Images from the Orange Rhino Facebook page, shared with permission by the author
I was fortunately chosen as one of many bloggers to review Sheila's new book. In exchange for an honest review of this book, I received an advanced copy and some giveaways for my readers. (THIS is pretty much THE coolest thing to ever happen to me since starting this blog a few years ago, I have to admit! I've been bragging for weeks.) It was meant to be that I connected with this amazing author and mom, since Sheila is from New England like I am.
It's also shown me several other awesome bloggers, like this one at She Just Glows http://shejustglows.com/2014/10/16-real-ways-to-stop-yelling-at-your-kids/, a mom who was also part of the Orange Rhino Blog Tour - she gives you great tips for stopping the yelling.
***Read on: If you comment on this post or on the Mommy Stories Facebook group sharing 2 things that help you to keep your cool with the kiddos, you could be one of two lucky readers to win free giveaways from the Orange Rhino! You have until Friday 10/24/14 at 7 p.m. to enter the contest with your comments.***
Before I share my review and interview with the author, I'll just stop all the suspense and get to the point since I know you moms have zero time to sit around and read something in its entirety while busy chasing kids, washing laundry, or making dinner : This book is AMAZING. You have to get this one.
Even if you don't yell or if you think you have it all under control, this is a must-read for all parents, moms and dads. I feel like I know the author from reading this book, which is just how I think parents want to feel when exposing themselves to something they have hidden, their fear of anyone judging them about their yelling tendencies.
Yell Less, Love More is not just about preventing yourself from yelling, it's more about achieving a goal, putting yourself first or at least as one of your priorities, and being the best type of mom you can be for your sweet children. It's about a mom being utterly, sometimes painfully, real with other parents, complete strangers, as well as with herself. She does this in hopes of helping others to be honest about their own experiences and ultimately start loving more.
If you read my blog, you know that my No. 1 goal with the Mommy Stories is to portray honesty, promote others opening up and sharing ideas and experiences, with the idea that too often we moms hold inside what we're going through. Sheila is not just an author, she's a mom to four boys. She gets it, and writes about every detail of her experience. That is the best part about this book - how open and honest she is with readers.
While reading this book, I legit felt like I was sitting down to coffee (or Iced Chai in my case!) with an old friend who totally gets what it's like to be a busy mother, with demands from all angles. She doesn't sugarcoat it. She's REAL, and that's something I admire more than anything in an author, but especially in a how-to, self-help, parenting advice author.
HIGHLIGHTS from the book that I just love:
- Orange Rhinos - Seriously, adorable. They are naturally calm animals, unless provoked... kinda like parents who mean well, but end up snapping sometimes after kids aren't listening or it's been a tiring day. I adore the idea of orange rhinoceroses out there. I think we will find someday that they are REAL animals. In the meantime, I'll keep staring at the one I have on top of my microwave in my kitchen. (My son got a Tier Toys Stackers Noah's Ark Set of animals and stacking boat pieces. The orange rhino came in the same time that I had started the first round of the Orange Rhino 30-Day Challenge. It was a sign! I stole the orange critter from my son's toy and put him in the place where I was struggling to keep cool... the kitchen! He's now my buddy.)
- Also, orange is a happy color, you can't help but smile and think good things seeing it. It just so happens to also be my school colors that I have to wear every Friday for school spirit day and Tiger Pride (I'm a school counselor) so I'm kinda hooked on this orange thing. I even have bright orange high-top Converse. Yes, you're allowed to be jealous. You will start seeing orange everywhere once you do this Challenge and read the book, I swear. It's a good thing!
- Easy, mom-friendly reading. This is a book really written for moms. Seriously it's written as though a real life mom knew what it was like to attempt to read something and never have time to finish it. What do you know, the author Sheila IS a mom who gets it. Colors, bold words, quotes to keep you interested, and specific ideas on how to improve your non-yelling streak, not just theories but specific things you can start doing NOW. For example, yell into the refrigerator or dress your kids in orange. Love it, simple. You read this book and instantly think, "I can do that!"
- Real with a Capital R. She's as honest as they come. I thought I knew the best honest mom writing when I read Kelle Hampton's book Bloom and her amazing blog. Now after reading Sheila's book, it's clear to me that if I were granted a wish to be able to choose two amazing mom authors to sit down to lunch with (Panera, anyone?!) I'd be extending a second invite to the Orange Rhino Sheila McCraith. She holds nothing back in this book. It's scary to think about putting yourself out there like that. I'm sure a part of her has held her breath through this process of exposing her "dirty little secrets" that involve yelling, making the kids cry, and feeling like crap. And yet, I know that's the reason she's written this book - to help other parents to stop feeling that way, to let them know they are not alone and that they CAN improve and live a yelling-free life. Can't help but admire that.
- Triggers. I love the idea that there are triggers, things that stress us out as parents, things that make us lose our cool. We aren't just naturally bad parents or prone to yelling. If there are triggers, we can change some of those in order to make them not set us down the path of yelling. We can work hard to improve. We can change this yelling thing. I love that idea. For example, she wrote about the mornings being really tough for her to get the kids out the door by herself. I struggle with this daily... it's a marathon I feel some days, OK most days. She has specific ideas on how to mange that routine, like reminding yourself it's only about 20 minutes or whatnot that you must get through without yelling, then they are off to school and it's all good. I like how tangible this change is, that it's not some great idea stuffed into a book that looks fancy. It's real and any parent can follow these tips.
- Make yourself a priority. Say what?! Moms making themselves important? Putting themselves first? What is she crazy?! Nope, she's right on! On page 105 she shares her "take care of me list" of things she knows she needs in order to be able to work hard at not yelling. Things include getting enough sleep, eating well, connecting with other friends, keeping organized, etc. It's refreshing reading something so realistic about taking care of ourselves. I think we're told we should take care of ourselves "sleep when the baby sleeps," for example. But we aren't really told how in ways that make sense to our busy Mom Brains. Sheila offers us great ideas on how to do just that, and ultimately reach our goal of loving our kids more.
- Hope. Sheila makes you feel like you can do this no yelling thing. It's definitely possible with the right tools, ideas and hard work - oh yeah, and with a whole lot of ORANGE. Every page in this book seems to YELL this out loud (the good type of shouting, no worries!). I love how encouraging the author is throughout the book. She writes notes to you, and you honestly feel they ARE written to YOU. Totally inspiring. It makes you not want to quit reading. It inspires you to make this process of transformation a priority above cleaning up the toy room or other mom chores you have on the list. On page 110, Sheila shared in a note directly to you, the reader,
"I can say with all my heart and soul that teaching myself to stop yelling has changed my life. It has changed who I am as a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, and a neighbor. It has changed how I experience life, for the better. It has changed how I handle frustrations and fears; I now do so with much more confidence, maturity, insight and strength. I would not have achieved this life-changing experience had I not dared to dream that I could change, had I not believed that I could change, had I not made a plan to change, and had I not finally focused to make it happen."
THE ORANGE RHINO SPEAKS
Sheila graciously answered a few questions for us.
1. What would a child's world without yelling look like, feel like, and overall BE like?
At a minimum, I believe it would feel calmer and more comforting. Without yelling, I take the time to realllllly listen to my kids so that I can understand where they are coming from so that I can respond from an empathetic place. As such, I believe my kids feel more understood which is such a comforting feeling that we all crave, kids especially. And calmness is contagious! When I am calm I put out more chill vibes; when I am all agitated and worked up, my kids feel those vibes and it only makes them more agitated and worked up!
2. What do you hope your children benefit from you personally choosing not to yell?
Oh there is so much!
- People aren't perfect; mistakes happen and what matters is that you learn from them so that they are not repeated and that if you hurt someone in the process of making a mistake, you apologize.
- Yelling is not a good form of communication; it shuts people down instead of opening them up to listen, learn, and connect
- Anger happens. Frustration happens. There are peaceful ways to handle that stress that don't involve yelling. "Anger management" is a life skill that everyone benefits from.
- "Taking me-time" is crucial.
- Change is possible - doing what seems impossible is possible! With determination, support, and strong desire, change can happen!
I could go on and on and on but I'll stop here :)
3. When does choosing not to yell become easier, how far into the process for you, or is it a daily struggle that is worth the fight?
I'd say choosing not to yell became easier after about 2 weeks of not doing it. The more moments I experienced without yelling, the more my mind got "re-trained" if you will to find non-yelling alternatives. Plus, the more I saw that (1) yelling didn't work (2) I could discipline without yelling (3) our home was much more peaceful without yelling and (4) I felt much better without yelling, my desire to yell plummeted. All this said, some days are tough, tough, tough because life happens! But the energy I need to put into not yelling is well worth it!
4. What is the best thing you have learned since becoming an Orange Rhino?
Only one?! That taking care of me isn't selfish, it's necessary.
5. What do you hope your readers gain from reading your book? What was your purpose in writing it for other parents?
I hope readers discover that they are not alone in the struggle to yell less and that there is hope for them! I wrote this book so that other parents could experience the positives I have experienced from not yelling. I know how cruddy it feels to go to sleep having yelled too much; I don't want anyone to feel that if I can help it!!
6. What are the top 3 coolest ORANGE things you own and where did you get it or who gave it to you?
(1) My orange kitchen spatula that has the phrase "Cooked with love" LOVE it! I bought it at a stationery store of all places!
(2) My bright orange shoes from J.Crew. I never, ever, wear anything but brown or black shoes (or sneakers.) Every time I wear them I feel happy and confident.
(3) My orange Rhino key chain. The car is a tough place for me. I love having my little friend ;) swinging right by my hands as I drive, smiling at me and reminding me to stay calm.
Love, love, love this book!
It's well-written, straight-forward, truthful, unique and helpful. Check it out!
I've not only read Sheila's book, but I follow her on Facebook and on her blog - and you should, too!
Because I'm so in awe of this author-mom's truthfulness, and because the point of my own blog is to promote honesty ... I intend to write a few more posts in the near future about my own experiences with trying to stay calm in the midst of the chaos that is parenting. I'll share with you how I first came to find the Orange Rhino in early 2013, and my experience doing the Orange Rhino's 30 Day Challenge in February 2013.
I hope that some of you will come forward and want to share your own experience with trying not to yell. I know that by talking, sharing ideas, and reading this book, we can all better support one another through the ups and downs of parenting.
Thank you to Sheila McCraith, the original Orange Rhino,
for leading the way toward loving our children more!
follow me @themommystories on Instagram