Today is a day of extra celebration for me. Two years ago on this day I left my career to fully pursue my calling. It was more than a leap of faith… I playfully nicknamed it my skydive of faith, and that year became my “Year of Living Fearlessly.” I also decided to home school my older two kids (then 7 and 5) that year and became pregnant with our fourth child.
I am normally a very responsible, level-headed kind of girl who enjoys stability and security, but I also have my moments of insane courage, and I haven’t regretted a single one. I would never advise anyone to make the same decisions I made. I would only advise you to follow your gut, your heart, your truth… whatever you want to call it… that thing that you know deep down that you need to do to stay alive in every sense of the word, that is birthed in love. Once you figure out what it is, just go for it! For me, it was staying home with my kids and home schooling them, but that was only the beginning.
Every path has its twists and turns and nasty bumps, but the struggles that you choose are much easier to go through than the struggles that just happen to you when you’re stagnant or going in a direction you got pushed or trapped into. I used to think I was a control freak, but it turns out I just wanted to be assured that someone far more capable than me was in control and that there was a plan that I would be happy with. Once I was convinced of that, I shifted my perspective from one of “taking control” of my life to one of surrendering to my best possible life, which equals far less anxiety and stress, and A LOT more gratitude.
I’m a goal setter. The cool thing about setting goals is that once you identify those things you want to accomplish, a host of helpful resources start popping up wherever you look. That’s what happened when I set a goal at the beginning of 2014 to yell at my children less. I love my kiddos dearly, but I have a habit of yelling when I’m tired or frustrated (which is a lot)–short, intense outbursts to let off steam and then I am fine–but I worry that my kids are not and that I’m teaching them poor communication skills and poor anger management. Once I realized and owned up to my problem, I set my goal, and then picked up one of those free local parenting guides with all the cutesy classes and coupons. Lo and behold, to my surprise, there was an article about the Orange Rhino and her journey toward yelling less and loving more. “What??” I thought. “You mean I’m not the only mom who struggles with this issue? There are actually support groups for the many, many parents who have recognized their need for help with their anger and yelling??”
I immediately found Miss OR on Facebook and “liked” her page. Then I found out about her 30-day Challenge for yelling less and signed up. To be honest, I sped-read through the daily e-mails because I was simultaneously starting a new Spartan workout regimen to meet another of my goals and didn’t feel I could handle too many challenges at once. I only practiced a few of her suggestions on the days assigned (sorry if you’re reading this, OR), and I yelled as much as usual during those 30 days. However, I STILL benefited greatly from her challenge, believe it or not. Just knowing that I am not alone in yelling too much at my kids and feeling guilty has alleviated much of my stress and guilt. For some reason, hardly anyone talks about this issue, even though it is apparently rampant among parents. The OR page is approaching 50,000 likes, and I have since checked out other parenting resources that have told me that EVERY parent deals with anger and lashes out at times.
I have since incorporated more of the tools Orange Rhino discussed in her e-mails, along with some others from other parenting books, and have noticed a definite shift in my attitude and approach to parenting. I am yelling a lot less, and loving even more. I still have a ways to go, and I know that this is an ongoing journey–for me and for every parent on the planet. I just wanted to take a moment to thank the Orange Rhino and others like her who are willing to admit their struggles, and who have the courage and dedication to overcome them and teach others to do the same.
I recently signed up for a Spartan race and I am so happy I did. The Spartan team sends me daily workouts, so I never get bored or wonder what I should do on a particular day. I never thought I could find the time to exercise EVERY DAY, but somehow when I see that specific physical assignment in my inbox each morning I feel (happily) compelled to rise to the occasion. I have been an athlete all my life, but now that I’m older and have young children I’ve been struggling to maintain a consistent exercise regimen unless I have a fun event to train for. I don’t like to run for running’s sake. I need a goal to pursue… a challenge to look forward to. The fact that I get to crawl through mud and climb walls and things makes it all the more exciting.
As if the workout motivation weren’t enough, Spartan also sends daily recipes incorporating most of my very favorite foods. So even my meals have gotten more interesting since joining this event, which is really more of a community. Love it. Thank you, Spartan! Looking forward to getting my @$$ kicked later this Spring, and I’m sure I’ll be back for more later in the year. Haha.