At the bus stop one morning, I lamented to my friend about how I felt like I was constantly yelling at my oldest son. She told me about a blog, The Orange Rhino, which documented the journey of a mother who had committed to go a year without yelling. The thought of not yelling for a full year seemed like an insurmountable task. I liked the idea but didn’t do much investigation at the time. I don’t think I even looked at the blog. I tried to keep track in my head and thought I would give it a go but I wasn’t prepared or entirely too committed.
Fast forward to about four months ago and I began to think back on The Orange Rhino. I had been feeling quite stretched as a mom and felt like every few weeks, I would lose my temper and scream at my kids all for inconsequential things. I just hadn’t been able to keep my cool or have enough patience. That’s when I really began investigating and began reading the blog posts written by The Orange Rhino, aka Sheila. I committed to The Orange Rhino challenge. Even better, I was offered the opportunity to participate in the “Yell Less, Love More” blog tour and review the book. It was as if the stars aligned perfectly urging me to commit to The Orange Rhino Challenge.
I don’t read parenting books. I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” back in 2006 and that was it. I don’t hate parenting books. I just think that generally parenting books can make things more complicated and make you feel guilty for what you’re not doing right. I just swore them off because so much of parenting is intuitive, I wanted to trust my intuition as a mother. So why did I read “Yell Less, Love More” breaking my streak of no parenting books? When it gets down to it, this may be a parenting book but it deals almost entirely with improving yourself and in turn improving your relationship with your children.
“Yell Less, Love More” is formatted in such a friendly way to get you started in 30 days but you can take it at your own pace. Throughout the book, there are suggestions for alternatives to yelling. It breaks things down into a manageable way to approach your commitment with smaller goals. You’ll find yourself in these pages. The honesty and self-revelations that Sheila shares are genuine and authentic. She’s very brave to be so honest and she encourages you to find that strength in yourself.
For me, The Orange Rhino Challenge continues. “Yell Less, Love More” is like that non-judgmental friend who always says the right thing at the right time. It was so helpful for me on this journey. But it’s not just yelling. There are other ways I intend to improve. I want to stop using “mom guilt” to make my kids feel bad. I’m committed to stop making sarcastic remarks under my breath when I feel unappreciated. It’s all working together for me. I am making more deliberate, calm decisions about my behavior and how I interact. Since starting this challenge and reading “Yell Less, Love More” I found more ways to love more and then love even more than that. It’s not just a “do this and your life will be perfect” book. The book helps to give you foundation and support to help you recognize your weaknesses and strengthen them. I haven’t yet made it to 365 days without yelling but I will. I’ll go even longer. And along the way, my family will feel more love in the home and I will feel stronger and more confident in handling all types of conflict in my life.