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Mothering Meltdowns, Keep Them to Yourself

Mar25

by

You are not the boss of me! a small, cross armed child shouts in my direction.

Uh, actually, I really AM the boss of you. It’s in my job title.

The child storms off. There is much stomping and eventually a door slams shut.

It doesn’t hurt my feelings. I don’t feel bad for laying down the rules. I don’t feel bad for dishing out consequences when some are deserved. That’s what parents have to do.

My kids are not my friends. Not in real life and not on Facebook either. Honestly I have no desire to see one of them post School is Boring on their wall and then have 372 of their closest friends like it. (In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I have the passwords to all their accounts and have told them I will check whenever I want. Anyone who changes their password to thwart this will be sorry. Very sorry. (I don’t know yet what I would do. I haven’t been tested yet!  Thankfully!))

I know that some people take issue with me when I say that I am not my kid’s friend, because they desire nothing more than to be friends with their kid. I want to be a parent to my kids. Yes, I am friendly. I am respectful. I listen to them, laugh with them, share stories with them. But friendship implies that we are operating on a level playing field, that we are equals. We are not. I am still in charge. My house is not a democracy.  I like to think of myself as a benevolent dictator.

My bigger hope is that by parenting them with loving firmness that when they are adults we will be friends. That they will see the rationale behind my parenting. That they will know beyond all doubt that every thing I did was out of love.

Everything single thing.

*****

I began writing online way back in the dark ages when you felt like you could still be anonymous. Or if not anonymous you knew that it was highly unlikely your neighbors, family, or children would easily find what you wrote. It was freeing, being able to discuss parenting–mothering–in a way that hadn’t been done before. It isn’t that way anymore. Anyone who thinks they can be anonymous online is fooling themselves. 

I frequently cringe when I read some posts that people write about their lives. I read them with my hands up over my face, peering through my fingers. But recently I have noticed a disturbing trend, mothers trying to one up each other with their “bad” mother stories. Or mothers who write about their mothering experience as if it is complete drudgery. It is my hope that they don’t realize how it is coming across rather than that being their actual experience.

First one mother might admit that she is a “bad” mother because she doesn’t change the sheets on her children’s beds as often as she thinks they should be done. And slowly it spirals into someone saying that their children don’t even have beds. They sleep in the corner of the room on a carpet square. I am making this up, obviously, but it isn’t far from what I have witnessed online. Bloggers trying to write the next catchy headline, and shocking revelation about motherhood. It has gotten to the point where I sometimes think, you know what? You actually are being a bad parent, take those ironic quotation marks off from around the bad.

It used to be that bad parent stories were funny. They were constructive because they made the rest of us feel better about our parenting because we related. Hahaha you forgot to feed your toddler lunch one day and then wondered why he was batshit crazy at 4pm!  We felt not so alone.

The sticky sweet veneer was ripped off the face of motherhood. And it was good.

Until it was taken too far.

I think sometimes people don’t look at the bigger picture. We all have moments, days even, where one of your children is driving you up the wall. And if someone came by and offered you a set of steak knives in exchange for said child, you’d swap in a heartbeat. You might even throw in some cash. But if all you write about are those days, those bad days, that is all that is left behind as a marker of their childhood.

Gone are the days where I relish in the bad mother stories. I want to read more of the good stories. I want to read about the simple joys of being a parent. Maybe people think those are too cheesy, I don’t know. I want to read people who inspire me to be a better parent. To be more joyful. People who can make me laugh in the face of their bad days.

I remember when my children were mostly small and older, grandmotherly women would approach me in the store or park and tell me how much they missed the days with their small children.  How they were the best years of their lives.  At the time I would laugh, thinking they were surely on the path to senility.  But now I understand.  The hard days fall away, slip through the cracks of our memory.

In the wake of posts where things are written about loving one child best and not being able to imagine losing that child. But the other one? Eh. And whether or not the author meant it the way that it was read by everyone doesn’t matter. It is out there on the Internet for all time. Forever. And one day that eh child will find it and read it. Yes, they will. I can’t imagine that any protests of the message being misconstrued will ease the hurt of feeling like you were the child loved less. And more importantly why take that chance.

So, in the wake of posts like that I want to challenge everyone to write something good about mothering. It is tough, we all already know that. But write a poem, a song, a post, a story or even a photograph that tells what is awesome about having kids. If 15 years from now this is the one and only surviving thing that your children get to read about this time in their lives, what you want it to say? What would you want them to know? I know that I would want my children to read my blog as a whole and feel that I delighted in each and every one of them beyond measure, even when things were challenging. That is the legacy I hope to leave them.

I want to be one of those old, grandmotherly ladies who says that these were the best years of my life.  I don’t want an entire blog filled with essays that say otherwise.

I challenge you to do that. Yes, you! Now! Go! Leave a link to your post in the comments so we can all go read what you have written. Fill me with your joyful stories. Let’s all take a moment to delight in motherhood.  Those of you who don’t have a blog, feel free to tell us in the comment section what is making you happy right now about motherhood.

About the author

Chris Jordan

http://notesfromthetrenches.com
Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.

Yes, they are all hers.

No she's not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.

Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That's why her youngest is almost 6.

Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.


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89 Responses to “Mothering Meltdowns, Keep Them to Yourself”

  1. Jen Mar 25 at 7:09 pm Reply Reply

    My daughter is almost three (next Thursday… when did that happen?!?) and is very three-ish, but I love, adore…. relish in her hysterically awesome one liners, questions and observations. The other day, she asked me she could see the mobsters at the store. It took me a few minutes to realize she meant lobsters and we both laughed and laughed. I live for moments like that and they happen pretty much every day. It keeps me going in the moments when she’s not so funny. :-)

    Also, I wanted to tell you that my mom was a benevolent dictator when I was a kid and she’s my best friend now…. you’re doing it right. :-)

  2. M Mar 25 at 7:21 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks for this.  I, too, tire of the bad-parent one-up-womanship.  I may not love everything about parenthood, but I love being a parent.

  3. Alissa Mar 25 at 8:03 pm Reply Reply

    Great post.  I am usually positive, but every now and then I cringe a bit when I think about my little one reading my blog later.

    Here’s my most recent post, written Tuesday:

    http://alissajohnnorman.blogspot.com/2011/03/hippos.html

  4. BJG Mar 25 at 8:08 pm Reply Reply

    I have two boys, exactly 20 months apart. The youngest is 8 months old today. He smiles and giggles at almost everything his brother does. His big brother does all he can think of to make him laugh, and they are often both in hysterics over a stuffed bunny rabbit being tossed in the air.

    I sit and watch this interaction and feel so blessed/amazed/amused that these two little people exist in my life. I know that I’ll forget about the sleepless nights and the tantrums, but I hope that I never forget the fun. Tonight while we got ready for bed, my two-year-old, B, was making silly noises and crashing onto his bed for emphasis while my very sleepy baby, N, watched with a huge grin on his face. I am often exhausted, but I love watching them play together

  5. Emily Mar 25 at 8:11 pm Reply Reply

    Good job – I strive to be a parent, not a friend. Why do people always try to be negative and not make other people feel bad that they sorta screwed up right there, with that thing that they did, that they’re telling the world about?

    What I love about being a parent right now? That my one and only 6 month little girl freaks out when she can’t find mommy. That I am that important to her. And that seeing me can spark a smile. That she has regressed into needing to be rocked to sleep again, which can be annoying, but really is very sweet to know that she just needs mom. That I get to play hero everytime she rolls over and feels like an upsidedown turtle. That I know exactly what to say and what inflection to say it in to stop the tears (most of the time).

  6. L Mar 25 at 8:51 pm Reply Reply

    I dont have a blog- so here’s my story-
    I have 19 month old twins- I grow tired of hearing “how hard!” “how busy”.

    I love it. I love being a mom and I love being home with them. It IS hard- but I have witnessed every first. I am the one they run to, the one they call out for.
    At night, as we read books and sing songs, they lay their heads on my shoulder and snuggle in close. They make me laugh. I get to watch them learn everything and then share it with me. It is my every dream come true. I will take every tired day, every up all night.

  7. Leslie Mar 25 at 8:57 pm Reply Reply

    I have 3 kids ages 11,8, and 5.  I often have trouble living in the moment and enjoying the fun times tending to get overwhelmed and impatient by motherhood.  Your post today hit home.  My mother passed away last month and it has been terrible but has helped me to be a better mom in some ways.  I am giggling and enjoying the kids more and more.  I don’t want to look back and realized I watched instead of lived it.    

  8. Lucinda Mar 25 at 9:29 pm Reply Reply

    First, parents are not friends I totally get and that is how I parent for exactly what you said, that one day when they are adults we can be friends.  I am so looking forward to that day, especially when I see glimpses of the adult my child will be.

    I don’t blog but I do Facebook.  I see some people negative all the time and it makes me cringe.  There are so many days I don’t post because I can’t come up with something positive to say.  I’m at my wits end, so I say nothing because I don’t want the impression of me to be this mother who is angry and frustrated.  But most days, I try to find that golden nugget, that little lesson I learned from one of my kids that day and share it because those are the things I want to put out there.  

    Today my children decided to raise money for a cat shelter.  They went to the neighbors selling cookies and pictures they had drawn.  I think they raised nearly $5 from the neighbors but the sense of accomplishment and the excitement they showed was priceless and I am so proud of them.

  9. liz Mar 25 at 9:37 pm Reply Reply

    I have two boys, 19 and 21, and I just love them so much.  I am now like those old ladies that approach you and I’m always telling young mothers how cute and well behaved their kids are.  I don’t miss having them little, but I loved every minute of it and I loved the elementary years and the middle school years and high school was just the best and I loved every one of their sports, of which they had many, and I loved going to all the games and taking pictures of all the kids, not just mine and I loved when they had kids over and I loved feeding everybody!  Sorry, I’m gushing there.  But you know what, I love their college years too and I’m so proud of how well they’re doing and I love that the older one has a serious girlfriend and I’m so excited for them to have a future together and get jobs and get married and have some babies.  The saying “the days are long but the years are short” is absolutely true.  I don’t want to go back and do any of it again but I loved it all!

  10. Miranda Mar 25 at 9:43 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t have a blog, but I do journal on all the things my children do and say that I think is funny, sweet, silly, whatever it be. So when they are grown we all can look back and read all the small things that slip from our memorys.

  11. Jessica Mar 25 at 9:49 pm Reply Reply

    Awesome words Chris. You made me rethink my issues I am faced with.
    Thank you

    http://lotsofyears.blogspot.com/2011/03/motherhood-is-happyness.html

  12. Shannon Mar 25 at 9:59 pm Reply Reply

    I loooooove this post! I am a full-time stepmom (i.e. the kids live with my husband and I year round). When I first married my husband I joined an online forum for stepmoms without children of their own. While I initially reveled in trading war stories with women who understood the whiplash of going from single to “married and instant mom”, I eventually had to distance myself from the group. Why? Because I found that the women in the group – fabulous as they were – were just SO sad and SO focused on the bad parts of step-parenting. We now have added a baby to our family, and I’ve learned exactly what you’re saying – these days go by so fast (both with the older kids and the baby), and constantly harping on the bad stuff seems to cheapen and water down all the good stuff. As though I’m going through life thinking, “Well, that was fun/happy/good, BUT…” I don’t want to live life that way. I’d rather remember the kids for all the silly jokes and the warm moments; the celebrations and the achievements; the moments of overcoming the obstacles and taking the high road — those moments when you realize, “Okay, so I DID do something to raise these kids right…” AND I’ve found that the less I took stock of all the crappy things about parenting (and sure, they’re still there…), the less prone I was to remember them a day/week/month/year later. Life isn’t perfect, but I’d like to think that as time goes on, I get better at this parent thing and I try to keep in mind that these kids are still in “processing” mode, trying to figure it all out themselves. The less we harp on ourselves or them, I have to believe, the happier we’ll be.

  13. Sarah Mar 25 at 10:06 pm Reply Reply

    I love these – the cat shelter is priceless.  If I am 41, does that make me one of those old ladies? My youngest of 4 is 8, and every day, there is a different challenge, a different joy. Right now, I take absolute delight in making in making my 13 year old son laugh. He is bright, quirky, sarcastic, and deeply cynical, and every time I make him laugh, it brings me great joy.

  14. Kelsey Mar 25 at 10:14 pm Reply Reply

    I often think I get too gushy on my blog. I wish that I was more clever or edgy. Today I am glad to be just me. A blogger and a mother who loves being both very, very much. At least my kids spice it up every now and then with their own brand of hilarity.

  15. MomQueenBee Mar 25 at 10:29 pm Reply Reply

    I thought I would be one of those women who thought the baby days were the best days of her life. They were not. Right now I’m living the best days of parenthood–and I’ve said that at every stage of my boys’ lives. Here’s one of the examples: http://emptynestfeathers.blogspot.com/2010/12/all-i-wanted-for-christmas.html

  16. asia Mar 25 at 10:30 pm Reply Reply

    Awesome post :0) this came at a perfect time. I had read on another site about supposed mommy secrets that horrified me (i.e. a mom that allowed her poor diaper rash ridden baby sleep in a dirty diaper night after night bc she was too tired to change it and lying to her ped. Why the rash won’t go away!)

    I have a 3.5 mo old lil boy that I am absolutely in love with. He is the light of our lives. I love the nights where we lay down head to head and read goodnight moon. He quiets down and looks at the book while I read out loud. We co-sleep (hates.despises the bassinet) and he sleeps in his own spot in the upper middle. He scoots towards my head during the night until he can touch my face and in the morning I open my eyes to my beautiful baby boy. Lately he’s been waking up earlier and he babbles until I look at him…then he smiles! I have never known such pure joy until now.

  17. Jillian Mar 25 at 10:33 pm Reply Reply

    I’m writing this comment from our hotel room in Disney World. My boys have both been total maniacs, on and off, for the past 24 hours. And yet, my heart just explodes when I watch them have fun here. It’s such a privelege to have this time in my life. I do write about what’s hard for me. But my blog is absolutely a celebration of my kids and this time in our lives.

  18. Jenni Mar 25 at 11:08 pm Reply Reply

    Yesterday I was in a different room in our house than my boys when I heard my two-year-old yell, “Mommy, I spill!” I quickly finished folding the laundry and went to the dining room, fully expecting to find a big mess. Instead, I find my son’s cup and a milk-soaked dish rag in the trash. When i inquired, my son said “Brother fix.” My 4-year-old son had already taken care of it. :)

  19. suburbancorrespondent Mar 26 at 12:02 am Reply Reply

    You know, Chris, the reason the old ladies come up to us and wax nostalgic about the young kids is because many times it is so much harder with the teens. Or maybe not harder, but way more complicated. I myself pine for the days when all the children were little and things were simpler (although they didn’t seem so at the time). I think it is okay to write the good and the bad, so that our daughters will know when they are mothers that parenting is full of both, that their feelings of joy and despair are normal.

    And my teen computer geek showed me how to recover passwords – it’s easy. If you ever need to do so, just shoot me an email. I, too, believe in being a parent, not a friend; but the number of people (including professionals) who disagree is just staggering.

  20. Christie Mar 26 at 1:19 am Reply Reply

    As a mom of five ranging in ages from 13 to 4, there are always going to be days where I just want to ship my children off somewhere so I can get a moment of peace. On the other hand, I can’t imagine living my life away from the five little (and not so little) people that make me smile and laugh every single day of my life. I started my blog as a way to chronicle what’s happening in our family’s life as we don’t live near any other immediate family. It’s turned into a great way of remembering all the things that our kids do – and my two oldest children regularly log on to read what I’ve posted. I want to honor them, too, not make them feel like they’re a horrible burden.
    Here’s my post written just today:
    http://amotherstales.blogspot.com/2011/03/friday-afternoon.html

  21. Jenn V Mar 26 at 1:43 am Reply Reply

    Thanks Chris, for the reminder to enjoy the journey. With an 11 and a 9 year old, the speed with which the emotions change: “I hate you-you’re mean! to “I love you so much Mommy” could give one whiplash. It’s good to focus on the love!

  22. Gina Mar 26 at 3:26 am Reply Reply

    I love your post.  My family is my everything and I am thankful everyday that I have them……yes, even on the days they drive me nuts. I try make an effort not to complain about my children on my blog.  And actually am trying to make a conscious effort to stop complaining all together……a lot harder than it sounds.  

    my post:
    likespacecake.blogspot.com

  23. yve Mar 26 at 4:25 am Reply Reply

    My boy turns 18 in under a week, mr laid back no worries has suddenly crept up and become an adult, my baby.

    Big post on him to come, but for today I’m posting about the family dinner we had to celebrate him, the bond between 4 generations of cousins, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. And it is so good. To listen to my niece who I remember clearly as a two year old, tell me about her two year old, to watch said previously cranky two year old follow my patient son around with eyes like saucepans. I was feeling the love there, and I’m feeling the love on this post

  24. MarieEFL Mar 26 at 8:25 am Reply Reply

    I love that my 5 1/2 year old son gets up with me when I do my exercise video in the morning. He used to “work out “with me, but now just supervises – and calls me on it when I cheat!

  25. Melodie Mar 26 at 8:45 am Reply Reply

    Parenting now – Friendship will come later.

    I always wished my mom was more of my friend growing up, but now I am so happy that she was my mom then, and now we are the best of friends!

  26. Shannon Mar 26 at 8:48 am Reply Reply

    Amen, Chris! This is what I wrote this morning about my sweet, adorable girls:

    http://mamainwonderland.blogspot.com/2011/03/snippets.html

  27. Navhelowife Mar 26 at 8:53 am Reply Reply

    I love being a mom. I love my kids. Even when they screw up, and even when I screw up, I still love being a mom. They occasionally drive me batty, like when the oldest was failing BAND because he forgot to turn in a practice sheet. Or when the middle child hands me a notice about a meeting, for him, two days prior. Or when the youngest decides to play outside instead of doing his homework while I’m at work. And then the oldest gives me a hug in public, the middle one can’t wait to show me his latest cartoon, and the youngest shows me the latest yoga pose he has mastered (oh to be 10 and totally flexible).I fall in love all over again. 
    I think that its okay to write about the struggles, but not to be ugly or mean to/about your kids. I tell my kids “everything you put on the internet is there forever” – I try to remember that too. 

  28. tanjia Mar 26 at 9:10 am Reply Reply

    At a water park, in the lazy river, my 6 year old daughter was moving through the water by walking and jumping along with the current. The water varies in depth and when she hit a deep section and slipped I was behind her and caught her as she started to go under. The look of sheer relief on her face made me glad to realize that all I wanted was to be able to be there to catch her every time she stumbled and sad to know that eventually she will have to learn to catch herself. I hope I am able to give her the ability to do just that.

  29. Sarah Mar 26 at 9:56 am Reply Reply

    1. My 9 yr old son (9!) holds hand WITH ME in public!! IN PUBLIC! *swoon*2. I flop down on my 8yr old daughters bed while she’s reading and all she does is put her feet and legs over my back and we stay there reading together…3. When while tucking in and saying goodnight to my 6 yr old and 4 yr old they try to one-up each other in the “I love you all the way to the moon and back….one hundred thousand thousand times…..and then I go to Jupiter and love you from there one thousand billion times…..times 2….”. 4. When I serve a new dish for dinner and my 9yr old gives me a grin and a thumbs up with a mouth full of food….man, my kids are awesome…..

  30. Brigitte Mar 26 at 10:09 am Reply Reply

    Though I don’t like having to lay down the law, there are indeed those days. But then we also have the days where I get to regress and get silly and have the giggles with my daughter, those moments make me feel young and I’m really enjoying my daughter as a person, not a chore!

  31. Rita Mar 26 at 10:34 am Reply Reply

    So funny that you wrote this article when you did, as I wrote a blog post just a few weeks ago about how much I like my children. AND I WORRIED ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE WOULD SAY! Because, it seems like no one ever says anything nice about motherhood anymore.
    http://meandmyshortloffs.blogspot.com/2011/03/there-i-said-it.html

  32. Mir Kamin
    Mir Mar 26 at 10:42 am Reply Reply

    Loved this. I’m in. :) http://wouldashoulda.com/2011/03/26/lullaby-in-the-key-of-grapefruit/

  33. Sarah Clarke Mar 26 at 10:55 am Reply Reply

    Most of my friends are child-free and I feel like I have to hide my baby-lovin’ bushel under a light but, ok, here’s the truth: I revel in motherhood.

    I had my only son at 35 and the hard days – though real – have slipped away in two years of smiles, cuddles and true love. I hate that writing that makes me feel like a ‘breeder’ who has been brainwashed into loving her kid because, good lord above, I love that kid and, haters be damned, I didn’t know what love really meant until I had him.

    More importantly, he looked at my Saturday morning hair this morning, said ‘no’ and tried to fix it. :)

  34. Jen & The Amazing Trips Mar 26 at 11:09 am Reply Reply

    Chris, you are a phenom. I have six year old triplets and a three year old and while I’ve read many a blog since I started my own in 2006, yours is the only one that I consistently (only?) read. I’ve been enjoying your writings (here, there and everywhere) for years and you never cease to touch my heart in some way. You possess an insight, compassion and sense of humor that is salve to my mothering soul. I know that you’ve been through a lot over the past few years, and for whatever it’s worth, you and your beautiful family are in my thoughts.

    Parenting, with all of it’s awesomeness, can sometimes feel like a very isolating experience. Particularly on those occasions when you feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising the “next generation.” What blogging has revealed to me, is the challenges that I sometimes face are not unique to my situation and I’m not the only one who often has the question, resounding throughout my head, AM I DOING RIGHT?

    (Turns out, I’m also not the only one who sometimes wonders, “Is 10 AM too early to have a cocktail?”)

    There is an incredible camaraderie that comes from sharing the ups and downs of the parenting experience. Especially when people will weigh in with their own words, “Hang in there, this too shall pass!” , “You’re not alone!” or best of all… “Thank you for giving me hope and reminding me to treasure THIS moment!”

    That being said: I whole heartedly agree that those who feel the catharsis from writing about their lives (and the lives of their children) in a public forum need to tread very lightly. Whenever I sit down to write, I try to imagine my children – years and years from now, when I’m long gone, reading my words. And I hope that they will know that for as much havoc as they brought in to our lives, they brought an infinitesimal amount of love and joy.

    My children are my legacy … and I’m reminded daily that becoming a mom, is without a doubt, the best thing to ever happen to me.

    http://www.theamazingtrips.com/2011/03/just-when-i-convince-myself-that-they.html

  35. Tenessa Mar 26 at 11:37 am Reply Reply

    I love this. Strangely, I have realized that I tend to blog about the difficult things and decided to make an effort to include the positive things along the way to try to focus on the silver linings and the laughs. Those are the things that help move me from one day to the next, after all. 

    https://beonin.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/accentuate-the-positive/

  36. Kim Mar 26 at 1:16 pm Reply Reply

    My blog is private, because I’ve had some BAD experience with thinking no one would find me and being so very wrong… I will definitely take your challenge and post about what an amazing little girl I have. But I just want to say I have noticed the Bad Mother trend. I have a two year old, and I’ve frequented a parenting forum since I got pregnant. They usually title the topic “Confessions” or some such. They started with the “I eat tuna and lunchmeat and drink 7 cups of coffee a day!” when we were all pregnant. Now it’s, as you say, not changing sheets, TV all day long, yelling, not brushing teeth, and on and on and on… I’ve never participated in these discussions, and I’ve always wanted to say something but never did, because I would most certainly be under attack if I did. We all have a bad day here and there and lose tempers or forget to change the sheets and feel better about our shortcoming when we can share them and read others. But topics like that and the one-upping that ensues seems to, more often than not, be vindication for what they’re doing. You shouted obscenities at your 3 month old because he wouldn’t sleep? (true story) Okay,the forum can laugh with you about that (I guess?), but that doesn’t make what you did okay. That doesn’t mean you should continue to do it because a bunch of women told you it was okay or gave you similar stories.

    I used to be SO strict with my daughter about TV, then one of the topics, there was post after post after post about plunking toddler in front of it all day long. So now, I don’t feel as bad about putting on Blues Clues so I can sit down with a cup of coffee and my laptop. Some might say that’s a good thing, but that was a strong conviction I had that I pretty much threw out the window because, well, everyone else is doin’ it… It’s dangerous ground.

    If my daughter to were to discover my writings in the future, I hope she’ll uncover that while I may have had shortcomings, I was always trying to be better. I spent my free time getting my hands on everything I possible could that would make me a better mother. I learned from my mistakes. Maybe I should have laughed at them a little more, but I never stopped learning.

  37. Shalet Mar 26 at 5:05 pm Reply Reply

    Amen.  So happy to have done just that yesterday when I wrote about my teenage son.  

    http://peculiarmomma.blogspot.com/2011/03/boy.html

    Kids grow up too quickly.  It’s important to cherish the moments — good and bad.  

    XO. 

  38. Lywanda Mar 26 at 6:04 pm Reply Reply

    Mother to four – three girls 15, 9 & 9 and one son 13. I had lots of “old moms” stop me. LOTS, can I just say as I mom to teenagers I am amazed at how awesome they are…there are days, we all have them – where I say goodnight them and pray that they will be different tomorrow, or that I will be a better mother tomorrow. There are so many more days where I want to be swallowed up in that moment to live forever in that super mom feeling.
    I now walk past screaming babies — and parents in the grocery store and laugh to myself…I would love to live even that moment again…
    My days are busy in a different way now and I know one day I will miss this too…so I’m trying, really, really trying to enjoy them now…

  39. Jean Mar 26 at 7:00 pm Reply Reply

    Chris, please rest assured that your blog has more than successfully expressed both the joys and the not-so-wonderful moments of raising kids. This is one of the reasons I find you so engaging. I know that your large family must surely have those moments where any mom would want to walk away, yet you always manage to tell the tale and end on a positive note. You are great at showing both the underbelly and the glowing side of parenting.

    I am certain that your children will see how much they are loved when they reread your writing. How could they not when it is so clear to the rest of us?

  40. J from Ireland Mar 26 at 7:26 pm Reply Reply

    The best compliment I ever recieved was that I enjoy every stage my kids are at. I tell my kids alot that I love being their mother, of course they think I am a mushy gobshite, especially the teenagers
    I always tell new parents that there are more good days than bad ones. Lovely post.

  41. Jennifer Mar 26 at 9:14 pm Reply Reply

    God Bless you for writing this article. You bring up so many points that I have tried to express to some of my mother friends. I see other moms blog or even Facebook about how rotten their children are behaving and I just cringe for that child. That poor child whose private home life is posted online for everyone to see. Thank you very much for addressing this all-too-common topic!
    http://the-north-forty.com/2011/03/22/where-there-are-purple-flowers/

  42. Anonymous Mar 26 at 9:51 pm Reply Reply

    The parenting moments that make my heart melt: when my 5-year-old son writes out little handmade “get well” cards for his classmates who are sick, when he shows up at school and a big group calls out his name and runs up to him (because he’s sweet and likable), when he hugs his friends goodbye at the end of the day (because he’s not too cool at this age to hug boys…and I know those days are numbered), when he shares his most coveted goodies with his baby brother. It is all the examples of him showing empathy and compassion with ohers that make me proud and make this role of mothering rewarding for me. Now, with the baby — ah, the chubby, doughy thighs, powdery after bath smell, the freshly combed wet baby hair, the high-pitched giggles, his soft eyelids fluttering closed right before he drifts off into that angelic baby sleep. Those short-lived moments of toddlerhood that you wish you could freeze, but alas, are so fleeting.

  43. Kath67 Mar 26 at 9:54 pm Reply Reply

    I have 5 kids- 3 biological, 2 step. And I love it! In our house we have it all- ADHD, Asperger’s, adolescence, adult kids, primary school kids, dance, drums, driving lessons, detentions… And they are so smart, and funny, and vulnerable. I am so proud of them and so proud to be the (co-)head of this household. Permanently exhausted, yes, but that won’t last- all too soon they’ll be gone, out on their own. I hope they remember the laughs & the love the way I will.

  44. angie Mar 26 at 10:58 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you for saying this! It is so timely. Very well said. Today we had a 3 year old birthday party, and it was so cute, and happy, and wonderful. I blogged three short posts about it with pictures. I hope they capture the spirit of what you’re talking about. http://graymattersonline.net/

  45. Carrissa Mar 26 at 11:59 pm Reply Reply

    I’m apparently the worst mama ever from my 6 yo point of view. Or am I? :)
    http://the-silver-diva.com/blog/?p=104

  46. hennifer Mar 27 at 2:54 am Reply Reply

    Last night I took my children, 9 and 4, and my nephew 12, to see Roderick Rules. When the movie was over my son wanted a high 5. I obliged but asked why, he said it was because I was great for taking them to the movie. My heart so swells and let’s me know that I’m doing something right even on the days it all feels wrong.

    Thanks!

    Now I must get to bed, I’m so tired I’m crying. Oy!

  47. Ruby Mar 27 at 6:15 am Reply Reply

    THANK you for this post. For the reasons you wrote about it, are the reasons I stopped trying to be a mommy blogger and just went back to blogging as if it were my digital baby book for Amber (9 mos). Now I can write and revel in the awesomeness that is my child without fearing to be seen as ‘a drag’ or overly positive. 

  48. Kate Mar 27 at 12:25 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks for reminding me about what is good in my life and why I had kids in the first place. http://onethirdacrewoods.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-i-love-being-mom.html

  49. Jessica Mar 27 at 8:19 pm Reply Reply

    My 18 month old is starting to throw little tantrums, and smack things when he is angry. When he does, I sweep him up and hug him, and the way his little body relaxes into mine and the smell of those little curls on his head just melts me.

  50. Brandy Mar 27 at 10:20 pm Reply Reply

    I love the way my son hugs me so hard that it actually hurts. I love his giggles when I tickle him and the way he beats his chest like a gorilla every time he takes his shirt off. I adore the way he describes things, in infinite detail and with great excitement. I will always remember the smell of his hair after he’s had a shower and is cuddled up next to me to read a book before bed. And that’s just the beginning. Even on the days that he has pushed every last one of my buttons, I absolutely adore that little boy and I know he knows it. I hope he always knows it!

  51. Renee Mar 28 at 9:52 am Reply Reply

    There you go again…. making me think. Not that I’ve shared any bad mothering stories (I’m not a blogger) – but about being a better parent. I’ve done my fair share of complaining, though. This is a good reminder to be present and to find more joy. And here we go…. I like it when my daughters sit on my lap and feel free to fart as much as they want. Seriously – isn’t this wonderful? Because when in life can you sit on someone’s lap and fart freely? And it’s not like their farts stink all that much. They’re cute – the way they vibrate onto my lap. I would never have done this with my own mother, and that’s a long, sad story. And I know they would not feel comfortable doing this with anyone else. And I never let them know that I feel them, even know they have to know I’m not that clueless. I understand this is ridiculous. It’s the first thing that came to mind because it happened again last night. But someday I’ll be old & sitting in a nursing home and they’ll be taking care of me, and I’ll think, “I remember when you used to sit on my lap and fart.”

  52. Eden Mar 28 at 10:10 am Reply Reply

    Mothering is new to me, being I am only 33 weeks along with my first child. Some may not consider me a mother yet, but I do. I have learned to put my child first and myself second and he’s not even out of the womb yet. Something joyful I have found about motherhood…? Pregnancy has been amazing so far, and I am thankful for all the things most people told me were “awful” and a “hinderance”. I think to myself about the women who are unable to become pregnant, or carry a baby to term and I am thankful for all the discomforts. It hasn’t been an easy experience, but it hasn’t been hard either.

  53. Elizabeth_K Mar 28 at 10:19 am Reply Reply

    I usually don’t comment or post, but I had to answer your challenge. I made a lot (LOT) of changes in my life to enable myself to have children, and I have two (a 3 year old, an 17-month old) and … one more coming. Every day, in my vastly changed life, I wake up grateful and happy to have these small faces to kiss, these small hands to hold, these small children to nurture. Their joy and peace is proof of what I’ve always read — children really, really want structure, and love. My husband and I work really hard to give them both, and we have been so rewarded. I have a FLICKR site where I post about them everyday, and then print them annually for scrapbooks, and I’m careful only to write about the stuff I’ll want to read when I’m 80 and looking back on these, the happiest days of my life. Thanks for your wise words, now and before. They are not my friends, they are my children, and I am so much better off for knowing them.

  54. jL Mar 28 at 10:24 am Reply Reply

    My husband has been away on leave for the past week and will be gone for another week so I have been with my 7 month old twins alone. At first I was scared and overwhelmed and really wanted someone to come help and stay the night but after a few days I realized I would actually just do it by myself.
    I love knowing the schedule, knowing the cries, knowing when they are tired, or hungry, or just needing to cry it out. And I love that they smile bigger at me than anyone else and they stopped crying when I held them or played with them. And I also love that when my son fusses, I can sing him “his song” and he will stop and smile – and when he face-planted onto the bathroom floor the other day while I was giving this sister a bath, the thing that made him stop crying was me singing.
    I think I will go write a full blog about this today. http://www.sidehugsandpuppybears.blogspot.com

  55. Sid Mar 28 at 10:48 am Reply Reply

    My favourite thing about being a mother (and the decisions I’ve made that allow me to be the mother I want to be) is that when the old ladies say “enjoy this time/cherish these moments/etc.” I can honestly reply: “I do. I am.” I’m personally fond of telling people: “No one ever says that they wished they’d spent less time with their kids when they were young.”

  56. My mantra has become “Remain Calm and Remember How Lucky You Are”. I know I am, and I am so glad to read more comment from other who feel that way, rather than feeling burdened. Here’s my post:
    http://ahugaroundtheneck.blogspot.com/2011/03/luck-and-love.html

  57. Tami Mar 28 at 11:49 am Reply Reply

    This post really hit home. I am all the time telling my kids that I am their parent first. Usually that comment is followed by “YOUR THE MEANEST MOM EVERY” and I’m ok with that. I tell them if I am mean I must be doing my job right.
    I was just telling my mom who is now one of my best friends that I was so proud of my kids. They may fight like cats and dogs but they are also the first to step up and help each other out. The compassion they show for others melts my heart every day. They don’t descriminate at this age and everyone is equal. They show me how to love each and every day. I am blessed to have the chance to be their mommy. I think they teach me more than I will ever be able to teach them.

  58. Angela Mar 28 at 12:24 pm Reply Reply

    I am the happiest, proudest mother to four amazing girls age 15, 14, 11, 9. They fill me with so much love it hurts sometimes. We have loved them and cherished them from conception, through every possible stage. Even the “terrific twos” as we called them to put a positive spin on things and remind us that this time would soon pass. My oldest still grabs for my hand in public, and we all say “I love you” in sign language to each other wherever we go. They are witty and sarcastic and bright and caring and fight over clothes and hair products and are pretty lazy when it comes to chores, but they absolutely make this world a better place because they are in it! It’s wonderful to read about other mothers and fathers who love so deeply and see the potential in their children and work so hard so their babies can grab onto it! We run around like crazy due to jazz band, tennis, track, irish dance, but it’s so worth it. I am thankful every day.

  59. Lily Starlight Mar 28 at 1:59 pm Reply Reply

    I sometimes feel badly about how wonderful I think my kids are. Sometimes, when I’m talking to other parents, I feel like I’m bragging, but the thing is: I don’t want to focus on what my kids are doing wrong because they are smart, and athletic, and thoughtful, and nice and anything they’re doing wrong (so far) is really just part of being a kid. We still have 6-foot snowdrifts, so here’s what Spring Break looks like: http://goinganotherway.blogspot.com/2011/03/im-boooooored_28.html

  60. Lily Starlight Mar 28 at 2:01 pm Reply Reply

    Rising to the challenge: http://goinganotherway.blogspot.com/2011/03/im-boooooored_28.html

  61. MR Mar 28 at 3:19 pm Reply Reply

    I am the proud mom of an amazing 2.5 year old daughter, and am expecting her little sister in less than 2 months. I am in awe of my daughter, and the joy and love I feel for her and being with her is the reason we are having another. My only sadness is that in this end stage of pregnancy, I am uncomfortable and tired, and am unable to play with her as much as I used to. Instead, I get to enjoy watching her interact more with Daddy as the two have become such great playmates. I relish the moments when she lies down next to me on the couch and we cuddle and read books. I know it will change soon, but she is growing up so fast it would anyway. I love watching her learn and seeing her problem-solve. She is such an amazing little person. And I truly love how open and generous she is with her hugs and “I wub you!”s. It reminds me that I must be doing something right, because my little girl knows she is loved. She has plenty of moments of getting mad at me (she is 2 after all), but I am a firm believer of “your child will have lots of friends in life, but only one mom”, and it is my duty to teach her how to be a responsible and caring person. She proudly helps unload the plasticware from the dishwasher, throws her napkin in the trash, opens the door to let the dogs out, and loves to “help” Daddy with whatever project he is working on. My heart grows every time I see her, and I cherish all the time I get with her.

  62. Lisa Mar 28 at 8:49 pm Reply Reply

    thank you for the reminder. I do try to enjoy the good points and not dwell on the bad parent points…

    http://lisasff.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/march-22-2011/

  63. Laura Mar 28 at 10:37 pm Reply Reply

    When my 2 year old wakes up in he morning, my husband and I will almost race each other to open his door. The first person to arrive is greeted with an excited toddler smiling and who yells Mama! or Dada! depending on who gets there first. He also talks in his sleep. Last night I was re-tucking him in and he murmured “mmmmm… cookie”.

  64. Elena Mar 29 at 7:47 am Reply Reply

    I work until 11 PM but I get up at six with my kids so I can see them before they leave for school. This morning my daughter told me that she tied her shoes for the first time yesterday at school, and my son was taking his big sketch book to school to show his art teacher the dragons he delights in drawing. Forget cotton. These are the fabrics of my life.

  65. Elena Mar 29 at 7:48 am Reply Reply

    I work until 11 PM but I get up at six with my kids so I can see them before they leave for school. This morning my daughter told me that she tied her shoes for the first time yesterday at school, and my son was taking his big sketch book to school to show his art teacher the dragons he delights in drawing. Forget cotton. These are the fabrics of my life.

  66. Stephanie O'Dea Mar 29 at 9:56 am Reply Reply

    And more importantly why take that chance

    yes. that.
    thank you for writing this.

  67. Victoria Mar 29 at 10:42 am Reply Reply

    I am in the same frame of mind – I follow so few mommy-blogs because I do not like the negative frame of mind. I love being a mother. I adore it. I work part-time two days a week, and will not even do that over the summer because I want to be a part of my daughter’s total life. I want as many kids as we can reasonably sustain. So maybe 3.

    I wrote (and want to write more often) about the goodness, the happiness, and sometimes a bit of worry on my blog: writeitso.blogspot.com. I just put up something happy for this challenge today.

  68. Stephanie Mar 29 at 11:33 am Reply Reply

    This column is spot on (again!). I love it – I agree 100% that it is our job to PARENT them – one of the goals being, of course, that our children will grow to be people that we desire as friends. There is so much about motherhood that makes me happy these days. An 11 year old son with terrific grades and a passion for baseball, a 2 year old whose mission is just to be BIG – which simultaneously thrills me and breaks my heart every day. And another baby boy who will join us this summer, when I will officially become a stay at home mom, and I look forward to every minute!! Thank you for such a great post!

  69. This is my most recent joyful post…and since it was January…I guess it’s time for some more, eh?  Thanks for the reminder!!

    http://surroundedbypenises.blogspot.com/2011/01/ww-11-for-my-10-on-1-11-11.html

  70. Fabs Mar 29 at 2:39 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t have a blog or anywhere that I write, but yesterday was a day off for me and my kids came home early (early release Monday for “teacher collaboration”). I was able to get all of my chores done before they came home, so when they got home they got their homework done, and all their chores and we were able to go for a walk. It was a wonderful spring day, they rode their ripstiks and I walked and if anyone saw me, they would have definitely seen the HUGE smile on my face. I don’t get to be home with them after school (their Grandpa is there), so it is a real treat for me. It was the best afternoon I’ve had in a long time. I think it was the combination of nice weather, the fact that I had all of my chores done, and that they were happy I was home with them. Thanks for the opportunity to share!

  71. jackie Mar 29 at 2:46 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you!!! I too cannot believe how much negativity there is out there in cyber-world with regards to mothering. Sure, there are tough days, and heartbreak and challenges that I never dreamt of but would I trade it? Not for anything in the world. I feel exactly the same about negative status updates on Facebook. If I can’t write something positive and inspiring, I don’t bother. I read recently of one woman who feels the same and what she does is, if she has a friend who posts 3 negative status updates in a row, she blocks that friends newsfeed because we are very much influenced and affected by the negativity of others. I love that idea. When we inspire and uplift one another, our thoughts and our outlooks become so much more positive and healthy! Thank you for you words. You are absolutely bang on!!! :)

  72. Molly Sly Mar 29 at 7:43 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks for the challenge Chris! I wanna play too! I had a really good time going back through my blog on this one. I am not now nor will I ever be a scrapbooker and we don’t have baby books so this little blog is my memory keeper for the kids. I can’t wait to read through it with them as they get older. I need to dress it up a bit but who has time for that?

    http://slyandthefamily.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/the-best-job-most-days/

  73. Molly Mar 29 at 7:52 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks for the challenge Chris! I had a great time going back through my blog for this and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I need to do it more often. I happy to share my favorite part of motherhood!

    http://slyandthefamily.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/the-best-job-most-days/

  74. Daisy Mar 30 at 9:07 am Reply Reply

    Thanks for the post! So true. Parent not friend – yet, but totally loving being a parent and so love my kiddos.
    Thanks for the reminder to be positive. It reminds me, not just on blogs and facebook, but in person. I’ve got to enjoy these moments. They will too soon be past. I’ve got seven and the years are flying by. I miss those little years, am struggling with some of the teens, but still thanking God that I get to be a mother.
    Thanks for the reminder!
    Daisy

  75. TraceyP Mar 30 at 10:44 am Reply Reply

    Here you go Chris, see what you think!

    http://tryherdingcats.blogspot.com/2011/03/so-glad-i-got-to-do-this.html

  76. Dad and Buried Mar 30 at 12:34 pm Reply Reply

    I think censoring your blog, or only focusing on the positives, is fine for some people. But if everyone did that, the internet would be full of whitewashed BS about what parenting is really like.

    To me, that’s BORING.

    Here’s my take: http://wp.me/pYpRj-ol

  77. Dad and Buried Mar 30 at 1:13 pm Reply Reply

    I think if everyone were to take this advice, the world of parenting blogs on the internet would be nothing but a pointless whitewash of BS. 

    If all you’re going to do is write a bunch of generic stuff about how great being a parent is, why write a blog at all?

    Here’s my take: http://goo.gl/pCrgN

  78. Sue @ Laundry for Six Mar 30 at 2:25 pm Reply Reply

    Awesome, as usual. One of the reasons I love your blog, Chris, is because I do have those moments of head nodding, smiling to myself, knowing that I’m not the only one who finds this hard or ironic or exasperating sometimes. But you also have the balance of the wonder moments, your appreciation of each kid’s personality and how it’s woven into the fabric of your family.
    There are blogs that are all Motherhood is Wonderful, and I do read those for inspiration, but I also need those sisterhood moments of peanut butter sandwiches on a hot dog roll because we ran out of bread.
    But the post you mentioned took my breath away. My kids do read my blog sometimes and all I could think about was that little girl reading that post one day. While sometimes blogging is therapy, there is also REAL therapy and sometimes things need to be worked out there, not for the whole world to read. I love snark and sarcasm as much as the next person, but parenting is so much more than that. So I took your challange: http://mypartyof6.blogspot.com/2011/03/appreciate.html

  79. Jessica@Team Rasler Mar 31 at 12:01 am Reply Reply

    This is just one of many best moments of motherhood for me:

    http://teamrasler.blogspot.com/2011/03/bedtime.html

    Thank you for being another voice calling for us to celebrate this crazy choice we’ve made in life.  I appreciate knowing that I’m not alone in my mistakes, nor in my joy.

  80. Hélène Mar 31 at 4:06 pm Reply Reply

    Here is my participating post. I love your challenge, sounds like something I want to work on. I am not 100% sure of myself in regards to the fully positive spin on this post, but please, considering I was sooo down the day I wrote it, it sure does have an extremely positive spin!

    http://humeuretpetitsbonheurs.blogspot.com/2010/09/learning.html

  81. jm Apr 01 at 2:38 pm Reply Reply

    I loved this post. Thank you for making me think about the good parts:

    http://like-seriously.blogspot.com/2011/04/good-mom-moments.html

  82. erica Apr 01 at 6:11 pm Reply Reply

    Great post. I just had my first baby 16 days ago. It is hard., these beginning days, but this post just reminded me that it’s also wonderful. I love every minute so far of being a mom and look forward to all the wonderful moments in the future. I loved reading the other comments too.

  83. Robin Apr 02 at 4:28 am Reply Reply

    My daughter changed my life not just for the better, but for the best. I can’t imagine what it would be like without watching her dance like a stripped against the bathroom door so I will laugh. She is three and I don’t know where she got the moves…but she sure does have them. And, when I wake up but am still in bed, she tells me to “go back to sleep mommy, its ok”. That way I shouldn’t have to go to work, right? Gabriella Maria, mommy loves you.

  84. Jen Apr 02 at 4:24 pm Reply Reply

    Wonderful post. I couldn’t agree more! Here’s a post I wrote back in January on motherhood and selfishness.
    http://beingdrizzledinchocolate.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/motherhood-selfish-need-not-apply/

  85. Nic Apr 03 at 9:05 pm Reply Reply

    DEMOCRACY: the principle of equality of rights, opportunity, and treatment, or the practice of this principle….I hope you kids will learn this….I respect that holding back this wonderfull lesson is your way of “parenting”. So because my home is a democracy, and that my childrem are my sole, my tresures, my best little buddies, they have been learn’t Effacy, Empathy, I impower then to think through my giudence…When my daugther was Oraly copulated at 7 and put a man in jail…life changed as we knew it…Now, we are all an optimistic family and through lots of therapy, I have learn that empowering your kids, opens the door of life to them….I use the Positive Parenting Program – A National program, and its tough love together with good boundries and positve reinforsement…As for facebook..been there, done that…I use that time with my kids…Not being the BOSS but using other tecquices to get their respect…My kid came to me with her asault because she felt our family was a happy equal unit…If I become an overwhelmed parent…I go to my room, as it’s me inabilaty to resolve the avdvacity as a parent with the kids, not their’s….their still learning….The cognative part of a childs bain starts developing at 11yo and doesn’t finish till about twenty five…We found though our daughters therapy…She is now 11, that her insight is remarkable thus makes parent much easier….As for these complaining mums…the best thing would be to get off the computer, and find some vitamin D (walk out side)and get to now their kids…Cheer Nic

  86. Beth Apr 07 at 3:53 pm Reply Reply

    I know I’m late to this, but I just read the article. My 5 month old currently has a cold and was up all night last night. I was literally awake for 2 hours in the middle of the night rocking him to sleep. While I was cradling him in the wee hours of the morning, he reached up and stroked my face as he fell sleep, like he was making sure I was still there. I hope I can remember that moment forever.

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