April 3, 2013
Can I Be Orange?
Posted by Steph
Sometimes I hate conviction.
Conviction is born as a subconscious nagging, a whisper in the back of your mind (or, perhaps, bottom of your heart?), rallying change. Usually the change is something not easy. It's something that is bred deep, ingrained in your being, the requires a push. A leap. A commitment to altering parts of yourself that had never imagined anything different.
We hush Conviction, convincing ourselves that we are "going through a season "or that we'll "work on it tomorrow." We find comfort that "everyone struggles with it." But our worst response? "That's just who I am, so deal with it."
But when who we are affects are character, our parenting, our children, there are no excuses good enough to quiet Conviction. Instead we stare, unblinking, in a silent standoff. And what we don't know is that our greatest gift is when we blink first and Conviction wins. Our greatest gift is becoming so weak that we give in and entertain the notion that we can be molded, that we can change, that we can, in fact, be better.
A Conviction has been nagging on my heart for a while. It's come out in my writing from time to time, like this post. There have been times I've made the attempts to work on it, with some success. But it is so easy to fall back into old ways and patterns, grooves that have been deeply cut from years and decades of living. Our instincts know these grooves and it is familiar to journey along them.
I want to make new grooves.
I've been under a lot of stress recently. Despite the fact that it's been my blog's moniker for a few years, the name Confessions of a "Stay-at-Home Mom" has become some what of a misnomer. Yes, I am still home, but I've taken on a lot of work - work I LOVE. This work rivals a full-time job, when pieced all together. And it can be a ton of (good) pressure at times. Add to that the decision to list our house, consider a move while also raising 2 kids and making sure to focus on our marriage?
Stress is not a bad thing. But how it manifests itself is. And in my life, it manifests itself in yelling. As I shared in a post some time ago, yelling is something my family has just always done. It's how we talk, how we communicate, how we feel in control. Hubby's family is quite opposite, and being married to him has tempered me quite a bit.
For this, I am grateful.
I have been finding myself in recent months (years?) too easily defaulting to yelling as a means to communicate, particularly with my kids. And I hate it. HATE it. Hate myself for it. When I yell, it festers deep inside me. I sit in a puddle of guilt. I picture the wide-eyed looks of my girls as I raise my voice, and only imagine the image they see of me: a red-faced, teeth bared, wild-eyed monster.
I cringe just picturing myself through their eyes.
Since we listed the house as of today, my stress has been heightened. And I was snapping at the girls all day. With every incident, I scolded myself internally, only to be undone at a whine, an indignation, a temper tantrum. I felt like I was trying to grasp a fraying rope. It is the most frustrating, helpless feeling - the feeling that you are an ineffective parent whose grooves are so deep that cannot change course.
Meanwhile, in the past two days, I noticed my friend Mychal of My Life in Mommyland sharing her victories at not yelling at her boys. I know she has struggled with yelling like I have, and with each Facebook post I became more intrigued. Earlier tonight I commented on her status, "I need to learn to do this. I'm awful recently." She responded by asking, "Did you read the post from Orange Rhino?" And she posted the link.
So I read it.
The Orange Rhino started a blog when she challenged herself to not yell at her 4 boys for 365 days. In the post I read tonight, she shared the 10 things she learned when she stopped yelling at her kids. And it was like looking through a lens at what I wanted my life, my person, to be like. It was like the post was written for me, showing me what I could be like, if only I was willing to change.
Have you ever read something that spoke to your soul at just the right time?
Conviction begins to whisper.
Or, rather, shake you until you can no longer ignore her.
By the end of the post, as scared as I was to admit it, I wanted to take the challenge. At least, I wanted to take a small challenge. So I read her post: 12 Steps to Stop Yelling At Your Kids.
So I am taking her advice at creating accountability.
I'm writing this here, I'm telling you.
Because maybe I'm not the only person in the CSHM community who struggles with this. Maybe there are a few of you who hear Conviction when you read about the Orange Rhino Challenge. Maybe there are a few of you out there who might want to take on the challenge with me. Together.
I'm sharing this here, because if I write it, it's real. And I need to go forward with it. For me. But most of all, for my girls.
I'm sharing here: I want to take the Orange Rhino Challenge of not yelling at my kids. To be Orange. For 1 week. I'm starting small. Small victories.
Who wants to journey with me?
I start the challenge tomorrow (although I am, of course, doing my best to restrain myself today). If you'd like to be tackle a 1 week No Yelling Challenge with me, leave a comment, email me, message me.
We'll do it together!
Thanks again to Orange Rhino and to Mychal for sharing :)