A No-YELLING Challenge ~ Working to become a kinder, gentler mom


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no yell challenge Would you believe that I have a hot temper? I do. I am ashamed to admit, but see those 4 little angels above? They sure are cute, but boy do they know how to push my buttons and spin me up. I’m afraid I am often the mother I do not want to be – impatient, loud, and sometimes, downright mean – yelling hurtful things at my children that I always end up regretting.

A No-YELLING Challenge ~ Working to become a kinder, gentler mom

A while back, I introduced you to two Canadian bloggers – Savannah and Cheryl – when we posted our end of the year homeschooling reflections. Savannah is a mom of 4 little kiddos 5 years old and under, and Cheryl is mama to 6 children of her own! Between the three of us, we have 14 children!! Turns out, I’m not the only mother who has ever yelled at her children out of anger.

Savannah, Cheryl, and I thought it would be a helpful to start a 30 day No-Yelling Challenge: Keep Calm & Carry On. I know I need to work hard to become a kinder, gentler mother, and I’m sure other mothers can use some encouragement too. So, for the next 30 days the three of us will encourage each other {and you, if you want} to stop yelling!

No-Yelling Challenge ~ Keep Calm & Carry On

no yelling challenge

Before my kids were born, I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I wanted to raise my children in a loving home. I practice attachment parenting ideals {when I’m not yelling} and was never angry with my babies. When I first gazed my daughter’s eyes after her birth, I had no idea what would happen as she got older, but I did not believe my sweet, innocent little angel would ever be capable of making me angry. Three children later though, sibling rivalry and competition for my attention has changed a lot of how I initially saw this motherhood job going down.  And I do get angry, often. It’s hard to tell my children to control their temper when the very example I sometimes set is out of control! I really need to take charge of my behavior during the next 30 days and work hard to become a kinder, gentler mama.

Yesterday’s events illustrate my need for this challenge perfectly. We moved into our barn a few weeks ago and I promptly took the children and ran off to Missouri without putting the house in order. I came back to quite a disorganized mess and have been trying to get things put together correctly ever since, but it’s slow going. The weather has been hot and sticky and flies are everywhere in my kitchen. That chaos alone is enough to make me really grumpy.

Japanese beetle infested apple tree But yesterday just kept getting worse and worse. My 7 year old and I walked out to inspect our fruit trees mid-morning and found a baby apple tree being devoured by Japanese beetles. Really – I have never seen anything so vile and disgusting. We spent an hour and half in the 10 am sun picking hundreds of beetles off that tree and drowning them in a pot of water without a thought to the sun overhead. Of course, I burned my shoulders and upper back pretty badly. And that hurts. Every time we went back to that tree, it continued to be inundated with beetles. Seeing all of those beetles on my poor, defenseless baby tree made me really, really grumpy.

If that’s not enough, my poor 9 year old got into poison ivy a few days ago. She’s itchy and grumpy too, and I feel really sorry for her. She sometimes has a tendency to take her frustrations out on her siblings, though, and yesterday was no exception. The 7 year old was not helping matters out either, because he really likes to annoy his sisters. He usually accomplishes that by stealing their toys or shooting them with nerf guns.

The 5 year old dropped her favorite dolly in the sticky yellow fly trap {trying to rid the kitchen of flies…} and got the nasty stuff all over the doll’s hair – which created another really nasty mess that I had to try to fix. And the 3 year old woke up super grumpy from a late nap {on my bed} soaked through with urine. Yes, she was sleeping on my bed without a diaper and peed all over my blankets and sheets. Dumb, on my part. Really dumb. Anyway, at one point, all 5 of us were yelling at each other and if a stranger had walked through my barn door at that moment, well…I’m pretty sure that person would have turned around and run off really quickly.

And stuff like this seems to happen around here more than I care to admit. Hence the need for an intervention.

Please join Cheryl, Savannah and I during the next 3o days for the No-Yelling Challenge! Next Friday, in Week 2, we will all discuss triggers – what happens that makes us yell. I’ve been thinking about that a lot the last few days. Understanding the triggers and working around them will be really helpful for me. In Week 3, we’ll discuss coping strategies – things that are working well {or not so well…} in our challenge. And in Week 4, we’ll wrap up the challenge and see how well we all did!

I hope you’ll pop over to Cheryl’s post at her lovely blog, On the Old Path, and Savannah’s post at her lovely blog, Ramblings of a Christian Mom , to see what they have to say about the No-Yelling Challenge! We all have our own reasons for participating and I am excited to follow along with them to see their progress and read their tips.

What do you think? Is a No-Yelling Challenge for you? I’d love hear your thoughts!

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. Oh my Michelle, that was a Murphy’s Law kind of day. The picture of your apple tree is heartbreaking, at first glance I thought it was some kind of berry bush.

    1. It was a pretty bad day. 🙁 That poor tree. I finally gave up and poisoned the beetles. I am buying netting today and really hope this did not kill it. It’s in terrible shape.

      1. I just heard about the Orange Rhino Challege! And I’ve read that article by Handsfreemama before – it’s great. Good luck, Stacee!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh, I can relate to this post in so many ways. This sounds like a wonderful challenge, and I’m definitely going to head on over and read more about it!

  3. I am working on this as well. I think the less you yell the more connected you feel to your family. It is probably one of the hardest things I have had to do. Some days I am successful and others not so much. the hardest part is apologizing to the kids and forgiving myself.

    1. I agree! I’m always happier when I don’t yell so much. It’s really not a fun way to go through life. Good luck, Melissa!

  4. I hope your daughter is more comfortable soon, and that your tree survives! I would be so upset if I walked out to find my garden covered in bugs like that.

  5. Thank you for writing this post. I am a yeller. My mother was a yeller when I was young. I have no clue how to stop. I even wake up planning not to yell and have a great day with my children. That usually lasts until about 10:00 am when my children start picking on each other. My children are starting the yelling habit as well. I am really interested in reading about triggers and coping.

    I’m going to the other blogs to read more about this. 🙂

    1. It’s so hard, isn’t it? I never wanted to be a yeller. I don’t even remember my mom really yelling that much. My dad did, I think. I’m not sure. Anyway, it has to change – I don’t want my kids to remember that I yelled all the time either. Good luck to you!!

  6. Oh my, your cup was running over, and not in a good way. 🙁

    I recently read that the strongest black tea you can brew poured over your burns can greatly reduce it’s severity. It’s on my list the next time I get burned.

    I wish I had something just as good for the beetles! (and poison ivy!) Yuck, that poor tree! 🙁

    Anyway, I’ll be following along with your challenge. I yell too much too. Sometimes it’s the path of least resistance… or I’ve worn that path down so well that it’s just easier to yell than to find a better way. So, I’m in.

    1. Strong black tea? I have never heard such a thing. Will have to remember that! Good luck, Michele. 🙂

  7. Believe it or not I’m laughing right now because right as I read “they know how to push my buttons”, my husband started pushing one of mine. 🙂 Personally, I don’t know how you do it. My mother raised 4 kids (3 girls and a boy) all born within a 5 year period. I wish you the best of luck in your challenge. It will be interesting reading your “thoughts” during this time. 🙂

  8. LOVE IT! Thanks sooo much for sharing! I was just thinking the other day (after I yelled) that I bet Michelle doesn’t yell! HA! In fact this is what my upcoming blog will be focusing on a bunch! I love hands free mama and Orange Rhino (just painted my nails orange at the request of my daughter. She doesn’t even know about orange rhino and her orange toe nails…interesting!)
    Thanks for opening up the dialogue and having the courage to be real and honest! Because in doing so you help us all out! Even our kiddos!
    Looking forward to following! And best of luck. I am sending all you mamas some love!

    1. Thanks, Jai! It’s a topic I know a quite a few people can use help with me. Me included! Love the orange nail idea. I think mani/pedis are in order soon. 🙂

  9. Thank you for putting my feelings, my shame, my guilt, my truth down on paper, so that today, in finding you by accident, I would know that I am not alone.
    Tears streaming.
    I have just made myself a series of signs to hang all over my house. Signs that are quotes from your website here and also the one that was referred to here (handsfreemama.com).
    I am going to plaster my home with these quotes, these mantras, and hope that when I am in that moment of selfishness, that moment of out yelling and meanness, that I can stop and be the loving gentle Mama and Wife that I so want to be because I see your beautiful words everywhere I look.
    Thank you for your honesty and in so sharing, your help for this yelling Mama in Kansas.