The Orange Rhino, a.k.a. {…}

395 days of loving more!


My Name is The Orange Rhino.

I am also known as T.O.R. in my email replies when I am really tired and I am also known as mama to my baby, mommy to my older boys and babe to my husband. When I was in elementary school I was known as Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street because I have a big nose. When I was in Junior High School I was known as Heather because I loved that name and hated my own. When I was in college and I went to my brother’s fraternity parties I was known as “Robert’s sister” code for “don’t touch her.”

Yes, I have had many a names in my life.

But to you all, I have never revealed my real name. You all only known me as The Orange Rhino. Many of you have asked why? Are you hiding something? And lately the big question is: are you always going to stay anonymous?

The answer is, I simply don’t know. I am T.O.R.n

I do know that I am most definitely NOT hiding something. I don’t care that people know I used to yell at my kids. Shoot, I would scream it from the rooftops! And if I shared my name and you googled it you would learn that I was in student government in college and that I wrote a really heartfelt yet very sappy note to the videographer of my Wedding about how much I loved our wedding video. So I guess I am hiding something – I am a sappy dork. Wait, pretty certain you all knew that already!

But seriously, when I started this blog a year ago I had three reasons for anonymity. First, to be honest, I was hesitant of the Internet world. I was hesitant that someone from my past (yup, you read that right) would find me. I’m over that now because of all the things I learned in order to yell less, one of the big things I learned was that I needed to let go of big things that brought me down. This fear was one of them. So yes, it is gone. Yet another upside to learning not to yell!

Second, I wanted to protect my boys! I knew that writing about my journey to yell less would obviously cover some parenting (and individual) challenges and while I knew that writing about them would kind of expose my boys, I didn’t want to over expose them by sharing any of our names.

And lastly, well, I genuinely wanted to have a moniker that when I used it, it reminded me of my promise to not yell. And oh the Orange Rhino does that! When I see orange, when I hear orange, it fills me with warmth and confidence. And when I see rhinos, when I hear rhino, I think of charging and how I used to charge so frequently. And when I see my Orange Rhino logo and I hear my boys say “Orange Rhino!” to me, I remember, “I want to be a mom who has the energy and determination to forge ahead and parent with more composure and warmth and without the yelling!”

I love my moniker. I love being an Orange Rhino. I love signing emails “The Orange Rhino” or “T.O.R.” because every time I write that word it reinforces to me my promise to my boys to not yell but to love more. And I love that we are not just a group of parents supporting each other, but instead a crash/herd of Orange Rhinos because it reminds me that I am not alone on this journey (and well it is really fun to picture a bunch of Orange Rhinos!)

And a year later, as I look back at my original decision to be anonymous, I gotta say that I really like being anonymous and I have this idea in my head that you all like that I am anonymous. But, I have been advised recently that I need to become The Orange Rhino a.k.a. {…} if I want to have our community grow. And oh I really am so T.O.R.n about this! I do want our community to grow because I so very much want other moms and dads and caregivers to find the support to yell less that I found in our community. I so very much want other moms and dads and caregivers to go to sleep with less guilt from yelling and more pride from loving. And I so very much want other moms and dads and caregivers to know that they are NOT alone in the parenting challenge to overcome yelling. I have felt alone before, I have felt the guilt before and I don’t want others to feel that unnecessarily!

But again, I want to protect my boys and I want to focus on The Orange Rhino moniker and not my real name.

So I turn to you all, the big Crash of Orange Rhinos! What do you think? Does being anonymous help or hurt? Maybe I share my face but not my name? Maybe I don’t share my name and I wear a mask? Maybe I share everything? Maybe I keep everything as is and change nothing? Please do share your thoughts…just know that I might take the opposite stance because there really are pros and cons to both sides!



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56 thoughts on “The Orange Rhino, a.k.a. {…}

  1. be true to yourself. you give more than enough information to build trust in your readers, you lay open all that matters. whether a picture or a name, it would rather serve curiousity and the like. ´m wondering which kind of readers you would gain… ;o)
    you´re doing great, keep on!

  2. I don’t think it matters either way – completely should be how you feel. I just feel like the anonymity lets you speak more freely. Not about yelling but just about lots of other aspects in your life. Like in reading a book I believe we all have a visual in our head of what you and your family look like. Though a pic would be nice!

  3. Dear T.O.R.,

    I think your blog is fantastic. A friend overseas in Cyprus shared with me about your blog during some rough times. I started a family blog while living as an American expat overseas in Cyprus this year. It was tough for me to share my name as well as those in my family. I ended up giving everyone an online alias, so that I could share their experiences on the blog without having to call them older son or younger son, or DH, etc. It helped to personalize my blog without giving up their anonymity. I have started a new blog, and it now encompasses my real first name (only), so I am in the process of opening up myself to the blogging world step-by-step. You should do only what is comfortable for you and your family. We’ll all still follow along no matter what. =)

    You are such a thoughtful person, and I truly enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for showing so much honesty with us to help us be honest and encourage one another.

  4. I love the fact that you write such personal, down-to-earth, heartwarming, REAL stuff and yet are the Orange Rhino. It is a perfect combination of real world and imagination for me. Stay TOR!

  5. Stay the Orange Rhino. Disclosing your name has no bearing on growing the community. When and if you’re comfortable then you can revisit the question.

  6. Coming from a Christian 12 step program I like anonymity,however, first names are helpful because we can personify and relate better.

  7. Stay anonymous. I only discovered your blog tonight, but I feel quite strongly about this topic, as I have thought about it before:

    1) For the sake of your boys. Internet presence matters much more for their generation, especially in the next 10 years, than it did for mine at school age. I don’t know for certain, but I have a sense that we are in the awkward transitional time when anything embarrassing will be truly embarrassing for school age kids because it is already very easy to access, but there is not yet quite enough information for it to become common place enough to not matter. Friends will likely know about this blog… its better if bullies don’t have easy access to it.

    2) Because I know of a homemaking blog that I used to love to read, in which the author decided to stop being anonymous. It could have just been her, or it could have been the transition, I really don’t know. But it seems like after that point, the focus became more and more on her (this is HER blog), and less and less on homemaking (this is that blog about HOMEMAKING).

    Having an Orange Rhino as your moniker reminds me of the introduction I recently heard for Aesop’s fables. There is a way in which animals are alive enough and yet abstract enough that it allows everybody to relate to them more freely. Whereas if you suddenly had a face and a name, then relating to you becomes much more complicated. I picture you now, vaguely, as that woman I knew once who helped me make my life better. That is what your hair and face look like in my mind. …but what if you share your real face and your name, and they actually completely remind me of a grown up version of that friend who betrayed me back in jr. high….

    Nope, I firmly believe that in this type of blog, anonymity helps.

    ps. Whatever you decide, I love your blog so far! I do not yet have kids, but I have been yelling at my husband FAR more than I would like to, and try as I may it just keeps coming. (Although trying has helped a lot). So glad to find encouragement and specific ideas for what to try in the future!

    • I agree. I want to be able to imagine you the way I want…a little like me. It’s like when you read a book you imagine the characters with your own little twist, but the movie is never as good because it’s not how you imagined it.

  8. Do what feels right to you. When the day comes that you want to publicly speak and maybe write a book about your challenge, you can add the AKA bit. 🙂 Thank you for sharing what you do…

  9. I just found your blog this morning, and I have been pouring over it.

    My take on the anonymous thing…. By remaining anonymous, you can be anyone. I am The Orange Rhino. My mother, my sister, my best friend…..any one of them could be the Orange Rhino. By being anonymous, you represent any and all of us. We all identify with you.

    If they want a name…how about TORi?

  10. I read a good handful of popular blogs & nearly all of the women who write them have either chosen to stay completely anonymous or they have shared their OWN first name and given their kids & family quirky aliases. I have seen them pick names for their kids that resemble their personality like Dancer & Sweet Pea. Some have given them animal names like Turtle & Calico. Others have used their first & middle initials. You could really do whatever. One blogger calls herself by her blog name (as you do) & her hubby is Mr. “blog name”. The only people who I’ve seen use their real first & last names are people who have made a name for themselves in their industry like say Ali Edwards & Cathy Zielske. They are very much in the public eye in their industry, so it makes sense they use their real names. If you do write a book, go on a lecture tour, etc. I would say at least share your own name. If not, don’t worry about it. In the end, however, it’s about you & how safe you feel sharing this important info w/ the whole world.

  11. Hey, why not go by Heather? 😉

    I just discovered your blog and let me tell you, it came at just the right time. DH read your post on what you learned by not yelling and said it sounded just like something I could/would write. Today was day 1 of my new “no yelling” life as a mom… it went oddly well! I had a few (quite a few) “just breathe” moments, but found the overall feel of the house was calmer… or maybe it was just b/c I was calmer? No idea. I hadn’t poked around your site too much to see “who” you were and it was still a God-send for me. Obviously I am not part of the “community” as of yet, but for me, name or no name, the message still hit home.

    Oh, and I too have 4 children 5 and under 🙂 – 2 boys and 2 girls. My third (girl #2) is my tornado! I think my “just breathe” moments were used mostly on her!

  12. I like your anonymity! If you decide to share something, I’d suggest not sharing anymore than your first name, but overall I say stick with The Orange Rhino and nothing else!

  13. I agree that the fact you are asking this question, to me, signals that you should not share your real name. As a reader, I actually like the fact that you are anonymous. It gives me confidence that you are being genuine when you share the struggles you have with your children, since there is no name, no reputation, no family to protect. They are already protected by the orange rhino nickname. I like that you put the privacy of your children as a high priority. Especially with such emotionally charged situations as yelling, this stuff is going to sit around the internet for a very long time, and they don’t need to deal with that baggage to their internet identity. It also lets me put myself in your shoes more easily. I suppose that sounds weird, but it’s easy for me to think “That was so me yesterday” and take lessons learned when there isn’t an actual person, but more of a SYMBOLIC person in the stories. I know you are real and the experiences are real, but since it’s not YOUR name or face, I can more easily substitute MY name and face and ponder how I can change. And semi related, I think your anonymity makes it harder for people to judge you. There is alot of real mean and judgemental people floating around the internet, and it’s alot harder to judge a symbol than it is to judge “Jane” for her philosophy, her failure to follow her philosophy that day, whatever nitpicky offensive thing that might be said. If that makes sense. I don’t know how much of that you have to endure now, but I guarantee if you share a real name, you will get more.

    If you did decide to share anything, I would perhaps share a photo or a first name only. Like Mel said, learning your real name won’t help us get to know you better as a person.

  14. Actually, you and I have a Facebook friend in common. I remember once something very orange was posted and I figured it out. But d’you know what? At this point I don’t remember your real name, even though I checked it at the time. To me – and my husband, and my friends – who all hear about you frequently 😉 – you’re The Orange Rhino! Simple as that 🙂

  15. I do not think it takes anything away from you sharing your thoughts and experiences by remaining private. I appreciate your concern about privacy and protecting your children. It is really what you feel most comfortable with and whether you want to put your name out there.

  16. The Choice is urs…but having a name…makes you a real person. You know who all of is are. You see our names and faces. You can see were real people. Real familys. With the same real problem of yelling. I get why you wouldnt and i respect that…but part of me would know your a real Person on the other end of the computer…cuz right now all I got is a lady dressed up in a rhino costume…encouraging me..when i could know that…”BETTY” helped me learn there are better ways to real with anger and frustration then yelling.

  17. I say stay anonymous. It’s not as though learning your ‘real’ name helps us know you any better as a person, just like digging up random facts about you on the internet doesn’t help us know you. In this world of over-exposure and over-sharing, the misguided idea that someone is entitled to more personal information about you than you have chosen to share is often disturbing to me. I think you should share your name only when you feel a compelling personal need/desire to do so, and not a minute sooner. To me, the fact that you are asking the question at all means the answer should be ‘no,’ or at least ‘not yet.’ Either way, keep up the good work!

  18. Why should it matter if you add your name and face? That isn’t what attracts people to your blog because to most of the world it’s just another name and face that really doesn’t mean anything. Don’t take that the wrong way!!! I’m here for the message not a name. And I love your message so I’m sticking around regardless. I honestly don’t think an “identity” will make any difference to wether you get more followers or not. But that’s just my opinion.

  19. Anyone who wants you to reveal your identity is only looking to satisfy their own curiosity. And I think too, you will be less honest once your identity is known. Not on purpose, but subconsciously you will aim to protect yourself and your famiky. You don’t need to change a thing!

  20. Stay anonymous! Your blog has been the single most useful resource for me in my quest to be a better, calmer more loving Mum to my 3 children. Before finding you I would regularly score the internet in search of help and advice usually with an overwhelming feeling of guilt and inadequacy. I am currently on day 24 of my journey and it feels great. That fact that you are anonymous makes no difference to me so you do what feels right for you and your family!

  21. I love the way your blog is right now. Even though I’m terribly curious about your real name and everything, I love how your blog is free of those “distractions.” With your anonymity, you ARE the Orange Rhino. And with your faceless photos, we’re not distracted with things that are not as important as the message you’re sharing (like how you claim your nose is big).
    Most especially, though, I love that you care about your children’s privacy. That’s important to me, too. I would feel bad for your kids if it seemed that you were airing their dirty laundry. The way it is now, instead you are sharing really heartfelt lessons you’ve learned with your children, and they are presented in an honest light with so much love. They couldn’t feel ashamed about it when they’re older because they’ll see how much work you put into caring for them.

    I know you’ve received lots of answers, and it’s easy to feel like my own answer is just an insignificant addition, but I really love the way your blog is now. That being said, I’ll still be a loyal Orange Rhino fan whatever you decide. 🙂

  22. I like that you’re anonymous. I don’t need to know your real name . . . I respect you and appreciate you just as your are. I like that you are protecting your boys by not revealing your actual name, too. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it in the future, as well.

  23. At first, I really, really wanted to figure out who you were. But then I realized it didn’t matter. I agree with everyone above, and I would totally keep my anonymity if I were you. There’s my 2 cents!

  24. I totally respect your choice to stay anon. I think that choice is only yours to make and I don`t really understand why your community won`t grow if you don`t reveal your name.

  25. I think you should share your first name. This would make things slightly more personal and real, but wouldn’t lose your privacy and protection of your family.

    Most of the other big bloggers I’ve ever followed haven’t been anonymous and it does feel a little (just a little) like you are holding something back.

    Whatever you decide, what you do is fantastic and I thank you. Perhaps you should take some credit for what you do to help people too?

  26. I love your anonymity. Maybe just a photo of your eyes…or partial face…or nothing at all. If you want to stay anonymous that makes perfect sense to me. Especially for the sake of your boys.

  27. It doesn’t matter to me either way. I do have to say though that I had a thought that you may live near me as we had snow today too!! Whatever you decide it is your choice in the end and I think we should all respect it.

    • Same here. There was some other weather event that you commented about that was happening here. All I could think about was, “Wouldn’t it be cool to hang out with The Orange Rhino?”

      I don’t need to know your name for that though. I think you have to decide how far this thing is going to take you- or how far you want it to take you. At some point you may have to reveal your name, but that is up to you right now. Good luck with this tough decision.

  28. Stay anonymous!!
    You have inspired me to create a “just for me” FB page so I can follow your page and others and share my opinion free of judgement from friends and family who don’t get it.
    I agree with the aspect of your decision relating to your kids. In the long run, hopefully it will be their choice whether or not to publicize your T. O. R. status.

    Keep on posting!!!

  29. I agree that you should keep your anonymity. No one needs to know who you are, just that you have fabulous ideas to share! I think your community will continue to grow as I just learned about T.O.R. and have started to share with others and they will share with their friends, etc. Do what is right for your family!

  30. Just curious the reasons behind why people think the community won’t grow unless you reveal your identity? If that’s legit, would it work if you used just your first name and no last name? I can completely understand wanting to remain anonymous for your kids, not because what you write will be detrimental to them, but…it’s the Internet…you never know what kind of crazy is out there! I would lose sleep over this too if I were in your shoes.

  31. I don’t think I have my name anywhere on my blog…I call my boys Pie and Bug…but I think if anyone really wanted to know who I was, it wouldn’t be hard to figure out (I post as myself on FB all the time and add, “I’m Prickly Mom”). I really don’t mind, because when it all boils down, I’m trying to help people by being brutally honest about my faults, and my faults are what make me, me. And if you don’t like me, you can lump me. 🙂

    As far as my boys: I don’t know. As they get older, I will probably try to hide their identities a little more, but if it’s a case of someone saying to them on the playground, “your mom has psychiatric issues!” they would already know that and know it was not something to be ashamed of.

    T.O.R., do your kids’ teachers know you are T.O.R.? I’m just curious.

  32. Stay anonymous for the blog. Then when you’re ready to write a book – which I feel very strongly you should! You can use the reveal as a marketing ploy. 😉

    My real advice… take what others have to say into consideration, but in the end just go with your gut. Sit in silence without any thoughts clouding your instincts and ask yourself – “Do I want to reveal my identity?” Your first response is your answer. Good luck & trust yourself! 🙂

    • I think you have your answer. Everyone loves you the way you are. Anonymous. But, we all want the best for you and I totally agree that a “reveal” when you come out with the book would be awesome. However, the mystery could sell more books. I just know that you are a real treasure for moms of kids of all ages! Have you ever seen Fly Lady’s web site? She gives helpful advice to people on removing clutter from their lives. She has her name up there but people still refer to her more as Fly Lady. I say if it ain’t broken, don’t try to fix it. 🙂 Healthy Hugz!- Debbie Hackett, Mom in Mundelein, IL

  33. I always thought your moniker was clever. It hasn’t bothered me to not know who you really are ,you are the Orange Rhino! I often find myself saying, “What would the Orange Rhino Do?” It is like that for Scary Mommy, I never remember her real name, but Scary Mommy I remember. I think the brand works in your favor. Keep up the good work!

  34. I vote for you to stay anonymous. I love knowing you as The Orange Rhino…and unless you write some book on this that I would want to read, I never need to know you by your name. I remember people by how they make me feel, not particularly by their real names anyhow….always have. Whatever you decide, it matter not to me, just beeeeeee yourself (the Genie in Aladdin, LOL).

  35. Go with your gut, Orange Rhino! I completely respect your decision to remain anonymous. It takes away nothing from what I get out of your blog!

  36. Stay anonymous! Protecting your family should always come first. This community supports you and will grow whether or not you let us know your “real” identity. We love you and support you fully!

  37. I kind of like the idea of letting everyone know your identity. I think it makes everything, especially the struggles, easier to relate to. Although, I totally understand the worry about protecting your children, and I have to say they mystery of it all is also intriguing. For me, I’m an open book, but I think it all depends on what works best for you, your family and what you are comfortable with. Great post!

  38. In my opinion…Keep your identity on the DL (down low). You have nothing to be ashamed of, but I would keep my privacy intact. Especially for your boys. Unless it leads to a HUGE book deal. 😉 LOL!

    • I don’t think your name should have any bearing on the growth of the community – we just need to share it with others more! I saw a link on a FB post that lead me here, and it doesn’t bother me in the least that I don’t know your real name. 🙂 BUT Like Janet K said – if it leads to a huge book deal post it for the world to see!! Haha!

      • Well I just saw a blog entry today on FB and found you. I don’t care that you are taking the anonymous route. You have to take care of your family first. I am greatly encouraged by this and am thinking of taking the challenge this year (even though it has started already). I have been very discouraged with my self lately. I do yell more than I would like at my girls because I feel like they ignore me. I think this is just what I need. To fill my home with orange rhinos and get started. Thanks L.O.R.

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