When Parenting Sucks

I’m going to regret this post. I’ve avoided rants on this blog for a number of reasons, among them my great dislike for the word rant. It rubs me the wrong way, especially in its overuse. If the word is a big part of your blog, please don’t take offense. You shouldn’t care what I think. ‘S only me. Well, I never imagined my first tirade would be about my sweet, amazing seven-year-old. But if it must, it’s really about myself. Days like this, I’m mystified – in fact, undone – by this beast called parenting. Because I come up short.

Finding myself relegated to being a parrot in my home, I’d just like to stay human. I tell my boy eight times to do his math. Six times to come here. Seven, to clean up. By the third repeat, he should hear the aggravation rising. On the fifth, the mercurial red transmutes into its auditory counterpart commonly known as yelling. Dear Christian reader, kindly pause before you start composing your advice. Spare yourself the trouble. We don’t have to force our relationship. I know I’m not doing it right. I know I should pray with and for my son more. I know it’s his parents’ job to train him to obey promptly, cheerfully. It’s a gulf between knowing and practice. I’ve sat in on the best parenting Bible studies as early as my college days. I was geared up for this, signed up ready to lay it all down.

All, that is, except myself.

I need to get out of my own way so that it’s not so personal when I’m ignored. It’s not about my demands that must be satisfied. I want my child to submit to authority higher than his mother’s. To Playroomdevelop a sense of honor and a work ethic that lasts beyond twenty golden minutes of fresh resolve after the tears, brokenness, I’m so sorrys and I’ll work harders. On his third plea for forgiveness and promise to take lessons seriously, all noble intentions in the parenting evaporate in the indignation that this kid is not listening to me, is wasting my time. I explained to him today why I’m always driving him to work when it’s time to work. Time is one thing you can’t get back like the toy you lent a friend. You let it go and it’s gone for good. “Why can’t you listen when I’m nice?!” It’s a rational appeal my wide-eyed boy can’t answer in word or deed. Why is something so simple so illusive? I’m all angst because the question bears implications for his character. You said you want to grow up and have seven kids, Tennyson. How are you going to take care of them – make money like Daddy – if you don’t build good work habits, build your mind? I worry that you are so comfortable. Daddy and I didn’t have a giant playroom like you do. I never even had my own room. You have more toys than we counted in our dreams. But it’s not his fault he has a spacious house, has all his needs met. How to keep him thankful for all the blessings? All I know is somebody‘s working in a soup kitchen when he’s a teenager. And here I am talking about gratitude when there are women who’d give their left arm to be a mother. We’ll always find something to be unhappy about.

P1070961So we’re out almost everyday for his mixed martial arts classes. Then there are the art, drum, swimming lessons. Between my time outside and the cooking inside, this is my kitchen. Everyday. If I attempted an offense against the dishes beyond the minimal defense of trying to eke out the bowls we needed for the day, I couldn’t touch this blog. I packed Tennyson’s swim things and snack this morning and rushed to boil his eggs, steam his sweet potatoes for lunch so they’d be ready the minute the “I’m hungry” came out of his mouth fresh out of the pool. Fatigue tattooed in my bones, I served up lunch and after, told him to come read to me. I said it three times. After a month, a year of this, I was fed up. Am I asking too much? I’m surrounded by moms who talk like they’re broken record players. Many employ my favorite of parenting tricks: “I’m going to count to three…” Nice, teach the little ones to delay obedience. I refuse to be one of these women. At the same time, I can’t help feeling pathetic while blaming a child for my failings. Unless kids have some disability of sorts, they do or don’t do what they have learned is allowable. And I have a pretty easy kid. He’s wonderful on the whole, isn’t ornery, doesn’t throw tantrums.

On the way home from his art class this afternoon, I told him I called the local school. As of tomorrow he no longer homeschools. Yes, I lied. (This is where you unfollow if you were on the fence. I agree. It’s a sham I want to teach my boy integrity.) He will learn to learn and we can be happy as mother and son. Tennyson flipped out. In helpless fear, he retorted, “I’m just going to run away!” Right. Leave your palace, your stash of 1001 toys, and the mother whose life revolves around that sumo wrestler’s appetite of yours. I pulled over, pushed the button to slide open the door of the minivan. “Get out. Go.” He stayed put, then burst into tears looking older than his years. He unbuckled from the back and stumbled over to me, “Umma, I’m so sorry. I’ll do my work. Pleeease.” And half-contorted himself to be able to wet my head with kisses – generously spilling the canteen of water in his hand. I told you to place it by the window!

P1070654Tennyson, you can’t know how desperately I want to crawl out of this body, disappear and place a wiser, more easy-going woman in front of you. Someone not hung up about how things should be. You’re growing and I’m just not sure how to teach you life is not a playground. I know that by the time you read this you’ll remember how I made you feel more than the facts I taught you. I just hope you’ll still be my famously happy boy.

250 thoughts on “When Parenting Sucks

  1. https://holisticwayfarer.com/2014/04/27/how-you-fit-into-my-prophetic-dream/

    Remember the dream you had about flying? Remember also where the speaker at a youth retreat shared something out of the book of Exodus that caught your attention. “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.”
    The eagle pushes her young out of the nest not to abandon them but to teach them to fly. And eagles are the only birds to pursue the eye of the approaching storm. Using the pressure of the fury for wings, these regal birds go right through it only to come out higher.
    You (and your boy) will come out higher after this one too, if you look for solutions to the problem and don’ give up.
    I am *not* suggesting you push him out of the nest; I am suggesting you deal with him on a higher level–through calm dialogue and planning.

    • You are something. Thanks for linking back to my own post here LOL. Yesterday was pretty amazing. We enjoyed one another w/ my calmness and grace and his obedience (and my still calm communication & firmness when he slipped). Even T smiled that it’d been a wonderful day when he went to bed. The planning some of you brought up is interesting. I have to think more on that as he gets older. In terms of consequences, helping him take concrete ownership of his responsibilities. A great way of applying that verse and metaphor, Beth. I hadn’t thought of it that way.


      • Each and every day I stopped at the end of the day to pray with our kids–not only together in a Bible study time, but afterward with each one. They called it “tuck in time.”

        Our younger son (~7) had been particularly naughty one day and had to be disciplined for those infractions. When we prayed, he mentioned his “no good very bad day” as if it were my problem. I talked to him a while and asked him if he thought he might ask God to make him have a better day tomorrow. He did and with much feeling.

        Rarely after that night did he ever have to have a spanking again. No doubt it worked on two levels, His prayer was sincere and the Lord heard, and our son was willing to try to please the Lord and me. Our nightly tuck-in was usually geared around evaluating their day.

        There should be no age limitation for planning.

  2. Hahahahaha. You sound like me, Diana. I can so relate. Believe me. Actually, I think you’re probably an angel compared to me. I looooove the second paragraph.
    I just showed your Tennyson’s playroom to Caue and he said, “Can I go there?” Hahahaha. If only I could virtually transport him, then Tennyson would have a playmate and Caue would be in his glory with all the space.

    • LOL Love all of it. God made it clear the house was all HIM. It was amazing that we got it – we didn’t have much $. Kids’ jaws drop when they come. T actually runs bases in that room – yeah, it’s big enough. I am SO stinkin’ bummed we can’t transport Caue over. You and I could blog while they played. ^^

      • Hahahahahaha. I’m sure. Because I’m telling you. Here, there are no other mamas as health conscious as me. I would love to me more so, however North-east Brazil options are very few indeed. At least the lowered the price of the Chia seeds, so breakfast finds me much happier. Coconut milk, chia seeds, fruit, maple syrup (which will run out soon enough. No probs though. Mom’s coming in Feb and I’ll have her bring some. Along with natural pure vanilla extract.)

      • You can do what you will with this – and you’re the one w/ the formal training – but the chia and c milk will make two fats (harder to digest than one, in one sitting) and fruits digest better by themselves. Or they ferment in the process.

      • Oh my. Yea, I know about that type of stuff. I just have a difficult time eating fruit by itself because it metabolizes so fast and I need to eat again so soon after (I guess I shouldn’t complain about having a faster metabolism). If they sold almond milk here, I could use that I guess. However, any milks here that aren’t from a cow or soy, are about $8 per 1 liter. My missionary budget doesn’t allow for such stuff. 😦
        Oh well, thanks for the advice. I really wish I could eat the exact way I wanted.

      • You are really awesome for all you do in the kitchen, Staci. Not only do we have to go with the flow of our circumstances but ideals are just that – ideals, this side of heaven. I wasn’t raggin’ on you. Just mentioned ‘cuz you’re the (rare) type to care. All I can do is my best for T and that’s sometimes not good enough but has to be. And I struggle in my own way w/ food – that’s a marvel to me, for what I have studied over a dozen years.
        Thanks be to God for grace. Because in the end, it’s not about the control we can exercise so perfectly. No need to respond in your busyness. =)

        Love ya…will visit when I surface. (Haven’t even gotten to help edit a guest post for a future series that’s been awaiting my attention.)

  3. Homeschooled – while quite ill. Three kids. Two out of college now, one almost. I LIKE my kids. We all survived.

    Breathe. They each had at least a year in a regular school due to their dad’s heart attack – when he survived that fine, we went back to homeschooling (I thought I would need to be available for my husband, such as I was able – he didn’t need me).

    Any advice? Hmmm. Pick your battles? Relax? Like everything homeschooling (ours was more like unschooling, except very strong on math and science, and we read gobs), yours will be different – and it will still work.

    Oh, one warning: EVERY child in the family will be different. Yup. Just to make it more interesting.

    • =) Thanks, Alicia. Got every word. Your kids apparently turned out great. T happens to be the kid moms point to w/ envy (esp for all the veggies he eats obediently). But I wish I handled my frustrations better at times. Thx for your time.


  4. Being a mum is the hardest job I have ever had. You are doing all that you can and we ALL fall short on any given day. Good luck on your journey, my boy is on the spectrum and I call him ten to fifteen times before I get an answer or a reaction, he gets caught up in his autism world. I understand that but it is a long slow learning curve for me. Thanks for being so honest. ….Kath

    • Oh, thanks so much for the empathy, Kath. Wow, I really don’t know how parents with children who have such challenges do it. You’re my shero. Bless your heart. Thanks so much for your time and support.


  5. Thank you for sharing, Diana. Really appreciate your honesty about how you feel and what you think and honoring that it isn’t always “pretty” -but oh so human and real. I don’t have children but I get the sense that allowing yourself to honor your own truth even if just to yourself and your readers allows you to be more present for your family in the ways you want to be. You obviously have struck a chord here with your words. You made me smile w/ your reluctance to receive more praise on your next post. Hope you are doing well, friend! xo

    • You’re something, (for) reading what obviously didn’t directly apply to you. (Though I always try to slip in universally relevant reflections in every post.) Frankly, most days I’m too tired to think about honoring my own truth. =) I’m just happy if I can get to half the things on the homeschool and house list everyday (and 80% of my blog list. Shhh….)

  6. Wow, it sounds as though you just got a lot off your chest Diana. I believe we tend to make some things harder on ourselves when we are maxed out with obsession to do everything just so. I know I don’t have children and find I am the same way just trying to juggle daily life and writing. I always strive for perfection, tidiness, completing daily tasks and come the end of the day, if I haven’t completed everything, it hinders my happiness. From the time I began following you, I’ve come to know your determination and efficiency with everything you do, especially raising your son. You are giant leaps ahead of many others. Take a bow and breathe. 🙂

  7. Diana, I don’t think of this post as a rant as opposed to real life. I remember when my kids were young that I used to jokingly say “if ever there were an award for the worst mother of the year, it’d be me.” I’ve never felt more inept in my life before I became a mother. Yes, I admit I did many, many, many things wrong. I have 3 grown sons and the middle one has (ADHD) boy, what an experience raising him – never a dull moment. You haven’t lived until your little 3 year old screams at the top of his lungs the number of ways he’s gonna kill you (and this while in the psychiatrist’s office waiting room – embarrasing).

    Even though my upbringing was rather dysfunctional my mother had a way of looking at my brother and I (when we were misbehaving) to let us know that when we got home we were in BIG trouble. We didn’t have behavioral plans, daily charts and daily report cards to track our progress but when my middle son came along each minute of every day became a hurdle from which to overcome. Thank God we made it through and today all of my sons are a joy but number 2 son is such a treasure.

    Thank you for the insight into your parental journey. You are on a wondrous path of adventure!!

    • Wow, getting chills. Oh, thanks so much for sharing the pages of your grief and ….madness (not how I see it but how you I see you felt it to be back then). It is thrilling – and that is the word – not to mention heartening, to hear of the joy you take in all your grown sons, my friend. REDEMPTION. Thank you so much for the honesty. It has been amazing getting to know you guys better through these exchanges. The (most interesting) story snippets that rolled in on this one were so comforting.


  8. Best of luck holisticway with his schooling at a school. It’s hard being a parent….and I chose not to be a parent. However my partner is a parent to 2 adult children from a former marriage.

    One day, if not already, he appreciates mother’s care. 🙂

  9. When I visit you, I always have to leave a comment, simply because you always deliver something wonderful to ponder and embrace. I have been away, moving and now just received my household items after 3 weeks of waiting. Woodstock Ga, a very wonderful place in the northern part of the state very close to Tennessee. I have missed your posts, and i think when someone thinks they have something important to say, it should be acknowledge with a comment…no matter how short or long. With you they might be long most of the time…but if I sometimes fail to hit the like button, the comment usually says it all. You always deliver something wonderful to ponder D! Hugs!

  10. Oh Diana. You are a really good parent and doing the “right” thing for Tennyson. Why do I say that? Because you clearly care and your words show how much; because you are reviewing what you are doing and actually asking if it is “right;” because you mention that Tennyson may be having so much – much more than you and your husband had at his age – and especially because you choose to be a very real presence in his life. You ARE a good parent now and I’m sure for always. I think the parent who asks and doubts is the same parent who observes and watches her child and other parent-child dynamics. That kind of parent is aware that her child has needs that are changing and is keen to adjust her parenting style accordingly.
    As the other parents all say, it is a tough job to be a parent. My mother was from the generation where parenting is about “You do this because I say so!” and we siblings turned out pretty well. But when I had my daughter, I was all about explaining the why, the consequences of actions – what will happen if she went up the jungle gym and did not hold tightly; if she does not finish the food on her plate, if she is always late for school. I tried to honestly and creatively paint a picture that she will understand. And that was not easy. I then understood why my mother chose to use “because I say so.”
    I remember helping my daughter (age 7 at that time) with English homework, and explaining why she needs to learn to communicate properly, listing the consequences she’ll face in her later years up until 16 years of age. Then she sheepishly said, “Mom, can we get back to my homework now?” And we both had a laugh at how far I went with consequences. But it was not all laughs. There was a lot of frustration from both sides and door banging. I’m sorry to say they were more from me. (Maybe I should have removed MY bedroom door so no banging!) Yes, parenting is tough and there will be mistakes but rest easy that they will work out, Diana. We just need to be there for our children at any age and to always, always keep communicating. My daughter is 19 now in college majoring in Psychology and Communication, and she shares stories about friends, relationships, school activities, her Psychology lessons about children’s developmental stages, looking back at her own. This elicits deep conversation and lots of laughter.
    If I, who was sadly guilty of showing my frustration with door banging, raised a wonderful soul like my daughter, you, NATURALLY-INSIGHTFUL DIANA would do much more. With your presence and firm, loving attention, Tennyson will grow up responsible, self-motivated, well-mannered, and popular even with the parents. Just remember to enjoy activities separate from your son that give you enjoyment, release frustrations, and define other aspects of your identity/life. You are responsible for your happiness and balance. A contented parent is better able to tackle the parenting challenges.
    Sorry, I over-poured on words here.

    Keep up your writing. It’s very inspiring in its authenticity.

    • Wow, sOmebody left a mark. =) I smiled in several places:

      I then understood why my mother chose to use “because I say so.”
      Door banging…
      Hmmmm….wonder why she’s majoring in Psychology and Communication. LOL

      Just wonderful. How she turned out, how your parenting with all its highs and lows has seen through such a mature, appreciative young lady. The affection between you is obvious.

      Tennyson is very verbal, too (wonder why ha ha ha).
      I am, actually, bowled over that you’ve taken the time to read with open eyes and spirit and then to reflect it back to me so thoughtfully.

      This I take with me into my day:
      “You are responsible for your happiness and balance. A contented parent is better able to tackle the parenting challenges.”

      You put so well and succinctly something I’ve been thinking about.

      Well, you dropped in like you’ve been among us for a year, this amazing circle of parents, artists, thinkers – fit right in. Heartfelt thanks for your time and love,


      • It’s good that Tennyson is able to verbalize. My daughter turning out to be a mature, appreciative young lady has also to do with her very own beautiful essence, but I’d like to think my being present for her did help too. You’ve drawn to your blog, a precious circle of amazing people with insights as valuable as yours. Be well, Diana, and keep on being you.

  11. I can relate to the madness of trying to love your child and discipline him at the same time…they almost appear as opposing polarities, especially to the child…one day, I’m sure he’ll appreciate the fact that you’re doing the best that you can with what knowledge and patience you’ve developed. Your writing is a great therapeutic way to vent. Never feel ashamed of expressing your emotions. They are real and valid…it’s how you react to them that matters and it sounds to me like putting him in regular school is a great way for you both to find a little more inner peace. LaVancia

    • Thanks for connecting and encouraging. I am serious about my art – the written word – and pulling my hair out here is not something I wanted to do. =) And no, as I said, school was just a frustrated threat. I’d never leave him like that. It all goes too fast and I’m in it for the long haul, start to finish, w/ him. Thank you for being here.


    • Some years ago I watched my niece struggling to make her nine year old son do his homework for school. I was astonished how much the boy resisted and was not willing to co-operate despite a couple of visitors as witnesses. And the niece did not break it up. She tried again and again to make the son co-operate. I was really astounded for how long this went on in front of visitors.
      As far as home schooling is concerned I do not know much about it. The wife of one of our grandsons tried for a while to teach her two girls at home. I think it was not all that successful and
      the girls are now attending the local school.
      To my mind it is important for children to know that their parents are there for them when they need them. I think it is always good when the mother as well as the father can share in the children’s upbringing.
      To teach a child good study habits can be a difficult task, I realize this. Maybe if a parent is more relaxed about this and able to make it an interesting time for the child and not prolonging the study time for too long depending on the child’s age – maybe then it is more of a rewarding time for everyone.

      • Thanks for sharing what you’ve seen, Aunty. A lot of our work is fun (set to music). I hAve noticed I’ve needed to relax a bit in this regard. I was tensing up unnecessarily as we headed into the new fall cycle. He’s also just an active boy. Would rather play than write out his math drills. =)

  12. Life would not be easy for everyone but some how we can try to achieve better living conditions by our own sweat and tear. I think the hardest job in the world is being parent. Teaching a child about the cold world outside the parent arms is so touching indeed…

  13. You have won me over with a single post.

    I see you get a ton of comments; this usually means I won’t comment, but I have to thank you. And commend you.

    You are absolutely right. I have never given it serious thought before, but yes, I would give my arm to be a mother. Thank you for that nod to infertility, which slips through the cracks so often.

    But as a stepmother, I completely identify with the frustration. We have very few hard rules, but the first is to listen. Listen. Please listen. Listen the first time. Listen immediately after agreeing to listen and apologizing for not listening! Please.

    • Oh, April. All the comments here means you won’t add to them? No, don’t go doing that. Let your voice be heard. I-am-LISTENING lol!
      You brought a sad smile to this face. I’m sorry about and appreciate the sweet, receptive word on my nod to infertility.
      And then you stretched out the smile full-on. LISTEN!!!!!! I yell. LISTEN!!!!! LOL LOL
      Thanks for the warm greeting.


  14. I want to hug you AND your son. Mine was that age once; Tuesday he’ll be 13. When he was 7, we had tears, and struggle, and my demands.

    We don’t have those anymore.

    I realized that I don’t WANT obedient children. Nope. If they’re obedient, they learn to do as they’re told without questioning….

    And I am woefully human, woefully fallible. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to question me! More, there are people in this world who don’t have my children’s best interests at heart. I don’t want to make them any more susceptible to that than they will be.

    I want my children to grow up instead with the ability to judge situations, and people, and to be able to decide when going along is a good idea, and when it’s better to stand up for something different, something they believe in.

    I want them to be able to think for themselves, and beyond what I can give them.

    We shifted from eclectic homeschooling to radical unschooling the year Jeremiah was 7.

    Six years later, my son is responsible, articulate, intelligent, learns all the time from everything, friendly, polite, and beginning to think seriously about his future – raring to be old enough for working papers and a real job, and saving for a car of his own, while learning all he can about driving. He’s not a huge fan of hometending, but getting better, and he’s the best older brother any little sister could have – really!

    He’s still got a way to go to be ready to meet the adult world head-on, but he’s also got time, yet…

    And I have a relationship with him that is usually easy. When we displease each other, we can talk it through. He’s willing to listen if I ask him to do something, or think something he’s planning isn’t maybe the best idea…because I strive to be trustworthy, and he can tell me if I’m not.

    Seven is young. You’ve got many years left for your son to learn how to live in the adult world. At seven, there’s really no reason that most of life CAN’T be a playground- and play is how humans learn best, and gain social skills most easily.

    You don’t need to do it all today, or this year, or next. It’ll be easier if it’s not a battle between you, with hurt feelings, resentment, and distrust on both sides. At seven, he’s small enough to enforce your will – but, for mothers of sons, the reality is that, soon enough, we’re the smaller and weaker ones (my son is only an inch or two shorter than my 5’9″ already, and stronger than me). The day will come when they can’t be forced, when running away is really a possibility.

    I hope you and he can find space for some deep breaths. Maybe ask him why he doesn’t want to read to you, or do math…or just take a break for a bit, or find new ways to approach these things. Honestly, elementary education is called that because it’s basic. A child living his or her life is bound to pick a lot of it up with no lessons at all (I know; my 10 year old had never had an academic lesson in her life).

    Sending you light and love and hoping this long post doesn’t offend. I’m offering it in the genuine hope that it will lighten your burden and maybe provide an alternate way of looking at things….

    • Spoken like a true unschooler. =) Thank you for the heartfelt feedback. I certainly felt the love — in that fat hug. We are talking about some similar and different things. Of course I aim and hope him to grow in wise independence. I have an article out that touches on this in Home School Enrichment. I want him to be able to discern and question even leaders he will meet in the faith. But obedience to mom and work ethic are a bit of their own call. And don’t forget culture. =) We Koreans are crazy workaholics. So in fact, I long since came to the homeschool table already compensating for this skewed perspective, and his learning is – from what I can see – enjoyable and fun (much of it to song and music, his area of talent). He also gets a gazillion play breaks throughout the day so when it’s time to buckle down, it’s time.

      We take it one day at a time. =) The day after I posted this he was amazingly cooperative. AND he blurted that night, in the tucking in, what a wonderful day it’d been. He needs to learn the happiness of obedience and I, work on not being demanding, as you said.

      Sincere thanks for the thoughtful read,


      • I’m glad you could feel the love. I’ve felt stressed and inadequate myself, and that’s just never a fun place for parent or child. Adding in cultural expectations right then….please, have another hug.

        I have found that sometimes giving ME a time out, preferably with something hot and sweet to sip, could relieve enough tension to get me through the day.

        For me writing helps (I’ve got more rants scrawled in notebooks than I’d care to admit, but it DID help!). With me, the chaos of our physical space (unschooling is just right for us, and it’s also neither predictable nor especially tidy) is the worst trigger. I found that claiming an underused niche off the living room gives me one area I can have as I want it, and that lets me be (mostly) saner about the other areas.

        If you find an answer for those endlessly multiplying dishes, i’d love to hear about it, and I’ll do the same for you!

        Hopefully, time and practice will help you find a more consistently peaceful place you can both live with and feel good about more of the time. It’s not always easy to find that, but, with my kids, I’ve found that they can cut me more slack when I don’t get it right if they know I’m honestly trying…and I can do the same for them.

        Sometimes, one or two little changes can have a huge affect. I hope you can both breathe easier for a while now.

      • Adding in cultural expectations right then….please, have another hug.


        My writing (namely, on this blog) is my very breath. I have written on (that is, about) the constant tension I live between the two joys of tending to my boy and to my art. Time is my nemesis. You bring up something big: order and tidiness – critical in the homeschooling. It’s something I’ve been working on the past month, and “sitters” who come to play with and read to T (so I can catch my breath and try to write) also help me tidy up. The before vs after they leave clears my brain like nothing less and makes me just FEEL so much better. Large house – no way I could do it myself. And the dishes…pfff. The dishwasher that came w/ the house is a clunker. Can’t help you there. The sink photo was for real. EVERYday.

        “Hopefully, time and practice will help you find a more consistently peaceful place”
        Actually, T is such a happy boy, as I said. I realize a lot of the grumblings and upsets are on my part and that they’re contagious. I think simple REST and sleep would make a whole lotta difference – but that’s another post. Love your closing thought, that just a few changes can make quite a difference. Thank you so much for stepping in with love and grace.


      • It does get better, as kids get older. I know that’s not much help, now, when things feel utterly off-kilter, but it’s true. For both of my kids, there was a shift somewhere around 8, and from then on they’ve been more and more able to consider the impact of their actions on others.

        My sink doesn’t look much different than yours, most of the time. I treasure those rare moments when it does!

        Writing as breath – yes, I understand you completely, on that.

        I’m wishing you both rest and sleep, and more of the wonderful moments that make bearing the less wonderful ones worthwhile! ❤

      • So sweet. Thanks for the hope and the encouragement. Fortunately T’s pretty awesome for the most part. Things will be easier if I can see him those other days through the rose-colored lens of rest. =)

  15. I too can relate to your entry here. I remember taking my daughter at age 4 to Seattle to visit family and having my uncle say something to me I’ll never forget. “Susan, she’s at the age where you have to keep reminding yourself of this: Your job is to raise her to be a responsible, independent adult. That’s your first priority, not to have fun with her, to get the job done.” I thought it was harsh at the time and he stopped being my favorite relative for a while. But, I’ll tell you, it was worth it. She is now 25, launched on her own since graduating at 21, and I get to have the fun of being her friend first and her mom second.

  16. Parenting is not for the weak of heart, it’s true. But the rewards are enormous even thought we always lose sight of them in the midst of those trying times. Thank goodness for the balm of writing when those visions of a better time fade!

  17. Diana,

    I live with a mother of two young boys: a 4 year old and an 8 year old. So even though I have no kids, I often think of my mother, especially when things get a bit.. crazy ! I related to your article so well as sometimes, I take the role of the mother and try to watch these boys once in a while. I think every mom wants to do better for their child and it becomes clear from my mother that she also thinks this way – she repeats this to me saying that she wished she was a better mom to me. I tell her it’s okay! Don’t worry or dwell on it, but she does.. Anyway, this is something my mom has to realize, that it’s okay, it’s over ! Can we just focus on today ?

    So I’m here to just say to you that you’re doing fine 🙂 Whatever upset or battle you went through with your son, you did the best you can, and yes it could’ve been done differently, but hey, tomorrow is another day right ? 🙂

    With love,

    • Huh – thanks for sharing, Jenny. So you’re a M-I-T. Mom in training. Thanks. And your mom SO reminds me of mine. I get completely exasperated when Mom goes on about all the ways she failed me. ^^ But I go on beating myself up everyday.

      • Yes. Just MIT for now 🙂

        It’s easy to look back and regret rather than accept it completely and move on. My mother beats herself up for what ? There’s nothing I do except say that it’s okay because I feel like dwelling doesn’t go anywhere! However, my mother needs to be okay with what she did or did not do and be responsible for them, and she’ll be able to move on and not feel so bad. Then we can talk about other things like boys hehe^_^

  18. “Why do you not listen when I say it nicely?” Exactly the words I said to my 9 and 6 year old boys today. After getting really mad at them because I had to SAY THINGS OVER AND OVER AGAIN, until the nice mother had disappeared and made place for a grumpy dragon. I don’t like being a grumpy dragon. But sometimes I am. (But when they kiss me later, the nice mummy comes back…. It is a bit like the story with the frog and the prince.) Hang on in there, it happens to all of us!

  19. How beautiful and honest and utterly human. Thank you for sharing what so many would rather hide, our inequities. And thank you so much for reading about the Servants of Charity. We will pray for you to always be the best mother that you can be.

  20. “mercurial red transmutes into its auditory counterpart commonly known as yelling.” That’s funny. Me too. I just confessed to a mom-friend who’s kids are older. She made a good point: Kids need to see you’re a human being, and that there’s a point and a limit where you get p-ed off. Also, kids who don’t see emotional outburst and aren’t allowed to have them can become anxious. Anyhow, it’s interesting that I don’t remember my mom ever telling me to do my homework. She was literally never home to do it (single mom, gynecologist and fashion designer with lots of her own hobbies). No repetition needed. I did it. Period. Or I didn’t – and then sucked at school. Then I did it again. But I think I just loved learning, and it was easy.

    Another random – just sharing: I think the amount of toys is nutty now. It really, really – can’t be a good thing. Somehow we’ve so far not taken that route. We’re outside. That’s our biggest “toy”. I think I bought my son three toys. The rest were inherited from cousins or friends. Maybe I’m lucky to have a home with no space for extra toys. But really, that whole thing about being bored and needing to think and be creative – and not being too comfortable overall – it can’t be all wrong. I worry what these kids’ of ours brains and attention spans will be like… Just pondering / sharing.

    • p.s. i too would like to homeschool my son – i don’t know how you do it (haven’t read enough yet). but only if i have a chance to have someone else do the teaching.

    • “Also, kids who don’t see emotional outburst and aren’t allowed to have them can become anxious.”
      Well, sounds like my boy will turn out to be one REALLY well-adjusted kid. LOL

      My first series on this blog on the impact of technology on learning (where I touch on attention span and growing up too easily gratified) is an article in a homeschool magz. Thanks for talking! ‘S what blogging’s about.


  21. Diana, from the lovely, feather lined perch of our empty nest, let me assure you, T will turn out exactly how our Father wanted him to. He’s going to be a rascal, he’s going to let you down, he’s going make you smile, laugh and burst with pride.

    One thought about the counting to three thing, I’m no child psychologist, but I believe counting to three, one, stops a child in mid play/sentence/rant (whatever), two, causes him to think about what you are asking of him, and three, gives him a chance to make a decision. When he makes the decision, then it’s up to you how to respond, because sometimes he’s gonna do what you ask, and other times throw caution to the wind. What you do at THREE is as important as what he does at three.

    His young mind cannot process immediately what you are asking if he’s in the throes of playing cars etc. He needs the time to stop, think, decide. This is why counting to three is effective. Some people think it’s because the child doesn’t want to listen or do what you want, but their thinking pattern is completely different than ours. It actually teaches your child to be thoughtful about all the demands that assail him everyday from places other than his beautiful mom.

    My two gold cents according to this mom of a 30 and a 27 year old. Hugs.

    Thanks for stopping in at my blog, too. It’s given me the chance to know you better. B Harmony.

    • Hey, I appreciate the thoughtful read and response.

      “His young mind cannot process immediately what you are asking if he’s in the throes of playing cars etc.” You bring up an excellent point. I came to see this this year. He’s a bit on the dreamy side, I realized. I can’t help but be concerned about the “side effect” of encouraging delayed obediences so rather than count I give him a heads-up that in 5 or 10 minutes he will be asked to do x or z. That gives him the time to reALLy enjoy his play or dvd and shift mental gears.

      Kching, Kching. Your two gold cents safe and shiny in the Holistic Treasury for me to come back to when needed. =) Thanks!


  22. This is hilarious, I totally hear you, great post. Your son is gorgeous he is going to be an amazing man oneday, it’s good he is inquisitive. He’s been carved by god from in the woman, and god choose wonderful you to be his parent. How cool is that? The kitchen that was funny, been there still there only thing is my son is 13 now. It gets better that talking, that inquisitive nature in boys NOT. hilarious. Thanks for liking my post. Look forward to following your blog…

    • Ha ha thanks for sharing a bit of your side of things and the encouragement, Beverley. I appreciate the follow. I see you’ve made yourself at home. Your seat’s to the right, the red throw over it.



My Two Gold Cents in the Holistic Treasury

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