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You may have won the battle, but you haven’t won the war

-Author , Unknown

I’m beginning to think this anonymous chap had me in mind when he said these words.

Just last week, I started drafting this triumphant post of how I had managed to conquer the yelling monster and had gone 150 days straight without shouting at Gy. Yes, I did! So, small pat on the back, if you please and do I hear the strains of applause from my devoted readers? Yes, yes, I can hear it. Well, you can stop clapping.

Because, I broke the streak. At 155 days, to be precise.

And what caused it? The most ridiculous thing ever. She hadn’t brought her homework from school.

Yes, yes, I know. I am a horrible mother, not worthy of sympathy. Believe me, I’ve said it to myself a hundred times since it happened. The worst part was I didn’t even realise it was happening. There I sat, in my chair, looking her in the face, her eyes brimming over , as I reprimanded her. And the tidal wave of anger was full and overwhelming, so much so that I didn’t pause for breath, for nearly three minutes. When I did take a break, she looked up and in a choked voice, asked me, ‘But, why are you shouting at me for this?’ Then, she followed it up with a hug, her hot tears staining my cheek, as she wept profusely.

Hearing those words, it hit home. I had relapsed. After nearly six months of positive parenting, learning to let go, taking time, slowing down, everything had come crashing down. The edifice of pride that I’d built tumbled down, right alongside. I sat there, broken and defeated. All those weeks of being a patient person had been rendered futile. Just one episode and I cracked, and how!

I shuddered, both physically and from within, since I understood that it wasn’t easy being at the receiving end of the yelling.

It’s not easy having someone glower at you, while you’re doing your work.

It’s not easy to explain yourself when the other person is too busy shouting to listen.

But, after this happened, and my mind had cooled, I had a choice before me: stay defeated or be determined. I had yelled, so, what next? Obviously, there is that feeling of guilt. Let it happen, for without it, the need to reform may not occur. Here’s the thing, though. Use it as a prop for better things, not as a crutch to continue doing what you do. If you let the guilt guide you to a more determined YOU, there’s your next battle being won.

Next, I decided that I would have to tackle this new-found trigger (her not bringing homework) from a different angle (I’m trying out some tactics and that will, hopefully, be a new post). Yelling at her doesn’t help. It only tells her that Mom will yell if I don’t bring it home. It won’t motivate her to actually bring it home.

Finally, be determined. You’ve relapsed before and you’ve succeeded before. So, there is always hope!

 There was a small part of me that didn’t want to write this post- a part that wanted to keep it quiet and sweep it under the rug of ignorance. But, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. If I have triumphed, I am ready to share it with the world. The same goes for my defeats: I must share those as well.

For, without the two, there can never be progress, on the personal path that we have chalked out for ourselves. And, if I can learn from this defeat, to rise on to determination and decide that this is worth doing, I’m sure that when I look back, I will be the happier for having shared my story.


Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Aparna · February 5, 2014 at 7:00 am

A big HUG to you Shailaja, for writing this one. I know how tough it can be to open up your innermost feelings like this!
The not bringing homework thing, funnily enough didn't bother me :P. Our triggers can be so different and yet have the same end result!

Shailaja V · February 5, 2014 at 7:10 am

I'll take all the hugs I can get, Aparna. Felt so low after this episode. The triggers can be so deadly at times. Sigh, hope the streak lasts longer this time. Nice to see you back here 😉

Pooja Balachandran · February 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Hi Shailaja. I read your article and I strongly feel that it connects to many mother's experiences. Can I get in touch with you since I have few queries on pregnancy. Could you provide your email id?

Priya · February 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Hugs Shailaja! Its really tough … and your determination to keep going is laudable. Not many have it in them.
I battle with this too.. though I have not kept a count of the number of days I am able to keep my calm.. maybe I should try that as well.
Keep going… best wishes to you 🙂

Kalpana Solsi · February 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm

You are not defeated for the determination is strong and will continue. After all we all are humans and prone to mistakes and natural outbursts. Keep writing.

Roger Owen Green · February 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm

I think it's a worthy effort, and you needn't be too hard on yourself. I've stopped yelling, though The Daughter calls every time I Clip My Words To Make A Point yelling.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

tulika singh · February 5, 2014 at 2:38 pm

I know this feeling so well.. The 'after having yelled' feeling, and realising that t wasn't worth it at all. Glad you're determined though. Hope this new streak lasts forever.

Shailaja V · February 5, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Thank you for stopping by, Pooja. You can mail me here:

Shailaja V · February 5, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Priya, you should check out the Orange Rhino page. Has excellent tips for yelling less. Thank you for the wishes 🙂

Reader Wil · February 5, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Well you are a brave lady, writing this post! This is what happens in any family. As long there is love, every thing will be okay!
Wil,ABCW Team.

Leslie: · February 5, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Understanding yourself IS working! Look at your success – almost 6 months of patience. Now keep on keeping on and don't forget to apologize to your daughter about your lapse (not her forgetting, just YOUR lapse). Looking forward to your next post. Remember – we are only human.

abcw team

Nydia · February 5, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Breathe, very, very deeply next time. Kuddos for you to realize and analyse yourself and the situation – many parents won't even reach that stage. Breathe, and move on. <3

Shailaja V · February 6, 2014 at 3:31 am

Glad you said it. Yes we're human. And learning from our mistakes is the best thing about making them. Thanks for the encouragement.

Shailaja V · February 6, 2014 at 3:32 am

Yes, Roger. Happy that it's done and the ticker is reset.

Shailaja V · February 6, 2014 at 8:45 am

Sigh, it's terrible, isn't it? Yes, I am. And I am partly glad this happened, since I don't want to lapse into complacence. Hope this streak lasts too 🙂 Thanks!

Shailaja V · February 6, 2014 at 8:47 am

Brave? I hope so. I felt so terrible after it happened. Writing about it made me breathe and feel a bit better. Thanks for the love 🙂

Priya Mani · February 6, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Am more inclined to believe that the source of your stress/es lay elsewhere. And Gy, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time… We often vent out our vexations on the ones dearest to us. Not fair, but very very human. I am guilty of this too. But what really counts is your willingness to rise up and start all over again. Good luck akka, and I bet, you will outperform your present score at the yell-free counter!

Besides, if you rephrase the opening lines, they would read – 'It is ok to lose a battle or two. What's more important is to win the war.' And going by your determined stance, you are already at it!

Nabanita · February 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm

That was very brave of you to write! ! Thanks for sharing, it is actually an inspiring post!

Shailaja V · February 6, 2014 at 5:28 pm

I did apologise, Leslie 🙂 One of the first things I started doing after undertaking the Orange Rhino challenge. Always admit when you are wrong 🙂 And I love what you said, Apologise for my lapse, not HER forgetting. Excellent words!

Kathy Combs · February 6, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Big hugs to you. You are only human. Give yourself a break. ♥

Shailaja V · February 6, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Yes, in fact I wrote a post about Breathing just two weeks ago 🙂 Can you believe Karma? 🙂

Shailaja V · February 6, 2014 at 5:46 pm

And you, being the sweetheart that you are, would believe that 🙂 Sigh, no, it was all the homework. Maybe at some subconscious level, I had other triggers, but none that should have made me erupt the way I did. Thank you for the support, Priya. It is always welcome

Shailaja V · February 6, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I am so glad to see the flood of responses on this post and with practically everyone being so supportive, I am sure that my determination will not go in vain. Love your Support!

Shailaja V · February 6, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Thanks for that, Kathy 🙂 Hugs!

Indrani · February 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Guess it happens with us all.
A brave post.

Shailaja V · February 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Thank you Indrani 🙂 Glad you liked it.

Lady In Read · February 7, 2014 at 5:40 pm

I used to feel good about myself too for not losing my temper (once upon a time).. Now, I try not to ..but do not succeed as often as I would like.. but determination and hope – that is what keeps us going..

Shailaja V · February 7, 2014 at 5:43 pm

As I have discussed before, this is a process, slow and painful as it may be, it is certainly rewarding. With every stumble, I try to pick myself up, dust it off and continue. Hoping that the determination lasts very long on this one 🙂

Natalie DeYoung · February 9, 2014 at 2:38 am

Oh, sigh. Tomorrow's a new day. I think that many days without yelling is a success worth celebrating, at least. 🙂

psychochef · February 9, 2014 at 6:49 am

Shailaja, I love your honesty in this post. “But, after this happened, and my mind had cooled, I had a choice before me: stay defeated or be determined. I had yelled, so, what next? Obviously, there is that feeling of guilt. Let it happen, for without it, the need to reform may not occur. Here's the thing, though. Use it as a prop for better things, not as a crutch to continue doing what you do. If you let the guilt guide you to a more determined YOU, there's your next battle being won.” So much wisdom in that small paragraph. Thank you for sharing your success AND your struggle. It's very inspirational. xoKaren

aishasoasis · February 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Goodfor you for seeking another strategy besides yelling. Success comes in adapting and you are an inspiration!

Shailaja V · February 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Yes, seven new days to be exact 🙂 Anything is worth celebrating at this point 😉

Shailaja V · February 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm

You warm my heart. Trust you to pick out the one paragraph that I personally loved writing. It's bloggers like you and so many others, who with your raw truth and honesty, make me a better blogger. So, thank you!

Shailaja V · February 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I never tire of hearing supportive comments and the more I write, the more people reach out to comfort and offer solace. This is exactly why I blog. Thank you for reading 🙂

Sreeja Praveen · February 24, 2014 at 7:46 am

I too had a very very very short fuse years back, which is now just 'very' from 'very very very' 😀 It is difficult to control our temper sometimes, and as the adage goes, an angry man is angrier with himself when he returns to reasons !
Sincere appreciation for having spoken out through this post. Yes, we are human, so let's take it healthily and make it work positive 🙂

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