys, I am determined to start my own challenge tomorrow. You certainly didn’t disappoint me, you motivated me!

  50. Dear Orange Rhino,

    I have just read your post about yelling at your boys and I have been trying to leave a response. My computer wont show the password section that is apparently needed to load the comment. I can see that you don’t have any responses yet and I just wanted you to have mine so that you don’t feel as though no-one has posted!!!

    Anyway- here is my comment. I hope you don’t kick yourself about too much and that you have a better day tomorrow!

    ‘I dont think you have disappointed anyone. I for one am grateful that you have had the guts to write this post and give us an example of how to forgive ourselves when we do yell. You are right, no-one is perfect and we don’t expect you to be perfect either.
    I have learnt so much from you, thank you and keep going!!’

    Thanks from a grateful follower

    (ps- I truly believe that reading your posts has made me a better mother to my 2 young boys – 2.5yrs and 4 months). I love all the positivity, please keep it coming!!)

  51. Dear Orange Rhino, I’m writing from Belize. I’m a stay at home mom to 2 wonderful (crazy!) boys age 1 1/2 and 4 1/2 years.

    I read your blog for the first time in May and I have become a better mother because of it. I used to yell so often at my boys even though it wasn’t necessarily their fault. First thing every morning I read your tip on Facebook so I can try to keep myself calm that day when something inevitably goes differently than I had hoped. I tried commenting on your blog post tonight but the internet in this country is super slow and for some reason it didn’t work. I know how terrifying it is to admit something you’re not proud of and I just wanted to let you know that you haven’t let me down at all. In fact, I’m happy to see that you’re human and are capable of failure. I was super intimidated by you and your amazing record of not yelling for over 500 days. Since I’ve just started learning to yell less and love more, 500 days seems impossible to me right now. Thank you for your honesty even though it must have been difficult for you to admit a temporary setback. Praying for you to have a great day tomorrow. You have been such a great encouragement to me!


  52. For some reason it won’t let me post on your latest post. I’m new to your page and actually you have far from disappointed me. I am amazed by everything you have achieved and whilst I feel for you as you write this post, it’s a relief to hear your halo can slip too. I yell at my kids and like you am trying to do it less (not at all?). I was going to say ‘don’t beat yourself up about it’ but you haven’t really. You’ve acknowledged it wasn’t great and are moving on from it, which will allow for much more growth than the former.

  53. I can’t post on your latest entry about the yelling. So I will email it here to you. I love you. I just want you to know that. Even though you’ve never met me. And I’m not trying to be creepy. You’ve inspired me so much. Your honesty here really touches me. I’m still at day zero and will get over this one day at a time thing….but well….it’s very hard when there are other boulders in the road so to speak that affect my patience and kindness. I’ll get there and it’s no small thanks to you. It must be hard to write this post but I’m the better for you doing so. You keep me realizing that I’m a human being, flawed beyond flawed but my accepting my humanity keeps me compassionate for others. I’m finding my biggest hurdle is this cycle you are talking about. This guilt, shame, remorse…drives me down further and then I have a hard time being happy. Finding humour, finding joy. So thank you. I have an aha moment here with what you have described. It truly helps. One crabby mom at a time, you are changing the world, lady! HUGS and love and peace and respect from the Great White North in Canada.

  54. I can`t seem to comment on your recent post. Just wanted to say that we are all human and I am sure nobody is disappointed that you yelled. Almost 18 months is still an absolutely amazing accomplishment xx

  55. … I just came across your website today and I love it! You are open and honest about creating more loving relationships with your family and the challenges that come along with it. Don’t let the hard days get you down, its about progress not perfection!!! You have inspired me,,,tomorrow is my day one! I tried to post this on todays post but it wanted a password…so I figured I could email you here 🙂 Keep up the good work and inspiration!

  56. …I tried to leave a comment but it didn’t work, don’t worry if you yelled I still think you are awesome!!!! Just keep going, that is more inspiring than you never yelling ever again.

  57. And another comment from last night 🙂
    I needed this post today. My friend told me about this challenge a month ago and I decided to do it because your experiences resonated with my feelings, both negative and positive. I had been doing so good for 3 weeks and then I lost it with my 2 year old when he refused to take his antibiotic. I felt horrible and disappointed in myself. The next day I yelled again and I kept thinking…why am I doing this again?! After I talked to my friend, she reminded me that I needed to forgive myself and celebrate my successes. 🙂 You have not disappointed us, you continue to inspire. I have no doubt that you have changed generations for the better.

  58. Another comment that couldn’t get on last night…
    You nailed it, girlfriend! First of all, congrats on your AMAZING accomplishment. In case you missed that, it was truly AMAZING! And secondly, congratulations on being able to see through the pain, forgive yourself and take the next step forward. You are truly an inspiration to me. You are not a disappointment. You are real. You are beautiful! and you are incredible. thanks for being so raw and so real…pax!

  59. I am still new at learning to not yell. I am slowly getting better at forcing myself to stop and ask the questions when I feel myself getting mad. I am also slowly getting better at forcing myself to not say anything mean even if I am not yelling. Getting through well over a year with out yelling is awesome, being able to slip up and not fall back into old patterns is even more amazing. Thank you for showing that is can be done! I am going to go put on a fresh coat of orange nail polish, wash my orange glitter cup and get ready to try harder tomorrow.

  60. I tried to comment on your post tonight, and it keeps asking for me to go back in input a password. There is no button or anything to enter a password, so this may be why you don’t have replies yet. : ) …
    Oh my goodness! Reading this made my heart ache for you, but I am so proud of you for not letting it continue in a downward spiral. I’m also really proud you were willing to trust us with your disappointment. We all, all, make mistakes we wish we could take back. All we can do is make amends with those we hurt, forgive ourselves and carry on. I truly hope Saturday began day 521 without yelling for you (don’t discount what you have done). I hope your boulder shrinks again, but regardless of what happens, I hope and pray you continue on your journey with grace and compassion.

  61. From a reader who couldn’t comment last night…
    I’ve never commented before but I felt compelled to because of your P.S. Your blog has been an inspiration to me and I think you are a wonderful mother. I have two very active boys and I can’t imagine life with four! I think that you did a great job handling the post-yelling situation. I am really impressed with the level of introspection that you have achieved and clearly your boys have been and will continue to reap the benefits of your hard work. So no, you have not disappointed me. You continue to be an inspiration to me – helping me keep my cool when the going gets tough. Great job!

  62. Everyone Slips. This brought tears to my eyes because I can relate. I typically make it only a day or two before I snap again. However because of you heartfelt posts and words of encouragement I am able to turn many frustrating moments into loving ones. Your challenge is about Yelling less and loving more. You yelled once in 520 days. I think that is yelling less considering the challenge is not, not to yell at all. Everyone has a moment where our frustration gets the better of us and the hapless person or thing gets to feel the brunt.

    I see you as an inspiration to all those who battle yelling everyday. I will proudly stand next to you for day 1.

  63. 520 days?! That is amazing. Great job. I’m so proud of you, which is weird because I don’t know you at all, but I really am proud of you. As a yeller all my life, I don’t think I’ve ever gone more then a few days without a good yell. lol Give yourself grace, pick yourself back up and move on. Only ONE slip after almost a year and a half. That’s huge! I can only hope to be where you are some day. You learned from your slip and that is the important thing. Give your kids a big hug and move on! Hugs!

  64. Bravo, O.R., Bravo. I feel your mommy pain in losing your cool but you are still an inspiration to those like me who have slipped more often and learned less from it. I will continue to read your blog and will continue to listen to your advice because I’d rather lose it once in 520 days than once a week, and so would my kids! Keep on keeping on!

  65. How you handle a mistake can teach more than being perfect. You didn’t disappoint us (or me at least). Now you know it is still there…your still human.

    When I first started reading your blog (about a month ago) I just assumed you were “one of those mom” who was just better than me at this (how dumb huh?). I went back and read your post from the beginning. I can not tell you what it meant to me that you would be vulnerable enough to share that.

    Keep it up…at least it doesn’t read “day 1 take 10” at the top (at least statement…you taught me that).

  66. I have never commented before, I’ve just been quietly absorbing everything you’ve written and working on my own challenge. I just want you to know how brave I think you are to write this post. Yes, you are still the Orange Rhino. But you are just human. 520 days is an amazing accomplishment. And the key thing, as you said, is how differently you responded to your yelling this time. You are such an inspiration. And this post actually inspires me more than any other. Because even if I can’t go 520 or even 365 (or, truth be told, 30) days w/o yelling, I am definitely adding more and more living moments, MANY less yelling moments, and because of you I am much more self aware of what causes me to yell, and my yelling is not only much less frequent but so much less intense and out of control. I have you to thank for being the inspiration, and the fact that you slipped up doesn’t change any of that. Thank you!

    • Oh goodness! I’m sure that your heart sank when no comments showed up! I’m so glad you posted this. We are all daily working through this with you! Thank you for being so honest and telling us it’s “ok”!

      • and you have inspired me more than I can express. It’s amazing how immediate not yelling makes a happier family. Thank you thank you for putting this challenge out there!

    • I always felt I could not live up to this challenge – when I first read about it, you were already past the one year mark. finally now I have the courage to start this. thank you for “failing” and picking up again – this is an inspirational blog and I will jog along in the herd of rhinos now…

    • Just something about that trigger even after thinking it was under control can just go *POW*. But owning it, admitting it was wrong really shows how humans can be sorry and how humans can forgive. Keep at it.

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