To parents of small children: Let me be the one who says it out loud

March 12, 2013

IMG_3044I am in a season of my life right now where I feel bone tired almost all of the time. Ragged, how-am-I-going-to-make-it-to-the-end-of-the-day, eyes burning exhausted.

I have three boys ages 5 and under. I’m not complaining about that. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But I know that there are people who would give anything for a house full of laughter & chaos. I was that person for years and years; the pain of infertility is stabbing and throbbing and constant. I remember allowing hope to rise and then seeing it crash all around me, month after month, for seven years. I am working on another post about infertility that will come at a later date.

But right now, in my actual life, I have three boys ages five and under. There are many moments where they are utterly delightful, like last week when Isaac told my sister-in-law that “My daddy has hair all over.” Or when Elijah put a green washcloth over his chin and cheeks, and proudly declared, “Daddy! I have a beard just like you!” Or when Ben sneaks downstairs in the morning before the other boys do, smiles at me, and says, “Daddy and Ben time.”

But there are also many moments when I have no idea how I’m going to make it until their bedtime. The constant demands, the needs, and the fighting are fingernails across the chalkboard every single day.  

One of my children is for sure going to be the next Steve Jobs. I now have immense empathy for his parents. He has a precise vision of what he wants — exactly that way and no other way. Sometimes it’s the way his plate needs to be centered exactly to his chair, or how his socks go on, or exactly how the picture of the pink dolphin needs to look – with brave eyes, not sad eyes, daddy! He is a laser beam, and he is not satisfied until it’s exactly right.

I have to confess that sometimes the sound of his screaming drives me to hide in the pantry. And I will neither confirm nor deny that while in there, I compulsively eat chips and/or dark chocolate. 

There are people who say this to me:

“You should enjoy every moment now! They grow up so fast!”

I usually smile and give some sort of guffaw, but inside, I secretly want to hold those people under water. Just for a minute or so. Just until they panic a little.

If you have friends with small children — especially if your children are now teenagers or if they’re grown – please vow to me right now that you will never say this to them. Not because it’s not true, but because it really, really doesn’t help.

We know it’s true that they grow up too fast. But feeling like I have to enjoy every moment doesn’t feel like a gift, it feels like one more thing that is impossible to do, and right now, that list is way too long. Not every moment is enjoyable as a parent; it wasn’t for you, and it isn’t for me. You just have obviously forgotten. I can forgive you for that. But if you tell me to enjoy every moment one more time, I will need to break up with you.

If you are a parent of small children, you know that there are moments of spectacular delight, and you can’t believe you get to be around these little people. But let me be the one who says the following things out loud:

You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out a way for your children to eat as healthy as your friend’s children do. She’s obviously using a bizarre and probably illegal form of hypnotism.

You are not a terrible parent if you yell at your kids sometimes. You have little dictators living in your house. If someone else talked to you like that, they’d be put in prison.

You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out how to calmly give them appropriate consequences in real time for every single act of terrorism that they so creatively devise.

You are not a terrible parent if you’d rather be at work.

You are not a terrible parent if you just can’t wait for them to go to bed.

You are not a terrible parent if the sound of their voices sometimes makes you want to drink and never stop.

You’re not a terrible parent.

You’re an actual parent with limits. You cannot do it all. We all need to admit that one of the casualties specific to our information saturated culture is that we have sky-scraper standards for parenting, where we feel like we’re failing horribly if we feed our children chicken nuggets and we let them watch TV in the morning.

One of the reasons we are so exhausted is that we are oversaturated with information about the kind of parents we should be.

So maybe it’s time to stop reading the blogs that tell you how to raise the next President who knows how to read when she’s three and who cooks, not only eats, her vegetables. Maybe it’s time to embrace being the kind of parent who says sorry when you yell. Who models what it’s like to take time for yourself. Who asks God to help you to be a better version of the person that you actually are, not for more strength to be an ideal parent.

So the next time you see your friends with small children with that foggy and desperate look in their eyes, order them a pizza and send it to their house that night. Volunteer to take their kids for a few hours so they can be alone in their own house and have sex when they’re not so tired, for heaven’s sake. Put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they’re doing a good job. Just don’t freak out if they start weeping uncontrollably. Most of the time, we feel like we’re botching the whole deal and our kids will turn into horrible criminals who hate us and will never want to be around us when they’re older.

You’re bone tired. I’m not sure when it’s going to get better. Today might be a good day or it might be the day that you lost it in a way that surprised even yourself.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

You’re not alone. 

(Due to the incredible response from this post, I had to shut down the comments, because I just couldn’t keep up. But I so appreciate the encouragement and love that this post has gotten!)

Stay in touch with my new posts by following me on twitter here.

P.S. If you liked this post, you have to read my wife’s earlier post, about her own journey with body image after having twins. You can read it here.

P.P.S The post I wrote about infertility is here.

P.P.S. To read my other posts on parenting, click here.

1,187 responses to To parents of small children: Let me be the one who says it out loud

  1. I have three boys ages 5 and under. I’m not complaining about that. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But I know that there are people who would give anything for a house full of laughter & chaos
    You’re bone tired. I’m not sure when it’s going to get better. Today might be a good day or it might be the day that you lost it in a way that surprised even yourself.

  2. As a mother to be (due in September), I find these & other blogs’ comments to be encouraging & upsetting. While we are allowed to feel a certain degree of frustration or ambivalence about all of the other aspects of our lives (work, marriage, relationships, etc), when it comes to children, I have noticed threads of judgement & almost scorn when someone states these very real human emotions about their child/children.
    I find it upsetting knowing that some will think I am “less of” a mother because I get frustrated with my child. Does everyone relish every aspect of every moment in their lives? Is this reality? And isn’t motherhood hard enough without us judging each other?
    I am so grateful my husband & I can bring a little person into this world and help him become the best man he can be. Please let’s be kind to each other this Mother’s day and everyday.

  3. Good on you, and I think you just saved a lot of people from getting cancer. Our society has given us so much standards that we think we have to meet. Don’t trust that TV show or magazine, I am sure that lady who says she can make all the meals, send them all to school / soccer / ballet all on time and still have time to rest are not telling you the whole truth. There are no such thing as ideal parents only loving ones, and remember to love someone you must love yourself first.

  4. This is a fan-bloody-tastic post. Would you mind if I linked it to my blog? The more parents that read it the better x

  5. Agree with Pog you missed the point. Being a mother is the hardest job I ever had, no lunch break, no toilet break not quitting time. Yes it’s rewarding but exhausting

  6. This was a brilliantly written article, full of inspiring truth and encouraging words. Well done and thank you. I have 2 boys, 5 and almost 3! I know what you mean…

  7. Kathy Patterson May 11, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Ah yes – I remember those days. I kept thinking I could UNDERSTAND how someone might be a child abuser! Not that I WOULD do it, but some days I just wanted to flush those boys down the toilet!

    I am now reading a GREAT book about parenting (and grandparenting) called “Easy to Love – Difficult to Discipline.” Check it out, it may help save your sanity – what little is left of it! : )

  8. Thank you so much. I have 4 children under 4 and I try my best to remain calm but it is sometimes so hard. Today I yelled at my 3 year old because she was tugging at my clothes while I was making food for my other 3. She wanted to be held and I snapped at her. She just kept crying and my husband basically screamed at me for yelling at her. I felt like she needed to see my emotion and reaction…it was a natural reaction and in some ways she needs to know that people do get upset when you push their limits. Anyway, she calmed down after she herself ate (she was hungry and cranky)…having so many children this young is not easy!

    • Hey, sometimes it happens. I’ve only got two (under 4) and I have my moments – we’ll all be alright eventually, hahaha.
      Stay strong warrior!

  9. Thanks for the article! I have two girls who are a year and a half apart, and it already seems like I’m breaking up fights every five minutes (and by fights, I mean my eldest smacks, smooshes, or pushes my younger for no reason). I am painfully intorverted, while my eldest is quite the extrovert, and we don’t always see eye to eye. Sometimes I feel like hiding in my pantry, but my eldest knows how to open doors. We do have our good days, and those always make it worth it.

  10. I honestly can’t thank you enough for writing this. We are all just trying our best. We’ll fail at some things, but that’s okay. Our children need to see us failing and not having the answers for everything, so they know it’s normal. Because it IS normal. But we go on and love our children and do the very best we can for them no matter what. Even if that means eating chocolate in secret every once in awhile.
    Celeste recently posted…Fear. Hope.My Profile

  11. Christie – you need to lighten up girl! I have not laughed so hard in a while after reading this article:) He’s not saying don’t give a crap about the kids you gave birth to, he’s saying the expectations to be the perfect parent are suffocating and we beat ourselves up if we get overwhelmed and need a quiet corner (or pantry). Thank you for making me laugh!!

  12. You missed the ENTIRE point. That is sad.

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you. “Who asks God to help you to be a better version of the person that you actually are, not for more strength to be an ideal parent.” This is what I need.

    • Hi there!
      Thanks for this post. I’m 34 and I’m infertile. Although I have come to terms with it now, I still feel sad and empty from time to time, but I have a wonderful husband, and our family of 2 is precious.
      The joy of being a parent is shoved down our throats everyday through adverts, soaps, T.V, and magazines. They make us feel like we are missing out on the most beautiful thing in life. I sometimes feel like my life has no purpose because I can’t be a mum. Why am I here?
      Your refreshing article has the honesty to show that parenting is not always a fairy story that the media portrays it to be. I know it probably is the best thing anyone can do in their lives, but it’s still nice to hear a different view point and I can feel less envious of motherhood for at least a milli second.
      I’m now off to have sex really loudly because I can, and sleep in until 11.00 am because I can:)
      Take care x

  14. My husband sent this article to me. I had just sent him a picture of a cookie the size of my face that I just purchased…. because it has been one of those days. Thank you so much for being the one who says these things out loud! Truly, I have needed to hear these words and am so thankful my husband knows me well enough to send this to me. It is very comforting to know that I am not alone in all of the above, because I too have taken refuge in the closet with tears streaming down my face. Thank you for reminding us that we are human; the love we have for our children is vast, but that does not mean we won’t have times of doubt in ourselves as parents. I most appreciated the part about asking God to help me be a better version of me, not to help me be the ideal parent. God entrusted our children to us not because we are perfect, we leave the perfect to God and lean on him to provide what we need daily.

  15. I love this article…It is what I have been telling my woman friends for years now: You can only do what you can do in ANY given day…and I speak from experience – I had 4 children (twins, single, single) in 5 years. The problem, as I see it, is we don’t want to believe it…so many of us want to buy into the myth of the super-parent who CAN do it all because we are so afraid we’ll screw it up! Well, each one of my kiddos has a special need or two, so I had to give that up right from the start because we already had ‘screwed it up’ (totally tongue in cheek). Do yourself a favor and own what Steve says…make it your mantra – thousands of kids have gone before yours and made it to adulthood despite riding with no helmets, running with scissors, and lead paint!!!

  16. Thank you so much for writing this. I’m having one of those “I’m a terrible parent days.” I believe I may have sent my son on a field trip today without a lunch, and I am a wreck about it. Thank you for reminding me that I am not perfect, and children are not perfect, so together, we do the best we can. God bless you.

  17. I cried when I read this. I have a 2 year old and I often feel guilty for not being the parent that I always thought I would be. I, too, struggled with infertility and am so blessed to have finally been given a chance at motherhood. I just didn’t understand how tired and frustrated I would be most of the time. So THANK YOU!

  18. I really needed this today. Thank you!

  19. Love this and thanks so much! You have gained a new follower!

    • My husband and I could totally relate to this tonight. Thanks. We needed a good laugh.

  20. BS Lattitude May 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    A short quote from your diatribe – “So maybe it’s time to stop reading the blogs that tell you how to” blah blah blah . . .

    You’re right but I’ll take it one step farther – it’s time to stop reading blogs altogether.

    That’s what’s wrong with the world today – people have access to the internet in its various forms and feel compelled to publish a distorted “list” of “solutions” to what they see as being WRONG. Too often this hoodwinks the gullible into believing in it – a flawed diatribe from someone like you – a person on the edge.

    Good luck Dad – you signed on for the long term – keep your thoughts to yourself. The rest of us are doing just fine.

    • BS, then why are you reading his blog??

      • hahahaha. That’s exactly what I thought.

        Stop reading blogs and using the internet! Oh wait . . . I just read this blog USING the Internet! Doh!

  21. simply put: THANK YOU!

  22. As a mother of grown children, I think the key is not “You should enjoy every moment now” Rather it should be “You should cherish your precious children every single moment – the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.” Because all too soon they will be grown and gone and you will miss them! None of them ever come with a re-wind or a re-do button. Once they are gone, they are gone. And even though there will be moments you don’t entirely remember because your brain will be fuzzy from sleep deprivation, you will make it through! Hang in there, because any parent reading this article is likely one of the parents who most definitely deserves to be told, “YOU ARE DOING AN EXCELLENT JOB!”
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    • M, I think the problem is that although you and I both know what you’ve written is true (I have 3 grown-up kids and 3 grandchildren from one of them), it doesn’t come across that way to them at the time. In fact, I distinctly recall feeling really irritated when my mother-in-law, who had 6 of her own kids, said such things to me (who only had 3 to contend with!) with her usual good-natured chuckle.

      It’s probably better that we only say these things to each other, lol! For our friends and relatives who are currently going through it all, we could just offer a smile, a hug, and an offer of babysitting for whenever they want to take a break.

      I’m especially with you on your last sentence, “Hang in there, because any parent reading this article is likely one of the parents who most definitely deserves to be told, “YOU ARE DOING AN EXCELLENT JOB!” Makes great sense.

  23. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m in tears right now because I do feel like a terrible mom a lot of the time because I work and have 2 daughters in that age range and am expecting another, and I feel like I lose my temper every day and I should be better about enjoying the time I have with them.

  24. Anthony Dobinson May 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Great Story mate, thanks for sharing!

  25. People need to learn more about it before they choose it for their situation.
    dubai nursery recently posted…24th March to 31st March 2013 , Easter WeekMy Profile

  26. I agree. It’s just that one day you wake up and you have wished yourself past those days, and you say, “All my time with them is gone. What happened? Why couldn’t I have enjoyed that more?” It’s good to know that I really couldn’t have. Thank you.

  27. hahahahahahah! OMG. This happens all the time. I AM blessed. I know. BUT SHEESH!!!! Sometimes I am at my wits end! Today I am just bloody tired.
    Sammi recently posted…The Birth of Minnie.My Profile

  28. As a mother of four children aged 9, 6, 3 and 17 months I often struggle with the phrase ‘enjoy it while its last, they won’t be like this forever’. Thank you so much for this blog, it made me feel normal again.

  29. Hilarious, hilarious! And so true. Had me laughing and crying a little. Well done for tapping into what we all go through. I do think that all those moments of crazy offer us a chance to heal ourselves though. If we use the opportunities well. A lotta lotta LOT of opportunities to heal they give us! Those little rascals.
    So You Think Parenting Is About The Children? recently posted…The Thing About Rejection Is… (Part 2)My Profile

  30. Glad to come across this. Sharing it on Facebook!
    Toya R recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

  31. belle vukovich kenoyer May 5, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    this is lovely. as a couple that struggled with fertility and then became pregnant with triplets (!) in 2008, i have felt your pain and your joy. I have eaten the dark chocolate with you out of their sight (my husband and I joked we would never be able to eat sweets in plain view again). Our children are a blessing. and sometimes they really muck things up for us. and sometimes my husband and I reminisce on the ease and simplicity of our perfectly lovely lives before children, long enough so we can get back in the saddle and make it through to bed time. ;) keep fighting the good fight, sir.

  32. i am mid-fifties, have parkinsons, and we are raising/fostering a girl just about 14.it’s diffocult to help at all because of the disease, and we end up badgering each other about the detail. my daughter has learned to use the same stuff that my wife says to me.I know it’s frustraring but cannot seem to find any ground, so i am treated as a child as well….

    • Wow, Doug. This is really important and really deep. Family counselling needed, now! If any one or more says no, then you go alone. Don’t wait another minute, sir. Best of luck. (Check with your community or county mental health services office if private is not possible.)

  33. Hi Steve,

    I wrote about your post on my blog and would like to share my perspective with you.

    http://www.todaywasnotabouttaysachs.com/you-are-not-terrible/
    All the best
    Patricia

  34. So true! I loved reading this – especially the “enjoy every minute” advise. That comment always makes me feel guilty, then mad for feeling guilt. I also have 3 boys – ages 6, 3 and 1. They are watching TV right now. I’m surviving on the internet for a half-hour of me time :) Thank you

  35. As the father of seven, with the youngest five at seven, two year old twins and one year old twins, I understand SO well.

    It can be so overwhelming. We set our sights at happy and healthy, not perfect.

  36. Hestie Barnard Gerber May 5, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Oh my goodness I had a great laugh, thank you!
    It’s all true. This was something I definitely needed to hear :)

  37. Lordy, how I needed this post. Thank you so much for writing it. (And also for pointing to your wife’s gorgeous post about body image post-pregnancy, which resonates tremendously.)

    Thanks for writing this.
    Rabbi Rachel Barenblat recently posted…Staying awake: Rabbi Ira Stone on MussarMy Profile

  38. Amen.
    It is EXHAUSTING to be “perfect.” Pretending like having children is perfect is also unfair. I knew I had issues when I started feeling jealous of my divorced friends because they had “weekends off.” After that I made sure to have some me time.

  39. Thanks for this. My husband is deployed, and I’m here in the States with a 16 month old and feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. Feeling like even with all that I’m doing, I’m not doing enough. Your post was just what I needed to see this morning.

    I can do this.

  40. The kindest thing you could ever do for a parent with young children is to take the kids off their hands for at least two days. Let the poor buggers sleep.

  41. LOVE your post!! I went through infertility issues for 10 years, several miscarriages and then adopted two wonderful girls through international adoption. So many tell them how lucky they are…WRONG we are the lucky ones to finally be a family together but I put so much pressure on myself to make the most of every minute…It’s nice to know others like to go to work, feed their kids fast food when they are too tired and let them sit in front of the TV once in a while!! Smiling from ear to ear that all of that is normal :) Thanks for the great post….

  42. Thank you thank you and again thank you! For giving me the knowledge that I’m not such a bad mum after all :) this is the truly the hardest job in the world! Thank you (again)

  43. Oh my goodness, this is how I feel sometimes. We have 4 boys, now 5 yr old twins, 4 yr old and almost 3 yr old. It has gotten easier…well, easier than when the youngest was born and the twins were only 2 1/2 yrs and still weren’t potty trained so we had 4 in diapers. I had post-partum depression with each pregnancy, and struggled daily, though of course loved (and love) my boys. Thanks for writing. I appreciate it!

  44. i was very interested in your “steve jobs” child and how the screaming drives you nuts. i have that kid too. spirited child? high strung child? some would suggest we put them on meds to help out with the already special ed classes he has to be in to have self control with behavior and impulsivity. i must admit lately, i have felt that meds might not be so terrible…maybe. i’ve been firmly against it. but when you feel like your banging your head against the wall trying to figure your kid out and after 7.5 years are not having any progress, it becomes tempting. very tempting. something we’ll still deliberate as time goes on i’m sure. but thank you for sharing about your brood of terrorists. ha!

    • Being an adult with ADHD and also having a daughter with ADHD, I would love to comment on this. I would not be so quick to discount the meds. If your child does have a diagnosed (properly diagnosed) condition, you should talk to your doctor about the possibility of trying your child on them shorter term. My daughter is now an adult and is off of her meds now, but the 3-4 years that we had her on them, she was able to improve her behaviour enough to learn new techniques of coping with the way her mind works, and then able to wean off of them with no lasting effects. It also gave her tons of chances to be successful at reaching goals that she was unable to reach before. I was 19 when I was finally diagnosed and being on my meds improved the way I was able to focus and learn during university. I was amazed at how my 60% average when up to an 90% average. I think so often we are scared of putting our child on medication, that we fail to think what it may be like for them trying to cope in a society and system that is not set up to cope or even support the way that their mind or perception works. My Doctor kept a close eye on both of us, while we were on medication and I was very pleased with our experience. Obviously this is your child and you need to do what you feel is best for them, so I support you in what you choose, but I hope if you do choose to try your child on medications, that you don’t see that as a parenting failure, because it is not.

    • My third child was like yours. He also had hyperactivity +++. When things didn’t go right or he felt silly or thought he was being laughed at by siblings or was tired or hungry he would do things like pick up the rubbish bin and tip it up then throw the bin at whoever was closest. My lifesaver was to read every book there was about ADHD. He was tested and found to be in the top range, they said we would all probably benefit, including his teachers, if he went on medication. We tried it for a few days but stopped. It wreaked havoc on his body. Tight, tight boundaries, strict consistency, tons of outdoor and indoor activities, weekly charts and plans at home and school and constant reassuring worked. Mostly, time off for me. I cried every day feeling like a failure when I lost my temper or forgot or was just too tired. Magically, at 15 he grew out of it. Now at 21 he is travelling the world, avoids confrontation, is polite, considerate and kind. You’re the best person for him, cause you love him and you’ll get there.

  45. Jenny Söberg May 3, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Thank you!!!
    We need to hear this more often!

  46. Loved this post and nodded my head on almost every comment…been there, done that, got the t-shirt :-) Thanks for putting a smile on my face today and giving me a small “edge” towards dealing with my two terrorists today.

  47. oh my gosh! this is so my life!! Thank you for sharing this story and reminding me that I am a normal parent!

  48. Haven’t read every single comment cause, you know, after midnight and delta sleep deficit and all, but your lovely, eloquent and well-timed post reminded me of another you might enjoy, that was equally well timed (although honestly, is there a bad time to have someone acknowledge that parenting is hard?): http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-carpe-diem/

    Thank you so much for this post.

  49. All true. I am mom to five. There was a time in my life where I had five kids age four and under…four, two, and three newborns. Yes three. They are all teenagers now. New challenges and new joys.
    Here’s my two cents…Just run your race, friend. You are not called to be perfect, just the best you can be. Goldfish crackers have merit if you look hard enough. C’mon they’re cheese, aren’t they?
    The days are sometimes LONG, I know. But the years are short.
    You are not a terrible parent. You are a REAL parent. God will honor your efforts.

    • thank you all for putting your comments. I am 53, I have children ages 13,12,9 and 3. I also have 3 step children 18,22 and 25. Our 3 year old is adopted, he is technically our grandson,but for many reasons they asked us to raise him (one reason is so they could see him grow up). I often say to my husband, “what have we done ?” it truely IS tiring both physically and emotionally, Casey is the most active 3 year old we’ve ever had and I find myself having those” I can’t do this moments” alot. I try to keep in mind that what we have done by adopting Casey is we have taken care of family, after all aren’t we supposed to do that? Family takes care of each other, our decision to take on this sweet little energetic boy at the age of 8 days old, was a quick one and prayer was involved as it usually is with my husband and I, It is scarey to think that we’ve given up our golden years to start over (when we were ” home free” with our youngest at the time in school full time,no more diapers, potty training, etc.) It makes me sad( and sometimes angry) that Dan and I will never have the time together that you look forward to once your kids are grown,especially on those hide in the pantry, eating what ever’s open moments, and wishing the arguing and screaming would stop, and wanting to take a minute to shower,or just brush my hair or have a HOT cup of coffee. I am greatful for this article and for all of your reminders that it really is ok to feel this way after all,at the end of the day I love them all with all of my heart and these moments,hours and days of crazy will pass, and( when I have the extra $) there is a bottle of wine or a cold beer waiting in the frig. for after the last one is asleep. May God continue to bless us all with a sense of humor and a loving heart. THANK YOU AGAIN

  50. Good stuff, as a mother of 7,: 2,3,5,7,16,17 and 24, some just for a time, some for as long as I’m around, and all with some big issues, I am swamped with therapists, caseworkers, well meaning parents of children without trauma and other severe issues and I often forget that while we may look absolutely crazy and certainly not like most families we r a family and we get up and do it again every morning. Each day is a new one. I thank God for that. And if I hear, ” they are just busy toddlers”, one more time. Well you know. Thanks, How on earth did the last 2000 years of parents manage without all the info we have to day?

  51. Love this. It is great advice. I personally roll my eyes interally everytime somebody tells me to enjoy it, it doesn’t last long. I know this considering my children are spread out over a few years. I have one about to turn 15, 10, and baby girl just turned 4. I fully understand that they grow up too fast. I swear I blinked one time and my oldest went from newborn to 14. I loved your blog. And I shared the link to this on my blog. http://houkreativehomestead.blogspot.com/ Tha
    Misti recently posted…Great advice for every parent to read.My Profile

  52. Happening upon your blog was serendipitous! I so needed to hear your message today. Your words resonated with me making me both laugh and cry. Thank you so very much.

  53. Thank you! As you said, we know the moments go too fast. And while I wouldn’t trade the bad moments because it would mean trading the good with them, it’s not helpful to be reminded :) My kids are blessings. They are amazing and they are not like anyone else’s kids. How could they be? They were uniquely made by our heavenly Father. This is something I know as well, and while it makes the hard moments easier, it doesn’t make them NOT hard moments. Thank you for reminding me of reality. I am not perfect and I will make mistakes with my kids. I will need a break. I do live in fear my kids will grow up and make bad choices, but I need to remember that’s why it’s my husband, myself and God caring for these kiddos.
    And… it’s okay that some days I we live for bedtime. A great reminder to look for that “foggy look” in my friends who have young kids and look out for each other.

  54. Haha, yay for Internet hiccups and rethinking my comment upon being given the impression that I had a chance to.

    • Monica –

      I don’t understand — if you are childless by choice then why are you commenting on a blog and thread that doesn’t apply to your life choice? What are you accomplishing by commenting on a thread that, by your choice, doesn’t apply to you?

      Best,
      Amy

  55. As someone who is single and childless, I can say: I’m thankful every bloody day that I am.

  56. As someone who is joyfully single and childless, I can say: this is what you signed up for. And I’m thankful every day that I didn’t.

    • Too bad your parents didn’t choose the same..

      • Very classy Emily – way to show that you are more mature than us Childfree folks! Dear God I hope you are not a parent yourself with that attitude.

    • Hell yes!! Every time I read an article like this, all I can think is “Wow, parenthood sounds SO fun (not)” and thank heavens it’s not my life!

    • What a painfully insensitive comment. No one knows exactly what they are ‘signing up for’ when they become parents. You are not any better (or worse) than anyone else for deciding not to have children. Geez.

  57. As the mother of a 3 year old and 6 week old twins…I say bless you. I cried to my husband telling him I’ve always thought I was “made for this” and now that I am in the middle of it…I feel like I can’t keep up with what I think I should be. Thank you for reminding me that people’s facebook posts aren’t always reality.
    Alysun recently posted…Happy birthday Dad.My Profile

  58. As a grandparent of a 3 year old, I am one of those people who is quilty of the “enjoy it” comments to my daughter. Thanks for the reminder of how hard parenting really is. Grand parenting is easy, it’s all the flowers and rainbows and butterflies. I will share this with my daughter, to let her know that I do indeed remember how tough it can be again and won’t say those “words” when she least needs it.

  59. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  60. Thank you! This was just what I needed to hear. My wife and I beat ourselves up so often when our 4-year old daughter acts willfully disobedient or when I lose my temper with her, etc. I needed to hear that that doesn’t make us bad parents. Thanks for the encouragement.

  61. made me laugh, made me cry, made me think. thank you! by far the best blog post about parenting i have EVER read!! keep up the good writing! :D u have made me rephrase all my prayers lol so again, thank you!

  62. made me laugh, made me cry, made me think. thank you! by far best blog post about parenting i have ever read!! keep up the good writing :) u have me rephrase all my prayers lol so again, thank you!

  63. Some off that you could almost be saying about me, and my boys are 12 and 14!!! However a disabled partner in the house, adds to the chaos. It is when you do parents evening, and you are told that you child is a delight to teach, you know you are doing something right

  64. Drífa Arnardóttir May 2, 2013 at 6:08 am

    I laughed and cried while reading because I feel exactly the same. Thank you!

  65. I’ve said countless times that the “just you wait” comments to parents of young children help no one. They aren’t empathetic to the present and they show no compassion for what the parent (and child) is going through *now.* Thanks for carrying the light.
    Kelley recently posted…Gift of the Dreamtime Reader’s CompanionMy Profile

  66. Thank you for this!

  67. I came to this post via a facebook post share by a friend. I have been where you are. My twins will be 17 in July, and I want you to know that every passing day is a passage to relief. It’s nice to say that we should cherish every moment, but it’s impossible to live that way. I say this not only as I look back on my children’s childhood, but also upon the life we had with their father who died last summer from melanoma, before his 50th birthday.

    It is *hard* to raise kids today. We are generally separated from our parents, who traditionally guided us when we had questions. We have to rely on magazines and books, and I’m here to tell you that there are largely responsible for the dysfunction in the child/parent relationship of today. They have successfully made us think we have to trust their articles rather than our own instincts, that we have to feed our children a certain way and that we have to react to them according to their edicts. I blame them for emasculating us parents, making us doubt our instincts. This is why parents are tearing out their hair while thier children are walking on the furniture in the doctor’s waiting room, or whatever misbehavior in which they’re engaging.

    My dear reader may want to disagree, but if you think about my theory you’ll see the truth of it.

    Shortly after my twins were born I abandoned all the published writing and followed my instincts. My children, now teenagers, already ask me how to raise their future children.

    I’m not saying I get everything right, and it’s been really hard dealing with my husband’s death and their junior year of high school, but by following my instincts, including those telling me I need a time-out or a rest day, has really helped.

    You came equipped with all you need to be a good parent. Trust yourself.

    • I basically tried to do what my parents did and while Mom was not nearby she was only a phone call away.

  68. Suck it up breeders. You made the choice to have your life torn apart every second.

    • Go away, troll.

    • Replying to “Me” – No one ever said that life is supposed to be always easy, always pleasurable. The best kind of life is a mix of pleasure and difficulty. The difficulties help us enjoy the pleasures.

  69. Chantal Bothma May 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Yes! Thank you! :D

  70. I am an older mom who has 6 children. My oldest is 43 and my youngest is 19. I have experienced being the youngest mom and the oldest mom. I have been a single Mom most of my life and there are times I wondered if I was going to make it through a long day of work, homework and housework. Now, there are only 2 left at home and they are older and I wonder where the time went. I love each one for who they are more than they will ever know. So hug them and enjoy every minute. Time flies by way to fast.

    • I’m not sure you read the article.

      • I read the article and I still think you need to enjoy every minute good or bad. I will continue to tell all my friends that but I also let my newly parented friends know the bad passes quickly and not all phases last that long, do the best you can. Not everyone is perfect. But time does go way too quickly and I know I cope better with my own young children’s crazy phases when I tell myself that. It comforts me and I hope it does others. Doesn’t mean it don’t sympathize or understand what they are going through or don’t acknowledge it.

  71. That was FREEDOM! I have two teen sons, one about to graduate and a 5 year old daughter who we adopted from China 3 years ago. I have never known exhaustion like I have in the last 3 years and guess what?? God is calling us back to China again. I thought I had all my Mommy issues resolved for the most part until Round #2. Doing it again after 40, is either going to make me or break me. Most days its breaking me, but I have a feeling in the end, it’ll make me and I’m so thankful He is using our quiver to do just that!

  72. When I had three small children under five, I decided that I needed to pray for Wisdom, above all else. Thus I could keep a good perspective, etc, etc. I only broke a door once (better to batter the door than a kiddo) and all three have reached adulthood well! I do feel for you who have such lovely challenges. You will be grateful eventually!

    • I so agree. I will continue to tell people to appreciated this time because the time goes so fast and all you have are regrets that you were to worried about cleaning the house or buying a fancy car (two jobs to do it) and then they are gone.

  73. I have been vilified by other parents for:
    *allowing (or forcing, depending on your point of view) my 13YO son to walk 5 blocks to school
    *allowing (or forcing, depending on your point of view) my 15YO son to take the subway and bus home from school 2x per week
    *allowing my son at all ages to look at artistic pictures of people minimally clothed while I get my hair cut
    *allowing my son to read almost any book he wants
    *for sticking up for my son and demanding change when was bullied

    According to other parents I am a terrible parent, but I have a son who talks to me, doesn’t mind spending time with me, gets good grades, has friends and interests. it gets better. You will remember the good times when they are older and miss the good parts of when they were small and cuddly. I don’t miss the screaming tantrums or food in hair. Thanks! Great post.

  74. Wow…I started reading the comments, then stopped. They were just too nasty.

    I have 3 children…two are grown and have moved away, one is still in high school. The oldest was my easiest. My second didn’t sleep through the night until she was 5 years old. My youngest was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Let me tell you, I had some very, very long days. This is my views on those years:

    The days go by very slowly, but the years fly by.

  75. “‘You should enjoy every moment now! They grow up so fast!’ I usually smile and give some sort of guffaw, but inside, I secretly want to hold them under water. Just for a minute or so. Just until they panic a little.”

    This line made me laugh out loud. That’s EXACTLY how I feel!

  76. I so needed this today!! Perfect!

  77. thanks for that. i am especially feeling like a failure today after deciding last night that we need to rehome the dog we just rescued from the high kill shelter i drive transport for. my 3 year old is not dog friendly. he’s not cat friendly either but the cats are faster. he’s actually not sister friendly either as he beats on his sisters with the swords, like he does with our new dog. as an animal rescuer this is hard to take. and i’m finding it hard to love these days with him. and i feel guilty because, like you, we went through years of fertility issues and 13 miscarriages. i should be ecstatic that i have my 3 beautiful kids (2 girls and 1 boy) but i am hating life with a 3 year old that wreaks havoc and laughs because it’s all a game to him. btw – i just pulled him off a cat that he had by the tail laughing at her “bum bum”.
    it’s hard to realize that my home is not the perfect home for this sweet dog who has already been through so much and now has to be put through going to a rescue and finding a new home. my oldest daughter is devastated and like me, probably would prefer to rehome the 3 year old right now. at least in that new home the dog will get a moment’s peace and won’t have to deal with a 3 year old who is constantly all over her. hey, maybe it’s me that should be rehomed!

    i’m just hoping these days will pass quickly and i can get back to liking my child again. i love him to pieces but i don’t like him very much right now.

    • Big, big hugs. You WILL get through this. It’s not easy. Hang in there one finger at a time, one minute at a time.

    • Please rehome those cats too. If your kid is already beating on the dog and other human beings, no telling what will happen when the kid gets faster than the cats. It’s not fair to those poor animals and they should not be beaten on and potentially suffer.

  78. This was so wonderful and true and exactly how I felt at moments when my children were little. In the future I hope I am blesses to be a grandparent, because then I will be able to enjoy my grandchildren. I will have the wisdom I did not have when my kids were young. I will enjoy playing, eating junk food and just being in the moment. Thank you for your thoughts.

  79. Pamela J. Pillsbury May 1, 2013 at 8:17 am

    This is exactly why being a grandparent is the best! I have the time and patience I never had as a mother. Thank you for saying all of the things I felt as a mother, but as the mother of a grown-up and accomplished woman, I can now relax and simply enjoy her and her family. Hang in parents, it really is worthwhile!

  80. This should read To parents of ALL children. The challenges and doubts never end

  81. Thanks you, thank you….thank you for articulating so well the struggles of parenting little ones post infertility! Oh the guilt some days of wanting to hide from the children I once prayed so hard for….and someone else gets it? Thank you!

  82. wow, your post has made me cry! I am the mum of 2 under and feel so identified with what you describe… the constant tiredness and chaos and guilt… definetely agree with you on people saying “make the most of it” leaves you feeling they don’t understading your world at all…. glad i made n effort to stay awake 5 more minutes to read this… going to bed feeling a lot less guilty! thank you!!!!

  83. Reading your blog was very healing for me. Though I do wish husbands could be convinced as easily as small children about what beauty is!! I have come to the point that my self worth must rest in Jesus and what he thinks of me, not whether or not I am “attractive”. But thank you. Reading some of the comments I felt that I would recommend a couple of books that has helped my friends and I on our journies: first of all Lysa Terkeurst’s book Made to Crave was very helpful to a friend of mine and in pregnancy I found Dear Lord I feel like a Whale by Jane Bullivant a real blessing to me.
    MJC recently posted…The Karvol incidentMy Profile

  84. Erm sorry you’re not the first person to say this, it’s all very sweet but it’s not original!! Why do all new parents think they invented the feelings that go with it. We all go through the same thoughts and say them to one an other, well done in putting it in a blog. Me and my friends called it ‘the secret’ you don’t tell expectant parents. I’m pleased you have your boys they seems fab, but guess what we all think our kids will be Steve Jobs…The thing that makes me laugh most of all about this is the thing that makes me laugh about all parents of small children, you think it began with you and ends when they’re teens, that the most relevant and important AND interesting part of parenting is with little ones… part funnily enough even us parents of teens have similar thoughts about our kids, it doesn’t just end AND our children bring us just as much pleasure, Yep that’s right you still enjoy them when they’re teens and plus some… Yeah you might also hate it when people tell you to you enjoy every minute, (everyone says it to everyone, WE ALL had it so don’t be so uptight and melodramatic ‘it doesn’t help’ poor you). But the truth of the matter is it really does pass that fast. One day I’m afraid that you will only have snippets of memories of how it really was, so much happens. So much. I love your article for how real it is but hate it for it’s sheer blind arrogant silliness.

    • Seriously? You couldn’t just read it for what it was and not put up such a horrid response?

    • Someone sent me this article today because I’m having one of those days when I can’t stop crying from utter despair and tiredness. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t new or original, it isn’t talked about often enough. I’m surrounded by parents who do the healthy food, perfect sleep, completely rational non-shouty parenting thing (I spend a lot of time with them so I know it isn’t just the image they put on Facebook) and it leaves me feeling like a shite parent most of the time. Sometimes you need a post like this to give perspective and hope. Yes I know it doesn’t get any better – I know parents of teenagers too – but we need to know we’ll learn to cope with it better, otherwise what’s the point? There are many days the only thing stopping me driving into the river is knowing I’d leave my kids without a mother and anything must be better than that. Positivity and support rather than preaching and meanness are what’s needed.
      Amanda Martin recently posted…April Finale: 2013 365 Challenge #120My Profile

      • Amanda, I had to write and let you know that parenting teens isn’t all that bad (really awful sometimes, but not always, and there are real compensations). It DOES get better. And then it gets worse again, in new ways, and then it gets better again. Parenting isn’t generally all one thing or another, and sometimes the kids are simultaneously wonderful and exasperating. It fluctuates like the tides. Some days, with my boys I have been ready to teach English overseas just to get away. Other days I am so wistful for the lovely hugs and sticky kisses they used to bestow. And most days over the last 20 years, it has been in between. Usually one kid is fine and another is in crisis. I was too tired as a young parent to really absorb all the “good” times, but it is funny how much I do remember when I see other people’s young-uns. When your kids get to be teens, people will tell you to enjoy them while they’re still at home… LOL it never ends! Even the ones who move out are still your children, even after they have their own children. One compensation for having teens is… they feed themselves! :-) When I get home tired from work, or they want to come home late from studying with friends, they can make their own meals and you no longer have to plan it all for them (and if you teach them to cook when they are little, they can make some really delicious things!). Anyway, it’s something to look forward to.

        • I had too many proposals that went can you cook “yes” will you marry me “no” to not teach my sons the basics of living which included simple repairs, cleaning, laundry, and cooking

        • And another compensation with teens – they sleep in!
          Yay!

      • Amanda,
        I’m not sure how old your kids are, but years ago, when my oldest was little, I thought I knew plenty of “perfect” parents as well…actually, you never really know what goes on behind closed doors. I now see my choices (often by default) are as valid as their “perfect ones”, and I believe my kids are just as well-adjusted and happy as theirs. Many of the families I envied were more dysfunctional than what I realized (not that I am judging! We are all just doing our best). Try not to compare yourself unfavorably to others. Nobody is ever always right, but we are all right some of the time. Peace and love be with you!
        K

    • Winifred didn’t get any sympathy, empathy or help with her child/ren…or at least that is what I deduce from such an arrogant response.

      I like this blog, so it might have been said before, I can still like it.

      FYI my child is the next Tracey Emin, the mess he creates is unreal!

    • What a pointless response to something that was only trying to help all parents who go through desperate times. I found it re- assuring to know I am not alone in feeling utterly lost at times. The real true reality of being a parent isn’t spoken out about enough. I longed to be a mum,I never wanted a ‘career’,I just wanted to be someones mum and I thought I would do it all perfectly…..How wrong I was. Thank you for speaking out!

    • Wow. What a mean-spirited response to an article that was clearly meant to amuse and comfort people. He wasn’t saying no other parent has had similar thoughts, he wasn’t implying there is no value to the teenage years and he wasn’t saying he was the ONLY one who thought his son was like Steve Jobs. He was just giving his PERSONAL parenting experience, via his blog. Chill out, Winifred.

    • Wow Winifred Stone, what a pointlessly negative comment. Were you attempting to be more creative than this “unoriginal” post by not using proper grammar or punctuation in your rambling comment? And how rich that you are offended by the “sheer blind arrogant silliness” of this post, when you left one of the most needlessly condescending comments I’ve ever seen on a blog.

      By the way, you wrote “it’s sheer blind arrogant silliness” when it should have been “its sheer blind arrogant silliness” because “it’s” is a contraction of “it” and “is,” not the possessive of “it.” No worries. You were just being arrogant and blind yourself.

      Your poor children. I hope their dad taught them how to write. And how to treat others.

      • Snoops, you had “it’s” right the first time around.

        And great article! I don’t even have kids, and I feel pretty inspired.

    • Pointless response Winifred. Next time you read or see something and feel like putting it down, just stop for a minute and ask yourself what benefit your negative response will bring.

    • Agree 100%. The author represents the annoying “new” parents these days. News flash…we’ve all been tired. You push through it. You don’t write whiny blogs stating “I’m gonna be the one to say it.” I guess by “saying it” you mean saying horrible things about your kids, like equating them to terrorists. That’s disgusting. And I can say that the sounds of my kids’ voices NEVER made me want to drink and never stop. What is wrong with you? You are trying waaay too hard to be funny, and you’re just coming off as a horrible person. Unreal.

    • Jesus, Winifred.

    • RiotLibrarian May 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      You don’t come across as a very nice person. If you only want to read blog posts of entirely original thoughts no person on earth has ever thought before, I recommend not reading blogs.

    • Well said. Everyone thinks they’re such a genius and have it all figured out just because they are good at writing what everyone already knows.

    • Dear Winifred,

      It’s not that the idea is original, it’s that it’s relatable and one that most can empathize with too. My oldest is almost 12 and my youngest is 5. I can not only relate to this blog but absolutely needed to read that someone else had this experience today. Everyone’s parenting experience is valid — new or experienced. Sad you had to reach out in such a negative way.

      Best,
      Amy

    • stephanie evans May 4, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Thank you for that response. I felt the same way. Also a tad offended at the suggestion of nearly drowning someone who is actually trying to be nice. I am thankful for the people who could have said to me “can’t you comb their hair and make them behave in church?” But instead said ” enjoy this time”. Helped me not to sweat the irrelevant stuff. And no, we haven’t forgotten what it is like to have small children. We remember. Yes it is exhausting and sticky. But it is also fun and fleeting. I have few regrets about that time precisely because I sensed that the wisdom of those who went before me was worth listening to.

    • Jeez, didn’t your parents ever teach you “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.”. Why be so negative? If you didn’t like it move on. I don’t believe he asked your opinion either.

  85. Brilliant, and beautifully written. Thank you!

    • HAHAHA! I was that person 30 years ago. With only a 4mo old crying baby at home by myself I called my mom one morning sleep deprived for days: “I am putting the baby in the oven…” my mom said “I’ll be right there.” Now, I wasn’t planning on cooking the kid but wanted a sound proof place so I could get away from the screaming!! I don’t think I planned on turning on the oven….really!! I ended up with three kids….I found I am not a baby person. I like kids 3 yrs and older. Not a bad thing but they became more fun later at least for me.

  86. ‘when Ben sneaks downstairs in the morning before the other boys do’ – does not compute. I think maybe only 1 morning in a hundred I’m downstairs alone before the boys are.

  87. Absolutely spot on, never a truer word spoken. Thank you for sharing this and thank you for brightening up my day at work. I have a four year old son & 1 year old daughter and boy can i relate :-)

  88. Thank you. thank you. thank you. I could just kiss you. I couldn’t have said it better, although I hung on your every word as if you were my own thoughts becoming clearer. I only have one child, a three-year-old daughter, and let me tell you… I have no idea how people have multiples of these things. I love my daughter dearly, I know that my husband and I are amazing parents to her, but yes. The guilt of not being ‘perfect’ is often too much. We find ourselves scrutinizing our every move instead of just living and being ourselves as individuals. Well written. Thank you.
    Amanda recently posted…Favorite Things: For MamaMy Profile

  89. If I could, I would hug you. Thank you for this post.

  90. I have tears in my eyes as I write this! I had this conversation with a dear friend earlier today…We were chatting in the produce dept of our local grocery store. I told her that I was getting discouraged with all of my friends’ perfect mommy-styles. I said I was a darn good mom who will no longer allow the “perfection” of others to dictate how I raise, feed, and educate my kids. Then, I “jokingly” said I was going to find the sweet potatoes with the most “gmo” franken-veggie I could find. Thanks for writing, so eloquently, what we all feel!

  91. Re: To the parents of small children
    Many years ago I wrote this poem:
    First he comes up to me with a sweet, gooey hug,
    Next he’s pouring his apple juice over the rug.
    At his pre-school party, I’m his very proud mother,
    Next he’s trying to strangle his cute baby brother.
    Nobody warned me motherhood was like this,
    Alternate moments of anguish and bliss.

  92. Beautifully written, a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments in there, thanks. Perspective is all and with three under tens in out house I can see the similarities. I can’t help enjoying all the chaos and constant juggling, but in those times when we sit up late wondering if we are going to completely mess them up for good by our patchwork parenting, your words will return to me. Thanks

  93. As a mother of 5 kids under 11 (with 4 being boys), I actually cried when I read this. I always feel guilty for thinking negative thoughts about being a stay-at-home mom when I am having a chaotic day. I’m glad I am not alone. AND… you are “spot on” about people telling you to “enjoy them while they are young” or “it goes by so fast”. We got it- We know- Now, please stop telling us!!!!!

  94. Well, maybe it doesn’t help you to hear that “enjoy them now” stuff, but it makes me count my blessings! I see that person saying that as someone looking back on their own time with their kids and cherishing it, and it draws me out of the moment and into the reality that I’ve been blessed! You go ahead and take things however you want to, I guess, but I hope I never hear the end of “I wish I had babies that small again” or “they grow too fast, don’t waste today”. It’s worthy reminder!
    Cindy recently posted…Whose Children Are These? (Take Two)My Profile

    • I completely agree with you Kim. My kids are all grown now and I always tell young parents to cherish every moment because I wish so much that I had spent less time moaning about being a parent and more time cherishing the blessing that it is. I was a single parent with no support at all. I babysat and cleaned houses so I could stay home with them until they were in school(and that meant i had my kids and other peoples kids too!) and then I worked full-time.And honestly it wasn’t really that hard. It wasn’t until I became friends with a family that had a severely disabled child that I realized how easy raising my son’s really was. I stopped feeling so sorry for myself and decided to stop complaining and start laughing more..I stopped taking everything so seriously and learned to enjoy my kids and love my life. I know that there is no possible way for young parents to understand how much they will miss these years with their kids..you just won’t get it until it is too late..it is one of life’s cruel lessons..but I will never stop trying to tell them.

      • RiotLibrarian May 1, 2013 at 6:22 pm

        People look back fondly on their children’s early years for the same reason they think fondly on their adolescence….they’ve forgotten most of it.

  95. Thank you. I can’t describe how wonderful was this article. I’m the father of a 7 months daughter. She’s my dream coming true, but… yes, sometimes I wish that she just sleep for a while. Thank you for this article again specially now that we are preparing for the next one.

  96. I am also a mother of a 16.5 year old and 6.5 year old twins so I do know tired lol

    • Oh and I lost my beloved partner when our twins jasmine and Lucas were only 10 months old so yea, just thought I’d put that bit of info aswell :-)
      At the end of the day I’d do all over again even knowing I’d be doing it alone! They are special and well worth the lack of sleep and sometimes frustration !

  97. I have never said it lol I always offer to take the kids for the day or ill stay and keep them out of mums hair so she can have a breather ! I am one of these people that have a gift with kids so I use this gift to help my sisters at times they need it! If I had friends with little ones I’d do it for them also :-) love to all mums out there , it isn’t a easy job all the time but it sure is a rewarding one !

  98. This is great!! As a mummy to 15month old twin boys I often count down the minutes to the fabulous 7 o’clock bed time only to feel guilty half hour later when they’re asleep and I remember how much I love them again!! Thanks for reminding me I’m not alone :-)

  99. When a friend of ours with 3 children told us that having children is not all it’s cracked up to be I was left so hurt and devastated as he knew we were in the midst of a long battle with infertility. I get what you’re saying but the hurt it could cause is also great, especially when shared on Facebook.

  100. I agree with the idea that parents cannot (and should not have to) enjoy every moment of parenting. Kids are a huge challenge that bring lots of joy, but also lots of frustration. That being said, I’m often saddened and disappointed to see/hear parents posting on facebook and complaining to their friends in conversations about their kids. It’s fine that they aggravate you sometimes…but the amount you complain about them makes it sound like you’d rather not have them! Forgive me if I’m overstepping my bounds (I’m not a parent) but I would hope that instead of conveying the idea that you can’t stand your children that you do, indeed, love them. If I’m ever a parent I hope that the impression others will have is that I love my children tremendously, not that I’m annoyed by them tremendously. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but see the huge difference in the message you send?

    • Jeff, I hear ya. Totally. However, with every complaint you have ever heard a parent make about their child, there is an invisible asterisk * right there after it. Parents talking to other parents already know what the footnote says, and it’s well- meaning friends like you that need it written out:
      *I would rip my heart out of my own chest for the well-being and happiness of my children, and the pain that it would inflict upon me would be nothing at all compared to the ache I feel daily from the tremendous, earth-shattering, deafening, uncontrollable, love that I have for them every waking and sleeping moment of my life.

    • Sorry, not being a parent disqualifies you from having an opinion. I never thought this before but now I’m a parent my high and mighty ideas have come crashing down. If you never ever become frustrated by anything the most annoying adult you know says or does then you might, just might, go through parenting without a little moan once in a while.

      • As a parent, I completely agree with Jeff. Not being a parent absolutely does not disqualify him from recognizing that the way we talk about our kids is important. It even shapes our own minds and the way we think about them. Yeah, I get frustrated, and yes, I have limits. But I am not going to hop on Facebook and talk about how my life is somehow worse because I have them.

      • Oh, bull. He’s not talking about being a parent – he’s talking about the way your comments are PERCEIVED by others. Since he has two ears and two eyes than can read and hear – he’s well qualified to comment.

    • Jeff- no kids, no idea, no opinion! Only parents can truly understand this feeling. Come back once you’ve had 5 of your own and successfully managed never to be tired or frustrated then someone may listen to you!

  101. I began by nodding my head to this post and ended it with tears in my eyes. Thank you from a bone tired mum or three under six who would right now give anything to sleep for more than two and a half hours in a row.
    allotmentmum recently posted…I named my daughter after a potatoMy Profile

  102. I have a severely disabled, non-verbal child and a typically developing toddler. There are days when I feel I’m failing miserably; thank you for reminding me that even parents with “normal” kids struggle too. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  103. I laughed and I cried as I read your blog. The same way I laughed and I cried as we raised our 4 kids, sometimes with fingers crossed and breath held just hoping for the best. Let me give you my short list.:

    1. Never bargain with them. Like making a bargain with God, you will never come out ahead.

    2. Don’t feel bad about leaving a full cart of groceries or other products in any store when one (or more) of your kids are having a meltdown. Everyone else appreciates it. And at the grocery store they may even put it back in the refrigerated section for you to pick up later. It only took my kids 3 times (once in Target and twice at the grocery store) to realize that I would not be held hostage to their tantrums. They really do learn pretty fast. ;)

    3. Don’t feel bad wishing away their summer vacation when they are FINALLY in school! I considered it a survival skill to know EXACTLY how many days were left at any given day in the summer before school started again.

    4. Don’t treat them like you’re their best friend. You aren’t. You’re their parent. Your job is to raise them to be loving, resposible, independent adults. You can be their friend THEN. I won’t say it’s impossible to change from a best friend to parent somewhere down the road, but the parents that I know that have tried that have not had much success.

    5. Enjoy every moment? Are they nuts?? Remember the good times and hold on to those like a safety line. I had a camera on top of my refrigerator at ALL TIMES with batteries fully charged (in the camera and flash) because I knew somehow (I think God whispered in my ear) that the fun, loving, amazing times can get suffocated by the Other Times. I have photographs I don’t remember taking (I think my guardian angels were working overtime as photographers) that I, even now, can think of and smile.

    6. This too, shall pass. And it doesn’t mean that the next age, phase or step will be any easier. If parenting was easy everyone could do it. Sorry? if that didn’t sound nice. Real life in parenting isn’t always nice.

    7. Never pray for patience. God will make sure you get lots of practice…because practice makes perfect.

    8. Know that you could never get paid enough for this job. And it is a job. But you could also never get paid enough to give it up. Because it is a dream like no other. And I didn’t say Nightmare. But remember, we don’t always remember all of our dreams. And sometimes we remember the bad parts of dreams longer than the good.

    9. See Number 7.

    Good luck. And I believe there is some measure of luck involved (otherwise known as Quiet God Interventions). And know that this time in your life, when your children are living at home, WILL actually be over before you know it. Its (sometimes) what allowed us to survive. And when they move out? They always knew that they had a safe haven that they could move back IN to. And every time they moved back in they got a smaller room. ;) No charge for THAT tip. LOL!

    Hang in there, and know that God and your other friends have your back.

    • Yes, Candy!! The only thing I would add is, be consistent. Make sure your kids know the answer before they even ask the question. Your list is spot on.

    • Yes, and accept that you will sit out on the cold curb with each child at least once while everyone else enjoys their meal in peace at the eatery. They will learn to be civil in public eating places, but they have to learn that they get nothing behaving that way and they do not get their meal served again at home later either. No one has starved to death skipping one meal due to their tantrum, but they will remember to think twice before throwing a fit next time you eat out. Once home, they go to their room while you eat in peace, locked in the master closet if you must because you deserve a peaceful meal once in a while.

  104. Tracy Rosenkrans April 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Feeling like I have way too much to work on as a parent right now, I went surfing. I really appreciated hearing both the humor and reality in your article. I know all these things in my heart, and I AM a good parent, but today I feel so inadequate. Every previous article I found gave me more to work on, more ways I might be messing up my kids (10 & 7 yr old girls), and more to be afraid of. Yours was calming and accepting. I’m done surfing today- I’m going to leave with a good taste in my mouth, and more courage for the rest of the day, thanks to you.

  105. So true! I’ve hidden from my kids before too, just need a break sometimes.
    Maia recently posted…Our life in review.My Profile

  106. LOVE LOVE LOVE this article. Just what I needed to hear today! Thanks for being real.

  107. Thank you so much for this post. I laughed, I agreed, I commiserated. It’s always nice to know that we are not alone!

  108. Thank you. We’ve got 4, 5 and under and you just made my husband and I roar with laughter (the holding their head under water part), tear up, and feel more normal. Every word resonated with us! I’ll be sharing this!!!!

  109. Thank. You.

  110. LOVED this post. I only have one and I feel like this. I commend all the parents out there that have more children.

  111. Yup. I’ve got 4 boys, ages 6 and under. Me gaining…a rather undisclosed large amount of weight comes from the frustrated binging once everyone’s tucked in (and somehow still alive) in their beds.

  112. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. You have NO IDEA how much I needed to read this today. I was trying to explain to my step mom (who ha never been around kids until her 60′s) what having a kid is like. I told her there are times I feel like I’m a terrorist at Guantanamo: sleep deprevation, the little monster “withholds food” by stealing EVERYTHING I eat, constant noise followed by deafening silence during nap time, etc. all of this is then followed by the most incredible moments that make you cry from pure bliss. In a nutshell, it’s horrible, insane, MOST AMAZING THING EVER, sad, funny, beautiful, sucky, then sweet sweet bedtime.

  113. as a parent of two grown children, I can feel all you have said, but now look back and can honestly say that the time up til my children started school was the best time of my adult life, they made me laugh and cry on daily basis, and there were times when i just wanted to smoosh them up to the wall and ask”does this feel good to you?” but as a parent we all go trough this and those thoughts are normal, as a teenager my daughter asked why i couldn’t be cool like her friends moms and i said because at this time I am not your friend I am your parent I am here to guide you and teach you right from wrong,and to give you someone to look up to, a friendship will develop later, as a young adult she has now become my best friend whom I laugh with daily and my son has become an incredible young man, both with morals and manners and respect for others, I think I did my job right

  114. …what are you doing inside my head?! …and how did you get there…?!

  115. Nicole Martineau April 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I liked this article very much! It is how I feel most days. My husband and I have 5 boys under the age of 8. It can be crazy and amazing but also very exhausting and I lose heart sometimes. But thank you for your encouraging words :)

  116. I have six kids (in seven years, yes, all grown by me, one at a time) who don’t go to school every day for 7hrs (because they’re homeschooled). I’m about to go insane. Just saying…

  117. I was unsympathetic to your plight until I read that you are the father of three boys under five (incredible!) … Nevertheless, my advice is take the posture that you are the king (not them) from the moment you get up to the time day ends. Rule from a position of confidence, firmness, and calmness. Keep them organized under a calm, peaceful, and loving regime of rules (a basic few) and consequences (Both positive rewards and negative sanctions). Enforce the rules consistently and indifferently. Don’t take anything personally. You are merely the scorekeeper and the enforcer of the rules. It is they who are creating their own destinies. Make sure you carve out a life for yourself (with your own time and activities) that they need to respect and do the same for them. If you follow this advice you will not even think, much less verbalize, inflicting them with water and panic. Enjoy the position of father that God has entrusted you with. He is at your side.

    • He didn’t say he wants to hold his children under water, but the people who tell him to “enjoy every minute” of parenting. Because even when maintaining masterful poise and calm, enforcing discipline is not enjoyable and will not always circumvent meltdowns and screaming.

    • wow… So that’s all I have to do? How did I miss it? It’s so simple! Oh wait… I live here on earth… I’m human… I so wish that I had the ability to completely and totally disconnect from my emotions like that… or not. I am not merely a scorekeeper! I am a mom (and he is a dad!) We are intricately and intimately linked with our children and their lives. God gave us the wonderful gift of children, but He also created us and knows our limitations and though He gives me strength through hard times, that so doesn’t mean that we (parents, GOOD parents) don’t have every right to break down sometimes… being a parent is the hardest job there is and to boil it down like that as if he just needs to approach it better and it’ll all be perfect is absolutely insulting and infuriating.

    • Nice post. You do need to have a point of reference from which you can see with some degree of objectivity. Men seem to be able to do this more easily than women. Raising kids is a challenge, a privilege and a blessing. It is, however, much easier and more enjoyable if done with ground rules, consistency, love and forgiveness.

    • LOL! I’m guessing either your children are all grown, or you don’t have any, because this comment is entirely to ‘textbook’. Of course we all know that rules need to be enforced and followed through with. That’s why most of us want to bang our heads against the wall!!! Because children are gonna fight them. I (as with all parents of small children I know) love our children with a fierceness I put into words, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish for an escape route. And in those times I pray…hard! It’s ok to want to run away, but what makes us great parents is that we wake up every morning and go to bed every night knowing that there’s gonna be some sort of a battle to face in the very near future, and we just put our heads down and deal. Kids are hard work…don’t diminish that fact or you’ll get eaten alive.

  118. A new subscriber. Thanks for keeping it real. Very helpful and humorous – you can’t be a parent without a sense of humor.

  119. Amazingly well said! Loved the under water bit! Made me laugh out loud because it is so close to the truth. Thank you for reminding us that we are not alone and that it is okay to be human. Mostly thank you for you honesty!

  120. You Rock!

  121. Good parenting is hard work! JUST DO IT……

  122. Right on, man!
    Jason (father of 3)

  123. Okay – where’s the like button?

    Thanks Steve. Your story tells one I know. Thanks too for the reminder – while now I know how fast they grow, I hadn’t realised how it might make it harder to think that, for others, and me.

    Thanks for the permission to be, just as I am.

  124. Wow, did I need to read this today! It’s even harder to be a great parent when the kids are not yours. A few years ago, my sister and her kids moved in with me, and I became like the second parent. Then, last year, I lost my job and became a full-time, stay-at-home Auntie. So now I am raising 11-year-old and 4-year-old girls, and I lock myself in the bathroom so that I can have five minutes of peace. Thanks for the reminder that it’s ok that I wish I was back at work.

  125. P.S. I say to my husband all of the time. “How is it that our parents didn’t kill us!?!” LOL Oh, and I have apologized to my mother for everything I could’ve, would’ve should’ve, and did when I was younger! LOL

  126. Thanks for the great post! Kids 5.5, 8, 8 & 8.5. I so laughed on the perfect parent and the wine part because I never drank before! LOL I saw an amazing billboard just yesterday – “The perfect parent is not always perfect.” LOVED IT! Thanks again!

  127. I hear you; I feel the clenching as you hear, again, the same inane, impossible demand to enjoy. Please look at it from another perspective. The other person is not thinking of you; they look at you and your kids wistfully, regretfully, wishing they could go back and do it better. “If I had another chance, I’d enjoy it more” “I’d spend more time, do more silly stuff, be more relaxed”. If I’d been a better parent – well, I can’t time travel to be a better parent. Maybe I can encourage a young parent to be happier, less frantic. If only I could let them know how important it is to savour this…

  128. I have never understood why people are offended or bothered when someone says “it goes by so fast.” Honestly, when someone says it to me I feel refocused. Many days I just can’t wait for the day to end so I can have some peace. But then the days are gone. I try to find good moments – not to love them all, but to focus on and try to create some good moments every day.

  129. I’m a divorced mother of a 3 and 4 yro. I struggled with infertility for 6 years of my 11 year marriage.
    Thank you for writing this. And yes, I cried when I read it. Everything you wrote is so spot on. Thank you.

  130. Misty Dawn Harris April 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    VERY encouraging, LOL! Thank you SO much! x

  131. I love this so much! Let’s be more supportive of each other instead of saying “you should be doing blankety blank like So and So from Perfectville.” I wrote a post along the same lines recently, although it was mostly aimed at mothers, I should have really just made it about parents, because as moms and dads, we’re in this together! http://lesspinningmoredoing.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/it-takes-a-village/

  132. Dizzying highs! Crushing lows!

  133. Thank for writing this!!! I would leave a longer comment – but, you know, I have homework and snack to attend to before it’s too late and they won’t eat dinner!! :)

  134. Thank you! I had 4 under 5, the oldest is now still only 6. I know all this, I really do, but it’s so good to be told by someone else. And I do feel guilty that they will grow up so fast and I should enjoy them more while I can, but really I can’t. I don’t have the time, energy or patience. My children have given me more love, joy and education than anything ever before; but they have also given me more anger, hatred,sadness and guilt than anything. But that’s ok.

  135. Charlie Mitchell April 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Thank you – I read it with tears in my eyes. Beautiful.

  136. Thank you. Mine are grown, now, but having been the mom of four preschoolers at once..well your words are very encouraging!
    Again, thank you!

  137. The most important job we will ever have is being a mom!Your kids need you more than your boss.It’s time to “own your own life again!” It’s time you made more working at home while enjoying more time for your family, more control over your life, more flexibility and more financial freedom! We can show you how! WhatMattersToMomsdotcom

    • Thank goodness for this author’s perspective. I would politely beg to differ with the post above making the statement that being a parent is “the most important job you can have.” IMHO, i believe that we are not called to be “parents,” but are rather, simply, being parents while we fulfill our calling to be about the business of God’s work, sharing His love and truth (whether we are parents or not). Too many people who don’t have children are working (beyond my ability) to further God’s kingdom abroad, in prisons, in remote archaic lands for me to guilt myself into thinking my work is more important and I must ‘do’ better. I am so relieved that this pastor (author) shared his “get over the guilt” perspective.

    • wow…really???? Lol

  138. I dont believe parents with older children say it to make you feel bad. The fact is when you are in the middle of it you dont realize how quickly it goes by until one day they suddenly arent little anymore and you find yourself missing that. My beautiful 16 year old daughter was killed in august on her way home from school. She was hit by an impaired driver. One minute she was fine, the next she was gone. I also have a 2 year old. By the time the 2 year old got here, I had so much more patience, and things are different when you get a little older. So, from a mom who lost her child, I promise you that it does go by too fast, and in one of those pull your hair out moments, stop and take a minute to be grateful you have these babies. I have been there too, and it all makes memories, but children really are a blessing. And I would do anything in the world to have my daughter back, even to argue with her again.

    • I have a 15 year old daughter. Reading your comment was heart breaking. I’m so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what you’ve been through.
      *love to you*

  139. My wife and I both work from home, and we’ve adopted five little ones from the foster care system who are now 6,5,4,2, and ten months. The only advice I can offer is follow routines whenever possible, and don’t kick yourself when you get it wrong.
    LOL

  140. From the perspective of a mother with teens…I see you moms with your little ones and I have not forgotten how stressful those days were. I didn’t have a good support system around me, I was tired and stressed a good chunk of the time. I cried a lot. Many days were a blur and I confess that I did not go to the dentist for 11 years because I really felt I couldn’t ask anyone to watch my kids for that hour especially since I didn’t live in town. I felt even more isolated because of that I think. Now that my kids are teenagers, I look back at home videos and pictures and see those cute little people and I miss them. (I am so thankful I have those videos and pictures to remind me that there were many good and cherished moments mixed in there). Your perspective changes as you get further down the parenting-road. You still remember the stress, but you now know it doesn’t last forever. Those little faces and cute little voices are now just a memory and I don’t know if I could live those days any better if I could go back in time in the same circumstances. I think when you hear mom’s say “enjoy every minute” it comes from a place of wishing we could do that stage better now that we have some perspective. Funny thing about perspective, you only gain it after you’ve been through it. Now that I have a daughter on the brink of leaving home, I am soaking in every moment more than ever before. The problem is, it’s at the time when I should be learning to let go as she is doing her best to become independent and doesn’t want me staring at her beautiful face. I don’t see that face as much anymore as she is off on her own, making her own way in life. She’s not hanging on me constantly wondering where I am every second of the day. Now it’s me, wondering where she is. I’m hoping she knows how much I love her even though I’ve shifted from the person being smothered in hugs and kisses to the annoying person perceived as doing the smothering. Where did the time go? Well, it was spent living life the best we could. Pouring every ounce of energy we had into these little lives that are now getting ready to fly out on their own. They are ready because we did our job. Not perfectly, but the love outweighs the mistakes…good thing there is lots of love! I am still in the thick of parenting as the challenges of teens are a whole new ball game. It is helpful though, to know how quickly the time does go now, and that I just have to live day by day, doing the best I can, as God carries and guides me through it. So, do I want to be the mother of toddlers again….no! Do I miss those little people….yes! Each stage has it stresses and joys. Depending on your personality, you will enjoy certain stages more than others. I am loving the stage of life I am in with my kids. I can imagine, though, how much fun it is to be a grandparent. You get a chance again to love your own flesh and blood in it’s most squeezable stage. You get to do it this time in shorter intervals, well rested and with a clean house. So instead of “enjoy every moment” how about “take a moment to enjoy it”. (it can be when they are sleeping ;)

    • Great advice and beautifully written!

    • Well said! My thoughts exactly!

    • thank you I needed that this morning after a tough night with my 7 year old…

    • Sherry Oberlaender April 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Ditto! I can’t say more than that becuase I’ve just put my two boys, ages 6 & 7, to bed and I have a very large glass of wine in one hand and a rum and coke in the other. I’m typing this with my nose!

    • I couldn’t have said it better. I constantly regret that I didn’t savor the moments when they were younger. I have memories of feeling stressed and overwhelmed. And then I go sorting through my old photos and I long for those days again so I can cherish the time in ways I never did. But you’re right – I did the best under the circumstances. And now they’re teenagers and they’re amazing and I am so proud of them. So I suppose that even though I didn’t hug and squeeze them tight every single moment, I did ok, and I did the best I can. I too am trying to savor each moment before my oldest leaves the nest in two years. And it does seem an ironic twist of nature that when I’m finally wiser and able to see how precious they are, they are finally ready to leave the home.

    • WOW! Beautifully written, with true insight and experience. Thank you.

    • Wow – now Teresa’s post, that’s the one that made me cry. Thanks for sharing.

  141. That post just made my day! I was literally laughing out loud when I read the part “You are not a terrible parent if…” ! So good to hear someone with a rational view on parenting. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  142. Thank you, I needed that.

  143. Everything you say is SO true. I literally feel better reading that :-) I have 2 boys ages 5 and 3 and it’s absolute madness!

  144. I’m in tears! I know just what you mean. My three are 13,9 and 6 now and I promise you the “hiding in the cupboard” moments lessen as they get older.

    But as well as the well meaning “enjoy them whilst they are little” comments, do you get “you’ve got your hands full!” remarks too? I used to hate the implication that I was outnumbered and so the children were going to be badly behaved or unruly… I trained myself to reply by smiling madly and saying “yes, full of fun! – they’re great!”. And they were. And are. Doesn’t mean they don’t drive me mad sometimes too though! ;) x

  145. goodness, you just hit the nail on the head. thanks, i needed to uncork the tears today.:)

  146. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!! I have three children, 10, 8 and almost 3. My first two were perfect I tell you. LOL It`s just so nice to hear that there are other parents out there that suffer like I do. I am so sharing this with everyone and please, stop saying they grow up so fast. Some days I really wish they would!!! :)

    • From the perspective of a mother with teens…I see you moms with your little ones and I have not forgotten how stressful those days were. I didn’t have a good support system around me, I was tired and stressed a good chunk of the time. I cried a lot. Many days were a blur and I confess that I did not go to the dentist for 11 years because I really felt I couldn’t ask anyone to watch my kids for that hour especially since I didn’t live in town. I felt even more isolated because of that I think. Now that my kids are teenagers, I look back at home videos and pictures and see those cute little people and I miss them. (I am so thankful I have those videos and pictures to remind me that there were many good and cherished moments mixed in there). Your perspective changes as you get further down the parenting-road. You still remember the stress, but you now know it doesn’t last forever. Those little faces and cute little voices are now just a memory and I don’t know if I could live those days any better if I could go back in time in the same circumstances. I think when you hear mom’s say “enjoy every minute” it comes from a place of wishing we could do that stage better now that we have some perspective. Funny thing about perspective, you only gain it after you’ve been through it. Now that I have a daughter on the brink of leaving home, I am soaking in every moment more than ever before. The problem is, it’s at the time when I should be learning to let go as she is doing her best to become independent and doesn’t want me staring at her beautiful face. I don’t see that face as much anymore as she is off on her own, making her own way in life. She’s not hanging on me constantly wondering where I am every second of the day. Now it’s me, wondering where she is. I’m hoping she knows how much I love her even though I’ve shifted from the person being smothered in hugs and kisses to the annoying person perceived as doing the smothering. Where did the time go? Well, it was spent living life the best we could. Pouring every ounce of energy we had into these little lives that are now getting ready to fly out on their own. They are ready because we did our job. Not perfectly, but the love outweighs the mistakes…good thing there is lots of love! I am still in the thick of parenting as the challenges of teens are a whole new ball game. It is helpful though, to know how quickly the time does go now, and that I just have to live day by day, doing the best I can, as God carries and guides me through it. So, do I want to be the mother of toddlers again….no! Do I miss those little people….yes! Each stage has it stresses and joys. Depending on your personality, you will enjoy certain stages more than others. I am loving the stage of life I am in with my kids. I can imagine, though, how much fun it is to be a grandparent. You get a chance again to love your own flesh and blood in it’s most squeezable stage. You get to do it this time in shorter intervals, well rested and with a clean house. So instead of “enjoy every moment” how about “take a moment to enjoy it”. (it can be when they are sleeping ;)

  147. As a mom of three little ones under 7, I feel this blog post hit everything I feel and I know a lot of parents feel but wont say.

    I co-run a fan page called Supportive Mamas. In it we try and help moms, dads and so on that being a parent isn’t easy and no your not doing it wrong because someone else does things “better”.

    Thank you for posting this, I’ve shared it with my fans and I hope they too enjoy it as much as I have.

  148. Heather Delveaux April 23, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    You took the thoughts and words right out of my mouth on some things. Beautifully written on both blogs- parenting and infertility. I am also a parent of 3 boys under the age of 5 and also had infertility issues. Inspiring and refreshing. Great work!

    • It’s good to feel like we’re not alone! I think those of us who have 3 boys under the age of five need to give each other some sort of secret awards. They’re so awesome, but require so much energy!

  149. Dude… I can totally empathize with life. We’ve got 4 kids aged 4 and under and I’m the one who is blessed [or cursed, I guess, depending on the perspective] to get to telecommute from home. I think it’s just nice to know there are other parents out there who have figured out the same things you have in life because it validates your work as a parent. My phrase I get a lot is “Hey – you’ve got your hands full.” It used to irritate me, but now I just say “Yes I do, but in a good way.” Thanks for sharing this – it has obviously touched a lot of people. God bless. -G

  150. I was a stay at home mom and my husband worked 2 jobs to keep us afloat. The only problem is that he was never home. Our 2 young children and I spent many hours together in our small home.
    Some days the kids would be immersed in pretend play but many days they were whining, fighting and just making me a crazy woman. There were days when I thought I would crack if I didn’t get help. Everybody knows how to change your parenting and have perfect children. There is no such thing as a perfect child.
    And then they become teens. Dealing with the hormones wasn’t bad enough, the learning curve was more painful for us (parents). We had to have collision work on the cars after they became drivers. This was also the very beginning if the cell phone era and they were much smarter than we were about everything so we needn’t worry when they are out at night. Think about things you did when you were a teen!
    This world is very scary and we all know anything can happen. More kids are facing bullies, emotional and mental health issues and so much stress. These are the times you wish they were young again. At least you had control and could keep them safe. There is so much pressure on kids now that the day mat come when one of your precious children decides things are too overwhelming and removes himself from our world. In an instant you yearn for those chaotic days when they were toddlers when you could keep them safe. Gone are the hugs, kisses andI love you’s.
    As hard as parenting is remember that you’re making memories. Peanut butter on the sofa and constant noise turn into cherished memories. Believe me one day you will laugh at these things although you may not see it now.
    Teach your children respect, good morals and how to make good decisions. Hopefully that will get them through life. But you should know that even the best parents may find themselves yearning to have just one more day to love them.

    • Bless your heart my dear!

    • RiotLibrarian May 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      My children are five and seven. Things are better now. When they were 1 and 3 I was massively depressed, desperate and even began to cut myself like a teenager. I am never going to cherish those memories.

      The past looks better to us because we only think about the good parts and not the bad. And we can’t do that with the present.

  151. Nice post…. and… Is the ‘Steve Jobs’ kid a Virgo? LOL

  152. So well said! I have 2 kids, 4 and 6, and I have looked upon parents of one child with envy, thinking, “you have it soooo easy. One child, very smart”! But of course, I know that one, six or any amount of children is a challenge. That shock when you bring the second one into the world and start to get situated at home is, well, truly eye opening. Anyway, thanks for this amazingly well written article. Us parents need these reminders sometimes.

  153. My children are grown and I’m now 54. It is only in this past few years that I have grandchildren and know that my children know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and they have it much easier than I ever did, do I allow myself to work on ridding myself from the burden of guilt that plagued me for so many years. As a divorced parent with the bio father no where in sight, never mind there to help, it wasn’t easy. Nothing was easy, but we made it and we even managed to make some good memories along the way. I can sit back and watch my exhausted children and know that they too won’t be perfect and it’s ok. We were never meant to be

  154. Thank you. Three children under six. All fostered and then adopted. Too tired to write, but just wanted to thank you. I read this post every couple of days just to encourage myself. From parents everywhere…thank you.

  155. As the parent of teenager AND toddlers (especially my toddlers!) with several children in between, I can relate to what you are saying about being tired.

    I can also relate to how quickly time passes and how important it is to treasure the moments. Because, even the bad ones are precious eventually. The late nights with kids crying (or puking), the endless inconveniences and irritations (especially when they’re teenagers?!), the frustrations that make you want to pull your hair out and those times when you lose it, when you come face to face with the reality that you really can’t be a perfect parent…they are all bonding experiences; you are making memories that will be more and more precious over time.

    And, when older parents say those words, they aren’t saying it to put a guilt trip on you or to add a burden to your already overwhelming list of things to do. It is motivated by the realization that as exhausting and unpleasant the early years of parenting can be, they really are very precious. And, just because you have a laughing, giggling, trouble-causing, energy-draining child now doesn’t mean you will always have the privilege of watching that little blessing grow up. Not all stories have happy endings.

    Every moment is so precious; tears, tantrums, and unfinished tasks included. No, it isn’t always fun. No, you don’t always like it. No, you don’t always “do” it right; sometimes you lose it! But those facts do nothing to diminish the truth that days are long and years are short and if you don’t make a purposeful effort to really treasure each moment, you will miss far too many.
    Marchauna Rodgers recently posted…Oh Grave, Where is Thy Sting?My Profile

    • I agree completely. I posted a comment from the perspective of a mother with teenagers. Parents of toddlers will see it someday too just like we do. :)

  156. Great article, thank you for writing what so many think, and for doing it in a very humorous way.

  157. Amen, brother. The “they grow up so fast” comments do nothing but make me pannic a little. When my boy was born, everybody bombarded me with that little gem of a saying, and I felt like ever moment that I was not admiring him was a moment wasted. I finally had a mini breakdown and told everybody to STOP saying that to me. Now, I really can enjoy the good moments and am ok with not enjoying the screaming tantrums. Thanks for a great article.

  158. I have the same thoughts as the other Marlene who commented but I’ll have to leave the word “wonderful” out of the conversation for me. No offense. This piece is so touching. Any one of us who hasn’t experienced one or all of these thoughts, may have been on Prozac thru the child rearing years and maybe that doesn’t work for some. Again, no offense. You know you’ve reached the edge of sanity when you eat a sandwich while hidden alongside the refrigerator, out of sight of the living room where 2 of your 4 boys are playing, just to be left alone w/o having to share thato one or fix another just right then!!!! You can make it, I did.

  159. Sounds like some advice that I could have used when I was raising my twins girls who are now 29. Well meaning people put us through all kinds of guilt trips .

  160. I’m a little late to the party (as usual), but thanks for posting this. Honest and funny and heartfelt and all the things everyone’s already said. But I wanted to personally comment to let you know that I shared this on my two Facebook pages, after seeing the link on my friend’s FB page, and I got a tremendous response. People can relate to this. People need to hear this. People are emotional when they see that someone else feels the same way they do and that it doesn’t disqualify them from being a “good parent.” For some reason, we need permission to be imperfect. And we need the reminder that it’s okay for others to be imperfect, and our imperfections should make us more forgiving. So thank you!

  161. Thanks! This was honest and real. Which is what parenting should be. We should stop telling everyone that our marriage is great, our kids are amazing and perfect, and life is wonderful all the time. It is nice to hear someone be real. I think we fear that if we are real about this, we might have to admit that we have problems in our life and then we wouldn’t look so put together.

    Great post.

  162. For the overly fearful parent of young adults:

    Is your daughter swinging from a pole somewhere?
    Is your son in prison right now?

    If the answer to both of these questions is a resounding “NO!” Then you did ok as a parent. Give yourself a break.

    • Not always true on this, sad to say! I’m a wonderful person with scruples and morals. Sometimes, people are just evil or make very very poor choices. You cannot judge parents by whether their kids are in jail! Most parents don’t teach or condone them to rape, do drugs, kill etc. Look at the Boston Bombings. Two suspects in their twenties… Parents and siblings could be the sweetest people on earth who taught their children how to be responsible growing up, have morals, believe in themselves, share god etc…

  163. Thank you for this reminder. I know it in my head, but it makes my heart feel better to hear it from someone else too. I need that.

    My husband and I also endured years of infertility, and have now found ourselves with four boys: a 5 year old, twin 3 year olds, and an 11 month old. Some days — many days — are tough. I am grateful every day to have them, but like you said, I am a person and I have limits.

    Thanks again. <3

  164. I don’t know where to start. As a mother of 4 grown kids & grandmother of 3, I have a different perspective than those of you with young families. When people tell you to enjoy your children while they are young, please accept that admonition in the spirit it is given. Give some grace! I have said that to young parents many times myself, although I will hesitate in the future!! By no means does saying that imply that I did everything perfectly, nor did I literally enjoy every second of raising my 4 children, who were born in a span of 6 years. Yes, it was difficult, and yes, I would have at times enjoyed some “me” time. What you cannot possibly know is what lies in the future in regard to child rearing. At this point in time, you are physically exhausted. What is yet to come will quite likely involve not only physical exhaustion, but emotional, mental & even spiritual exhaustion. The issues you face are of such greater consequence as your children grow older, and the pain of watching your teens (or older) suffer consequences of their poor choices can be unimaginable to you at the stage you are in now. So please, don’t judge people like me for looking admiringly ( & even longingly) at your precious young family & telling you to enjoy it. It isn’t meant to condemn you for having bad days or imperfect responses at all. It stems from precious memories of years gone by; gone by way too fast!

    • Living the dream April 16, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      VJLindsey, I think your comment is spot on. The only addendum I think it needs is that everyone expects teenagers to be a giant hassle. That they will not only make huge mistakes, massively poor decisions, harm themselves – seemingly through intention, and generally cause you to approach clinical insanity. All the while, they may not much care for your presence and let you know this on a regular basis as they push for more independence. It is not that those of us like myself with a 5 and 3 year old believe that we will have it easier later, in fact, I think the opposite, especially considering I am still in a phase that my kids believe I am still somewhat awesome. The only difference is most people know that the teenage years are difficult and believe that the young years are always great. Perhaps I will think the same way when both I and my kids are older. Right now, admittedly, on occasion, the best part of my day is the “ahh” moment I get between when the kids go to bed, the list of things that need to be accomplished afterward is as complete as it will be for the day, and I get a few minutes to watch mindless television. Steve, your story made me feel human for having such occasions. The holding underwater just to the point of panic comment is hilarious. Thanks!

  165. Thank you. :-) With a 3 and 4 year old (which is not as bad as the 2 and 3 year old were, I admit!) I appreciate this article more than you know. I am so tired of people telling me to enjoy them now — I DO — but can I please also enjoy a moment in the bathroom without demands for my cell phone games? HAHA! Thanks!!!
    Liz recently posted…Before & After (My Biggest Job Yet)My Profile

  166. For the record….not just the young children can cause all this….those preteens (and I’m sure teens although I’m not there yet) can be quite the challenge. If I hear one more time, “Do I have to do this?” or “Why do I have to do this?”……

  167. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I find it exhausting being the mother of a toddler & actually can’t imagine having more children to look after as he can be so demanding! This has made me realise I’m not alone & as long as I’m trying my best, I’m doing all I can. My mummy guilt rears its ugly head on regular occasions (see blog below) but I’m trying to hold that under water when necessary!
    Great post.
    Mrs Teapot recently posted…Reasons to be guilty: 1, 2…..bloody millions!My Profile

    • My two kids are teens now. I remember not too long ago when they were toddlers and doing what little kids are good at—-driving their parents crazy sometimes. What I found very important is to establish rules early and be tough. Whenever they fell (of course not really hurting) and cried looking pitiful and expecting help to get up. instead of running to their rescue, I would look at them sternly and say: “pick yourself up!” You will be amazed, after you do this a couple of times, they would learn not to cry for help all too quickly.

  168. I enjoyed your piece. I am a grandmother now of 3 and 1 more on the way but I was a mother who left a 6 figure salary and a job I loved to raise my 3 children who are adopted. I became a mother of 3 within 5 months. Our home went from no children to 3, 2 girls & 1 boy. My son is the oldest and my girls were 15 months apart I had 3 children under the age of 3. It did get a little harry at times and one of my children had food alergies & 2 were asthmatic. You just have to get a little creative at times and think like a child what things that they would like. We had been married 10 years before these children came and I have never regretted leaving my job to stay home and raise my children. I am over whelmed now when my children are all home at the same time and talk about all the things we did when they were younger. It’s not about the money you spend but the time you take with your kids & memories you make and traditions you start and watch your children carry on with their children. I am so proud of my daughter when I watch her with her child do the same things I did with her my other two children. The laundry, housework and other chores will always be there waiting but my children were only little once and I did not want to miss out on anything. I took alot of pictures & videos and we have sat for hours as a family then and now remembering. I think alot of young parents today read too many of the parenting books – children do not come with instructions or guides they need to take a deep breath and breathe and remember how their parents raised them.

  169. Hey, you wrote the article I wanted to write! Nice job!!!

  170. OMG!!! I feel so validated after reading this. Not only do I have the challenge of my own girls ages 2 and 5, but add in my nephew at 4.5 that I keep everyday, and I feel like a raving lunatic. I don’t want the kids growing up remembering me as the “mean Mommy” that fusses and yells all of the time. There are other women who do this with such apparent ease. I’m reasonably intelligent and certainly well-educated. I should be able to do this. Ha! It’s harder than it looks and I’m so glad to know that I am not alone in how I feel most days. I feed them nutritious food, allow them to watch a minimum of TV, play with them outside, take them on outings, and teach them good manners. I’m pretty good up until about 4pm, then I become a rabid beast, a screaming banshee, the I-can’t-take-another-minute-of-you-kids-without-losing-my-ever-loving-mind person that wants to curl up in the fetal position and cry until they all go away to college. Logically I know it will get better; but emotionally I want to slap that thought straight out of my own head. My husband commented to me the other night that I looked beat down, that I just didn’t seem like the happy full of life woman that he married anymore. The truth is, I’m not. I have evolved into something I never would have imagined. It has taken me a month to read this blog that someone shared with me. As I finished it (while the girls were eating breakfast at the table behind me), my five year old climbed into my lap for some snuggle time. I asked her if she had any idea how much I loved her. She replied, “Not more that I love you, Mommy!” It made all of the insanity worthwhile and erased a week’s worth of anxiety that I’m somehow warping my children. They know they are loved and are happy little cherubs. I can start a new week revived in the knowledge that I haven’t damaged their little psyches and they haven’t broken me.

  171. Like so many have already said, THANK YOU for this post, it was just what I needed. Six months ago I left a promising career and six-figure income to be a stay at home mom – to do both the meaningful and the mundane of raising kids. Life of a working mom was crazy. My husband and I realized it wasn’t sustainable (for us, I know that so many families manage it) to both maintain careers while keeping up with ‘life’ and raising our daughters. The decision was made – I loved my job, but I loved my girls more.

    It’s been a transition to say the least. Many days I question if I made the right decision. In my heart, I know it was – my kids are happier, my husband is happier, even our dog is happier. I THINK I’m a good mom — I really want to be. I work hard to ensure my girls are happy, well-mannered, disciplined (as much toddlers can be), exposed to new situations and healthful meals, etc.

    But here’s the deal… I miss my job. I feel resentful, unfulfilled and even bored at times. So, I wonder if I truly can be a “good” mom when a part of me longs to go back to work. The days are anything but “fast” when you’re in the throws of toddler-hood. (My girls are 1 and 3, just 19 months apart. My oldest is an off-the-chart ‘strong-willed’ child; my youngest carries lengthy list of food allergies that requires made from scratch cooking. I’m not complaining and know that every family has their own issues; those are just the issues I’ve been dealt, and they can make some days feel challenging.)

    At any rate, thanks for keeping it real reminding me that parenthood isn’t suppose to feel wonderful all the time. It’s hard, it’s messy, it’s long… but it’s wonderful, too.

    • Changing “jobs” is always challenging. I missed my job for so long (4 years!) until I reprogrammed my thinking that this was my new job, for now. It’s tough at times, but so was my “other” job. This year I was looking for a part time paid something or another and my boys fell apart, and even the husband looked worried. I had forgotten that I was literally the most important person in the lives of the 3 people I love the most. That will get me through the next tough times. Hang in there everyone.

  172. Just the kind of humor and encouragement I needed today. After scooping poop out of the armpits of a one month old for the 4th time in the last 12 hrs, then finding my 19 month old had helped himself to the chocolate in my baking drawer while I was cleaning up that diaper blow out, all while my hubby was(loudly) hammering out a wall upstairs as we renovate, I needed a good laugh! So well said!

    • Armpits? Wow! That is awesome. And not awesome. But mostly awesome!

    • Holy wow!! Awesome isn’t *quite* the word I’d use but… wow.

      And I remember… When my nephew was born, I lived with him and his mom to help out while she was in school… He did that one night. We got up to him standing happily in his crib, singing and laughing… It looked like someone had let off one of Harry Potter’s dung bombs.

      We literally had to take the crib apart to clean it. Dis.gus.ting.

      But now he’s 23 and cleaning up dung-bombs from his own kids… Amazing, that they survive it, and so do we. And one day you look back and laugh… maybe. lol

      Good luck, Mom. You’re doing good.
      Mary recently posted…Reflections on the Bones: A sort-of ReviewMy Profile

  173. Steve, thanks for writing this. Not enough people admit to these feelings. When my husband and I were new parents, the one piece of advice we would give our friends who were expecting was that there would come a time when they would be at their wits end and shaking a baby no long seemed like such an unthinkable thing. We would assure them in advance that eveyone has these moments but no one admits to them. When that time came, they needed to just put the baby in their crib and walk away for a while. Let them cry, it would be ok. If they had a partner, this was the point where they needed to tag out of the ring and let them take over for a bit. Now that our boys are 7 and 5, we routinely ignore them and just pour a glass of wine.

  174. I think I need to read this post once a week every week until my son graduates college. THANK YOU!!!
    Lisa Hamel recently posted…Creative Gluten-Free Tuna SaladMy Profile

  175. I think I need to read this post at least once a week every week until my son graduates college. THANK YOU!!!
    Lisa Hamel recently posted…Creative Gluten-Free Tuna SaladMy Profile

  176. Wow, this all rings true. We all have that inner voice screaming inside while we parent through the tough moments yet we feel guilty as hell listening to that voice! As a parent of teenagers and one college-aged kid, they are more grown-up than your kids but now I deal with other angst! In my mind I think to myself (I can’t WAIT until they are grown up!) In reality though, I love them to bits, they are giving me and my husband grey hair and teenagers have a way of mentally beating your brain where your self esteem is constantly taking a beating. We are just not that cool anymore. But watching our college aged daughter take flight with her own set of wings, after enduring those years, is such a joy. Parenting is a roller coaster, you have moments of excitement and moments of dread. But it made me a better person.

  177. So well said! One thing I have found about parenthood is that we look back at those times when the kids with much more fondness than we feel while we’re actually IN those moments. I remember those eyes-hurting-from-exhaustion times, and it was at that time that I understood why sleep deprivation was used as a form of torture. I remember feeling jealous of people who got to go home and go to bed, knowing they could sleep all night.

    Thanks for being real – you’re in survival mode much of the time – especially with three kids under five. You will make it, and your kids will too. Someday you will sleep again. I promise.

  178. I have been having a morning where I would like to tie my two small boys up. This made my morning and helped me breathe. Thank you for the great blog!!!!

  179. Boy, did reading this piece bring me back! My kids are 7 & 9 now, but I still shiver at the memory of their younger years! Both my kids were born in a tiny town where we were living solely because of my husband’s job. We had no family within 1800 miles and no friends. Isolation, coupled with a firstborn that cried almost nonstop for the first 3 years of his life and the exhaustion of raising a toddler & baby, just about drove me to madness. I used to fantasize about sleep. I was certain I was doing something wrong, otherwise it just wouldn’t be so hard. But it just IS. And no one can prepare you for those endless, demoralizing days. Wish I had your blog to read back then…I wouldn’t have felt so alone. A final thought: I remember wanting to respond to the so well-intentioned but not at all helpful, “Enjoy them; they grow up so fast!” with the following reply: “Promise?”

  180. Thank you for the encouragement! I was in tears after reading this as you said exactly what I’ve been feeling lately. It’s great to know I’m not alone!

  181. As a Dad to twin 5 year old girls, I needed to read this, and just read it out loud to my wife. Thanks for reminding us that we’re not failing in this wacky adventure called parenthood, and thanks for the belly laugh!!

  182. I LOLed at most of the “You’re not a bad parent if” statements because of the parallels!

  183. I said sorry to my kiddo for yelling today ~ twice…thank you for the affirmation that we are doing okay. More please [big smile].

    • Yay. Yay for apologies and for not beating ourselves up.

      • I agree- we put too much pressure on ourselves to have perfect children and to be perfect parents.
        But are you ignoring WHO these people are that say, “Enjoy every moment?” Are they the young parents, or the people who kids are grown and gone? Is this a statement said by someone who has never been there, or someone who has years of experience?
        You’re not a bad parent for yelling at your kids- sometimes, or wanting to be at work- sometimes. But if you constantly want to be away, want them to be asleep, and consider injuring them because you are so frustrated….the problem is with you.
        Our society hates children. Look at the news- look at what a terrible parent really is, and forgive yourself your wekanesses….but grow from them. Reach out to the hurting, but don’t count down the days until your kids move out. Learn to enjoy your children, if you haven’t, and not just the cute things they do and say, but who they are as actual, real people. And if you can’t do it on your own, pray. Sometimes the only peace that you can find in a house full of children is the Peace the passes understanding.

  184. Aaron Stallworth April 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Thank you!

    very well written.

  185. Dale Thibodeau April 11, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Thank you.

  186. Wow. 793 comments! Not surprising because that is a brilliant blog post and by god, I wish I had read it last night when I wrote this http://talkaboutyork.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/i-am-failing/

    One of the commenters on my blog steered me here and I’m so glad they did. Reading it actually made me cry with relief. Thank you for saying it all.
    Melissa recently posted…The Fire WithinMy Profile

  187. I am actually crying after reading this post. Thanks so much for putting it into words. Somehow it is comforting to know we are all suffering :) and if I AM a terrible parent than I certainly have company!!

  188. Well mine are girls but it all rings true. My life is chaos. Loved reading this, great post. Enjoyed your wife’s as well.
    Emily O’Shaughnessy recently posted…6 Reasons Collections Are Cool – and What I Have In Common With the 40 Year-Old VirginMy Profile

  189. Well, mine are girls but it all rings true. My life is chaos. Loved reading this, great post. Enjoyed your wife’s as well.
    Emily O’Shaughnessy recently posted…6 Reasons Collections Are Cool – and What I Have In Common With the 40 Year-Old VirginMy Profile

  190. On talking about having more children, even Bill Cosby said “More children! Sometimes I don’t even
    want the ones I’ve got!”

  191. Awesome! My sentiments exactly. I guess it’s this day and age’s paranoid, bubble wrapping, helicoptering, holier than thou mentality that has creeped up on many grown-ups (parent or not) in the last 20 years. I know being a Gen-X’er growing up, we had almost all the freedom we could handle in the 70′s and 80′s. Many would say “that was a different time, it’s more dangerous now”. Or “children aren’t should learn to fail, or feel disappointment”. Which leads me to believe how ignorant and uniformed these people are. At the very least, misinformed because of media and the internet.

    It was a different time back then. It was actually more dangerous. Crime rate was much higher then than it is now. It only seems more prevalent now because we have technology. Back then all we had was newspaper, tv, and radio. Information was slow. Hence, not EVERY single news was reported. Just the important ones. Now we have the internet, mobiles, computers. Where news from across the world of a cat climbing a tree can be in everyone’s hands in a matter of seconds. It’s a godsend for media corporations. The more they can manipulate the public’s views and feelings, the more they are going to get ratings and business. And most people stopped thinking for themselves. Common sense is pretty much an after thought, if at that. Paranoia sets in. Insecurities rise. Confidence falls. Children get lazy, they take on their parents fears and illogical notions.

    And when parents like you voice out the obvious. The logical. And the common sense. We are chastised. Told we are bad parents. Authorities work to take our children from us, citing “neglect” or “abuse”. Up until this new fiasco, ten thousand years of civilization (not including our ancestors long before that), have been raising children the same way. Teach them independence. Self preservation. Self sufficient. Children were taught to dust themselves off when they fell. That failure is ok. Because without knowing failure, we don’t know how to achieve or reach for more than what we are. Life as we know it, would not exist if our ancestors had the mentality of today’s parents and adults. Let’s keep spreading the “old school” world back into our lives. After all, it’s not about the adults. It’s about the children. Today’s society, it’s all about how the adult feels, and less to do with what is best for the children.

    • Eric, thanks for taking the time to so thoughtfully comment about your own experiences. I love what you write about us needing failure to teach us what we need for life. Thanks!

  192. So, so funny! My husband is Brian Hodson and he was reading this out loud to me last night. I told him to definitely share with me so I could be sure to follow your blog. ;)

    Now following via Twitter and Instagram. Looking forward to more posts.
    Meg, Happy Kids, Inc (@happykidsinc) recently posted…Must Have Blog Resource: Google +My Profile

  193. I also laughed until I cried reading this today. This wasn’t the day I melted down and yelled. It wasn’t the day I drowned my frustrations in a bag of Peanut M&M’s or 12 litres of Dr. Pepper… No, not today… but I’ve been there.

    I would (as I wrote on FaceSpace when I posted a link to your blog) throw myself in front of a bus before I’d ever give up any moment had or to come with my daughter (she’s 6, by the way) but it’s not always enjoyable, I am NOT always smiling and dammit, it’s HARD sometimes. I absolutely LOVED reading this and will continue to share it with my friends in the hopes that those that already feel it will feel less alone when they are, in fact, alone… and that those that just don’t get it… might actually GET IT.

    “Everyone you meet knows something that you do not know, but need to learn!”

    I think your message might be that thing for a LOT of people. “Sky Scraper Expectations”, man you ain’t lyin. I DO enjoy every moment that I CAN and there are more happy ones than there are Dr. Pepper and Peanut M&M soaked ones but… you definitely captured the reality of parenting as I see it. It’s hard, I’m tired, the rewards faaaaaaar outweigh the drawbacks of this parenting gig and I would never wish her away, not even in her worst screaming frustrating, tear my hair out moments… but like you; I refuse to lie and tell anyone that I enjoy every minute of it. I don’t. Thank Goodness for Peanut M&M’s. .. and thank you for saying what so many parents are afraid to admit.

    • Thanks Betty! So glad you liked it!

      • ..Needed to hear this 10 yrs ago. My kids are now 15 and 12. It would have been viewed as SO wrong to tell the truth like this back then. One point I wanted to make is about the exhaustion. I am 48, single, work FT, and I am tired. I commend those of you who started their family at a later age than myself, which i know has become more common. Given the level of energy needed, to be MY age with little ones? Yikes! Must require even more vitamins, chocolate, and wine.

  194. Thank you! Loved this post! So much encouragement! I forwarded it to my fellow weary parent friends. I vow to never be that parent that tells another parent to “enjoy this time”! Gaahhhh!
    And to your child who is going to be the next Steve Jobs, I recommend the book, The Highly Sensitive Child
    http://www.hsperson.com/pages/child.htm
    I have one of those children too and reading this book to understand more about her actually liberated me as I learned more about the highly sensitive child (and now adult) that I am!

  195. This post touched a lot of people. And I am grateful for it. Another blogger wrote a post to say how wrong you were and I had to respond to her. Here is my response to her response (with links to both): http://www.brandyglows.com/the-part-where-parent-shaming-pisses-me-off/
    Brandy recently posted…The Part Where Parent Shaming Pisses Me OffMy Profile

    • Yeah, after reading her parent-shaming criticism, I posted a comment about how it was possible she missed the point of this author’s piece: that some days are just bad, that none of us is perfect, and that we aren’t alone as we keep trying to be our best.

      I also, in that comment, linked back here so her readership could read for themselves before judging the author a terrible father and Christian . . . but she didn’t approve the comment. Wasted effort, I suppose.

  196. Thank you so much for this post from a man’s point of view. I’m definitely going to share this with my husband. You’ve got a great sense of humour and a great way of putting the rough days in perspective.

  197. I remember those days so well…we had three children in just under four years. I swear there are months of my life when things were so hectic that I have just blacked them out. You are right, just because it becomes too much at times does not make you a bad parent. What I do say is hang in there, it does get easier. My youngest is 16 years old, and while we still have teenage angst to deal with, there is a semblance of normalcy to our lives. But perhaps a little bit of the “enjoy it because they grow up so fast” message is worthy of trying to remember during the times that you would give anything for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep…for not only do they grow up too fast, but sometimes tragedy arrives, as it did for us when our beautiful 20-year-old daughter died from injuries suffered in a car accident this past Christmas day. This is not to chastise you and I think that you already know this, but I mention it in defense of those who perhaps really mean “enjoy it because it may not last long enough.”

    • So very sorry, Lauren, that you lost out on the opportunity to enjoy your beautiful daughter all the rest of your life. I’m impressed with the perspective you’ve allowed to be gained as a result of that tragedy. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with others.
      I know I made lots of mistakes, but I’m very thankful I was given the opportunity to keep trying. I hope that I can encourage parents to keep going– yes, it is hard; the very hardest thing you’ll ever do. There will be horrible times. And there will be beautiful times that you jut can’t believe are so wonderful. Please hang in there and keep doing the best you can. This world needs more parents just like all you wonderful people who have written about your joys and frustrations. We do need to support one another!

  198. I think you might be my new BFF – I’ve been saying this for years AND offering to smother my friends children in exchange for chocolate and silence – half price if I get both at once.

    Reason to despair #2? – here comes summer, which in my house is also called “Will you all please be QUIET so I can work or I’m crawling under the bed where no one can find me????????”

    • Hahaha!! I love it. We’re not even to the stage where summer is all that different yet. Crawl under that bed!
      stevewiens recently posted…Daring Greatly, Chapter 1: The Never Enough ProblemMy Profile

    • Loved it to pieces, very authentic, I hear the same thing every single day: oh time goes by so fast, I’ll c, oh they must b such a bundle of joy, etc. I’m not american and I must say that I didn’t fall so far into this trap of not being good enough. I always think back about my childhood, I lived under the communist times and I instantly feel better! We were left alone in the house from age 2 cuz my parents wouldn’t have anybody to look after us. At 7 we were going to school all alone, doing our homework alone, heating up our food and then playing outside with the other kids, always unsupervised! On top of that father was an alcoholic and violent and mother too tired, worried all the time about paying the bills and providing food for us that she could barely talk to us or take care of us. Father used to beat us up for the wrong doings, that was his disciplinary method. Despite all these, I am a successful lawyer and my brother is a chemical engineer, we have survived, we r normal, we are happy! So do u still think u r not enough or that u r a bad parent? Please think twice before u answer! At the end of the day u r enough, your children need affection, love, praise, encouragement! Have fun while being a parent and do not identify yourself so much with the role! Be your own person and accept your limitations and embrace the time u get to be alone, u deserve it!

  199. Thank you. Thank you!! Thank you!!! We have THREE boys Four and under. You are writing about MY life!! This is exactly what God is trying to teach me right now. Let go of unrealistic expectations. Give more grace to my children, my husband AND MYSELF!! There’s no such thing as a “perfect” parent, despite what Pinterest and Facebook and mommy blogs will boast. You’re doing great! I’m doing great!! Our kids are alive and they know they are loved. Keep pressin’ on…or at least keep the pantry stocked with extra chips and chocolate. :)

  200. So very, very true! Thank you for saying it.
    from
    Bawling-her-eyes-out in Ireland

  201. I constantly say, “Whomever says they don’t want their children to grow up are f*cking liars!” Thanks for the laugh and the encouragement!!

  202. I work in a high school and have since before my children were born. I find that my parenting is about making sure that my kids don’t turn out in a certain way instead of that they do turn out in a certain way. I am so bombarded by the potential negative endings that I live my life as a father in fear. Fear of failure, fear of creating a monster like ones I see at work. Do I ever get to be the proactive parent who helps build a child? Or am I fated to be the one who just plays defense and knocks down undesirable alternatives?

    They grow up at the same rate that Space Invaders progresses and it gets harder and harder to keep up with them. I used to laugh that my dad went to sleep before I do and now I worry that I’ll fall asleep before they even get home. I worry about her friends, about strangers on the street, about political intrigue thousands of miles away. I am constantly worrying. I want to lock them in their rooms until they are 35 and say “it isn’t that I don’t trust you…it is that I don’t trust any of them.”

    I want to be the parent who can provide without a second thought, who can be the exact balance of friend and guiding hand, whose words carry the weight of measured experience and wisdom. Instead, I’m the bad guy who embarrasses my kids and has the word “no” permanently affixed to my forehead.

    I love my kids and that’s why I’m constantly scared.

    • YOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB!!! You are a good dad. A great dad. The world (and high schools everywhere) would be a whole lot different if there were more like you :)

    • Hey! I hear you. I think a lot of us are freaking out scared when we think of the world our kids are growing up in. It truly is scary at times (read: all the time).

      The thing that keeps me together and allows me to relax has been getting to know God more. I realize that might sound trite or wishy washy, but please believe me when I say my eyes are wide open… I have the same fears but they’re allayed by the knowledge that God can sustain me through anything, can sustain my kids through anything, and that He loves them even more than I do.

      Are circumstances out of my control? In a word, yes. Absolutely. Are they out of HIs? No.

      So if my kids believe in God and love Him, will they be magically protected from bad stuff? Nope.

      But if they love God and know Him, then they will be able to call on Him for strength, wisdom, peace of mind, and serenity through whatever life throws at them. And they will greet Him with a smile when life is done. :)

      You can find a lot of great helpful articles and videos at rzim.org and lwf.org.

  203. When my son was 6 weeks old and I was pacing the floor with him trying to get him to just not cry, my Auntie came for a visit and said the very thing that you wrote about. “Enjoy it, they grow up SO fast!” At this very moment I got an image of me stabbing a knife through her very soul!! All my children are grown and in various stages of adult life. And I have finally found out the reward for being a parent, it’s called grandchildren. They think you hung the moon no matter WHAT!!! It’s amazing. Thanks for writing this!!

  204. Thoroughly enjoyed this blog and many of the comments thereafter. My standard reply to “…you’ll miss this…” is that “I can’t wait to miss this!” I often refer to myself as a “modern mom” and that is in no way a positive comment. I am over-read, under-experienced, and desperately trying to find “ways” to not be the mom who screeches constantly at her kids.
    I usually describe my eldest (6.5) as linear. He is very routine driven and is prone to meltdowns if things aren’t just so. My response to this is to purposely upset the cart from time to time so he can learn to cope and make adjustments. My middle child (5), is a head-strong, sweet diplomat who will have a screaming tantrum when he has soothed too many others and no one is willing to do the same for him. The youngest is 3 and has figured out that his brothers have lived through all of mommy’s yelling, punishments and time-outs, so he just carries on doing whatever it is I have asked him not do.
    Duty calls. I sent the boys to get dressed and two of them just walked into the office (au naturel) to inform me that they have no sock or underwear in their drawer. Sigh. That would be the unfolded, unsorted, basket of laundry sitting my bedroom.
    Thanks again.

  205. I never respond to any post or forward emails, etc. All I have to say, is thank you. Thank you for being normal and making me feel normal.

  206. Thank for this, needed it today.

    Sincerely,
    Tired mom of 4 month old and 2 and a half year old.

  207. Yes, yes and yes.

    I have nine children; the oldest is 28 and the youngest 13.

    I remember someone “encouraging” me by telling me that my children were my most important ministry. I wanted to jump down his throat … and for some reason, I always hear statements like that toward the mother. I can’t imagine this man saying that to my husband.

    But I digress.

    You are spot on in your observations and it is applicable to all ages. (you just haven’t gotten there yet)
    I need to write one similar … to parents of teenagers (because some days I am not sure my 13 yos will live to see 14) and
    To Parents of Adult Children living at Home (never dreamed how challenging it would be to shift into adult to adult relationship while they are living here, when I still have other children to raise.

    Thanks for you words.
    Cynthia Lee recently posted…Being a Spirit UncagedMy Profile

  208. I remembered when I used to call my son’s name lovingly, playfully, and tenderly… When my baby grew into a toddler, I begin to call out his name more worriedly, questioningly, and exasperatedly. As more years go by, his name comes out of my mouth with greater impatience, exhaustiveness, and often with anger.

    Just breathe. Two of the most simple words that can be applied in every aspect of your life and parenthood is no different. I do not deny that I drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day bcs my day does not end after 5pm. I go home to boys (both under 5) and try to keep them fed, clean, and alive for another day.

    I should keep reminding myself of the emotional euphoria I had when he first entered my life and I must try to say the name I gave him the way I used to, the way I should. The way I did the very first time I said it to him.

  209. THANK YOU SOOO MUCH! It is strange sometimes how you read just the right message when you need it the most. My son is 4 and a half. My husband has MS and I work two jobs. It is just nice to know that despite giving it my best college try – I am not the only one that feels this way.
    This post reminded me of the time I braved an outing to the mall when my son was 3. He went into full blown melt-down mode and I walked away towards the bathroom (knowing he was literally on my heals). It must have been written all over my face. Most of the women in there just gave me the look, you know the one… “how could she bring that screaming child in here?”. When I finally had gotten him to go potty and wash his hands, a woman who looked to be in her mid fifties to sixties, put her hand on my shoulder and said, “you are doing a fantastic job with him… keep up the good work!”. I almost busted into tears right there in front of her. I’ll never forget it. It filled me with strength to get through the rest of the day. It helped me to stop the self torture of telling myself I was not doing enough as a parent and was a total failure for having “the screaming child in the public bathroom.” So thank you fr this post, and thank you kind woman – this just made my day. *sigh*

  210. All I can say is, Thank you.

  211. As a Grandma of two little boys that I get the pleasure of watching for my Daughter & Son~in~Law your so right there are times when a big glass of Wine is calling my name on a Friday Date~Nite. After a week of rainy day fun. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything as you said the good~times win hands down

  212. This post came at such a needed time for me. I bawled through the entire thing, in the midst of an exhausting month with a difficult three year old and a newborn. I have been beating myself up each time I read beautiful blog after beautiful blog of wonderful suggestions and advice on how to be a perfect wife and mother. I am so grateful for the information age and parenting advice so readily at my finger-tips, but too often it leaves me feeling guilt and discouragement at the parent that I am not. This was a beautiful reminder that others feel like horrible parents sometimes too, but mistakes don’t make us horrible parents. They simply make us REAL parents. REAL parents who love their little ones and are struggling to teach them while still learning themselves. I can’t thank you enough for sending this tender mercy. And your post about body image was INCREDIBLE! So real and honest. Both posts have deeply affected me. They have both provided me with a deeper, more beautiful understanding of motherhood and my place in it. I can’t thank you enough.

  213. I love this, and I shared it on Facebook because I know a lot of other parents who need to hear it, too! I recently was at Walmart with my 13 month old, and an older man said to me, “I have five grown kids, and I don’t envy anyone who has a baby. You’re going through hell right now.” It was so refreshing! I love my son like crazy, but some days (and nights!) are really hard, and it’s nice to occasionally have someone acknowledge that. Thank you!
    Bethany recently posted…Post number five, in which I explain why my child wasn’t wearing any pants.My Profile

  214. This was such a fabulous read! Thank you so much. I’m about to go pick up my little 2 yr old dictator right now! ♥ And yes, I do count down the minutes, sometimes seconds to bedtime. Each and every night.

  215. Kathy Conradi April 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Parents get lots and lots of advice. Advice from experts is constantly being proofered by websites and by news sites. Its on the radio, its on the nightly news. Not only are we bombarded every day with expert advice on the subject of parenthood, we are also constantly reminded that parents are blamed when their kids mess up. There is a huge amount of social pressure to be perfect, to never mess up, to raise perfect little citizens who are always happy, always healthy, always the smilng angels that smile at us from magazines and TV screens and every other direction one looks. There is enourmous pressure to be perfect and raise perfection.
    I think the response to your post reveals the chord that you touched by speaking out loud that its ok to be human. Yes, we all strive to be the best we know how to be, but we will make mistakes, and that is supposed to be part of life.
    Thank you for taking your valuable time and energy to reach out and say “ya know what? you’re a good parent!” Every parent who is tired and struggling needs to hear those words.
    Everyone needs to be reminded that this too will pass, that things will look better after some sleep, and that you are not a failure if you fall down and make a mistake.
    My wish for every other parent that is struggling out there today is that 1) you get some good sleep soon. 2) You feel loved today in a way that warms you up and makes you smile, and 3) may you find a way to see the absurd in the insanity that is life and laugh out loud.
    Grace and Peace-

  216. My friend just sent me this after a recent (private) post I’d made about some parenting struggles I’ve been having. I don’t respond emotionally to most, if anything, I read online, especially parenting blogs, but this made me cry at work. Thank you very much for having written exactly what I needed to hear today.
    Alison recently posted…dinner with my girlMy Profile

  217. You have NO clue how much I needed this! Thank you for your insight. Next week I’ll be 38 and I have a teenager and a 21 month old. I’m SO tired.

  218. I love you. Thank you!

  219. As a mother of four boys, three of which are under five, just let me say thank you!

  220. I just laughed until I cried reading your post. Thank you so much for making it abundantly clear that you totally get it, and that it’s OK if we all feel the same way. AWESOME STUFF.
    Lisa Benton recently posted…Ten Reasons to Quit Dieting Forever | Females, Hormones, and Intermittent FastingMy Profile

  221. This is perfect and exactly what I needed today after being up all night with 2 sick little ones and then trying to find the energy to get ready and go to work, knowing full well that after work, the two sick little ones will be home waiting for me.
    Danielle recently posted…Cayman Islands Real Wedding at the Cayman CastleMy Profile

  222. Great post! I too have three boys. They were born within three years of each other. They are now 6,8&9. I remember hiding and praying for the day to end. We actually made bedtime be 6:30 pm, because we would be so done.
    I get that we are supposed to enjoy every moment but I am with you. It is the hardest and most exhausting job I have ever done. I watched a video about enjoying every ordinary moment. I tried. But I still have to lose it a couple of times.
    I do say this, it will get easier. They aren’t as hard as they become more independent. Sometimes their independence can be trying. You can enjoy them a bit more. Don’t get me wrong, I love them and I love being a mom. I enjoy my boys when they are enjoyable. But at the end of a long and fighting and whiny day, I am done. There is no guilt for not liking them all the much.
    Yesterday all three took a moment and sat with me and cuddled an told me their dreams. They helped take care of their dad who hurt his back. It was a great ordinary day and I felt good when I went to bed. I know it goes fast as every parent of young children does.
    Hang in there. It will get better.
    Again thanks for the post. Just read it to my husband who laughed.

  223. This is amazing. I no longer feel like a monster for telling my wife at the end a long hard day that the next person who told me that I would miss this someday, I was going to punch them in the throat!

  224. This is the greatest blog post ever because it’s 1000% TRUE. Thanks for posting about this!!!!
    The Mrs. recently posted…Little Girls With Broken Collar Bones Need “Arm Purses”My Profile

  225. When I first read this, I said to myself, “Wow, he’s so right! How many times have I wanted to just scare the crap out of my kids (3 girls under 5) to get them in line?”. Yesterday I had an especially difficult day with my very spirited 3 year old. The whole time I just kept telling myself, “It’s OK. You are not a bad mom because you want to throw her out the window. You are not a bad mom because you have lost all patience and feel like you can’t handle it one more second.” It kind of got me through most of the ordeal. After she went to bed, and I was on my second glass of wine, I spent a lot of time thinking about the events of the day, and I came to this conclusion: Yes, there will be easier days and there will be harder days, but you are a bad mom if you can’t come out on top. Our children learn from what is around them, particularly, from us. We need to be better than we think we can be so that they can be the best adults possible. They need to learn love and respect, patience and manners. So if I lose my cool around them, I lose the game.. and so do they. Every experience is an opportunity for growth. We are only faced we challenges we can overcome. it’s up to us to figure how. If we get discouraged from a difficult situation and want to throw the towel in, our kids will see that and learn it and repeat our mistakes.
    So while it feels good to say, “It’s not me, THEY are the difficult ones. I’m still a good parent.”, the truth is that at the end of the day, they are just kids and they need to learn how to be great adults… from US!

    • I think this is SOOOO true. Yes, it is hard dealing with little kids all the time. It is ok to want to throw them out the window. But that’s not an excuse to fall to pieces and do something you’ll regret later (though it happens sometimes to everyone)- we have to be the best we can be, no shortcuts, no excuses for emotional laziness.

      I have a very spirited 2 year old and a 4 year old who also drive me nuts at times. I often wonder how I’ll make it through their childhood. But I gotta keep on keepin on.

    • I like your perspective here, and I agree! Kids are the greatest teachers. My post certainly wasn’t mean to be the last word on the subject, just a long exhale for many of us who struggle. Thanks for your wise comments!

  226. THANK YOU! In the very MOMENT that I read your sentence about prayer, I realized that I essentially pray for my ideal instead of praying to be the best me. Wow. I do that! Thank you.
    As for those who say to enjoy every moment, to me it’s the same phenomenon that keeps people coming back for more babies, in spite of the pain and intensity of labor and delivery. It’s that we humans have the capacity to FORGET the pain… and in child-rearing, to forget the mundane, the inane, and the insane. If we didn’t, we would simply refuse to do it all again and in later years we’d likely discourage others and our whole species would decline! Ack! Yes, we forget and because of what we forget, all that remains is to remember the beauty, the sweetness, the smallness. We’ve learned what matters. We all need to be patient with each other on that count. We are all in some stage of forgetting…and remembering.

    • Thank you, Sarah–beautifully said! I’m a mother of four and grandmother to seven. You’re exactly right–we’re all in stages of forgetfulness. I try to remember w/ fondness those good times, and it makes me a little wistful, and I mean it encouragingly when I say “enjoy it–they grow so fast!” I also try to forget the dumb stuff my kids or I did or said, and I hope other parents will, too. I’m so very grateful that parents keep trying to help their children in the best way they know how. It does make this world a much better place. Thank you all!

  227. You likely won’t have time to read and respond to all of these comments but I want to comment anyway:
    I relate almost exactly to your post. I have a “future Steve Jobs” in my house. You perfectly described my youngest. He is our “all or nothing” boy, our “extreme” child. My escape is shutting the door to the laundry room and I eat chocolate chips. He currently takes 5-10 minutes to figure out how to turn the doorknob. I think I’m going to have to find a new refuge soon :) I always tell people that he is going places with that incredible vision and steel determination! I feel blessed though because I relate to him very well because I was just like him growing up. But wow, can that kid make some serious noise!!!

    I wish more parents could have the confidence that you and your wife have. Not always perfect but always loving. And our children remember loving.

    Also, one of my (new) favorite books is called The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle. While I don’t agree with her entire life philosophy, that book is a goldmine of information on how to understand your children and the way they were created and then how to communicate with and parent them in a way that suits them. I think you’ll be particularly interested in the chapter on the type 4 child!
    Tessa W recently posted…The Early Bird: I don’t like Worms EnoughMy Profile

  228. I don’t normally comment on anything no matter how much I agree or disagree but I must say, your entire article resonates so deep in me that I can’t help but say, “Thank you”. To me, these aren’t strong enough words to describe how I feel about this but they’ll have to do.
    Thank you for telling a truth that very few others dare to say. As the mother of only one too smart-for-his-own-good, witty, amazing and sometimes VERY aggravating, almost four-year-old son, I’m so happy to hear these words you speak. Now I know I’m normal. I’m not a bad parent and I know I can get through this. Many have told me this before but somehow, it took the words of a stranger to make me see this forest for its trees. Sometimes, you can’t always rely on the opinions of those you are close to for fear they may be saying things to not hurt your feelings and so you take it occasionally with a grain of salt.

    So once again, thank you. I needed this.

  229. paternal damnation… it’s part of the contract

  230. I needed this today! Thanks for your candid truth. “Who asks God to help you to be a better version of the person that you actually are, not for more strength to be an ideal parent.” LOVE IT!
    Jenn (baby boy #3 due in 6 weeks!!)

  231. Barbara James April 4, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    3rd to last paragraph

  232. Makes perfect sense. I mean, if you have that broken arm set, you’re questioning God. Wear glasses? How dare you?Take insulin for Diabetes? Heathen! Because infertility isn’t a medical condition, it’s GOD’S WILL!!!! YOU said so!!!!!

    Of course, a good Christian would do what they do in the Bible. Just find a nice young concubine, 13 or 14 is plenty old enough, and buy her from her family, rape her repeatedly until she become pregnant. Obviously the pregnancy is God’s will!!!!

  233. Read Luke 2:41-45 Jesus’ parents managed to lose him in another town once, so I wouldn’t go getting too judgmental. It does actually warn against being a judgmental SOB, oh…1,126 times in the Bible. Still, the message doesn’t seem to get through.

  234. Perhaps you need to re-read the post, he does not want to hold his kids under water, nor does he not try to enjoy them. He is saying it as it is, that parenting is exhausting and parents need to stop using every last inch of strength to make their kids lives perfect. It doesn’t matter if they occassionally eat nuggets, as long as they are loved.

  235. Amanda Mathes April 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    @ April. In the simplest of words, and as I would say to my children, “That is not nice!” As an adult and fellow Christian, I say to you, your narrow-mindedness is making you look like a complete jerk. Did you ever consider, that by being real and by not suiting everything in the light and awe of Jesus, that this pastor might be reaching a wider audience? And, that in his transparency and authenticity, others might warm up to him and eventually get a dose of the good message? Why does it always have to be fire and brimstone And/or roses and blessings of the “good tidings of our lord”? It all sounds so canned, off-putting and not sincere. So many people get to know Christians and you know what…. they turn them off. THEN, they don’t get to know our Christ. I am sure you mean well but try to step back and consider if there might be a bigger picture here.

  236. So infertility is Gods way? Hmmm alright then obviously women who bear children through incest & rape is Hods way of saying what exactly? I’m a religious woman. However, you Dawn are Gods way of testing the rest of us. How dare you spout hate.

    • Amanda Mathes April 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      Gillen, you rock. What is wrong with people. Shame on you Dawn. You disgust me. And your ignorant view under the “banner of Christianity” are the reasons why so many people don’t come to know Christ. They have met some of his follows… AND ARE NOT INTERESTED. You are doing him a disservice.

  237. Exactly! And furthermore, going to a hospital for a life threatening injury — well, that’s just spitting in the face of God who clearly wanted you to be killed! As a matter of fact, let’s just not make any of our own decisions and ride the wave of His divine decision-making goodness.

    Not to mention miscarriages, which are God’s will too (just His version of Planned Parenthood, since all embryos have souls, right?)

  238. You know, just maybe he’s writing this for a broader audience than just Christians. You don’t have to marinate everything in Scripture for it to be useful. Next thing you’ll be asking him to put a “Jesus Is Lord!” background pattern on his blog.

    Settle down.

  239. a chick who is reading comments April 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    He said hold the adults who comment under water, not children. It’s amazing what we look for to confirm our own POV. Ask for God’s nonjudgmental open mind in your evening prayers.

  240. You win the “I’m a Sanctimonious Jerkwagon ” award . Good Job. I hope you take notes of all the time you spend judging other people so you can keep up with yourself.

    • P.S., my comment is aimed at the ” are you a real pastor ” lady who feels the need to mention jesus every so often.

      I wonder what sort of rose her fecal material smells like…..off to ponder…..

    • Agreed….thanks for rhat

  241. I am a Nurse Manager of a 20 bedded Paediatric ward. I dont have kids of my own, but reading this resonated with what I see every day! Good parents trying to be better parents when their kids are sick and at their worst. I think I might print it and post it up somewhere in the department!

  242. Thank you.

  243. If no ones told you yet, you should check out Glennon at Momastery. She’s all about not carpeing the diem:) Good stuff!!!

  244. THANK YOU! best post ever. we have 2 sets of twins, yes 2 sets so we are always bone tired!! and they are only 22 months apart. we have 2 newborn infants and 2 not yet 2 yrs olds. we might as well have have quads… they are 6 and 4 now and although its easier in some ways its also harder in other ways. ;) glad we aren’t the only ones that want to hide from our needy children LOL

  245. Thank you for this. We have a boy, 3, and twins (boy/girl) who turn 1 in a few days. All of the emotions and frustrations and moments of utter beauty that you described are so incredibly real for us and we found this post to be very encouraging and cathartic in the midst of babies who still can’t sleep.

  246. I loved your post. I have four kids under 7 (today actually, is my oldests’ twins birthday). As a busy mother and a working host/writer/journalist, I completely understood the word BONE TIRED.

    I am going to post a link on my new blog, chicksinaprons.com … please take a look at well. I would so appreciate it. Carolina

  247. Thank you for a candid and honest post! This is my first visit and definitely not my last. It is refreshing and encouraging to be reminded I am not the only parent out there that doesn’t always have it together and doesn’t love every moment but would never trade my life.
    -Elizabeth (mother of 3 under 4yr)

  248. Thank you for a candid and honest post! This is my first visit and definitely not my last. It is refreshing and encouraging to be reminded I am not the only

  249. Absolutely well said!
    people don’t need to hear silly sentences that may sound reassuring, people need solutions, and to talk about the realities and accept these realities. So you can’t always give them healthy meals – accept it. It’s less draining than cutting yourself up about it.
    One thing i do find that helps keep you sane is TIME. When i am not rushing and I havethe time to listen, devote, do.. etc, things are easier to deal with.

  250. I love this post, thank you.
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Braised Beef Short Ribs for an Anniversary DinnerMy Profile

  251. Bethany Hoskin April 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    You might enjoy this blog as well.http://lisajobaker.com

  252. I found this piece thanks to Jane on Women Who Sail…it’s amazing. Amazing writing and amazing emotions. I’m not a mother… yet. Who knows, maybe I won’t be. But I connected with this piece because of the trials and tribulations of my friends who are mothers. And I think I need to call my own mom now. And say sorry. She’s probably got a few bald spots because of me :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

    xx

    Tasha

  253. As a mom with 3 boys, 16, 22, & 24, I gotta tell you guys, It doesn’t stop when they’re teenagers. I still can’t get them to eat vegetables (when they’re home) and I still go to bed regretting that I’ve yelled and worried that everything that they’ve ever done wrong was somehow my fault for not being a better mom. Now I have a 1 year old grandson and it starts all over again. ~Sigh~. I love my boys but I sure do wish the day would come when I can look back and say “hey, I did OK and they are all fine. I can sleep now”. Maybe when I’m a Great-Grandma. lol.

    • cheryl (lundy) stuart April 4, 2013 at 1:38 am

      My kids are now – almost 40, 30 and almost 18….and yes I still have regrets over comments I made when I’m exhausted (that part never goes away)….and the guilt of what I didn’t do when they were younger….or that I can’t do for them now that they’re older…is always there…would I rather not have been a parent……….NEVER

  254. Steve, thanks so much for this humorous, perceptive, and accurate article! Kids are terrific, but it’s downright delusional to claim that EVERY SINGLE INSTANT you spend with them is unparalleled joy. And please disregard the comment below by Meesha, who is ascribing statements to you that you neither said nor implied.

  255. Thank you! Amazing post! My wife and I have a 2 year old and one on the way (in a few short weeks). We’ll be keeping this in mind!

  256. So well said. I remember a friend (who is also a parent) once looking askance at me when I suggested that perhaps the adults in his community-living-two-family household should have an adults only room where the adults could just get away or focus on activities that aren’t always conducive to having children around (like reading, meditating, or a challenging 1000 piece puzzle that you really enjoying working on in the quiet!). I felt self-conscious about making the suggestion until now. Now I know I was absolutely right on!

  257. The years ARE short, but the days are LONG(and the bad days are endless).

  258. As a parent of four boys born within 5.5 years I love this and can so relate! Your list of “you are not a terrible parent if” is balm for the soul I am sure for may young parents. However, my children are now 22-16, and I must admit saying to many a young parent something along the lines of “Enjoy it all now for they grow up so fast.” But far from meaning to stress parents out I see it as encouragement to relax and enjoy the children and not get so caught up with doing everything “right”. So may parents make the job SO MUCH harder than it needs to be by stressing over things that in the long run just won’t matter. Of course you won’t enjoy every moment, but if you are not generally enjoying and delighting in your kids, you probably do need to change and stop putting too much pressure on yourself and them. Your good advice will probably help many do just that!
    molly Powell recently posted…You Don’t Have to be FabulousMy Profile

    • You may not mean to stress people out by saying, “enjoy it, it goes by too fast,” but I think the point of this post is that hearing this does cause stress to parents of young children. However good your intentions are, it is not well-received. It gives us yet another thing to worry about not doing “right.” Not only am I not having a good day, now I am chastised because I’m not sufficiently enjoying my not-good day!

      If what you mean is to say, “you don’t have to be perfect,” then say THAT. It is a welcome and powerful message that does not imply that the young parent is insufficiently appreciate of what he or she has.

  259. I have three girls, ages 5 and under – the youngest two are twins. Everything you say here is 100% correct. thank you for saying it and putting it out there. No matter how many times it’s said, it deserves to be said again. And again.

  260. Loved reading this…there isn’t any way to really prepare for the exhaustion and choas that kids bring. I often read about my amazing friends on Facebook and see pictures of all the wonderful things they are doing and think “I should be doing that too”.
    I am trying to retrain myself with my new mantras: “That just isn’t our life right now” and “this is a marathon…”. It helps me set aside some of the guilt that automatically comes along with parenting (as you can never do it all) and push forward…
    Thank you for being honest! I always appreciate it, I think too many try to present an unrealistic front and I LOVE those who are honest and have a healthy sense of humor about it!

  261. So timely and so needed. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
    victoria winters recently posted…Scenes From Our LivesMy Profile

  262. THANK YOU!!!!
    I am a stay at home mom. My kids are 15 1/2, 7,6,5,4, and almost 3. We also just lost our baby boy 6 weeks ago, four days after he was born. I homeschool the 7,6,and 5 year old. ANd this post fits me to a T!!! And the “enjoy it while they are young” or “just wait til they are teenagers” comments make me so frustrated, and this post reminds me why. Thank you!

    • Hi Evie! Nice to “see” you here. Just so you know, you are amazing and I doubt I could do what you do.
      Faith

    • {{{{{{{{Evie}}}}}}}} I couldn’t allow myself to overlook the loss of your baby boy and at least give you a cyberhug. I too am a bereaved parent (lost my only-ever child to leukemia 12 years ago when he was 8) and know the incomparable heartache of losing a child to death. May God bless you and sustain you as you begin your journey on the Way of the Bereaved Parent.

  263. Great article! Can I say, “Been there done that, drove the 15 passenger Van”? My oldest is 28 and my youngest is now 9, at one point we had 5 children that were born to us in a timespan of 5 years. We think 11 is all we will have now. I have not forgotten what it is like to have a house full of small children because I have had so many years of “review lessons”! I love what you said about becoming a better version of the person God created you to be, since he did choose us to be the parents of our children, not some ideal parent from a child psychology book….but the best “us/me/you”.

    • “Been there, done that” is another thing we should vow never to say. True, but not helpful, unless you follow it with some compassionate questions and a listening ear, or an offer to take the kids for the day.

  264. So true and thanks for making me and my husband not feel alone. We battled with infertility for years to be finally have twins and two year later a surprise third. With three children 6 and under I am glad I went back to work part just for a little piece of sanity.

  265. I am going to forward this to both of my daughters. My youngest has 3 boys, ages 5, 3 1/2 and15 months. She has another baby due in October. She is constantly in tears right now. She is my definition of a supermom, although there are times she “wants her mommy”. My older daughter has 3 children, ages 7, 6, and almost 2. She is married to a wounded warrior who also requires lots of patience. Don’t know how she does it , either.

  266. I absolutely loved this! I am at stay-at-home mom and I have a 4 year old autistic son, a 2 year old daughter and I am due in a month with a third, a girl. I am always saying I feel like a bad mom. I am so nervous about adding a third into our routine. It was so nice to read this and know I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

  267. There is nothing shameful in admitting the horrors and exhaustion that sometimes accompany having small children. I have a 4 year old, a 2 1/2 year old, and an almost 1 year old. There are days when I have to put the whole family in “time out” and we all have to go to our rooms and hang for 15 mins. This “restarts” our day. No offense, but just because our kids drive us crazy doesn’t mean we don’t see them as blessings from God. One of my kids stuck an almond in the dog’s nose the other day. Did I yell, yes. Did he get time out, yes. After that, did I tell him I love him and explain why that was inappropriate, yes. If you have only one child, that is not particularly strong willed, doesn’t get into stuff, and doesn’t think breaking stuff is “fixing” it, yay for you!

    • Amen! With 5 children (2 teens and 3 girls 8, 7, and 6!), there are times when things just don’t run smoothly and frustrations happen. It’s part of life and learning how to live with and work with others. They’re still my blessings.

      Somehow I don’t think God expects us to live this pretty, frustration free life. We are being refined and purified by our interactions with others–the good, the bad, and the ugly.
      CharleneM recently posted…Language frustrations….My Profile

    • Thank you for this! I have four children, 5 and under. A 5 year old, a 3 year old and twins that are 7 months. There are days I need to remind myself to breathe! Love the idea of a family time out – and your almond comment made my night ;-)

  268. Thank you. Its been one of those mornings (not even a whole day, I’ve made it through half, and we are now attempting an orderly lunch,) and this is exactly what I needed to hear.

    Spreading it far and wide.

    -Tammy
    (mother of three under 5)

    P.S. Thanks to you, I now laughed when I returned to the kitchen to find my youngest had filled her sleeves with macaroni. 15 minutes ago I might have broken out the Bailey’s.

  269. Received this blog via my daughter Liz who together with husband Tim have 4 little ones with the eldest just coming up 9 and the youngest just 2. The family is in the throes of packing up everything they possess to go and live with Iris Ministries in Pemba, Mozambique. As Grandad I am blessed by the joys of little ones, though my hearing aids make the noise of competing siblings hard to bear at times and the busy life of a crowded house stresses my OCD (which I never realised I had). But I love my daughter’s ceaseless parenting – her patience when I would long ago have been reduced to shouting or stomping out of the room and slamming the door, and her tears of fatigue as she struggles to complete the bedtime routine in time to do some evening work so she and her husband can continue to save up for their journey to Africa. Thank for your wise words that so encourage in times of real struggle. I shall try all the harder to hug both Mum and Dad all the more when I next see them BEFORE I am snatched away to play the latest game or read the latest book!

  270. Meesha’s Valium April 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Meesha, I’m calling you. Take me. Take me.

    Then apologize, because this wasn’t whiny, it was recognizing that life with young kids is hard and doesn’t need to be overly romanticized.

  271. “If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist? Would not a man rather have so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence, or at any rate not take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?”

    ―Arthur Schopenhauer

  272. Love this! Brought tears to my eyes and gave me a good laugh! This is my life everyday and even though we all know we are not alone…it’s great to see things like this and be reminded of it…especially in such a funny way! Thanks again and God Bless!

  273. Steve, thanks man. I am always worrying about the kind of kid I’m raising: the values, ideas, and behaviors I model for her. It is so refreshing to see someone let parents be human and make mistakes without judgement or “advising” on how to improve. Finally!

  274. Thanks so much for this. I read it a few weeks ago, and 2 days after I read it, the most amazing thing happened. I was in a restaurant with my 2 youngest kids, along with a friend and her 2 young kids. The kids weren’t particularly well-behaved, but as we were finishing, a woman in her 50′s came up to our table and told us what a great job we were doing with our kids. Completely made my week. And yes, I did almost start crying right there. I wanted to ask her if she reads your blog, but I was too choked up to get the words out.

  275. Thank you so much for writing this. I am crying as I read this….I just sat down at 10PM after being up at 6am. 2 kids who I cherish (3 & 4). But I was really glad to drop them at daycare this morning. This post spoke to me and really helped me out as I veg here tonight eating my kids Easter chocolate and zoned out on the couch.

    Keep smilin!

  276. Diana @ Moms Living Leaner.com April 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Thank you! I know everyone says I will sleep again someday…but sometimes when my teething 5 month old will not stop crying. That “someday” feels like it will never get here!!!

  277. Amen brother! Its on my Facebook.

  278. THANK YOU!!!!!!

  279. Love the post. I usually tell expecting parents “Sleep deprivation is ugly. You will reach a point at 3 o’clock in the morning that they are NOT cute. And that is okay” I also recommend and have handed out about five copies ‘Raising Your Spirited Child’. I am one and so are both my girls. I also have the workbook.

  280. Amen and amen!! I so wish I could have read this when I was a young mom. We also have 3 boys (now teens) and the older “wiser” advice we got was, “If you think it’s bad now, it’ll only get worse”… My husband and I vowed never to tell any young parent the same “advice”…Instead, we say, “It will get better. You will sleep through the night again. When they walk down the aisle, they’ll be potty trained…” And, as to “enjoy every moment” thing? I used to tell my husband that people lied to me when they said that. Time did NOT pass quickly when they were toddlers… Thanks for your honesty and transparency. You’ve given many parents hope…
    Rita Joy recently posted…Surprise!My Profile

  281. I must say, that’s the first time in a long time that I laughed that hard.

    I have three children 4 and under (the twins are 4, and the little one is 2). I understand tired, and I understand sometimes standing there looking at them and wishing they’d suddenly say they were ready for bed (and then go without a fuss).
    I do, though, appreciate having people remind me that they’re growing up too fast. Sometimes in the moment, it’s hard to remember that one day I’m going to be missing the gong show we live through every day….one day I’m not going to find a toy firetruck in my crisper, and one day I won’t get into bed and find a princess under my pillow (a gift left from our older daughter for me to “remember her by until morning”).

    I wish you, your wife, and your three children a great week. May the weather warm up, and they can go outside and run off some of the crazy. LOL

  282. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for saying this out loud because it needs to be said to ourselves, to those who have forgotten about what it is like to have small children and to those who have never had children.

  283. I have 4small children and I feel like I got to say, relax. Let the people who are done having kids and miss them cuz they’re not little anymore say what they want. Smile politely and move on. I think you went on a rant…the first couple paragraphs were fine then you just went on and on. My children are no angels but that is when I remember His strength is perfect in my weakness. When someone says, “enjoy every moment now”- first, get over yourself. Then, tell yourself, “that’s right, this is a season. Seasons change, it takes a village and it is a marathon and not a race.” Then say, “thank you for the reminder.” Hope you found this helpful.

  284. Michael Vinson April 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I am now a grandparent. I raised twin boys as a single parent for the most part. All I have to say is that you are doing the best you can do at this moment in time. As you said, you are not perfect and some days will be better than others. If the best you can do is hide in the closet and eat chocolate…then that is the best you can do.

  285. I was told by a man at the grocery store today that “growing grass is harder work than raising toddlers.” …..? Really? I take comments like that with a grain of salt and get a chuckle out of them (most times) rather than taking them personally. Because hey, guess what? My kids is 3 and she can’t control her emotions at times because, whoa! She’s a KID! Uffda (a Minnesotan term for, “for crying out loud!”)
    Thanks for this post. I really appreciate it when other parents say things like these “out loud.” We all feel it, we can all relate. It had me laughing and in tears at the same time, as I felt like someone was listening at my door while I was having this very conversation with my husband. We call the toddler years, “the dark years.” I am a stay at home parent, or to be fancy, “domestic engineer” (like that?) so I am around my children/at my job 24/7. Having a 3.5 and 1.5 year old all day long can literally drive a person crazy. I struggle, I fall, I yell and most days I feel like a total failure. The best thing in the world I have done for myself is try my best to surround myself with friends who are honest about parenting and marriage. They don’t tidy up their house before I come over, and they stay in their yoga pants if they just don’t have time to do laundry or shower. Why do I love this? Because it makes me feel normal and happy that I’m not the only one out there who doesn’t pretend to have it all together all of the time.

    Anyway, thanks so much for this post. I’ve read it over and over and parts of it will, I’m sure, eventually become my mantra.

  286. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
    I know hundreds of other people have already thanked you for saying this out loud, but I just had to add my 2-cents-worth.
    We have 8 children – our oldest is 20, the other 7 are 13yrs-18mos. And #9 is due in May. We have a stepfamily dynamic, ADHD, and Down syndrome, in addition to other, “typical” idiosyncrasies. I like to call them “undiagnosed special needs.” They ALL have “special needs” at one time or another, and keeping up with them all does leave me physically drained, mentally exhausted, and spiritually worn out. I DO have wonderful moments, and I DO enjoy and savor them. But that doesn’t ease the harder moments. And the “enjoy-it-while-it-lasts” command from “mentor parents” is not helpful – you are SO right-on-the-money when you write, “…feeling like I have to enjoy every moment doesn’t feel like a gift, it feels like one more thing that is impossible to do, and right now, that list is way too long.”
    I thank God nightly that He gave me the wherewithal to get through another day, all children alive, reasonably well, and (hopefully) not traumatized. It HAS to be Him. If it were just me, I’d have throttled each of them at least twice today. Along with the next person who tells me to enjoy them NOW!

    • Loved this and the comments from parents , It’s so great to know I really was a great parent to my 3 kiddo’s after all , even if 2 of them think differently about my plan . Who cares ! There was duct tape when they were little , I just didn’t think of using it !

  287. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. I was amused with most of the comments and a little upset with a few of the comments on here. Clearly the gist of the post went over your head or you think you’re the best parent out there and poo and the rest of the parents who are struggling. why would you say “I’m going to keep on saying something that is hurtful to someone else anyway”….really? What good is going to come from that other than showing others that you can’t stop what pops in your head from plopping out of your mouth. A skill that I am trying to teach my 6 year old, the 3 year old pretty much has it down. We struggled with infertility for 11 years…11! For someone to tell me “Well that’s what you wanted” or “wait until they are teenagers” is the cruelest, most devastating and unhelpful thing ever. That someone doesn’t care what that does to another person’s spirit and heart is heartbreaking to me. Steve…thank you for being willing to be transparent with the truth that is parenting for MOST people.

  288. Ty for writing this and sharing with us here on FB. I needed to read this so badly after just sent my 13 yr old daughter to live with her father because I couldn’t take the disrespect, yelling and screaming and constant fighting with everyone in the house. Did I mention the pushing and shoving and throwing things at her stepfather and myself? Anyway thank you again for posting this it was a great read and a comfort to me!

  289. Thank you. With four young boys of my own, it’s good to hear this out loud.

  290. Thank you!!!! My boys are 11, 8 5 & 3, and most days I’m afraid I’m gonna lose my mind. It’s so good to hear there’s someone out there who doesn’t expect my laundry done, house pristine, and boys quiet & well-behaved ALL the time. Because many days, the fact that all 4 of them survived is a pretty big accomplishment.

  291. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  292. Thank you, this is SO true for me!

  293. I laughed, I cried…now I’m sharing it with friends. As a Mom of 3 boys (okay, 6 and under but he JUST turned 6) who just had her own mother tell her that eating meals with my boys is a tortuous experience (yeah, Mom…thanks. Try doing it every day.), this was exactly what I needed. Thank you!!

  294. I couldn’t agree more. People get so uptight when I vent about my precious little shits, who I would do anything for but also drive me absolutely insane and to drink at times.

  295. I completely agree. People get so uptight when I vent about my precious little shits who make me happy, but at the same time drive me absolutely insane.
    Bitch is a Lifestyle recently posted…That really chaps my assMy Profile

  296. I love this and so appreciate it. I was a mom of three boys 5 and under once. Two of whom were named Ben and Isaac! And Ben IS Steve Jobs.
    Now I’m the mom of four boys. My oldest is 12 and my youngest is 18 months. And people still love to tell me to enjoy them- even though two of my boys have autism, one also has bipolar disorder, the third has severe ADHD and I can barely hear the comment because I am chasing my shrieking toddler.
    Once when my sons were harmonizing a meltdown in the grocery store an older lady told me that they grow up so fast. I grabbed her sleeve and pleaded “Do you promise?!”

    • Oh that sounds like hard work. I have one with autism and his older brother (whom I homeschool). That is enough work for me! I dunno about enjoying each day. I think if you can find a moment or two to enjoy in each day you’re doing well. My boys are almost 13 and almost 15 now. I’m not quite sure, but I think it gets better. Here’s hoping! If you can find the strength to get out of bed each day, if the kids are fed and clothed and kept reasonably safe, then I think you’re a fantastic parent!

  297. Thank you. Thank you for this.
    Alison recently posted…Two Blogging YearsMy Profile

  298. Thank you, thank you for this post. It was forwarded on to a friend and was jsut the right day to read it. I am mom to only one little one with another on the way, but I am the above. Great post, looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  299. First: Brilliant and thank you!
    Second: This continues to apply when your children are teenagers.
    Every single day, I say to myself “I am not a terrible parent, even if their current behavior towards me is atrocious beyond reckoning” “I am not an evil worthless brainless non-caring person, no matter what they say” “I DID teach them manners and values and…’
    Every single day, I remind myself that perfection isn’t a realistic goal. I remind myself that at every step of the way I did the best I could with what was available to me at the time, and that sometimes, cope is just unavailable.
    At least once a week, I remind myself that it does not constitute parenting failure if your kid doesn’t have the latest gadget that her friend has, or that she has to wear last month’s clothes or that you let her spend her own money on clothes when she never tells you what she needs.
    And every so often, some other parent tells me how polite my children are, or otherwise lets me know that out there, in the public eye, they’re okay.

    We joke about setting the bar too high, and tell our brilliant, lovely daughters that really, if setting the bar at graduating high-school without getting arrested or pregnant is too high, they should let us know.
    Helen recently posted…Inheritance – with a nod to FranklinMy Profile

  300. I am a grandmother of 9 and this touched me so much that I forwarded it to my adult children. They are right where you described. I remember thinking that I was a terrible mom and that my kids would grow up crazy as loons. Guess what, they didn’t! They are beautiful, intelligent & successful because that is just who they are. The best thing parents have today is transparency from people like you that are not ashamed to tell it like it really is. Thank you for this ministry to young parents!
    Susie Brown recently posted…Let’s Get Organized TogetherMy Profile

  301. I am a grandmother of 9 and this touched me to the point that I forwarded it to my adult children going through this now! I remember the times that I felt like a bad parent and there was nobody being transparent then, like you are being now. What a ministery for young parents!

  302. Amanda Kurdziolek March 30, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    THANK YOU! Needed to hear this today.

  303. I never read blogs (except for my wife’s and brother’s). My wife sent me the link and I read it. Oh man, am I that guy. My wife tells me I’m doing awesome……most of the time I feel like I can’t keep it together. Thanks for putting it in perspective. Brought a smile to my face.

  304. sarah
    i am hoping you are in a place to read this, as one mother who has lost to another.
    you are not ready to have read this post, any more than i would have been ready nearly two years ago after the death of my infant son.
    I am hoping by now you have realized what you misread and can take a step back having letting go of those misconceptions.
    but book-mark this post, because you will need to read it somewhere down the road when your home is full of the love and laughter and sometimes chaos that you so long for. because you and I and those like us who have lost are the ones who fully understand the importance of not taking any moment for granted. A blessing, the awareness of what can be lost challenges us to be thankful for everything.
    but we are also the most likely to put the kind of pressure on ourselves that just isn’t fair. pressuring yourself to like and enjoy every moment of parenthood, is a straight shot to misery. I have to remind myself that i’m not a bad parent because I get frustrated or overwhelmed or just want to take a shower all by myself, and that’s really what this blog post is about.
    someday, that will make sense, but it doesn’t have to now.
    may your Easter be filled with the glory and peace of a resurrected Christ whose death paved the way for our sons to live.

  305. You sound like you belong here:
    Scarymommy.com
    Dads are welcome!
    You sound like you would fit right in!

  306. First, I praise God with you that a pastor in a very large church and you are still so involved in your family’s life.
    Then, I want to let you know that I realized that I usually say ‘They grow up so fast’ and it is usually in response to how much a child has grown since the last time I saw them. And I would suggest that parents who are having a difficult time take it as, ‘this too shall pass’ rather than the comment is meant as ‘enjoy them now’. We don’t all make that or mean that statement.
    And, why, I ask myself, am I even responding to a total stranger’s blog that was a repost of a repost on facebook by a friend, especially since there is a good chance no one will read this? I think the original post is now 2 days old.
    Maybe it is because I am 59, have two children 24 and 27 and have been more tired for the last 3 months than I can ever remember, and there were plenty of up all night and insane schedule times. But mostly it is I work full time, have taken care of an extended family member for 2 months and am trying to help 2 family member through some very serious health issues. And yet I get the feeling that most people either just don’t get what I’m going through or figure that there must be something wrong with me if I can’t handle it.
    But, I know that God knows and is my strength. I may fall but will not be cast headlong because God hold me with his hand. (Ps. 37:23,24)
    So, even if no one ever reads this I will take away that we all need to be more sensitive, regardless of the situation. We need to care less of what man says and more of what God thinks. And, writing, in and of itself, is good therapy.

    • I read it and I say Amen!

    • I read it and I send you love and strength. I can not say I understand what you are going through but I do understand tough times. Remember to allow yourself to be loved as God sends you angels to support you. You are not alone and you are doing your best, be proud of the person you see in the mirror. Find some time for you before you break. Big hug.

  307. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! I laughed and sobbed at the same time. I have 5 kids ranging in age from almost-three to almost-12, and am dealing with potty training and puberty at the same time, and everything in-between. There are many MANY days when I feel like I’m going to come unglued, and yet feel guilty for feeling this way after begging God for 8 years to give me children. I can’t say thank you enough for saying this out loud. I really needed to hear this.

  308. I couldn’t help but laugh as I read this and I remember being in that time frame with my children….oh wait, I’m still there and they are 11 and 9, soon to be 12 and 10. It really hasn’t gotten any easier. You just start dealing with different issues…ok well maybe not so different. I don’t think the fighting will ever go away. I also babysit another girl from 4:30 am until it’s time to go to school so it’s like I have 9 year old twin girls at the moment who constantly gang up against the 11 year old boy. I’m just as sleep deprived as a mom with toddlers thanks to my voluntary enslavement with the 4:30 am drop off time. And even though my kids, along with the extra one, are old enough to make their own breakfast and lunch, the demand for attention is still a constant and I’ve lost it on more than one occasion. I even banned the word “mamma” from their vocabulary on days when I’ve had enough because I was convinced if I heard the word “mamma” one more time my property was going to become a nuclear wasteland due to my meltdown. My husband has often come home with a shocked look on his face to see me with a glass of wine in my hand well before 5pm (don’t worry I only drink but one!) and I’ve threatened that we will have a very lush garden next year because I’m going to bury our children in it. His response has always been well let me just say goodbye first before you kill them.
    People have lied to us too and told us when they were toddlers that it would get easier when they get older but I won’t lie. It doesn’t. You just get SLIGHTLY different challenges and you get SLIGHTLY different rewards. For us it’s seeing our musically gifted son rock out on the drums after only having three lessons or seeing our daughter, the nurturer and caregiver, patch up a kid with a skinned knee or when they just randomly come up to you and THANK YOU for caring enough to discipline them (that’s always shocked us). The one that warms our heart the most is during prayer request times at church when you see tears in their eyes as they ask for prayer for a friend. It’s those times when you see your children be truly unselfish and you know that somehow, sometime, somewhere you did something right and man, if only you could duplicate it the other 99.9% of the time you know you would be raising the best children the world has ever seen! But that 0.1% of the time gives you hope and reassurance that your children will be truly wonderful when they leave your care and strike out on their own as adults. It makes it all worth it…..So far at least….I may need to get back to you when they are teenagers. But my plan thus far is to keep them in total isolation and hope and pray they come out of their teenage years as functioning adults….Just joking….but oh, what a fanciful thought!
    Hang in there…it gets better…LOL

  309. Good for you! When friends with little ones ask me for advice, I simply say, “learn quickly how to forgive yourself and know that when you feel like throwing your screaming children out the window, you’re not alone.” I know it feels never ending to you now, but you will get a small reprieve in a few years…just long enough to mentally prepare for the teen years. I have 2 teenagers and a 7 year old and let me tell you, I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted on a regular basis.

  310. thank you sooo much… while reading your great article I cried and laughed and I cried and laughed… and my familly looked at me as if I was completely crazy… I have two kids (6 and 2) and I usually work from home, preparing university lessons (I teach french and english)… and the bit abour the pandry is soooo true… as well as the one about drinking to death… :)
    Thank you – thank you – thank you :)

  311. I also have 3 under 5 & u have amazingly crafted my world in such short amount of words – powerful words that really do make me feel better and not alone in this journey. Thank you.

  312. I have one child who is 5 and I travel for work a lot. I only ever see him on the weekends. Every Monday night when I’m in my hotel room alone I always think about how much more rewarding my life would be if I was at home with my wife and my son.

  313. Seriously… the best post I’ve read since my son was born almost 3 years ago. What a blessing you have been to me tonight. Some times my wife and I just feel like failures… This was very restoring.

  314. I just found you thru’ a link on FaceBook, and I am so glad I did. Thank you so much for saying these things out loud. It’s so comforting (in a warped sort of way) to know I’m not the only one thinking them! I’m a pastor’s wife, so I always feel extra pressure to have perfect kids and be the perfect wife and mother. And of course I fail miserably at all of those. But it’s kinda nice to know I’m not the only one who is failing. See what I mean? That’s kinda warped, right? Anyway, thanks for sharing and making me cry at my computer screen late at night after everyone has gone to bed. Somehow, it was a good moment. Ha! I’ve subscribed and I’m sure my hubby will as well! :)

  315. Wow! That brought back memories. I have 3 daughters now grown, including a set of twins. I ran away for a weekend when they were 4 and 2. I went home early as missed them. Tired? I am still tired :).
    We had overload without the Internet – tv, newspapers, psychologists giving information to career women, books, magazines / and of course our mothers, who had stayed home with the children. We constantly felt like failures. Then they became teenagers, and being past stressed out, laughing was our only escape.
    And then they did move out. The party was planned. What we had longed for. But… There were tears… It’s a trick ;) However, grandchildren have made up for it.

  316. I agree with your post. I would also point out to other parents that saying “They grow up so fast” is insensitive in the fact that some of our children, like mine, will never grow up. That phrase is just a reminder that our time with our children is more limited than everyone else’s. We are also tired and that exhaustion will not stop until our children are deceased. I can’t stand that phrase. Many thanks for “saying it out loud.” Be well.

    M
    Meghan recently posted…UnfairMy Profile

  317. Julia’s Math March 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I LOVE YOU. THANK YOU. XO.

  318. My children are ‘older’ now at 13, 9 and 6. The complete and utter exhaustion is, thankfully, over. I’ve definitely been there, shoot, still get there for different reasons. The 6 and 9 year old boys are going to bed an hour early tonight for their inability to stop bickering and my own inability to keep listening to it. No one is perfect, whether you’re trying to be a parent or something completely different. We all fail in some way, big or small, every single day. Then we move on and try again. There’s nothing wrong with that. And there’s nothing wrong with our children witnessing that. They need to know life is full of challenges and the important part is to keep trying when you fail. My kids tend to get frustrated playing games or video games if they don’t do well, they can get angry. I tell them all the time, if you can’t handle it, shut it off and walk away, take a break. We all need to do the same thing. Take a quick break, even if that means locking yourself in the bathroom for 10 minutes, to breath and recharge.

  319. I am a stay at home Mom of 2 boys, ages 2 and 3, and number 3 will be here in july. This is just what I needed to hear today. No matter how imperfect I feel, I am the perfect mom for them.

  320. I am a 54 year old Grandmother of one 3 year old boy. I had two children and I can assure that they will grow up fast, but not as fast as you want the to, they will drive you stark raving mad! Other parents will act like it is so easy and that no one in the world ever had children before them. They are full of crap and they just can’t admit what the rest of the intelligent world knows. You can put them in a paper bag and shake them up, but you have no control over who they are. Take time for yourselves and do not ever feel guilty that you did, when the grow and say sorry dad I can’t do that right now you understand. Sorry if I was ranting, I babysat last night, had very little sleep and now I am drinking a glass of wine. Oh and by the way it is quiet!!! Loved you blog and enjoy your life, with and without the wonderful children!

  321. Thank you thank you THANK YOU!! I needed this today. Thank you for keeping it real.

  322. This article brings back alot of memories. We had 4 children in 16 years, and I remember the days of being so bone tired you don’t think you can lift a fork. The days seemed endless, and the tasks unlimited, and after while you think you may want to just disappear. But, as they say, “this too shall pass”. Keep your chin up, and realize that you are doing the best you can, and enjoy the good times, tolerate the bad times, & give those little people nice long naps (mainly so you can enjoy some down time)–yes, these years did go quickly–looking back at them….When the kids were little I wanted to strangle anyone that gave me that little piece of advice. We all have challenging “seasons” in our lives, when we are young–little kids, middle-age–teenagers, and old age–our bodies wear out…So, meet life’s challenges with humor, it will all work out in the end!!

  323. I just read your blog…..and wept. My husband was deployed for 8.5 months and just came home mid March and I could have read this a hundred times over to remind myself that I was still doing a good job even if it wasn’t perfect (in my head perfect that is). Even with him home now I will continue to read this to myself to help battle the self-doubt that seeps in the middle of the night when I can breathe and think again without the pressures and demands of our two little girls. I will be sharing this on my FB page and anywhere else I can think off because you summed up a message that we all need to remember.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  324. Dude. Husband, pastor, teacher, business owner, and father of 3 boys under 5. Feelin you.

  325. Thank you so much for writing this, It’s very refreshing to read, and comforting to know that I’m probably not one step away from the Social Services beating down my door but just a “normal” parent. As a recently separated mum of 5 under 7s (including a 3 month old) and a mum who, until last April worked full time I sometimes feel like I’m gonna lose it and never get it back…”it ” being my sanity. This stay at home parent malarkey is H.A.R.D. Often I go to bed chastising myself for being too irate or grumpy with them. Or feeling terrible for willing the 2 hours peace between their bedtime and mine to come quicker. But there is only so much whining and nagging and fighting one can hear of a day….they are not even bad kids really. Everyday I tell myself that this day I won’t yell, berate, busy myself with chores etc and inevitably, everyday I fail. I can now see that essentially I’m just too hard on myself and should give myself a break and if I do that I will probably find life a lot easier…..so, cheers again!!

  326. Oh my gosh!!!!! You must be my twin! I have 3 kids under 5 too (twins boy/girl age 4 and a 2 year old boy) not to forget a stepson that’s almost 11… I sm do grateful for the fruend that sent this to me along with you who wrote this! Thank you SOOOOO SOOOOOO much!!!!!!!! I am going to print this out and put it on my wall! I need to see that every day. Thank you….thank you thank you!!!

  327. Well, I am a 62 year old grandmother of 3 now, 2 four year old boys and 1 two year old girl. I raised 3 children of my own and yes there were difficult times back then raising them, but oh how I miss it all and wish I could do it all again. An empty quiet house makes me tear up on some days. I stay as busy as I possibly can and keep noise going in the house of some form, either music or TV or something. The thing that I see with my own grandchildren is that the mother’s and fathers never have any sort of discipline with the children. If a child wants to scream his head off because his plate doesn’t look the way he wants it should be told, Well, sorry you don’t like it but this is how it is going to be. If you don’t like it go to your room and scream because it isn’t going to be changed. The parents need to say no. My own grandchildren come to my house and yell NO at me when they don’t get what they want and I just say you are not suppose to speak to adults that way, it is disrespectful and you won’t be getting what you want here. Children want rules whether you think they do or not. You can’t let them control your life. You are the adult here! But, yes they do grow up very fast and I do miss those days everyday.

  328. Margaret-Ann McKee March 29, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Thank you for this post. I have a 10 year old and 4 year old, and there are definetly days that I’m driven to drink, yell and run for the hills :) I appreciate your honesty and frankness! I needed it today!

  329. Oh my gosh, I LOVE this post! Thank you!! I have been having those trying times myself and been feeling very guilty about my wishes (i.e. I wish is was bed time already!) So nice to hear that I am not alone or a terrible mom!

  330. People who say, “Enjoy every moment. It goes by way too fast, ” are absolutely right, and well-meaning, but usually pretty far removed from the past relentlessness that is everyday life with small children. Their kids have grown up, they miss them and they look back with rose-colored glasses. It is so true that – “The days just drag, but the years fly by.” I know exactly what I am talking about, because I have a unique perspective; with kids ages 1, 3, and almost 27 (and 3 grandkids under 5). I used to be the one in the rose-colored glasses looking back. Now I am trying to just hang in there til bedtime, some days. Thank you for writing this. It made a ton of sense to me and I needed to hear it!

  331. I absolutely needed this! I luv it! Made me tear up! :)

  332. Just reposted this on Facebook.com/mommylcsw for my readers to enjoy too!
    Rachael recently posted…Wednesdays in the Word: My Knight in Shining ArmorMy Profile

  333. Well said. There are few easy days with three under 5. Glad to hear I’m not the only one who yells and wishes he was back at work sometimes. If you need to hear the tale of a kindred soul, you can read about my similar experience at daddyganics.com.

  334. I am someone who has been guilty of saying “enjoy them while they are young.” First, it doesn’t mean to literally enjoy cleaning up vomit or disciplining temper tantrums or sleep deprivation. No one enjoys those things, of course. I say it because I didn’t enjoy or appreciate my young children like I should have. I wallowed and complained too much about the struggles of being so bone tired and feeling like I was ruining my kids’ lives. Of course, there were beautiful, sweet moments, but I didn’t savor them like I should have. And now my children are adults and those days are over. So, I guess what I mean when I say “enjoy them while they are young” is “this is a SEASON in your life; a season that is over so, so quickly.” Yes, it is a difficult season. It is a physically demanding season. But parenting changes as the children get older. It does get less physically demanding, but in its place it becomes more emotionally exhausting. There was a time in my children’s life when I could fix any problem with a band-aid and a kiss on the “boo-boo”. A five-year-old temper tantrum is a walk in the park compared to your 16-year-old daughter stealing a car and then flipping it on a back highway. And people told me that same thing when my kids were little, and I didn’t consider it good advice either, but it actually was, and I wish I had heeded it.

    • Sorry, but no parent needs the constant reminder that children grow up fast. We KNOW that. I’m one of the blessed few who was not exhausted every moment of my daughter’s early childhood, who has the good fortune of having a near-perfect child, who is always well-behaved, polite, and still wants nothing more than to please me. However, I was also abandoned by her father when she was a baby, and was unsure whether I would ever get the chance to have another child. The last thing I needed was to be told how soon that precious time would be over. How depressing! As if I’m not already in a panic, trying to savor every moment until she grows up and moves out! “Enjoy them now, they grow up fast,” falls under the category of unsolicited advice, and is never welcome. You never know what someone is going through — infertility, death of a spouse, illness — so stop giving people advice. If you see a parent having a difficult time with unruly children, the best thing to do is to smile in an understanding way and find something nice to say about one of the kids. We need to be uplifted, not depressed.

    • Well said, Lori.

    • Lori,
      Thanks again for this awesome reminder to enjoy our kids while they are still under our roof! I am trying to heed this advice NOW. Thanks for sharing:)
      Alison Wood recently posted…Teaching Kids To Be PeacemakersMy Profile

  335. I totally just did that. A friend of mine told me I was a good mom. And I sobbed all over her shoes. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone :).

  336. I do not honestly know how my parents did it to this day and the older I get the harder it is to fathom. 3 kids to raise and put through college, weekend camping trips, summer camping trips, piano lessons, girl scouts, boy scouts, ski bus, the list goes on and on. The older I get the more I love the both of you even if you aren’t with us now.
    best story for my Mom: Keith decides to play postman with hotel stationary goes MIA delivering “mail”, sister (sorry Barbara) bends up car on brick wall, and pressure cooker gasket blows and puts green beans all over the ceiling….ALL ON THE SAME DAY.

  337. Wow, I can’t begin to thank you for this post. I have immediately texted my wife to read it, without delay, as she is currently on the verge of plopping our two kids in front of the TV and hopping in the minivan and heading south…and not stopping.

    I’ve found it to be one of life’s great paradoxes, this experience of parenthood. As you write, the joys one encounters, sometimes at the oddest moments, transcends anything and everything I’ve experienced in any sphere of activity. And on the other hand, nothing else has made me want to dig out my eyes with spoons and lock a three year old out in the cold with rabid raccoons.
    We have a three year old and an eight year old. Oddly enough, I do look at the eight year old, often, and wonder to myself where has the time gone! And when I look back at his young years, when he was three, it is mostly rosy memories and glowing stories. If I spend a moment peeking behind the ‘best of highlight reel’ memories, however, I remember all of the times I wanted to lock HIM out with the Racoons when he was three.
    I feel it is VITAL that we as parents admit that at times parenting just really really truly and honestly sucks a bag of dicks. (This is why I think Louis C.K is the greatest comic alive…no comedian has ever been as honest and straight forward about parenting as he has). I work, and my wife stays at home. Our younger one is in such a terrorist phase right now, that I look forward to coming home after a hard days work every day only to have to talk my wife down from the ledge, and spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to get our little one convinced that sleep is NOT in fact the most evil thing which has ever been conceived of my mankind.

    So, again, thank you so much for voicing what so many of us are afraid to admit! Cheers

  338. Your eldest son will turn 7 or 8 and he will no longer be a little boy anymore. He will have other interests beside you and it will HURT. You will realize he grew up you did not even realize it! Mom of three boys here, too. It happened to me! I had my third way later, so I am enjoying him now with the wisdom of raising the other two behind me.

  339. Great piece. May kids are older now (18 and 16) but I can still remember giving myself time outs, locked in the bathroom, a few times when they were toddlers and I had reached the breaking point!

  340. Jennifer Rusch March 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    My husband and I have three boys, ages 5 and under. One is named Isaac. One is a perfectionist about lining up his m&m’s in a perfectly straight line, color coded, and stacked from lowest to greatest quantities. One is a freakin’ genius, and I know he’ll be smarter than me in another twelve seconds or so. — In other words, I thought I was reading a secret blog my husband was writing without my knowledge. — Thank you for writing what we have been thinking, feeling, and regretting. It’s good to know we’re not alone. I’d suggest you and your wife should get together with us sometime, because we clearly have a lot in common, but let’s be real…. we’re all too tired for such nonsense.

  341. I didn’t read the comments of others so someone may have recommended this to you already, but the child who needs things just so may need to be tested for autism. this is a very significant sign that a child may be autistic. i did not have my son diagnosed til age 10,but since i know now the cause, its easier to find solutions and work with his way of thinking. Just my thoughts as the mother of 4 one of whom has always had to have it just so and acts out loudly and sometime physically when its not

    • I second what Nichole said about testing for autistic spectrum. I have 4 kids and one is on the autistic spectrum and as I read your original post about your son needing things just so, it brought back very distinct memories.

    • Or maybe he’s just gifted. I teach gifted kids, and most of them are perfectionists.

    • Yeesh, you people and your autism labels! Can’t a kid just be particular without being dragged into the counselors office testing and prescriptions?! I was like that as a child…in the 80s and 90s they put us in gifted and talented programs.

  342. Love the original post and the comments. When my daughter was young, she was adorable but QUITE the handful, and I can remember gritting my teeth at all the “they grow up so fast” comments. Only one person seemed to grasp what I was going through. Once during one of my endless walks around the block with a screaming infant, an elderly neighbor remarked sympathetically: “My, that’s a tough one. I guess you can see why some mothers end up dunking their children’s heads in the toilet!” We had a good laugh together, and it really helped. It also made me realize that putting a wailing baby in the crib, shutting the door and sitting down with a book is sometimes the best course of action.

  343. i am a single mom of four, and we managed not to kill each other while we were growing up. the Wild Bunch got me a mother’s day card one year that had this really sweet flowery picture on the front and “there’s something we all want to say”, then on the inside was picture of a woman with a suitcase…”thanks for not running away.” I’m pretty glad that I didn’t, since they have given me such cute grandkids!

  344. Wow. Thank you for writing this. Seriously

  345. Thank you, thank you, thank you a million times. I have felt like a horrible mother every day because I took a year off from working to spend time with my daughter and have felt like I’m failing her and myself. I’ve felt like an awful mother, because even though I would gladly take on every misery for my daughter, there are times when I have wished that i could just go back to my old, self involved, guilt free, responsibility-less life for just a day. To be able to go out to a nice restaurant with my husband for dinner and actually hold a conversation and his hand, instead of one of us running after a toddler and doling out cheerios while the other wolfs down their meal. For wanting to go back to work. And even though I thank God every single day for my beautiful, healthy daughter especially since we unexpectedly got pregnant with her a month after suffering a miscarriage, I have felt like there was something wrong with me for sometimes just lying about needing to go #2 so my husband can watch her while I flip through a Readers Digest in the bathroom for 10 minutes.
    So thank you!

  346. Thank you for this post. I think it is really important to speak out and counteract the current trend toward “perfectly-perfect” parenting. We all do the best we can, usually in far from ideal circumstances, and we all screw up or do what we have to to survive the day. Of course we want the best for our children, but we can’t always provide it perfectly because we aren’t perfect.

    Thanks for this, it really strikes a chord with this parent of (just one!) two-year-old.
    Gwen recently posted…A-OKMy Profile

  347. I used to ask my older siblings how to deal with raucous unruly children, and what they did — my sisters always, without fail would say, “Oh you just need to love them.” What??!! Of course I love them! Otherwise they’d have been sitting on the side of the highway with a sign that reads “free to a good home with someone who doesn’t mind continual tantrums, constant bickering & i-told-you-so’s, not to mention the persistent need to wake up the baby just as soon as Mom has gotten her to sleep!” I finally decided that they don’t have any answers either to “how do I get them to behave” but it sure would have been nice if they could have come right out and said so.
    You might want to hold yours under the water, I just want to gag mine.
    I found a link to your post yesterday, several hours after a particularly trying episode of 4-just-turned-5 year old high-pitched continual tantrums — oh Yes!! So nice to see in black & white that I’m far from the only parent whose children act like this!! ;) I skip the chocolate though…

  348. As the stay-at-home mom of a sixteen-year-old, three-year-old, and one-year-old, let me just say THANK YOU!!! It’s encouraging to know someone gets it, really, really gets it.

  349. Steve, just wanted to thank you for this great post. I feel your pain. I had 3 boys in 4 years. They are now about to be 6, 7.5, and 9. I am finally glimpsing the “sweet spot” I’ve heard about for years. This week, I hardly yelled at all, and actually hugged and thanked them for great behavior more than once. It was amazing. Truly though, I felt like I was in either the Twilight Zone or the Bizarro World.

  350. Wow thanks for this. I have 3 kids under the ager of 2 1/2-yeap twins and an 8 month old… There are days i just think my god what was i thinking? I have even asked God from time to time.. ” are you sure you got the right brooke on earth to have twins?” … being a twin myself you would think that would help…. NO IT DOES NOT!!!….

    my children were named specifically and sadly on of their names means .. THE SHOUTER…. and dear baby Jesus he lives up to his name everyday!!!!!!

  351. Good advice…and so funny. I really enjoyed reading it. I think as a parent, love covers a multitude of mistakes. ;) I remember mom calling us hellions and cussing at us from time to time in her frustration, but it never seemed to bother us. There was never a mom who lavished so much love and attention on her kids as mine. Poor mom, we were such brats sometimes! My sister and i did grow up to be responsible, productive members of society so its all good (I think so, anyways) ;)

  352. I love this post because it is so true and especially true for stay at home parents. Sometimes you just want to throw your hands up and then go hide, even if only for 10 minutes. You can love and enjoy your kids and still need a break and be frustrated with them.

  353. Your post came at a time when I really needed those words. I have 4, 3 of them are 3 and under. Surviving the full moon is a major milestone EVERY month for me. I no longer have family and friends close by, we moved 1200 miles away, so I do not get as much of a break as I am accustomed to having. Waking up with a mind full of regret and doubt, and then reading your words – I am literally in tears. Thank you for showing me that we are not alone. I think we put the most pressure on ourselves assuming the worst about what others might think instead of realizing we are not alone and standing tall with each other. I commend you for standing strong and thank you , again, for showing us all that we are FAR from alone!

  354. This is a glorious post. Thank you very much for sharing. :)

  355. Does this really need to be limited to parents of small children? How about school-aged, pre teen, and hormonal teenage children, too? Thank you for this.

  356. I’ve read several articles like yours. I am one of the ones who would stop you and say those things. You see, I am 63 years old and, no, you DON’T know how fast time flies. You won’t until you are 63 and look at old pictures and remember mostly the good times. We aren’t saying that you have to be perfect or not get frustrated or enjoy the difficult times…we see life through eyes that saw our own life with children as you do. We were no different. So, please don’t be offended. Just wait. Those words are said with love, longing and understanding and are not meant to criticize or make light of how hard parenting is. But you’ll only understand when you are in the winter of your years and pick up a picture of one of your boys who is now a father himself and say “where did the time go.” Blessings.

    • Amen, Jan, and thank you for your kind words.

    • It doesn’t matter how you intend the words. They’re still rude. Let people discover for themselves how fast time flies. We’re only rolling our eyes at you, anyway, so why say it?

    • =) My mom says the same to me all the time when I am complaining about these monsters- trust me its crazy! I am single mom and I work full time as a kindergarten teacher. I am raising my brothers 2 children (8 & 3) along with my 8 1/2 year old hockey player/ lacrosse player/ baseball player! Every once in a while when they are being good and not hitting each other with some toy, or srceaming at each other- I realize they do love each other and so I smile and try to remember this for the days that are challenging. The other night we watched a video of my son having his first bath the day he came home from the hospital & all I could think was… Wow! Where did the time go?!?! 8 1/2 years all ready and another 8 and he will be driving- ugh! This is MY baby and no matter how bad it gets- (how much yelling- throwing toys- hitting siblings- talking back- not listening- etc) and no matter how many gates I put up I still love him. And I know I will miss these days no matter how “bad” they are. In the meantime I will yell and send them to their rooms as much as I have to!

    • I am sure that the author in no way meant to pass any sort of judgment on those who offer the advice, “enjoy it, they grow up so fast.” We realize that these words are almost always meant with nothing but goodwill, and are usually coming from a perspective which we have yet to reach.

      What makes us react in such a way to the well-meaning sentiments, though, are the thousands of other messages we receive every day, that tell us that if we are not absolutely filled with joy and delight and cherishing every single moment of our children’s youth, we are failing. It’s messages like that which poison our mindsets to the point where we find it impossible to step back and enjoy those moments you’re talking about.

      I agree, these days are precious, and they are to be cherished. A parent who realizes that they are also frustrating, and exhausting, and sometimes downright infuriating, is a parent who is freed from the burden of guilt which can press us down so far that we can’t enjoy *any* part of our children’s youth through that filter of anxiety, depression, and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy.

      We appreciate gentle, kind reminders from our elders to take a deep breath and enjoy our little ones. We’re in a better place to appreciate those reminders when we don’t feel like failures for the moments when we’re too overwhelmed to do so.

      Those who raised children in previous generations were not subjected to the onslaught of judgment that modern parents are. We turn to the Internet for advice and support, and what we find are heavily-edited accounts of parents who are pretending to “have it all” and “love every minute of it.” It is discouraging, to say the least. My grandmother, when she became frustrated and overwhelmed, would walk next door and have coffee with another mother her age who commisserated, who knew that she couldn’t get away with pretending to be perfect Mary Sunshine because my grandmother heard her yelling at her brood twice a day. Ms. Anonymous MommyBlogger can stand in a position of false superiority because her readers don’t see enough of her life to call BS. It’s a different world, with a different set of challenges on top of the ones that have been there since the beginning of the species.

      That being said, we always appreciate advice—tempered with compassion and love.

  357. Amazing….every parent should read this!!! My kids are just about grown now 15 and 19 but oh boy can I remember days when being a mother and step mother were not as joyous as people would like to make it seem!! I was raising 6 kids then. Tell ya what though….I would trade one single second of the yelling, fighting, stressful, now way in heck I can get this all done moment!! There was a time I was so frustrated I smacked all 3 of my girls (9, 10 and 11 at the time) upside the head with a pillow and walked out. I didn’t know what else to do they just wouldn’t stop fighting!! All I know is NOW I know I enjoyed every minute and when they have children of their own they will realize how lucky they are that they made it without being held under the water!! Lol love it!!!!

  358. Thank you for this post. The timing could not have been better. Yesterday I felt like an absolute failure. I have two boys under two. Yesterday afternoon my 23 month old was stepping on my 8 month old at the playground. He didn’t mean to. Or maybe he did. It doesn’t matter. I yelled GO AWAY at him, which was the worst thing I have ever said to him in his short life. Today I apologized a million times and felt so horrible. I’ve been beating myself up all day and overcompensating, ie, MAMA LOVES YOU FOREVER AND ALWAYS MY HONEY BUNNY PIE..I say loudly as I feed him the raisins and puffs he demanded during an otherwise sensible dinner. And tonight I came across your post. Thank you for letting me feel human again.

    • SadMama, you just brought tears to my eyes. I’ve done similarly so many times. We need to stop beating ourselves up and remember that the Lord knows we are frail – dust really – and that tomorrow can and will be better. Gonna go kiss MY little honey bunnies sleeping heads now. Too much yelling today. :( But God is forgiving and good.

    • So glad it hit you right where you were. Learning to say sorry to our kids, hug them, and then put down the club of shame (that we’re hitting ourselves with) is something that we’re all hopefully learning to do!

  359. I LOVED THIS! I am an empty nester now, but I DO remember those days! I used to tell the kids, “Get your coats. We’re going out.” I knew I wouldn’t abuse them in public, but I was not so sure what would happen if we were all at home together!

  360. Thank you.. (exhausted mother)

  361. This post shines a light on how I am…because I’m not reacting with the YES! SOMEONE FINALLY SAID IT! attitude. I hold myself to those ridiculous ideals. I am probably that mom whose kid eats the Brussels sprouts (like, tonight at dinner, for serious). Of course, I yell, like today, when he took his hand out of his diaper with poop on it for the second time this week. But I used to be at this stage. And I’m sure I will be in it again. Maybe in an hour; maybe in a year. Right now, though…I suppose I’m just more optimistic. I have actually started looking my kids in the eyes and trying to freeze time when they say goodbye before going somewhere with Daddy and I’m left home alone. I really feel cheek and nose against my lips when I kiss them goodnight. And trust me, I’m exhausted. Full-time work-from-home mom with 2 boys under 3, one’s teething, the other’s potty training, I’m up every day at 5am and can’t recall the last time I slept through the night — but you’re right, we all get by. I guess it’s just in our own way. I think I’m just grasping to my perfectionist tendencies tonight. Like I said — this post is shining a light on how I am. Not who I am, but how I am. Wondering where I can ease up so that I can buckle down elsewhere.
    MyPeaceOfFood recently posted…Foods with hidden sugarsMy Profile

  362. I loved this post!
    This past year has been a struggle. (gotta love 3-4 year olds. Ugh)
    Gotta admit that as an adoptive mom, I sometimes wonder if God never planned for me to be a mom. Maybe He knew it was too much for me to handle. Then I hug my son, and the world feels so right, that I know God planned this all along.

  363. Thanks, I needed this. I have 3 boys aged 5 and under, with a 3 yr old girl (who has a 13 year old’s attitude :P) thrown into the mix. There are definitely times I feel like a horrible parent because I can’t get it all together!
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  364. I have 2 children ages 27 and 5 yes the time flies and I find myself wanting to squish them back to babies ….but everyday there is something wonderful….my favorite 2 sayings are I have one nerve left and your jumping on it and if u don’t stop I am gonna call the paper and take out a free to good home add…toys included….lol

  365. I have 6 kids, ages 18 months to 16 years old, and we are contemplating having another. My first 4 were 2 years apart, and my husband would come home to me in tears. My 2nd child was extremely difficult for me to deal with. She got into EVERYTHING, and NEVER stopped. I would hug her and tell her I loved her in the hopes that someday it would be true. She’s now 14, and everyone LOVES her. No one believes me that she used to be so hard to handle. Consistency is key. Whether it’s in discipline, or in loving them, be consistent. And a word of advice for anyone contemplating a big family: have several now and then several later. lol There is an almost 7 year gap between my 4th and 5th, and it has changed my world! Having littles is SO much easier with teenagers in the house. They are so helpful, and I can enjoy them all so much more. Plus, there is a new level of energy and life that a baby brings when kids start getting older. We never realized how bored we were before. haha Don’t get me wrong: my kids still don’t eat very healthy, I still fight for “me time”, and I definitely look forward to them all going to bed. And a lot of days my teenagers make me wish they were toddlers again. Teenagers are HARD! But we have so much more fun now, and there is a lot more laughter. We just have to keep on keepin’ on!
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  366. I really needed this today. Thank you! My husband and I struggled for years to have our family, too, so I can emphathize with the tough journey it is to get our children here. Now that they are here, I often feel guilty when I have a hard day. My MIL reminds me, “Remember, this is what you wanted!” Thank you for understanding that while we are grateful for our children, it doesn’t mean it’s easy or that we can’t have a hard day and wish for a quiet beach somewhere. :)

  367. I’m silently screaming with laughter right now (because I don’t want to wake up the baby and end one one the best periods of the day: nap-time. It keeps me sane.) Laughter is good like medicine so I’m bookmarking this post for the days I need to read it again. Thank you!!!
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  368. Thank you for this. All of this. Just thank you so much <3

  369. I have two boys. The oldest will be 4 years on a couple months, the other one is 1.5 years old. I can absolutely relate to the frustrations that come with parenthood. When someone is complaining about their kids, I try to affirm their feelings, share similar experiences, and then try and say something positive like “they are worth it”. I think this is a good balance.

    While I understand the frustrations. I also do not want to start making excuses for my poor parenting choices. No parent is perfect. However, we do need to be striving for perfection and not get stagnant in our growth and development as people and parents.

    Yes, I have those moments where I want to kill my children. I would never actually do it. But at the end of the day, when they are peacefully sleeping I remember how much I love them and I try and think about what I did wrong in such-and-such situation and how I can improve the next day.

  370. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  371. I have five kids. 6, 4, and triplets that are almost two. Why so many? After fertility problems, you take what you get and 99.9% of the time, it’s simply amazing. However, that .1% feels like 99.9% sometimes…biting, potty training, ack! This was an article worth keeping! Thanks :)

  372. I goddamn love you for saying this.
    Had my kids less than 2 years apart, due to fertility issues and despite fertility issues. It is a see-saw of my brain imploding with WILL I MAKE IT TIL TOMORROW and OMG I Could Eat Them With a Spoon. This is dizzying. And the people who talk shit about other parents who don’t seem as pulled together as they are? They are jerk faces who prey on weakened self-esteem, and must not be tolerated.
    Thank you for saying this.
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  373. I feel this way myself, and I don’t feel guilty about it but still, it’s nice to see another parent validate my annoyance.
    Suburban Snapshots recently posted…It’s Okay to Ignore Your Children and Read ThisMy Profile

  374. Man, I’ve got 4 under 5 and this is so reassuring. Thank you so much for saying it all. I would say that you have no idea how refreshing it is, but you actually know EXACTLY how refreshing it is.
    Keep your chin up, we’ll survive! and thanks again!

  375. I would say for people not to say those things to parents with children of ANY age. I had people telling me that when my first was an infant and wasn’t sleeping through the night and I got, “Just wait till they’re 2″ (or 3 or teenagers, depending on parent).

    This did NOT help me at all and it made me feel horrid and insecure, I thought “Oh my gosh, if I can’t even handle it now and be enjoying everything, etc, etc; how am I EVER going to survive all the rest?”

    Twelve years later- one thing I know- at *every* stage there are some things that are “easy” and some things that are really difficult. Babies- lack of sleep, toddlers and preschoolers- running all over the place, pre-teens and teens- the mouth (just *examples*- everyone’s journey of parenting is different).

    The only pieces of advice I give new parents are:
    1) NEVER let anyone tell you that you should always enjoy it or that you have it “easy” at the moment.

    2) Trust your gut about your child. Ask for input, but trust your gut- you really do know your child(ren) best.

    I wish that we (especially women- just from my experience) were more supportive of our journeys and trying to figure out this parenting thing and do the best that we can. What works for me and my family may or may not work for you and yours. Because…. *GASP* I am not you, and my children are not your children, and my situation in life is not the same as yours. Most of the time different styles are just that, there isn’t a way that is “better” . So… instead of judging ourselves and others for not making the same choices, why don’t we support one another?

  376. Paula Bernhardt March 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Amen to Robyn above…she’s right on! We homeschooled before it was very popular and my eldest is a very strong-willed (read: STUBBORNEST KID YOU’VE EVER MET) young man. One day in his 7th grade year, he said to me (I have NO recall of the issue!), “Make me.” I told one of my daughters standing nearby to open the back door. I grabbed the young man by the shoulder and the seat of his – um, seat, bodily threw him out the door, across the deck, and off the edge of the deck, only about a foot above ground – into a foot of snow. He was wearing only his skivvies, which makes me wonder if I had ever-so-politely asked him to get dressed that morning.
    We had peace for several days after that. ;-)
    That young man is now a wonderful daddy to my two oldest grandkids, a terrific husband, and, at 29, the oldest recruit in his platoon in Army basic training – where, three weeks in, has already passed all of his fitness requirements for basic AND advanced training. His stubbornness has stood him in good stead many times.
    Fine parents get frustrated. If you/we didn’t, I’d suspect you/we didn’t care enough. Difficult children, lovingly taught, often turn out to be the best citizens, the most motivated, the ones with the highest visions, the ones who will actually move this broken world toward wholeness and healing and God. KEEP ON KEEPING ON.
    And yes, it goes unbelieveably fast. I wish I could hug every young mom or dad out there and just say, “You’re doing a great job. Keep it up.”

  377. I loved your post! Even as I was scrolling through some of the comments I am telling my 4 year-old to “stop it,” as he found a yard stick and thinks it’s a bat, then is trying to jump off a step stool (on a day he was sent home sick from preschool). I have 3 children, my youngest is the one I introduce as: “he’s 4, let’s see if I let him make it to 5! It may be either him or me!” My older 2 are grade school age with the oldest just hitting the preteen years- end of one era, beginning of another.
    I love the honesty of your post. I think we don’t hear enough of the real story of parenting- it’s not all picnics, pretty pictures and kids who sit on time out when they are told sternly to do so. It’s the best job and it’s the hardest job!

  378. Thanks for posting such an honest and much-needed reminder. I needed to read this today. :-)

  379. Claire Potterton March 27, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I loved this piece…..and 9 months ago I identified with every word of it. I have five children, 11, 9, 9, 7 and 4, two of which are registered disabled, and am now a single parent. Not that I recommend divorce as a way of dealing with young children, but in my situation, the removal of the person that caused 99% of the household stress has worked wonders. I’m calmer, the kids are calmer, and as a result, when they do get a little crazy I deal with it so much better. Family time is now fun, with no worrying about noise levels or interrupting tv programs, or making a mess! I’m loving it!!!

  380. Absolutely spot on post! Thank you :)

  381. Thanks, I needed that this morning (twin three-year-old girls). And I have one that demands perfection, from socks to casadillas…

  382. You gave me a glimmer of hope and made this day better.

  383. I think this is spot-on. I’ve got a 2.5 year old who is going through treatment for Leukemia (and doing great). We’ve had so many moments where we were afraid we would lose her, and it’s really helped to focus us in on how special she is to us, and how empty our home would be without her. With that said, there are still times where her mom and I need to trade off, and support each other as we go through troubling days where she acts like a 2.5 year old. Thanks for sharing this message.
    Jude Boudreaux recently posted…Save for Retirement Before Saving for a Child’s College EducationMy Profile

  384. Perfect. Thank you for this!!

  385. This is fantastic! After the birth of our first child, we struggled with miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility for 15 years. We were finally able to have twins. It is amazing how there are days when the longing for the pitter patter of little feet becomes a distant memory and now we pray for silence from them. Just for a minute. Just to breathe.
    This was a fun read. Thanks:)

  386. It’s only 10 in the morning, my kids are on spring break and yes, it’s true– I am already looking forward to their bedtime. This article made me cry. Thank you for making me feel normal and that I don’t have to be supermom and that my kids won’t turn out to be criminals because of my yelling at them (I have thought that before). Thanks!

  387. Great post…thanks for sharing!

  388. I think I saw this shared on facebook and had to read – thanks for voicing what a lot of us fear: that we’re failing…but, really, we aren’t. thank you, thank you.

  389. I think I saw this shared on facebook and had to read – thanks for voicing what a lot of us fear: that we’re failing…but, really, we aren’t. thank you, thank you.

  390. I am one of those people that has always been really gifted in taking care of children. I grew up a caretaker, started babysitting at a young age, and always had jobs where I worked with children of all ages. All that experience, all that love and desire to have my own. I now have 3 ( 8 & 5 years and a 7 month old). I LOVE that you use the phrase “bone tired”, because that is exactly how I feel every night and every morning. Thanks for the article. I am reading it early in the morning, before the morning rush to get to school before the tardy bell. I am still exhausted, but I am at least starting my day feeling a little more normal as I go for the 2nd cup of coffee and begin to start the breakfast routine.

  391. I had a house with a pantry and I’d go in there and eat cake while I listened to them saying “where’s Mummy?” My husband has described parenting young children as a “blur” too tired, to cross, and exasperated to come out with anything appropriate to say when you go over the edge.

  392. About the time your youngest turns three, you start to get your life back. It gets better.

  393. I get it, really I do. There are moments that the snuggles of my little boy, the kicks of the baby and imaginative storytelling of my toddler are delights to savor because, yes, it doesn’t last forever. It is just that there are those days where the endless neediness is so wearing that there doesn’t seem to be anything to enjoy and hearing that the days go so fast is a glorious reminder that I will get to move on from this stage at some point. I finally ended up deciding to say in response to this comment that every age has its challenges and joys. That seems to make everybody happy and doesn’t say anything about the ratio of challenge to joy on any particular day. It has the added benefit of being true no matter what the circumstances. Usually I hear this when the kids are being their cheerful selves though and I can appreciate the nostalgia that seeing them brings to people who are in other stages of life. The other moments just generate the ever-old “wow you have your hands full” and I have yet to think of a charitable interpretation of that one.

  394. this is so hilariously funny and adorable at the same time, my two monsters (1 boy and 1 girl) kept asking me “whats soooo funny!!?” and my girl monster loves to peak over my shoulder and read everything that i am reading/tweeting/just staring at. thank you so much for totally reading my mind and putting it into words so beautifully! i dont feel so terrible anymore.

  395. This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

    For you Steve Jobs to be…check out Asperkids and Superflex, he just might be one of them. It sounds very familiar to a little guy in our house. :)

  396. Wow, look at these comments… It’s because everything you wrote is true and it made us laugh. I couldn’t agree more. You go!

  397. Thank you for being the one to say it out loud. I hide in the laundry from mine sometimes. and sometimes miraculously in my absence they work out whatever it was they were fighting about. sometimes they don’t. thank you again.

  398. Thank you for this post, it’s just what I needed today. My 4 boys are 7,6,5 and 3yrs old. My oldest two have ADHD and the 6yr old has an undiagnosed behavior problem. My day with him and the how his brothers feed off his negative energy had me ordering comfort food for dinner and all 4 ready for bed and in their rooms before 7pm. I NEED a vacation, just one night away which is apparently impossible unless its the night you spend in the hospital after a hysterectomy and bladder repair surgery!! Yes that’s the one day in almost 8 years that I spent a night away from all my kids. So while I’m desperately treading water trying to keep from going under, it helps to know someone out there is willing to admit that as much of a blessing it is to have these gifts from God (ours came after fertility issues as well) it is not anywhere near as easy as others make it out to be!

  399. Barbara Minton March 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Is it possible that one of your children might be high functioning autistic. Three of my grandchildren are on the spectrum and you mentioned some of the same characteristics. No offence intended… just a loving mother and grandmother.

  400. Beautifully said – thank you. It’s good to be reminded that we’re all human and we’re all in this together!
    Lauren recently posted…Farm Delivery to Camp Pendleton – Delivery & LocalMy Profile

  401. Working grandma, mom March 26, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Been there, done it. Still doing it with grown kids who want and need my attention and now grand kids to boot. Still working and trying to leave a legacy for the next generation and trying to create adventures and be all that I can. And it’s still exhausting. Might I add, however (and I know you’re thinking, oh, no!) that I don’t envy modern parents. It seems as is instead of microwaves and dishwashers making life easier — the constant need for social interaction, feedback and affirmation via the net and cable TV have added much clutter. The hours cannot be reclaimed while children are, well children. There’s no going back. So while the past generation had to deal with “latch key” kids, this generation will have to wrestle with when do parents put down the cell phone (where they’re checking their twitter, FB and blog feeds) and pick up the casserole dish–versus losing that extra hour which demands stopping at McDonalds, skipping bath time or reading only one chapter before bedtime. Children do grow up fast and yes, those of us who see it can only sometimes look back with regret. We are not saying it to admonish you, dear friend, but to let you know that only you can salvage that extra time. You are the creative one and you will figure it out! Hopefully, better than those of us who came before you did. So rise to the challenge, eat some dark (healthy) chocolate, and remember to feed, bath and read to your children. Us grandparents like to do all that for sure (and most of us did it with you children), but we’d rather skip the essentials and move on to the really cool stuff we might have missed with our children!

  402. I’m sure that I’ve been the well-intentioned person who has said this lots of times. Cringe.

    This post is great – thanks for sharing your thoughts. One aspect that especially resonates with me is the fact that you’ve acknowledged from the outset that parenthood is so hard… even though you waited and hoped for so long. At 34 I’m still hoping to have a family, but that hasn’t happened yet. And I’ve often wondered if this would be a struggle – that if I’ve waited for something so long, I’d better not complain when it finally shows up. I’ve wondered if another friend feels this way, but I’ve never had the courage to ask – her first child died at 8 months in utero. Hearbreaking loss. Several years later she gave birth to a little daughter. After all that time of waiting, she has a living child, and that’s beautiful. It also means that she has a small child who does all the requisite small child things – all the cuteness + all the crazy, exhausting things.

    And I see now that to try to bear that load with the waiting and gratitude always in mind… would be its own kind of overwhelming weight of exhausting responsibility. And who needs that? Not my friend, not me, not anyone. Just do the best you can manage and pray for God to make it better than your hands can do – what else can you do?

    So, if ever I should acquire a family, thanks for the permission to acknowledge that parenting is both awesome and awesomely, painfully hard.

  403. It’s also time to stop saying “they grow up so fast”. One someone has a special needs child, sometimes they stop growing up. My daughter is 24 and will forever be mentally 3. I would love to get beyond Candyland and play-dough, but this is where she is and her level in life.
    I just smile and nod, (if it is said by someone I don’t really know well) but if it’s a friend, I try to help them see a different perspective. It’s not that people are intentionally cruel, they just don’t think about what they’re saying.

  404. I love this!! I have 4 boys, ages 6, 5, 3 & 18 months. I also homeschool and therefore am with them 24 hours a day! The other day my 5 year old asked if he could go upstairs and just be alone for a little while. I told him ‘no’ and when he asked ‘why not’ I told him it was because I was going up there to be alone! I did and it worked wonders for all of us! Thanks for your insight! :)

  405. We adopted! While researching, I read an article by a female pediatrician who also adopted. She would ask her new parents if they felt like throwing their new baby out the window yet. The parents would look at her like how could you suggest such a thing! The doctor would say to them, oh don’t give me that, we’ve all been there, it’s natural! I’m sure I’ve thought it a few times!

  406. Thank you! This was exactly what I needed to read after a weekend filled with sick boys.
    Plain Graces recently posted…Easy Peeping Chick Spring CraftMy Profile

  407. So true. Thank you! I never say that to people because I remember all too well how much I hated hearing that. Enjoyed the blog very much!

  408. I had 2 children…my first born is now with Jesus. She died this past August not yet 35. My son is not yet 33. I remember those years well. I have questioned the decisions I made when they were young as I was a single mom for most of their lives. I use to believe that asking for forgiveness was easier than asking for permission before I did anything questionable. I have since learned that if you need to ask for forgiveness it is because you are human and will make mistakes. Just don’t go to sleep without asking for it if you know you need it. Because once they are gone, it is too late to ask your child to forgive you.

  409. I had 2 children…my first born is now with Jesus. She died this past August not yet 35. My son is not yet 33. I remember those years well. I have questioned the decisions I made when they were young as I was a single mom for most of their lives. I use to believe that asking for forgiveness was easier than asking for permission before I did anything questionable. I have since learned that if you need to ask for forgiveness it is because you are human and will make mistakes. Just don’t go to sleep without asking for it if you know you need it. Because once they are gone, it is too late to ask your child to forgive you.

  410. A friend shared your blog about infertility, and I wandered over to this one as well. VERY good blog! Makes me feel a lot better about the days when I have had my child ask “Why are you so mad Mom?” My response: “Why don’t you listen to me?!” Bah. I love my kids, wouldn’t trade them for the world. Except the days they’re fighting and doing everything they can to get under my skin. Then I’d trade them for a chocolate bar. Thanks for the post!

  411. Please write that infertilty website!!!!! I would give my right and left arm to be as tired as you are. Most parents have NO idea how badly desperately some of us want kids. I know they are tiring but I would do anything to be that tired!! Really truly. Please write that blog post. I would love to hear your perspective this side of the divide.

  412. I have made it a point to speak to every new mother I encounter: If you find parenting gut-wrenchingly, soul-guttingly hard, call me. I know. Sometimes it’s all you need to know you’re not alone……and others have survived!

  413. This made me cry. Love it! Wonderful blog. I have a next-Steve-Jobs child as well, age 3. Many times a day I repeat to myself that it will serve her well one day, and think about all the brilliant and determined minds, that accomplished amazing things, that probably nearly killed their parents as young children. Can you imagine what, say, Einstein was into? Or Edison? I have a feeling these people were not content to take instruction and sit quietly as toddlers and preschoolers….

  414. Reader from Dallas, TX. Great post! I am really enjoying all your blogs but this one especially. I have a two month old, our first, conceived with IVF, so I feel guilty for missing my prenatal life and lifestyle when I know so many still in the trenches of infertility and my own pain from that has certainly not been forgotten. I feel guilty when I long to dress up in that miniskirt that no longer fits my postpartum body and escape into the night to our local bar where all of my free, childless friends are living it up without me. I feel guilty that I dread every night waking up to a crying baby over and over who steals my sleep. I feel guilty when all I want to do is put my baby down so I can shower or eat or go for a walk or go to the store without my ten pound diaper bag. So much guilt, so little self-appreciation. I know I am like most parents but it’s nice to read it here, from someone who is a regular communicator with and a devoted servant to the Lord, that this guilt from these feelings may not be so much from sin but just from the reality that life as a parent is hard. So I won’t always love it and I guess that’s ok right now.

  415. WOW! I’m pretty sure you secretly tapped into my inner thoughts when you wrote every sentence in this post! Nicely written and THANK YOU!

  416. Hahahaha – a wake up call: You_really_think it is going to be better when the kids hit the teen age years…?! Dream on, dream on. *lol*

  417. I have said this many,many,many times to my then 3 small children…..”i will always Love you but today.(or at this moment) ….I just don’t like you very much..please go to your room for a bit”.
    They are all now 31,27,25.
    the 27 year old has 2 girls..one by birth..one by being a stepdad.He now laughes at the funny things i told him as a child but he now knows…..
    i had moments where you want to open the freezer door and just scream into it and then smile as you close it and go about to the next thing.
    Keep some humor to the event….be patient and yes…..time goes much too quickly

  418. Just happened upon this. Great post! And you can go back and read it when the boys are teenagers and you’re feeling whistful!

    Mine are 2 and 6 weeks and I always say I am supremely thankful to have the opportunity to experience each moment. Enjoy each moment? eh. But thankful for it — blissful or challenging — yes!!!\
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  419. This is so true. I am sure every parent has done each of things you mentioned, and you are not a terrible parent if you have. You are a real parent, a real person, who is growing on this journey of parenthood. Thank God for His grace to day by day learn how to be the kind of parent that each of your children need, and thank God for his grace when you fail. I have felt like a failure so many times as a first time mom. And having struggled with getting pregnant, I know all too well the extra pressure we put on ourselves when we just need a break, especially after how badly we wanted our children. And we do want them, every day. We just need to allow ourselves patience and failure along the way, just like our kids are allowed that along their journey to adulthood. :-) Hang in there. You can do it!

  420. Wow. Our children are 16, 14, and 9. I wish someone had said these things to me years ago. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement. Our kids are delightfully dramatic, they constantly make us and each other laugh. Sometimes they still make me want to cry. But it’s these years now when we have one just 2 years from leaving the nest that seem to fly even more.

  421. Thank you for finally saying it. I have 2 boys that are 5 & 7. Neither one of them will go to bed when their supposed to. I spend almost 2 hours a night putting them to bed. I admit not my favorite thing to do. I think parents these days are trying to live up impossible standards.

  422. My kids are grown now, 26 & 23 – and my son and his wife had my first grandchild this week. I’m watching them now, remembering that exhaustion, uncertainty, and bone deep fear that they will do something wrong and their son will never recover. I’ve forwarded them this for a couple of years from now – with a note to my son reminding him that when he was 7years old, on day 20 of a three week Christmas vacation during which it snowed EVERY day and he and his sister spent all 20 days trying to kill each other, I completely lost my shit and told him that if they got in one more fight I was going to stab them both – seven times. (I have no idea why 7 times… But they thought it was funny as hell)…
    Mom and dad – be kind to yourselves.

  423. Thank you.

  424. Thanks for your honesty! I have tears of relief that someone else would admit to this. We also struggled with infertility and then ended up with the blessing of triplets and 5 years later a joyful surprise. i remember all too clearly the days with 3 toddlers. Some day you just have to survive. Not have perfect children,house,meals and marriage. In certain circumstances I do NOW use the statement that they grow up too fast in regards to MY children. Much more often I am urging parents to take it easy. The child will not die if he/she cries for 15 mins., mine did.

  425. Found this via a post on Facebook. Thanks so much for writing this – I really needed to read this today! :)
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  426. I heard once of a mother of many children. She wore a large apron. Whenever she felt overwhelmed, she would flip her apron up over her head. Her children would be instantly silent – they knew Momma was praying.

  427. I really needed this today. Thank you.

    My son, who is one month shy of 3, is the example of exact-ness. His spoon can NOT be dipped into his yogurt before he begins eating it. The adults MUST kneel during night-time kisses by his bed. ONLY red straws will be used for smoothies.

    It is a daily challenge to meet his every demand, and/or put up with the tantrums from our occasional refusal. But, knowing that I’m not alone in the struggle somehow makes me feel better.

    Yesterday I was feeling like a terrible parent. I feel better today, because of you. Thank you.

  428. My kids are 9, 7, 4 and 2 and I can just see a faint light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, finally 2 of 4 can buckle up themselves, 3 of 4 can wipe themselves and maybe, maybe 9 years of diapers and nursing will be winding down soon. I am much more humble about parenting than I ever was pre-kids. I understand completely how someone could accidentally leave their kid in the car, shake a crying baby or walk out on a marriage. It is God’s grace that I didn’t do those things (although they occurred to me….then mommy went to time out and called a friend and ate chocolate and taught the kids that spending the night at grandma’s house is the best thing ever). I’ve already made a commitment (in my head, but it counts) that once we are out of this stage I will look for parents with small kids who are new in town or who don’t have any family support and love on them the way I have been loved on. I can’t imagine walking this journey without support.