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( If you are seeing this post/journal for the first time, please scroll down and check the post titled ‘Day # 1’.)

Today’s post is a slightly longer post, since it combines three days worth of ‘yelling less’ and also has a few footnotes on what I learnt from the challenge, so excuse the length 🙂

It’s always refreshing to finish something that you begin with the best of intentions. It is especially exciting when you reach and cross the halfway mark of your predetermined goal.

Let’s begin with the good news:  We made it! Yes, a whole week went by and I stuck to my guns and did not yell!

 It was incredibly tough to complete this challenge. Why? Well, here are some of the reasons:

  • This week, I was holding the fort on my own, since the spouse was away on business for ten days.
  • I had a birthday party to prepare for and it took every ounce of patience and self-control I had, to prevent myself from losing my cool, every single time Gy would decide to do something to annoy me.
  • I threw my back out in a severe muscular spasm on the morning of Day 6, which was coincidentally Gy’s birthday.

So, there I was, feeling extremely sorry for myself, but the fact that I had publicly declared the undertaking of the challenge made me accountable and thus, determined to complete what I had begun.

Day # 5:

After Day 4, yelling less or not at all seemed to become easier. Gy woke without too much fuss, was very thrilled about the upcoming special day and left for school with a smile on her face. The rest of the day went in prepping Gy’s bag with treats to be taken to school the following day. She arrived home, beaming, full of good intentions and completed her homework with little supervision.

Since it was ‘birthday eve’, we spent the evening, talking, joking, reading a book together and snuggling in bed by the end of the day. To be honest, it was one of the best days we had had in a long time.

Day # 6:

Very often, I have to remind myself that she is a child, learning as she goes along. I cannot expect or demand understanding and reason at this tender age.

The sixth day dawned and so did my darling’s seventh birthday. It was a great way to begin Day 6, dressing up my daughter for her special day, picking out accessories, deciding on how to wear her hair. . .

Then, it happened. I went for my workout, bent down to pick up something and felt an excruciating, shooting spasm along the lower back area. I couldn’t move, walk or even sit without shedding a tear. And, I don’t know about the rest of you, but physical pain and discomfort are my biggest temper triggers. It takes very little to set me off on a rampage, especially when I am not in the pink of health. Sensing impending disaster, I planned to drop the rest of the challenge and focus on my well-being instead.

That afternoon, a neighbour picked up Gy from the bus stop and dropped her home. Her first reaction was so much concern and love that I made a resolve to see the challenge through, even if the pain was intolerable. She promised me that she would not do anything to make me yell at her!

It struck me then that this is exactly the kind of situation I should face and see how well I fared. After all, life is known for being rather annoying and insensitive. It throws boulders in your path just as you’re happily covering that last mile in the marathon. So, if life isn’t going to stop, why should I?

True to her word, she quickly donned her dress, polished off her meal, wrapped up her homework and insisted that I stay in bed, while she answered all phone calls. After popping a painkiller, sleep overwhelmed me. When I awoke, the pain was back and I decided it was time to see the doctor. In the interim, Gy had intercepted calls and told everyone that her mother was in pain and couldn’t answer calls. She even told my sister ( who wanted to chat via Skype) that she would come online only if her Amma felt up to sitting at the laptop that evening. My sister was so impressed by her niece’s candour that she couldn’t wait to share it with me!

The rest of the evening, a very close friend took complete charge. She took me to the doctor, stayed with me, came back home and put on a pot of tea, got Gy fed and into bed and left only after ensuring that everything was within my reach. With that, a very painful but emotionally satisfying day # 6 came to a close.

Day# 7:

Yes, it was the last day of the challenge. No, the pain wasn’t gone.

In cold panic, I realised I was unable to get out of bed. This meant that Gy would sleep through the alarm and not be ready on time to board the bus. I steeled myself, inched my back to a position where I felt the least pain and gingerly turned over on my side. It took another five long minutes to prop myself up to a sitting position. With tears stinging my eyes, I nudged myself out of bed and walked very slowly over to Gy’s room.

Being in the throes of agony, I couldn’t sit by her side, cuddle her and wake her, as I had begun to do in the recent past. There I stood, by her bed, calling out to her. To be honest, I wanted to yell, since it was already 15 minutes past the wake-up call, but I reminded myself that she wasn’t to blame in this case.

Then, something wonderful happened. Her eyes snapped open and she jumped out of bed. ‘Amma, why are you walking about? Your back! Go and lie down. I will get ready quickly.’

Words failed me. I went back to bed and watched from there as she quickly ran around, getting bathed, getting dressed and packing her bag. In the ten minutes left before the bus arrived, I made my way to the kitchen, prepared her milk and braided her hair.

All this occurred while I cherished how concerned she had been for my well-being. Since said friend from the previous day had offered to pack her lunch, that was one thing less to worry about. Another friend had offered to pick her up from home and drop her at the bus stop.

As I saw her off that morning, I wondered where my baby had gone. There was a mature young lady walking out the door, with enough love and understanding to rival any woman my age.

Footnotes at the end of the challenge

What impressed me the most about this challenge was how brutally honest I had to be, in order to see things the way they were. The fact that most of the yelling triggers originated with me and not with the child, was an eye-opener; or the fact that I have a 28-year headstart on her, as far as being mature and understanding is concerned and even the fact that I could deal with a situation without raising my voice or losing my cool, is something that I truly learnt in the performing of this challenge.

Can I honestly admit that I will NEVER lose my cool again in the face of unpleasantness or disobedience? No. But if I do lose it, I promise to step back and recall this challenge. I will remember how I felt during the ‘Less yelling week’. I will relish the sense of calm and control I experienced in that time. Most importantly, I will cherish the image of my daughter’s face when she realised that Amma would not yell at her if she slipped up or made a mistake.

Read more on my weekly challenge here:
You can read all about my ‘Yelling Less’ journey under this tab

(Linking up with the moonshine grid over at Yeahwrite )

Categories: Yelling

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.


Nimmy · July 25, 2013 at 10:42 am

Fantastic, Vee. Absolutely fantastic. I am sharing this with some of my friends who I think will be inspired. 🙂
I think coming out in the open like this and challenging yourself to change your ways for such an important/critical cause is awesome.
And I must add that Gy deserves equal credit for having “responded” to you so well and for being so smart, understanding and gentle! God bless. 🙂

Sindu · July 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Shailu – I can't tell you how proud I am to be your sister! And let me remind you of one thing…whenever you have to deal with challenges wrt Gy, just recall how you used to handle me when we were growing up. You just let me be, allowed me to go through my tantrum, and by doing so, ensured that I would emerge feeling responsible for my actions. To this day, I cherish the wonderful big sis you were to me all through our childhood. Gy deserves to have that same you as her mom. You don't need a “challenge week” to be yourself. You just need to BE your true self – because who you are is perfect, and no one can take that away from you. Love you loads. Take care.

Priya Mani · July 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Beautiful, inspiring, enlivening, enlightening, food for thought all the way through! Hats off for taking the challenge and putting yourself out here in these pages in stark candour and zero self-edits. More importantly, hats off to your wonderful child who rose up to the occasion with graceful maturity. Loved every single post; especially the final ones. For truly, physical discomfort is the biggest trigger, and thats just the way our bodies are made… But thank you for sticking through the challenge to the finis. Now that calls for Three Cheers and Hip Hip Hurray!!!!

Shobana Anand · August 1, 2013 at 3:15 am

I am speechless.Hats off to you on your endeavor to be a wonderful mom and your consistent efforts to update this blog.You have risen to the challenge and emerged successful.keep up the momentum.

aparajita bhattacharjee · August 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm

More than anything, it's a 7 yr old's way of being led to celebrating her birthday….a memorable one – as the excruciating pain acted a catalyst to transform both mother and daughter; the former at realizing that yelling doesn't have a place where silence scream feelings, the latter at presenting the woman she'll grow up to be before leaving for school……both are playing their roles perfectly…if friction burns karma, then pain's worth buying…friends will always be there as blessings…:) Celebrate motherhood.

Shyvee · August 5, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Thanks Nimmy!! Yes, the hardest part was accepting that the trouble originated with me. Gy deserves a lot of credit, definitely. Feel free to share it on :-):-)

Shyvee · August 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Thank you Shobana! And we both know how big a role you played in the latter part of the challenge. Thank you for that and everything else!

Shyvee · August 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Thank you Aparajita!

cynk · December 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I guess the true test for a challenge like this is to complete it with real-life circumstances. If the way had been easy, the accomplishment wouldn't have been as sweet and you probably would not have gained the insights into your own behavior.

Natalie DeYoung · December 7, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Way to go! A tough challenge indeed.

Shailaja V · December 8, 2013 at 2:29 am

The fruit at the end of a tiring journey seems much sweeter, doesn't it? Thank you for stopping by 🙂

Shailaja V · December 8, 2013 at 2:30 am

Thanks for reading. It means a lot 🙂

jeremymilburn · December 8, 2013 at 3:58 am

Congratulations on completing your challenge through some very difficult circumstances! This sounds like the type of challenge I need to undertake myself. To be completely honest, I've had to say more than once, “If I don't yell then you don't listen.” I really don't enjoy it and your story has inspired me. Kudos!

Shailaja V · December 8, 2013 at 6:49 am

Glad it has inspired you, Jeremy! And I hope you succeed on the journey too.

Michelle Longo · December 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I love when our little ones show us what kind children they are. My son will be 7 in about 3 weeks, so I know this age well. Good for you for completing that challenge. I'm not sure I have he courage to try it, though I certainly should.

Shailaja V · December 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm

It's an eye opener. We are constantly surprised by the maturity and wisdom that they are capable of expressing. If you do take it up, I'll be right there, by your side, egging you on to the finish line.

The important lesson I learned from yelling less at my daughter · August 29, 2016 at 10:59 am

[…] a Thursday in July, 3 years ago, I gave gratitude for completing an entire week without yelling at a 7-year-old. At the same time, my heart was fighting inside, telling me I shouldn’t have […]

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