I've turned in to a yelling mom.
There. I've said it. I'm not sure when it happened. Maybe sometime between kid #2 and kid #3? Not sure. But, my default when stressed, annoyed, frustrated, tired, etc. is yelling. When kid #1 needs homework help and kid #2 won't touch her dinner she JUST asked for and kid #3 just wants my lap--all this after a day of working, coming home to a house that isn't clean and piles of laundry. All I can manage to do is yell my responses, bury my head in my hands and hide my face. Then, I look up--kid #1 is un-phased, she's used to the mean mom, kid #2 is looking at me like a deer in headlights and kid #3 is still begging to sit in my lap and wants me all to himself. This has been the scene in my house most school nights. There are so many scenarios I could tell you about but I'm afraid you will think worse and worse of me. Times when we've been at Target and Molly was not keeping up due to stopping and looking at something that caught her eye--I snap. When Emma works so hard on her homework and all I can seem to focus on is her handwriting and how it needs to be better--I snap. I'm gonna stop now. You get the point.
The night I decided to stop yelling, I was laying in bed after a day of yelling and snapping and was scrolling thru Facebook. This image was in my feed:
It was like a smack in the face. The pit that was already in my stomach from feeling guilty about the day, turned in to a pit of not only guilt, but sadness, regret, pain--you name it. I was replacing the sad face of this child with my children's faces. Y'all, it rocked me to the core. It was that moment I knew I had to change. I wanted to change.
I'd heard of the Orange Rhino Challenge in the past and decided to look it up. There is a book, an app, printables, support groups--you name it! It was created by a mom who was a yeller. The challenge is to not yell at your kids for 365 days (or however many days you chose). I have rallied with a few other moms who also wish to stop yelling and we've created a safe place to share our struggles, accomplishments and to support one another. The web site, www.theorangerhino.com, has these printable coloring pages for the kids to color. I'm printing them out tonight and will be talking to my kids about my new goal. I plan to humble myself before them and apologize for being a yelling, sometimes scary, mommy and ask for their forgiveness. I'm going to tell them how from now on our house is going to be a peaceful place where we won't use yelling to say what we need to say. The creator of this challenge also broke down the different levels of yelling--yelling if a kid is in danger and to get their attention is ok, just so y'all know. My goal is to talk to my kids like I would talk to a stranger on the street. I would never imagine yelling at a stranger on the street--and how much more important are my kids to me than a stranger on the street?
A few days after committing to this challenge, I looked in Emma's prayer box. This is something she got for Christmas and I love the idea! It's a sweet little box for her to write down prayers on paper and to keep them in the box. Never did I imagine the impact it would have on me when I bought it for her. This is what I saw when I looked in:
|"I pray that I will not get in trouble today."|
Another rock me to the core moment. I honestly believe this was God's icing on the cake. It was Him showing me that I'm making a good decision and that everything will be okay. My kids are my most treasured possessions. My investment in them, their happiness and their self-confidence is one of the most important investments of my life. God gave me these three little souls--not to break them down but to build them up. I will do everything in my power to do that and to never be the yelling, scary mom again.
As far as accountability, I give any of you who made it this far permission to text, message and post on my wall "Orange Rhino!" as a reminder. In fact, I ask that you do it! The more Orange Rhinos I see the more often I will be reminded why I'm doing this--to see more of those sweet smiles in the picture above instead of deer in headlight faces.