"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot." (Aldo Leopold) Apparently, I cannot.


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The Orange Rhino Challenge: Update #3

So it’s been a while since my last Orange Rhino update. (Orange Rhio-what? If you’re not familiar, please click here for some background on the challenge and my journey trying to master it.) And I have a huge confession to make! H-U-G-E!

I have been a complete and utter slacker the past month and a half!

And by slacker, I don’t mean that I’ve had to keep starting over at Day 1 because of yelling slip ups. I mean slacker like I haven’t even been working on the challenge. Like AT ALL. And I feel like such a huge failure right now.

With our huge move from CT to VA in June, and then the past few weeks trying to settle in to our new life, I’ve hardly had time to breathe let alone work on my yelling. And it’s not like I haven’t thought about the challenge. Because I have. Every time I yell (and yes, there has been a lot of that lately, I’m sad to admit). But instead of using these times as moments of reflection to step back, take a deep breath, and say, “Ok, let’s start over and work even harder on this,” I’ve been a slacker who instead says, “Man, I should really start back on the challenge; maybe tomorrow.”

But then, you know what? I’ve been leaving it at that. Because not yelling, my friends? It’s hard work. That’s right, I said it. It’s work. And I just haven’t felt like doing more work these days on top of everything else we’ve had going on. I fully admit it. And I’m not proud. I have actually decided to behave in ways that I know make me and my kids feel like crap all because I’ve just been too damn lazy. Lazy!

I AM STRONGER THAN THAT, DAMMIT! AND WE DESERVE BETTER!

don't give up

So, I’m getting my rear back in gear and taking on the challenge again in full force. Now I’m human, so I can’t promise there won’t be any more slip ups and rewinding, but I can promise that I am going to keep working at it. I’ve kicked the slacker out the door and welcomed back my determination and drive. Let’s do this. Again. 🙂

Until the next update . . .

To keep up with my journey, please feel free to check out my Orange Rhino Challenge page. For more information on the challenge, please visit: http://theorangerhino.com. And if you’re on the challenge, too, let me know. We can support each other and hold each other accountable. Go Orange!

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The Orange Rhino Challenge: Update #2

Today I should be on Day 41 of no yelling, after my Orange Rhino Challenge re-start back in April. But I’m not. I’m back at Day 1. Again. Like, for the umpteenth time. (Yeah, I know. Just writing the work “umpteenth” made me feel old, too.)

We’ve been going through some rough patches with the 3 yo, and now we’re all beginning to stress with our big move from CT to VA, which is only 4 weeks away. But I’m not going to make excuses. When faced with the choice–because it is a choice–to yell at my kids when I’m angry or frustrated, I’ve been choosing to yell more than not. I openly admit it. And that, of course, is all on me.

I can happily report, though, that I have been a lot better about choosing my words–I’m not saying anything I’d be ashamed for anyone to overhear me saying. (Which I can’t say was always true before.) Sometimes, however, I just get loud. Extremely loud. And that needs to stop, too.

So, I’m rebooting yet again. But this time I’m arming myself with more support and tools.

First, I am going to plaster this sign up all over the house. And maybe in the car, too.

Photo courtesy of http://theorangerhino.com

Photo courtesy of http://theorangerhino.com

Then I’m going to work on my alternatives to yelling. Thankfully, The Orange Rhino has compiled a huge list of alternatives to try: She has come up with serious alternatives, fun alternatives, I’ll-look-like-a-fool alternatives, I’ll-be-considered-a-bad-parent alternatives, you’ll-think-I’m cheesy alternatives, and preventative alternatives. Seriously, there’s everything from taking a deep breath and walking away, to doing push ups, to sticking your head in the freezer, to surrounding yourself with the color orange. (To see the complete list of yelling alternatives, click here.)

For me, I think I’m going to start by replacing my yelling with talking in a robot voice. In addition to completely interrupting whatever it is that’s going on that’s making me want to yell, it has the added bonus of being incredibly fun and silly. And who knows, maybe I’ll throw a little robot dancing in there, too. 🙂

I’m also going to revise my goal for this challenge. When I first took the challenge, I decided to try for 365 of no yelling. I’d still like to keep that as my long-term goal, but I’m also adding some short-term goals in as well. First up? Making it a day without yelling. Once I do that, I’m going to aim for a week. And then take things one week at a time. And if I get a enough weeks, I’ll go for a month. And slowly build up from there.

Even though I’ve restarted this challenge many times, I’m not giving up. I can do this! I will do this! I just need to get myself to a place where I’m choosing the not yelling over the yelling. Every single time.

Until the next update . . .

To keep up with my journey, please feel free to check out my Orange Rhino Challenge page. For more information on the challenge, please visit: http://theorangerhino.com. And if you’re on the challenge, too, let me know. We can support each other and hold each other accountable. Go Orange!


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The Orange Rhino Challenge: Update #1

If you missed it, last week I took up The Orange Rhino’s no-yelling challenge and shared the beginning of my journey with you in my first post: I’m In: The Orange Rhino Challenge. I was so excited to start this, and even got the rest of the family in on it.

My goal: 365 days. I made it 7 with absolutely no yelling. Really, none. But then I started slipping on the 8th day. I still wasn’t yelling, but I was talking through clenched teeth a lot of the time, and I wasn’t always talking so nicely. I wanted to regain my traction, so I decided to start over yesterday; rewind to Day 1. And I didn’t even make it through that day.

What set me off? Trying to get the kids out the door for a special treat and being met with a ton of fussing and whining from the 3 yo. He didn’t want to leave the house. He didn’t want to stop playing with his dinosaurs. His shoes felt funny. He hit his sister. It’s the same damn thing EVERY time we try to leave the house. And I lost it. “Why are you fussing so much when I’m trying to do something nice for you?” “Why can’t we get out the door without you pitching a fit?” “Why do you have to do this every time we try to leave the house?”

It’s painful for me to admit this and to read back what I said. Because you know what? I KNOW this happens every time. My son is 3–he doesn’t always deal well with transitioning from one thing to the next. And he doesn’t have the emotional maturity to handle his feelings and frustration during these times. So, he pitches a fit. AND I KNOW THIS. I know this so much that I usually help prep him for outings or any other seemingly abrupt change in scene. If I know we’re going out, I’ll start the day by going over our schedule–what we’ll be doing, where we’ll be going. And then when we need to go somewhere, I start about an hour out reminding him that we’ll soon need to stop whatever it is we’re doing so that we can start getting ready to leave. You get the picture. Usually this works, but not always. AND I KNOW THIS, TOO.

So really, the problem wasn’t with my son at all. It was with me. He was being a normal 3 yo experiencing normal 3 yo emotions, and dealing with them in a normal 3 yo way. Instead of asking why he was behaving the way he was, I should have been asking myself what I needed to do to calm myself down so that I could re-approach the situation without the anger and frustration. Because I’m the adult. But I didn’t, and I yelled. And we were back to square one.

So, here I sit feeling a bit defeated. And sad. But I am trying. And so are the kids. And we will keep trying. This in itself, I realize, is a huge step.

Today is a new day. Day 1. Again. We can do this. No matter how many times we need to start over.

Until the next update . . .

To keep up with my journey, please feel free to check out my Orange Rhino Challenge page. For more information on the challenge, please visit: http://theorangerhino.com. And if you’re on the challenge, too, let me know. We can support each other and hold each other accountable. Go Orange!

 


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I’m In: The Orange Rhino Challenge

“IF YOU DO THAT ONE MORE TIME YOU’RE GOING IN TIMEOUT!”

“WHAT MADE YOU THINK THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA?!”

“HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT?!”

Enough with the all caps already, right? Well, if that annoyed you just reading it, can you imagine how my kids felt hearing me scream those things? How I felt after losing my cool and screaming at them? This happens in my house more than I’d like to admit. Which makes my kids feel shitty. Makes me feel shitty. So I’m going to do something about it.

I love my kids. Fiercely. And I tell them that so many times a day they often roll their eyes at me. I’m the first to admit, however, that I have very little patience. This is something I’ve known and dealt with my whole life and something that I actively work on. I didn’t say successfully work on, but actively. I’m trying. Really. Or so I thought I was until I read The Orange Rhino’s “10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling at My Kids.” (If you haven’t already, I highly suggest you read her post. It so precisely describes, in my opinion, probably every parent’s struggle with the guilt associated with yelling at your kids.)

button5This amazing woman made it her mission to stop yelling at her kids for 1 year. A whole mother-loving, freaking year. (And as of today, she’s made it 418 days!) And she didn’t just say she wasn’t going to yell, she actually came up with a plan for how to meet her goal. Like an actual plan, with guidelines for what constitutes yelling, a yelling meter to distinguish various levels of yelling, tracking resources, rules for counting days . . . And then she turned her plan into a challenge. A challenge for other parents to stop all the yelling, too.

After reading all about The Orange Rhino Challenge, I realized that my “efforts” to work on my patience and stop yelling weren’t efforts at all. They were just thoughts that didn’t translate into meaningful actions. The conviction in my head and heart was there, but what good is that if I’m not following through with my actions? “Actions speak louder than words,” I always say. Say. Words. I wasn’t doing. “Aww hell!”

But now I am. I am going to take the challenge. I am proclaiming that as of today, April 1, 2013, my goal is to make it 365 days without yelling at my kids. And then, like The Orange Rhino, I want to keep going. And going, and going. I want to stop feeling shitty when I break down and yell at my kids. I want my kids to stop feeling shitty when I break down and yell at them. I want to stop breaking down and yelling at my kids! I want to learn new methods for dealing with my anger and lack of patience. This problem is all on me. Not my kids. I want to do better by them. I want to be a good role model for them because, quite honestly, I am already starting to see a lot of this yelling behavior beginning in them, and it breaks my heart. I want it all to stop.

It’s a lofty goal, I know, but I’m in. For my kids. For me.

Who wants to join me? (If you do, I promise we can hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.” But quietly. Didn’t you hear there’s no more yelling around  here?) 🙂