Yelling makes me feel better

61 days down, 304 to go!

Dear Nasty Lady at the Restaurant,
It was so nice of you to make fun of my husband and I while we were in ear shot. Thanks, I really appreciated (and needed) that. Looking back, you inadvertently taught me that I have changed and that yelling really doesn’t achieve a thing. So I guess my thanks is genuine. Darnnit. I really didn’t want to say anything nice regarding you.

The Orange Rhino


A few weekends ago, my husband and I had the rare opportunity to go out to dinner, just the two of us. Well, at least in theory. We didn’t have our four boys with us but instead we had the privilege of being squeezed in between two other tables of 2. In fact, we were so close together it felt like we were a party of 6. I could hear everything the couples next to us said. You see, I have supersonic hearing and can carry on my own conversation and hear and remember 1 to 2 others at the same time. It’s mostly a blessing, ie. I can hear my boys whispering their plot to cause trouble from across the room while on the phone. But it’s also a curse. Big time. On this particular night out, it was a curse.

In usual self confessed dorky Orange Rhino husband and wife fashion, the first thing we did on our intimate night out was talk business, tonight’s conversation being what reward system we want to use at home to help the boys become more responsible. We’re thorough and analytical people. We covered all the pros and cons of different systems. Actually, we exhausted all the options.

Do we do points or stickers on a chart? Or do we do money or gold dabloons (ie. Jake and the Pirates) in a jar/treasure chest?  Do we only reward good behavior or do we also subtract for bad behavior?

We decided on gold dabloons in a treasure chest. Most visual, most fun.


Well how many gold dabloons do you get for clearing your plate? For making your bed? Then how many gold dabloons are needed for a reward? What about #3, he is too young to collect, he’ll want instant gratification. How do we handle that?

I won’t bore you with the iterations. You get the point. We were being anal, but to us, it was an important conversation. Helping our kids learn to be responsible, polite, loving kids is important to us. Is that dorky? Is it loserish to be committed to finding a reward system that will easily, clearly, and fairly help inspire these new behaviors? I don’t think so.

Well to our neighbors to my left, specifically the single, clearly no children, under the age of 30 woman, our personal and important conversation did. In fact, she thought our private conversation was hilarious. So funny in fact she felt it necessary to start making fun of us. Yup. While we were sitting not more than 2 feet away. And given my supersonic hearing, I heard every word.

Her: “What losers. They are out without kids and they are talking about reward systems.”
Him: “Shhh. You’re talking loud. They can hear you.”
Her: “I don’t care. Wait, do I lose 2 gold dabloons for being rude? Or is it 1?”
Him: “Shhh. Please. Seriously. It’s embarrassing.”
Her: “Honey, you get 1 gold dabloon for saying please. Would you like 2 gold dabloons for getting out of bed in the morning?”

I won’t bore you with her iterations either as she went on for oh say, 10 minutes? And it just got more hurtful with every jab at us. Tears slowly started to fill my eyes and I fought my hardest to keep them from falling onto my plate. I fought my hardest to keep her from knowing how upset I was. I fought my hardest to keep myself from taking my glass of red wine and throwing it at her yellow blouse. You see, I’ve had the distinct honor of catching people talking badly about me on numerous occasions…the first being when I was 6. Yup, it was that bad that I still remember it. So to say the least, this chick, this obnoxious chick, really hit a nerve.

And oh did I want to YELL. I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to tell her to go screw herself and that she had no idea about parenting and how hard it is. I wanted her to get up to go to the bathroom and have to say “Excuse Me” to us  just so that I could say, “Of course! That is 2 gold dabloons for asking so politely!” And well if she never got up I wanted to turn to her and say “You know, I can hear you. And it is incredibly rude to be listening to my conversation and making fun of it, all while we can hear you.”

But my husband wouldn’t let me do any of those things. As he so perfectly put it that I immediately put it in my blackberry to remember…

“What would yelling at her do? Sure it would make you feel better, but what would it accomplish? Nothing. You’ll still feel crappy. She might pick a fight making things worse. And it will ruin what is supposed to be a nice night out.”

He was right. Yelling REALLY would make me feel better. But he was also right that it wouldn’t achieve anything. The cons of yelling far outweighed the pros… darn it!

So I sat there, not yelling and trying to ignore her and enjoy my dinner. Which is exactly what I did. Which was a really big step for me. Before Challenge, I would have sat there and pouted, sat there and felt embarrassed, annoyed, angry, sat there and thought well maybe she is right, maybe we do sound like losers. Before Challenge, I would have let her ruin my night.

But not tonight. The new me, The Orange Rhino, who is learning to stay calm, find perspective, let go and more, decided to think Screw her!  This is my night out with my husband. I am not going to let some nasty woman ruin my night. I am not going to let anger ruin my night. I am going to choose love. I am going to choose to love my time with the one I love.

And I did.

And it felt great. Much better than yelling would have. My husband gets 2 gold dabloons for great advice. And I think I deserve 5 for listening to said advice, 10 for telling him he was right, and 20 for not yelling (even though she more than deserved it!!!)

Even though this post is about me as an adult and not a mom per say, I think the take aways apply to my life as a mom too, don’t you? When have you wanted to yell but didn’t? Did you feel better?


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27 thoughts on “Yelling makes me feel better

  1. wow.  i would’ve def told her off on my way out.  i can’t believe you showed such restraint.
    do you get to choose what to do with your dablooms?
    b/c maybe the ones you earned that night can go UP THAT LADY’S ASS??

    • Laughing my a*s off. I can’t believe I showed such restraint either. Truly I can’t. This whole Orange Rhino Challenge is changing me in so many ways it is unreal.

    • That comment was hilarious! Thank you for sharing this story…I’m amazed at how strong you remained. That lady is obviously a nasty, unhappy woman. No need to waste any energy on that one. Thank you for your inspirational stories. I just read your story last night and today is Day #1 of no yelling for me. I’ll be following you on Facebook, looking for inspiration each day. Many thanks for inspiring such positive changes!

  2. that’s ridiculous. i wish you’d heard her name so you could put it all over internet lands that she is a b*tch. how obnoxious! i love your blog, by the way… i have always had a problem with yelling when i’m angry — at my siblings, at my parents, at my husband, now at my two babes. the days i have self-control and try to react calmly to situations are the best. great job not telling that woman off…. i don’t know if i could have just sat there ignoring it! good for you!


    • Thanks for reading Whitney! Yeah, yelling when I am angry used to be my thing. I am really hoping I stay on the no yelling streak because you are right, the days with self-control and calmness are the best. Join me in the challenge! If I can change, bet you could have more days without yelling too.

  3. Pingback: Yelling makes me Feel Better, Part 2! | The Orange Rhino Challenge

  4. from the sounds of it, she isn’t getting gold dabloons OR a marriage proposal from that dude anytime soon.  that’s really bad if a guy says you’re embarrassing him.

    and by the way, that’s the same conversations we have when we go out!  when else do you get to talk as a couple?  i didn’t understand that before i had kids… obviously this woman is in that boat. 

    to the lady in the restaurant: karma sucks!

    • Yeah, I think she is getting nothing. I really wanted to tell him how nice he was for realizing how rude she was. But I am trying to learn to let things go. Which just isn’t as much fun 😉

  5. You know, I’m really loving your posts!  I’ve noticed that I’ve been much more calm and less prone to yelling ever since I had my (now) toddler – mostly because of what your husband said – what’s the point?  What is it going to accomplish?  Other than making my kid cry, and then I have to calm him down.  I’ve learned that if I stay calm, everyone stays calm :-).  Good for you!  I think if it were me, we would have changed topics and talked about how annoying eavesdroppers can be and be all sarcastic about it…but that’s just us.

    • Thank you! Thank you for reading, thank you for sharing your experiences, thank you for the kind words! Yup, yelling pretty much does nothing but make things worse. I don’t know about you but staying calm is hard hard hard. Re changing the subject to talk about eavesdropping…OH did that cross my mind 🙂 Several times I think. I am naturally a sarcastic person and I wanted to be so badly but then I realized shoot, I have so few chances out with my hubby I can’t let her get to me. I had fun with my hubby but oh being sarcastic would have been a lot of fun too 😉 Thanks again for reading – share the good word! The more of us in this, the better! Keep up the good work 🙂

  6. This is amazingly convicting! I’ve been noticing my 4 year old taking after me on some horrible habits (ie yelling, cursing) and it really hurts everytime I hear her do it. Even when I’ve stopped for long lengths of time, she keeps at it. Why? Because she’s had the example for so long! We have to model something else, and the longer we do it, the more we do it, the more it affects the world around us.

    I grew up in a yelling, angry, blaming family and I grew up to be a yelling, angry, blaming woman, wife, and then finally Mom. It’s time to end the cycle. Jesus is big enough to do that. I thank you so much for your blog postings. They’re answers to many, many prayers about my life – not just from me. 😉 God bless you. I’m going to check out the details and join your challenge. Thank you again, so much for this amazing post.

    • Thank you for reading Amanda and for your wonderful and generous comment! My three boys, even my 2.5 year old, had also picked up on my yelling and sometimes angry tone. Watching them spit it back at me and then each other was nothing short of horrifying. And so sad. You are right that we need to model something else. There are ways to communicate effectively without yelling. That is one of the many things I want to teach my boys. Another being love.

      I feel honored to have other people joining this community and trying to not yell with me. It gives me strength. And I need it!! So thank YOU. Keep spreading the word about this Challenge. I feel so great not yelling and I want others to feel that too – both for them…and their kiddos.

      I do hope you join and take the challenge with me. Please email me along the way with any questions or need of support!

      Thank you again for taking the time to read.

  7. Great restraint on your part-bravo!!! I had to think about this for a few days, because I agree yelling at the rude young lady would not have accomplished anything, but at the same time I think she should have had her rude behavior pointed out to her. I think any time we act rudely someone should call us on it: not in a stormy embarrassing confrontation, but perhaps in a gentle nudge kind of way letting us know that our behavior is out of line. Something quietly said to her as you were getting up to leave like “I’m sorry you felt our conversation was inadequate, but it was after all our conversation. And I hope you’re able to enjoy the rest of your evening without it being at anyone else’s expense.”. Or “I’m sorry you feel so inadequate that you must pick on others to divert attention away from yourself, but I think you look beautiful and I hope you’re able to enjoy the rest of your evening without making fun of anyone else”. Hard to compliment someone who is making fun of you but then it really delivers your message as well. And who won’t feel like a complete ass for making fun of someone nice enough to give a compliment in that situation.

    • Thanks for reading! Yes, I have often thought that I could have nicely pointed out to her that she was being rude. I actually thought at the time of saying “I hope you know that I can hear you making fun of me….” but I think I was too afraid that she might be nasty back again and hurt my feelings even more! I did also contemplate the compliment approach, the good ‘ole kill ’em with kindness and that would have been fun because you’re right, then she would have felt like an a*s 🙂 I’m curious to see how I handle the next similar situation!

      • The sad thing is that, if she thought you guys were dull because you were talking child-rearing strategies – imagine how dull her existence must be that she had nothing to talk about but a complete stranger’s child rearing strategies! So infuriating, so hurtful, but…so pathetic. Send a little pity her way and move on. You are a constant inspiration to me precisely because you are so human. Thanks for letting it all hang out – you are doing a wonderful public service!

  8. I spotted your blog via Pinterest and have started reading from the beginning… I was hoping that there was a breakdown in the comments here about how your doubloon system works! I haven’t had any children yet, but once I do, I hope that I can be as awesome as you! I know it takes work to be as honest with yourself as you have been and it takes even more work to create major change in your life! Kudos to you!

  9. Hi, TOR~

    You are so funny! I am definitely going to get my husband to read this post. He likes a good laugh as much as I do 🙂 Writing is definitely your forte (where’s the accent on this keyboard?). I’m glad you discovered a way to share it with all of us. Congratulations on your Big Victory!

  10. Your a better person than I am!! I would have been like clearly you don’t have children and when you do I curse you with the most poorly behaved children in the world!!!! LOL!!!

  11. Wow, I can’t believe you showed such restraint! Depending on the restaurant, I would have either let her have it whisper-yelling style or gone straight for the gusto of throwing the red wine on her yellow blouse. And then …. well, you get the picture. I’m outraged on your behalf!

    Seriously, I’m so sorry that happened to you and your hubs. Kudos to you for holding it together and taking the high road. Truly a grand lady, as my grandma used to say, and a role model for the rest of us to follow. Not to mention for your boys when they reach the age to start seeking mates of their own. 🙂

  12. Wow I am still blown away at the rudeness people have. I am a preschool teacher and I work hard to teach the little ones about being kind. Sorry this lady missed the mark. I too would have wanted to cry then yell.
    You don’t know me or I you but I am very proud of you!

  13. Ok, I’m not embarrassed to say that though I love love love this post, as soon as I read the part about using gold dabloons/treasure chest reward system..I was like “genius! THAT might actually get ___ (my stubborn son) to use the potty!” So thank you for that idea which I am implementing TODAY! Also, yah for you and your awesome husband not letting her ruin your night. Remembering the Challenge has made me do exactly what you said, focus on enjoying my time with my family, and let go of those little meaningless things that would normally cause me to lose it. (Granted it’s taking ALOT of reminding myself!) Thank you for starting me on this journey, and prayers for you for continued strength.

  14. i really enjoy your website and have been trying to implement a lot of your strategies around not yelling. i just recently read a book called beyond consequences and it really helped to tie together your methods and other non-punitive parenting techniques. however, regarding this situation, i have to say that i would have handled it in a very different way. there is a problem in society today of people behaving badly, anonymously. granted, she was sitting right next to you, but because she was being ignored, she felt she was safe to continue with her hurtful commentary. i was recently at a costco where a little girl no more than five was having a melt down that definitely reached red terror alert status. the poor mother tried to complete her shopping while trying to sooth the very agitated young girl. for about twenty minutes, this little girl cried so loud and so painfully that she started to choke. and it didn’t stop after they left the store either. i heard her thrashing around in her car in the parking lot as well. being a parent of a very difficult toddler, i understand that these meltdowns are not uncommon, but they are unnerving for the people around them and it is hard to watch a mom be detached and allow her child to cry it out. i get it, but most people don’t. i was behind this lady at costco and got to hear ALL the nasty commentary on her after she walked away from the check out lane. grown men were saying things like, “i will give that kid a reason to cry” and moms of slightly older children (who should know better) were saying “nobody needs to hear that, she should have taken that kid out of here a long time ago”. point being, we live in a social media world where it is ok to remark on things not directly impacting our life in mean and demeaning ways. and we do so because we feel safe with the anonymity of if. this same sort of behavior has become acceptable when people are allowed to talk about each other behind their backs. it’s adult bullying. in the case of the costco girl, that child could have been severely autistic and unable to handle the overwhelming environment she was in. would that have changed people’s reaction to her situation? i bet it would. and in your situation, if you had politely looked at the woman at the restaurant and said, “we are parents of young boys trying to enjoy a very rare night out. this is the first time we’ve had an opportunity for uninterrupted conversation and wanted to make use of it. are we speaking too loudly for you?” no apologizing or excusing yourself, but also not allowing the woman to remain anonymous. i highly doubt she would have continued on that path unless she was a psychopath. i’ve had similar run ins with people that had no business in interjecting themselves in to my conversations, and i would ask them, “excuse me, can i help you?” and they always turn their eyes away. they probably say a lot of stupid things about me to their friends when i am not around, but who cares. that’s what all anonymous cowards do. at least i don’t need to be in ear shot of it.
    sorry, long post. again, i love what you do and i am trying every day to commit to your challenge.

  15. I would have just turned and looked at her until she noticed, smiled sweetly, and asked her if she could make fun of us later when we could no longer hear her.

    But I’m passive-aggressive like that.

    Good for you for showing restraint. 🙂

  16. at least her husband? tried to get her to shush.
    i’m sorry you went through that. no one should be so rude and uncaring. makes me wonder what she has gone through to make herself so bitter.

  17. Have you heard of “The Law of the Garbage Truck”? I read it recently and that’s where my mind went when I was reading this post.

    “Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier.”

    Super great job not letting someone dump their crap on you. 😉

  18. Resolving to not yell does not mean that you must tolerate poor behavior on the part of others. I think you would have done her a great service by leaning over calmly as you were getting up to leave for the evening and saying very politely to her, “Thank you for so perfectly illustrating what happens when parents don’t begin teaching children respect and responsibility early in life. You’ve reinforced the need for us to implement our program as soon as possible. We hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.”

  19. That was amazing! Thanks for posting that situation! I’m still trying to control my anger in all aspects of life, and that situation would have truly tested my patience!! Thanks for sharing with other Moms that we all have these night outs and conversations with our husbands, and the only one who looks stupid was that obvious childless woman. The most important things in our lives are our children and raising them to be caring, honest, and trustworthy people. I would have loved to eaves drop on your conversation as I think other mothers reading this would. We may also have striked up a conversation with what systems worked for you, what hasn’t worked for us! Karma will come around! She will get older! For her sake, may the person who takes care of her in the store, hospital, or business office have a wonderful upbringing of parents who spent time like you and your husband to raise such wonderful kids!

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