My Pause (before yelling) Button.

Last day of “Staycation”, 425 days of loving more!

Dear Orange Rhinos,

We are lucky to have another honest, inspiring guest post. This writer has asked to stay anonymous and it goes without saying that I respect that! She is a married 35 year old working mother of two boys ages 6 and 2. She has been following the Orange Rhino page since last fall and actively trying to work on her progress since January. Many of you have asked me how to stop and catch myself. And that is why I love this post – here is how this mom does just that!

Happy T.H.I.N.King,
The Orange Rhino


I’ve been working on being a more patient person, especially with my boys. Not that I yell a lot (though when I do I instantly regret it.) More like I snap a lot or I am impatient a lot. I could be the snapping turtle or the impatient bunny or something. I’ve been doing great this last week or so.  I’m determined to overcome my impatience. I’ve seen successful days and I know it is possible. I’ve learned that the airlines are right about one thing: You have to put on your oxygen mask before your kids. In other words, take care of yourself so you can take care of them.

All the trigger tracking I’ve done with this challenge have shown one thing. When I write down why I yelled, snapped, or used a mean tone, nearly every time it is something like I am hungry or I am tired or I don’t feel well or I am distracted with something else or I am feeling impatient.  The common denominator in all those statements is “I”.  The boys can do the same exact thing in two situations, and if I am well rested, not distracted or hungry I react calmly.  If I am hungry/tired/stressed, I react impatiently.  Nearly every time the boys are just acting age appropriately like the small boys they are.  I am not acting age appropriately like the 35-year-old mom I am.

Someone needs to grow up here and it is not them.

I can’t rationally expect them to control their emotions and not throw temper tantrums when they watch me model temper tantrums to them. I know this, and it is improving.

I can see improvement.

I am noticing that when something happens that I would usually instantly snap “stop that” or “no”, I can pause for just a second to quick think.  Why do I feel I need to say no?  Is what they are doing dangerous?  Are we getting ready to leave so we can’t get out more toys?  Or am I saying “no” just as a habit and just because I don’t feel like dealing with the normal mess and noise that having young boys creates?  Usually if I can make myself pause, I can make the right choice.  Right now I just have to work on that pause button.

I need to focus on my relationship with my husband, too.  He is patient and wonderful not only with the boys but with me.  I don’t (usually) shout at him but I can be the most negative, demanding person at times (more times than I care to admit).  Seriously I don’t know how (or sometimes why) he puts up with me.  It is because he WILL put up with me at my worst behavior that he deserves my best behavior.  Just because he CAN and WILL do it does not mean he SHOULD have to do it.  So again I need to slow down my immediate reaction of saying the first (negative) thing that pops into my head and THINK first.  Is what I am going to say appropriate for this situation?  Is this something that a grown woman should be saying?  Or does it sound like a whiny child?

I did not create this acronym but I find it is helpful.

Before you speak, press your pause button and think.  Is what you are going to say?


I’ve been keeping track of my good times and bad times on a calendar. Each day is divided into 4 smaller squares.  If I get through 1/4 of the day nicely, I color a small square, etc.  The whole day and the whole large square is colored. Looking back at March so far, the majority of the days are 3/4 or fully colored.  That is great!  That shows I can do this; I can WIN.  And when I win, my whole family wins. 

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11 thoughts on “My Pause (before yelling) Button.

  1. I’ve been reading up on the Orange Rhino Challenge for about a week. I love the idea but of all the posts this one speaks to me the most because it describes me so well! I’m not a “yeller” but I have an edge of impatience and frustration in my voice that gets applied to everyone in my family except my husband, because he won’t put up with it. What does this tell me? I’m a bully? I only pick on my children because they let me? Not a great realization. And why do I snap at them? Usually it’s because they are interrupting and I’m so selfish that I don’t want to quit what I’m doing to do something more important.
    I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I have a friend out there somewhere who is coming to the same realizations and trying to make the same changes. Her triggers are my triggers and I need to grow up too. I love her colored boxes idea. I’m on it!

  2. I really like your acronym. It is so hard to stop whilst in the midst of yelling, but if you can just be mindfull and pause. I was on day 14 of no yelling but lost it last weekend. I get so angry with myself when I yell. I think I may try your color blocking idea on the calendar. I like the idea of splitting the day up into 4.
    Thanks for your post!

  3. I am a grandmother to one very “smart” 2 and a half year old and an 8 month old. My husband and I babysit 4-5 times per week. We marvel at the abilities and communication skills our little 2 year old has and yes, there are times we really have to bite our tongues. In realizing our role as caretakers is much different than the natural parents, we do have to honor the parental requests regarding quiet time, snack time (what is allowed and what is not allowed) and any other requests. This is a great site. I am so glad my step daughter found it and drew my attention to it. Thank you

  4. Truly inspiring! I agree, it’s about us, not them. If I could manage to get a full night’s sleep (I wake at 5 or 6 and can’t get back to sleep), I think this job would be A LOT easier!

  5. Thank you for your post. It resonated with me and has given me the inspiration to keep calm, pause and think before I interact with my two boys 9 and 6. They deserve my love and my guidance, none of which I can give them while I am snapping and yelling. I haven’t yelled for a while now and posts like yours are very supportive and keep me going.
    My boys need to have positive interactions with females, and as the leading role model for that I feel the need to check my own behaviour and make sure that they have as much respect for me as I have for them. Not respecting the main female in their life as they grow up may only lead to other problems as they turn into men.

    Thank you again for your inspiration.

  6. This is fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing it. I will definitely use the pause button and the T.H.I.N.K. acronym. Congratulations on your progress!

  7. Feels so true. My issue is that I can ‘pause’ a lot of the time but then I hit PMS Hormone Hell week -like this last week- and my pause button goes out the window. But even the hormone hell is more to do with me than my kids. Will to remember to THINK.

  8. I love this post. I can definitely relate to this. I’m on day two of the no-yelling challenge (just getting started). I’ve found it’s easier to control no-yelling than no-snapping. I find myself speaking sharper than I want to, so I’ll keep working on that. Love the T.H.I.N.K. acronym. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Thank you so much. This SO sounds like me and how I react when under pressure/distracted/tired etc. unfortunately my husband is terribly impatient too so we are working on this together. I have posted this THINK strategy onto my phone reminder. I am hoping it will help in the bad times. I also really like the idea of colouring the calendar – gives positive feedback to yourself as to how things are going. I did yell once (actually more than once) today 🙁 after a long few days on my own with my girls aged 8 & 6 and who constantly (to me anyway!) bicker and fight when together for too long. But have had some really good days before today and I’m positive for the way forward. 🙂

  10. Wow. I could have totally written this post. I loved your perspective and I really like the idea of coloring the calendar.

  11. Wow, it’s like you have a hidden canera in my house and are describing me! Thank you so much for sharing your story and especially for T.H.I.N.K. I will definitely be trying to implement this when I’m about to blow my top.

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