This Has To Be Said

Dear Orange Rhinos,

I feel like we should be having this conversation instead of you reading it. So let’s pretend. Here is a glass of wine and a cup of coffee (um both with chocolate, obviously, since this is a heart to heart); grab whichever you prefer.





First off, a disclaimer. This post is not going to be perfect. It will probably have grammatical errors. Wait, all of mine do and that is usually intentional, I digress. This post will probably have typos and errors because I am not going to really proofread it because I want to post it tonight, immediately. Actually, I have wanted to write and post it for months but you know, life happens. And while the message is really, truly, madly, deeply important and does deserve all the editing and correcting and quasi-perfecting, it ain’t gonna happen.

And maybe that is okay. Because that is kind of the message. Grammatical errors happen. Typos happen. Yells happen.

Yes, yells happen.

Yells happen. Sh*t happens. We have a bad day. We have P.M.S. The kids have a bad day. The kids have I.A.J.A.K.S (I am just a kid syndrome). And so yells happen. And it feels sh*tty, really, really sh*tty. And on top of feeling sh*tty from yelling once an hour, once a day, once a week, once a month, or once every few months, chances are you have other things in life that make you feel sh*tty. I know I do. Some days I feel cruddy about my weight gain. Some days I feel cruddy about my grumpiness. Some days I feel cruddy about the lack of “quality” time I give my kids. Some days I feel cruddy because of finances.

My point? There are SO many things in life that can make us feel cruddy. I do not ever, never, ever, EVER want this blog or the Facebook page to be a source of that. Never. I do not want to add to anyone’s stress. Which is why I share the following points:

(1) The Orange Rhino Challenge “rules” are there are NO real rules! (well except that you are nice to everyone who is taking it)
I set up the 365 days straight and the yelling-meter because I am a cold turkey, organized, need parameters type of personality. Without such things, I don’t stay motivated. That is just me. Counting days and level of yells may work wonders for you or it may not. Either way is ok. I just want you to feel good about yourself for (1) deciding to change, (2) making the effort, and (3) discovering that you are trying hard and making progress. You are making progress by the way, whether you see it or not. Awareness and taking on a hard habit to break IS progress! I have felt the opposite of all three points and I simply DO NOT want you all to feel that. End of story. So if my “rules” are doing that, adjust them. At the end of the day, taking The Orange Rhino Challenge means challenging yourself to YELL LESS and Love More irregardless of whether or not you are counting days. Which brings me to the next point.

(2) Set a Goal that works for you!
Only you know how you operate. While it is said that having a concrete goal helps one to achieve, there is no reason to say that 365 days straight needs to be your goal! Pick something that motivates and inspires you. Maybe it’s going to bed feeling less guilty. Maybe it’s going the first hour of the day yell-free. Maybe it’s making it through the morning routine. Maybe it’s 3 days, then 6 then 12. Maybe it’s just showing up and trying. My point? Do what works for you.

(3) Count or Don’t Count!
If counting towards a goal works for you, embrace it. If it makes you stressed out, don’t count. Again, this should not be a place of added anxiety. I would cry if it were. Really. I don’t like seeing anyone I care about stressed. And I care about all of you. I do. When I started this challenge I met a great woman I named Mrs. Sunshine (she just had a ridiculous positive attitude.) Anyway, she found that counting stressed her out. So she stopped. She focused on just general awareness and living in the moment, enjoying the moment, doing the best in the moment. That worked for her. Guess what? She has gone a long time without yelling.

(4) Either way, it’s all about LESS is MORE. Yelling Less is Loving More.
Again, I chose a 365-day straight goal. My mom (who has a background in therapy and all that jazz) told me I was nuts, that I was setting myself up to fail, that it wasn’t about perfection. Looking back at the year, I can say that my goal was fine and that in achieving my goal I can say that it truly is about YELLING LESS (whether for 365 days or 365 moments.) Every day that I yell less than I would have pre The Orange Rhino Challenge is a win.

Any moment that I don’t yell, is a win.

Eventually, all the yell-free moments add up. Whether they add up to a year straight, a day straight, a month, or a few months straight, they add up and symbolize something better than the alternative. And that to me, is what matters. My mom was right. This isn’t about perfection. I am not perfect. Never will be. I am sure there will be a day when I yell. I am sure it will catch me wicked off guard. I am sure it will catch my boys off guard. And I am sure that I will get up and go on with life, waiting for the next opportunity to yell less and love more. And it will be okay because there will be more positives in my days than negatives. (And by the way, you should know that I TRULY believe that you all will get to the point where you have more +’s in your days than –‘s. You will get there. You will get there!)

This is the moment where I normally would stop and torture myself to get the above sentiment perfect. I know I am not saying what I want to say. I know I could do better, that I could write it more powerfully, more succinctly, that I could turn it into an entirely separate post, but I also know that it is okay to not be perfect. What matters is knowing me, taking care of me, so that I can yell less and love more tomorrow. I have learned that this year, big time.

This Orange Rhino needs to sleep tonight in a big way. I went to bed at 8 last night and couldn’t fall asleep until 11 only to be up at 5. I was a witch today and I hated it. But I forgave myself and did the best I could because at the end of the day, that is all we can do. Our best, in any given moment. It might not be perfect and that is okay.

(Right? It is okay. LOL. Someone please tell me it is okay and that the above point made sense. Because even though I am telling myself it is okay you all know that I am a work in progress and still trying to embrace that imperfection is perfection bit!)

Sleep well. Forgive yourself if you yelled. Set your own adjustments to the rules to inspire you. Do what you need to do to challenge yourself to be an Orange Rhino!

All my best,
The Orange Rhino

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38 thoughts on “This Has To Be Said

  1. Thanks for being normal. Thanks for being real. And thanks for allowing me to be that way too…. as I try to yell less and love more!!

  2. Thanks for being honest. It’s what got you started in doing this & it’s what has helped me and many other moms too. Yes, yelling does still happen sometimes but forgive yourself and try again. I’m so glad I’ve joined up here & I’m so thankful to say thank you for your support.

  3. You are amazing! I am going on 1week and 3 days and I have had only one minor slip up and that was today. I needed that blog you wrote tonight! When I think about it, it was so minor. Tomorrow is a new day and I have my orange card ready (I have not used the orange card trick yet but after today need to add a reminder- I mean it is only Monday haha).
    Anyways, thank you!

  4. Very well put, thank you for not going back and changing anything! We do have to forgive ourselves when we are not perfect, no one is perfect. Forgiveness helps you have a fresh start.

  5. Thank you. I need this today. I keep re-trying the Challenge often only making it a single day, and getting angry at myself for losing it. I am trying too hard to be perfect, and forgetting that the only comparisons that need to be made are with the person I used to be. (If that makes sense, I’m a little behind on sleep too.)

  6. It was an amazing post. Usually when you don’t think you said what needed to be it’s the opposite. I think a big part of your challenge is so big because you do confess and encourage us to be real as well. I’m headed to bed real soon as well and take care of myself. Night

  7. Thank You! I so needed this just now. I was on day 4 and just yelled. I was just beating myself up about it. The child I yelled at answered with, “now you are going to have to start your challenge over, mom” which made me even more mad and I wanted to yell more. But I didn’t, I took a break and found this perfectly timed message from you. I forgive myself for not being perfect, as I need to do everyday, because whether I’ve yelled or not, there is always something I could have done /handled better. Showing up and trying is enough. It has to be, because if I can’t love myself despite not being perfect how can I teach my children to love themselves, and isn’t that the very most important thing? Thank you so much! Now, go get some sleep. 🙂

  8. You made perfect sense to me, and I loved reading it tonight. This was not a banner day for me and reading this post makes me want to work harder tomorrow. Big Hugs!!! And I pray you get the sleep you so desperately need!!! Sleep deprivation is awful (says the woman who had nine children in eighteen years, lol)!!!!

  9. Thank you for this post, I really needed it tonight, I was up late last night doing school work and then had to be up early to face many, many children running around at a hobby farm playing. While that was fun especially for my kids, I was and still am super tired and had an awful day. But to see that I am just normal and that I can start fresh tomorrow and let go of the guilt helps me to maybe have a more restful sleep tonight even though I know how crappy I acted today, and my kids were just being kids. Thank you for your honesty it helps me to see that I am only human and normal (I hope anyway).

  10. This post came at the perfect time for me. I’ve been beating myself up lately for making it almost three weeks without yelling, then letting PMS get the better of me and losing it with my four noisy boys. After that one yell, I fell down the slippery slope of telling myself that I cannot do it, cannot stop yelling, and have really not tried that hard to get back on track. Again, blaming the PMS, the snow in April that closed school for the second time in two weeks, the stress of dealing with life around here…blah, blah, blah …. just excuses for my crappy mood and crappy behavior. This post has hit me over the head: I don’t need to be perfect, I don’t need to go 365 days without yelling, what I need is to yell less and love more in each moment I spend with my four beautiful boys. Thank you thank you thank you thank you!

  11. Of course your post makes sense. I think it makes a lot of sense and I think it is kind and encouraging. I do take your challenge day by day. The days are definitely adding up and that is a good thing, but I don’t think a raised voice now and again is a failure. I have seen so many posts from people on this blog saying they have to “reset”. As if all the good days they had were erased because of a rough day or moment. It is sad to read. Honestly, I wish I could call most of those posters and say “don’t be so hard on yourself”. So nice of you to write this post encouraging the same gentleness of self. Sleep well tonight.

  12. It’s OK! 🙂

    I liked this post very much, too. And I’m really glad you said what you said about the 365 days. Because, truly, AT NO POINT have I planned on 365! I (the person I am) would never start a project with such a daunting goal. I am forever in admiration of you for doing it, but I had to start with the 30, which seemed insurmountable enough to me. But then I DID it! With your help and the support of this community. And, wait, let me count . . . I’ve just finished 28 more! Wow. I am so happy for this turnaround. Maybe one day I will look up and it will be 365, but I doubt it. And that’s ok, too. Everything is already SO MUCH BETTER. And I have confidence that it will keep being better, even if it is not perfect.

    I think you are right that we each need to do it in our own way.

  13. Thank you for being you. Thank you for outlining, defining, creating, supporting, reiterating, encouraging, accepting and yelling. Yes, thank you for yelling. Because if you hadn’t yelled, and hadn’t felt the deep anguish that accompanies it, you wouldn’t have had the knowledge and the impetus to stop. If you hadn’t yelled, there would be no Orange Rhino to validate and uplift the rest of us. You matter and your posts matter, typos and all 🙂

  14. I needed that. You always somehow find a way I write what I need to hear. Your passion at helping others to yell less because you know what it feels like to want to change that is pin credibly encouraging. I love how how at and supportive you are. Your words “I just want you to feel good about yourself for (1) deciding to change, (2) making the effort, and (3) discovering that you are trying hard and making progress.” Ring so true to me. Early on i realized that i could not make the 365 day challenge so i am just focusing on the day that i can not yell or yell less or handle an overwhelming situation calmer. Those things you want for us are happening because i do feel good about deciding to Change, make the effort and realizing I’m trying. And your words “you are making progress by the way, whether you see it or not” was the friendly hug I needed. Thank you.

  15. I just wanted to say thank you for helping me find me again. Nearly two years ago my children and I underwent an extremely traumatic event that resulted in two of my children and myself being diagnosed with PTSD. The event also left them without a father and me being a single mother with four small children under the age of six. I don’t know how it happened, but the sweet, gentle, patient mama who found joy in every moment with her babies was lost. She was replaced with a traumatized, stressed, sad, and overwhelmed mom who yelled, spanked, and said things she wished she could take back. About ten days ago a friend shared an article on Facebook “10 things I learned” I found my way here. I read the 12 steps. I read the alternatives. I committed myself to the 365 days. I posted my goals on Facebook to my friends and family. I vowed to be accountable to them daily. I have posted reminders in my home. I chose to sing Alleluia instead of yell. Some days I have had to sing more than others. Some days I sing really loud. Nine days have passed with no yelling and the spankings disappeared with the yells. I can’t believe how easy it was to stop. I can’t believe how easy it was to regain my self control. Peace and joy have returned a quickly as they left. Thank you for helping my babies get their mommy back <3

  16. Love your honesty. It helps me remember that I am not alone. I at short goals to work up to the big goals. I feel that your sight and the fb Page all give me power to be the mom I want to be. A yell less mom!

  17. Thank you so much for the lovely glass of merlot/pinot noir and the 70% dark chocolate squares. Yes, you are so correct, we do not need to be perfect but you were very clear none the less …thank you for doing all you do every day to help the rest of us to stay as yell free as possible. 🙂

  18. You asked on FB about why people like your blog over other alternatives. THIS POST. It is real and I feel I can actually accomplish this. It isn’t some ‘perfect’ parenting book that has methods that no real person can reach. You are not perfect and you don’t claim to be. I don’t feel I can’t measure up to what I read here. I had some moments today that I am not proud of but even in those moments, I saw myself doing better than I would have in the past. Yes I snapped and was not so nice. But I didn’t all out yell. I was able to partially calm myself.


  19. Thank you…I made it 5 days & lost it today. =( It was at, “Forgive yourself if you yelled” when I cried. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  20. Your honest approach is so refreshing!! It’s a nice place to turn when you’ve had a rough day, a safe place where you don’t feel judged!!

    THANK YOU Orange Rhino, you’ve saved my life & my marriage!! Xx

  21. This is from a mum who has have little to no sleep last night and sat here this morning with my cup of tea reading your post is just what i needed to start off my day today. So a big thank you form me to you for giving me a positive message to get me started this morning, and thank you for always being there for us all.

  22. Great post! I made 56 days of no yelling then the Easter holidays hit and I seemed to make up for the lack of yelling by yelling for a whole week solidly! My goal was 50 days so I did achieve that and I will again – today is a new day 2! Parenting is so hard! But much easier when there is no yelling!

  23. I love real, unedited conversations like this.. I don’t want a book, I want someone to help me get back up – which you did… Afterall, we can’t go back and edit the convetsations we have with our kids ( oh how I wish we could …) we just try again.
    Thank-you for being real, for being honest, for being you, and for being “there” when we need you!
    And by the way, I had the coffee & the wine

  24. I get you! And what you’ve done with this blog has made a huge difference, to me and many others, clearly.
    I’ve never counted days or used your yell classification system. But you’ve raised my awareness, and helped me make a conscious decision to never become a yeller. Occasionally I slip up. But your challenge doesn’t make me feel guilty or imperfect. On the contrary, it’s helps me to stay motivated and see how most of the time when I think I would benefit from “a good yell”, I know well in advance that it’s not gonna do me any good. And it’s gonna be even worse for my kiddos. And so, it’s much, much easier to NOT yell and save the energy for something positive (read: loving) <3

  25. This is a fabulous point. I’m definitely NOT a shining beakon for anyone to follow on my Orange Rhino path (as a matter of fact, my poor rhino goes on a rampage regularly); but I keep trying. I have to start over every few days, but I’m noticing my yelling is beginning to be less often! I consider it a success, and I make sure to remind my boys daily that I don’t want to yell, I want to communicate with them when they’re mad/sad/happy/etc. We’re all doing better, a little at a time, and I think we are all looking forward to when there is no unnecessary yelling! Baby steps – Don’t give up!! 🙂

    • I am the same exact way! I start over more than I can keep track of but I can see slow progress! I also talk about it to my boys and try to teach them better ways to deal with their emotions than I have. 🙂

      • Me too! I restart almost every day! But I feel better about myself, less guilt and my kids are happier and THAT is my ultimate goal…not a number 🙂

  26. Thank you so much for sharing this post! None of us are perfect and we are going to mess up every now and then. We’re only human after all. What counts is how we recover from our mishaps and mess ups.

  27. I love your post. I am so glad I found you. I have been telling myself for so long that I yell to much. I knew I needed to stop, but never forced myself to do it and be accountable for it until I found you and read your inspiring blog. The first week was so easy, I Thought, “wow, if I knew it would work this good, I woulda started this ages ago”. Week two was a complete disaster. Not only on my part, but the kids too. We are taking the challenge together, and apparently they forgot. Anyway, I digress…today my 11 year old had some issues with unfinished school work, and got caught in the middle of a lie. I stopped and thought before I spoke. I nearly whispered and chose my words so carefully. He cried today from his own guilt, not from my screaming. Then I hugged him when he cried instead of yelling at him and making him feel worse. I cannot tell you what just that one moment has done to my relationship with him. I am sure there will be future setbacks and yelling, but it will always be LESS yelling because your challenge keeps me aware of changing me, and no longer trying to change them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!! Now if only you had an orange rhino pill to take away PMS, I would be golden!!!

  28. Wow! This conversation is one I have had in my head with you over the last few days. It is like you are answering the question that keeps popping up. Are there others on this challenge who suck as much as I do? I have been reading your blog for a year now and have been working very hard at yelling less and loving more. I do very well for a while and then it creeps back in (due to all of the stressors and triggers you just mentioned. I am not giving up and never will but sometimes I feel like a failure because after a year I am still yelling at times. Thank you for being so timely and thanks to all the responders who have made me feel like I am not alone. You all make such a difference too me.

  29. After 6 days in a row of starting over at day 1, this is definitely a great post for me!! It reminds me that even though I haven’t made it an entire day yet, I am much more aware of my moods, my triggers, and definitely am doing 100% better than I was 6 days ago. Now, if we could just cut the day off at about 7 p.m. I’d get to a day 2!! But, as you said on FB a few days ago, carry on, I will continue to carry on and keep trying each day, and I will make it to day 2 soon!!

  30. I make it a point to read your wonderful write-ups at least twice a week to get that much much needed encouragement/support/we’re-all-in-this-together feeling/I am not a monster feeling. Can’t thank you enough for starting this whole thing. When I’d first read about your challenge, I had realized: “Wait! That’s me! I am turning into a chronic yeller!” And I read the rules and the yell meter and it all suited me so perfectly. I am a cold turkey kind of person too. My best so far has been 12 days, and then I lost it spectacularly just last week. I mean, really lost it, shocked myself and my poor little munchkins. Was very very hard to forgive myself and move on, but you and what you are doing and this challenge in general were in my head and I took a deeeeeep breath and forced myself to climb out of that abyss of self-loathing – and start again. So now here I am, 5 days of no yelling (which included a 52-hour super short trip over the weekend by plane and back) – so yes, must acknowledge that I didn’t yell then. I hope I go for a long time without yelling. You are so right about so many things – less yelling = more love = happier days. And God I love my happy days, because I hadn’t had them for so long (cos of the needless yelling). Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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