0 Days Without Yelling

Last week I discovered there’s a magical mom out there who went 538 days without yelling.  I imagine she smells like cotton candy and leaves a silver glitter trail wherever she goes — kinda like dandruff, but, you know, fancy. She is a SAHM to four boys and writes the blog The Orange Rhino.

A friend on facebook linked to a post by this wondrous, non-yelling, mom creature. It was the post where she broke her 538 day non-yelling streak and, you know, yelled at her kids. As I read the post, I waited to feel the tingle of  inspiration offered by a fellow mom who took on this amazing challenge. I anticipated feeling inspired by her self-control and her motto of “loving more and yelling less.” I expected the urge to take on the no yelling challenge myself.

But it didn’t happen.

Instead, I felt bad. I felt inadequate. I felt, yet again, like a bad mom. Like someone else was doing it better and gentler and with less yelling. Which was true — well, the no yelling part anyway.

But then I rallied.

I respect what this other mom is doing. I bow down before her honesty. (Seriously, full props for writing about the yelling after she has a whole blog and masses of dedicated followers who are all about not yelling.) But I know that not yelling isn’t realistic for me right now. If I set that goal I would fail.

And, in a moment of amazing growth and parental maturity, I realized . . . that’s okay.

I don’t like that I yell. Zoey doesn’t like it. But it happens. I yell. I’m snappish. And it doesn’t mean I love my daughter any less. She knows I can be grumpy (and sometimes even mean) and still love her to pieces. She knows this because I tell her so. She knows this because she sees it, feels it, and knows that it’s part of how our family functions. We all get angry, frustrated, sad. We all act in ways we shouldn’t sometimes. We say things we don’t mean. We apologize from the bottom of our heart. We move on. And the whole time, we love each other.

What works for one mom, in one house, with one set of kids doesn’t have to work for me. There are things I can learn from The Orange Rhino. I can cheer her on in her quest because I believe that’s what moms should do for one another. But I don’t have to compare myself to her. I don’t have to take on her goals as my own.

I’m not saying yelling is okay. It’s definitely not something I’m proud of. But it is real. For us in our house anyway.  For us in our kind, loving, not always perfect home.


11 thoughts on “0 Days Without Yelling

  1. K.V.

    I can’t remember where I read it, but a magazine (either Parenting or Parents I think) said it was OK to yell. That yelling wasn’t the issue — it was what parents did after yelling (i.e. explaining to the kids why, apologizing, etc.) It’s human to lose your temper and never losing it is unhealthy. As a person who once majored in psychology, bottling it all up and never expressing your frustrations can actually make you worse than just letting it lose every once in awhile.

    1. joslyne Post author

      Yes! I think this must be true. Or at least I really want it to be true because I’m a yeller. 🙂 I *do* apologize and take responsibility so at least I have that going for me! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  2. Carrie Roberts Redi

    Joslyne- your honesty is so amazing and I am right there with you, babe! It would be awesome if I could feel peaceful, calm and patient 24/7. I wish I could have felt that way before I had kids! I have come to accept that I will never be that kind of person who lets things just roll off her shoulders – not without being heavily medicated. And it feels like so much pressure to compare yourself to the kind of mom who doesn’t yell, who bakes homemade bread and sews her kids clothing. But I think that our kids are learning valuable lessons from us in a sense because we lose our cool sometimes and then talk to them about it afterward. I think they are learning that sometimes people lose it but they need to own up to it and apologize. I did not learn that lesson until I was in my early 30’s! Also, the reality is that our children will encounter all kinds of people in the world and they will need a thick skin to know how to handle it. Hopefully our kids will be prepared to own up to something they did wrong after they step out of the situation and also be able to forgive someone else who apologizes.

    You are a wonderful mom who so clearly loves her daughter and she (although doesn’t always show it ;)) adores you. Someday she will look back and realize how much you cared to write about wanting to be a great mom to her. That, in and of itself is being a great mom.

    1. joslyne Post author

      Thanks Carrie! You are exactly right — it is too much pressure to compare ourselves to others. There are so many amazing moms out there and I feel like I just need to learn what I can and do what works for me and my family. I have a feeling you and i are in some pretty good company as moms-who-sometimes-yell. 🙂 xo

  3. Niki

    I tried the Orange Rhino thing for about an hour once. Actually, I don’t think I even lasted an hour. I’m pretty sure my children will only remember their childhood as one big screamfest. I feel terrible about it, but I’m pretty sure I’m incapable of getting through to my kids (at times) in any other way. They’re not going to be broken serial killers because of it. They will be just fine. And so will Zozo. I’m not too worried about it. Why can’t we just be parents without worrying so much about how we’re doing it? I hate that torture, but I’m right there with you, second-guessing myself all the time.

    1. joslyne Post author

      “Why can’t we just be parents without worrying so much about how we’re doing it?” Um . . . TOTALLY brilliant line. Love it. So true yet so hard to do. And I’m pretty sure your kids won’t remember the screamfest but will remember the cool stuff you sew, the pool, the lake, playing in the yard, and banana chocolate chip bars. 🙂

  4. Amber

    I love this post. I think it gives so many parents a big sigh of relief to know they are not alone. You are, indeed, an excellent mother. Every family is so different. There is NO ONE WAY that every family should behave. The important thing is that we are trying to be good parents.

    And you know what? Maybe she didn’t yell, but she had to do something to deal with the frustration and maybe that something wasn’t so great…just like yelling isn’t so great. Just because someone manages to give up a bad habit (maybe it’s not so bad after all) doesn’t mean they are perfect and better than us. If I give up fried foods but still eat a pint of ice cream every day, am I any healthier? Nope. She is just another parent like the rest of us trying to do her best and I commend her just as I commend you!

    I love what you said about cheering on another mom in her quest. I love it when I see parents supporting and encouraging one another without pointing fingers or shaming.

    1. joslyne Post author

      It definitely gives me a big sigh of relief to know I’m not alone. It’s so easy to feel isolated as a parent — I love it when we reach out to each other!

  5. Sandee Decker

    As your mother I must add to all the GREAT info above that there are “YELLERS” and then there are “YELLERS.” Yes, you raise your voice, but a true yeller you are not. You are patient and VERY consistent with Zoey, but mean screaming your lungs out…you are not!! Keep up the good work and don’t feel guilty or get embarrassed. Please, just look at Zoey and you can see what a wonderful mom you are.

  6. Pingback: Giving Each Other A Break | The Gifting Whisperer

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