Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thoughts of the Week - Struggling

It wasn't all rainbows and unicorns in Yosemite, I promise you 
It's been a struggle lately.  Even typing that is a bit of a struggle.  How do I choose my words so that I don't sound like a whiny desperate housewife?  But at some point you just have to toss some worries aside and write what's on your heart.  I've mentioned before that the kids lately have been experiencing many highs and lows.  It ain't getting any easier, the unpredictability of it all.  The unpredictability, the up and downs of parenting, the way parenting can test a marriage, both good and bad.  I watch my daughter skip home from school and I get tears in my eyes marveling at just how lucky I am, how blessed.  An hour later I'm calling my husband telling him she's possessed and I've had to revoke her swim lesson because she is so out of control.

We used to have our good days and our bad days, but now it's like our good hours and bad hours.  It changes so quickly and no matter how prepared I try to be to cut craziness off at the pass, it always seems to veer around my attempt and I have to confront crazy head on.  I'm not calling my kids crazy, just this parenting journey that we all struggle with and try to act like we are all coasting along just fine, and then after a night with really good friends you realize that we are all a bit crazy and we all do some things that make us feel awful and make us feel glorious as well.  But it's nights like those, it's friends like those, that let you know you're not alone.  It's coming home realizing that the tears you shed from both laughter and sadness have caused your mascara to run all over your face and no one bothered to tell you, but that's okay because it was worth it.  That comfort, that peace of mind in knowing you're not alone.  I'm so very grateful for friends like these.

We had an exceptionally tough morning earlier in the week and at one point, please excuse my disrespect, but I wanted to punch my husband in the nose.  I was so angry.  After I cooled off we talked on the phone and I asked, "What are we doing wrong?"  And his reply was simply this, "Nothing.  This is life and we're just living it.  We're not doing anything wrong, we're just having to figure it out as we go along."  And he was so, so right.  He's usually right, I'm just too stubborn to admit it sometimes.  I'm so very grateful for a husband like this.

I always look at difficulties as a problem to be fixed, but these are children and there is no "fixing" them, just guiding them.  Praying that God shows you the right path, praying for God to give you the right answer, praying for God to grant you that patience to use the more gentler words, and the knowledge to know when to use the stern words.  Knowing when to push and when to ease off, knowing when to drive the ship and let it just coast along.  Parenting is a myriad of analogies and symbolism isn't it?
 grumpy, whiny kids on a hike.  
i think i told them to suck it up and stop complaining, and smile.  Not my proudest moment
 Parenting is tough and joyous and amazing and a constant struggle and learning experience.  Some days it's really, really hard for me to find the joy in mothering but most days that joy hits me so hard in the chest that it just about blows me over.  But that's the nice thing about living day by day.  You can take a bad day and throw it out and start fresh the next day, or you can learn from it.  I'm trying to spend more time learning from my mistakes and then throwing the rest of the junk out with the garbage.  There is always a new day, there is always a chance to start over and there is always unending Grace and Forgiveness. 

Thanks for listening.  I think it goes without saying that I've been a little emotionally exhausted this week.  I hope to be back to "normal" soon.  Whatever that means.


  1. As a person without kids, I can only imagine the struggles and joys that come withe being a parent.

    You are amazing and I will be keeping you in my prayers!!


  2. Art is very insightful. I've noticed cycles or maybe patterns in the kids behavior. Seems like the crazies hit right before a growth spurt or right after some kind of major change. Sometimes I've just had to get on my knees and pray right then and there and hold my little ones and just ask Heavenly Father to help us. You're doing a Great job Andrea!

  3. You are precious. As a person without kids, I can't tell you how refreshing it is to see someone be so authentic and genuine about both the joys and the pains of raising children. I really respect and admire that... thank you! (Also, I thought you might enjoy Ann Voskamp's post from today. It hit home with me, and I thought it might speak to you too. Enjoy:

  4. you take the good you take the bad, you take them both and then you have the facts of life....
    cheesy but true!
    hang in there, I too feel like I am confronting crazy constantly - it is so hard to remain calm!

  5. I'm so there with you on the "good hours and bad hours". It feels like a roller coaster. Sometimes I wonder if it's because my emotions are a roller coaster. Who knows. Lots of prayer and good friends help. Hang in there momma!
    On a side girl has gorgeous hair ;)

  6. I am constantly telling my husband that we must be doing something wrong, but I thing the real answer is what you describe. Parenting is hard. There are good days and bad days. I'm trying to go with the flow more. That's hard too. : )

  7. why does it have to be so flippin hard!?
    i am totally tracking with you on the weird phases of roller coast-y madness!

    this is NOT a sure fix, but one thing i have to say has helped during those really really bad times for the reed kids is to share the "plan" of the day with my kids...not sure if that is even close to your issue, but my kids melt down a lot when they feel super out of control(don't we all?) and knowing whats next sometimes helps them relax...please!! relax!!!!!!
    with my oldest we even had a chart of activities that i showed him every morning....
    just a little idea...if it sucks, flush it....
    hang in there sister!

  8. I think all parents—all adults?—have these struggles. But not many have the courage to talk about it. Thank you. :)

  9. I think you hit so many things on the head. Its just so hard at times. One moment, I have this compassionate, loving little boy, and the next, he's arguing with me that I am wrong and I do not know how to calculate the mean (really?) and that i am mean and making him cry.
    My good friend always reminds me to handle things w/ Grace. Sounds like you do...

  10. i think 7/8ths of my posts could have this same title just in respect to parenting lately! and i have been crying a lot of tears not asking what i'm doing wrong, but feeling certain that there must be heaps of wrong that i am doing. and i know in my head it's not the truth about me. it's hard to not like our kids. it's hard to feel so bad about ourselves by the end of the day. its hard to be at odds with our husbands. all of it sucks!! but it is all part of revealing our need for the Lord, right? learning how to give and receive grace is a life long process.

  11. I feel you in every aspect.. it can be so physically and mentally draining - my husband and I joke that our daughter is going to be an only child because Im not going to lie she is high maint.
    Today was one of those days and reading posts like these make me feel grateful all of us mothers feel the same

  12. as a mom with kids 18 months apart and who has survived toddlerhood, elementary, middle and high school… i can encourage you by letting you know that
    a) this is normal
    b) you're doing a fantastic job
    c) being in lock-step w/your hubs is soooo key.
    d) this too shall pass.

    one of the things i think i would often forget would be to try to talk out the difficult times. for instance:
    gee you sound super frustrated. what's bothering you, or what are you worried about or use your words to describe what you're feeling. mommy can't understand ARGH, UGH, $(%&#!
    yeah, i can understand that your brother taking your things drives you crazy… it would me too! how can we keep this from happening again?
    they're little, but still, giving them opportunities to problem solve gives them a feeling of control. and so much of their little lives is out of their control. or they lack the ability to "count to ten" and analyze why they're feeling a certain way. sometimes just articulating that for them is a huge help. like wow… you tied your own shoes… you must feel really proud, or gee, that's frustrating, or i bet you felt angry then and wanted to XYZ! {good job on not punching your sister!}
    it's not always easy, but celebrating the good decision or good reactions to situations is such a great thing to do. i missed that opportunity so much because i tended to focus on the stuff i should have been correcting.
    this isn't meant to be an easy fix-all. i seriously failed on so many occasions and it's a good thing my kids didn't have cell phones at age 6. they would have child & family services on speed dial!
    press on, sweet sister! : )

  13. thank you for making me feel normal! Is so hard at times and its nice to see its not just me going crazy!

  14. I appreciated this raw post. Parenting is the most challenging, frustrating, exhausting and blessed thing I have ever done. I have learned so much about the intesity of Christ's love for me as I grow as a mom. the midst of the frustration and dark circles under my eyes, the blessing still outweighs it all. At the end of the day, God's grace is there to cover all the holes I have made...and there is also cosmetics, to cover what sleep deprivation creates.
    Thanks again for sharing...
    here's to motherhood, Christ's love for us in spite of ourselves, and a good concealer.

  15. loved this, "these are children and there is no "fixing" them, just guiding them." i think this needs to be my mantra.

    btw, sorry about the mascara...i don't think any of us noticed since it was dark.

  16. Normal or no, its nice that you're real. That picture is perfect. Here's hoping you're revived soon!

  17. Thank you for this. You wrote exactly what I've been feeling lately. With a 4 year old, a 2 year old and a 3 month old, I am really having a difficult time holding it all together and making it look like it's great all the time (when, duh, it's not)! Parenting truly IS the hardest job in the world but so worth it.

    Thank you so much for your post. :)

    Oh, and P.S. Thanks SO much for your tip about Rejuvacote a while back. My nails were a total wreck and now they've never looked better!!! Yay! ;)

  18. Thank you for being humble and being used. I got this blog as a link as a Facebook post and cried after reading. Seriously, you captured my heart in every word. Thank you. And thank you for outing yourself out there!

  19. Andrea,

    I hope to try and encourage you by telling you that my 8 yo daughter is SUCH a fun little woman to spend time with. She is smart, creative, funny, witty, and rarely moody.

    BUT, a few years ago that was not the case. I could have written this very post. So please know that the mood swings ARE normal, but I can't tell you they completely go away. Because now I have a teenage son that brings the moods. ;)

    Kids can't be "fixed", you are right. And that's the most exhausting part of it all, isn't it? We just want it to all be okay. You are a great mom.... don't sell yourself short. I hope this weekend is a good one for everyone at your house!

    (and, by the way, your daughter has the cutest grumpy face! LOL!)

  20. Wow everyone, I can't tell you how much all of your words of support have meant to me. Thank you everyone for giving out some love or just commiserating with me! Leslie said something up top about being hard not to like your kids and you know what? Sometimes I don't like them. But usually because I think it's a reflection of a behavior that I model, which really means I don't like me :( It all gets very complicated doesn't it? At the end of the day it just helps so much to know we all have struggles, we all go through the highs and lows, we all love fiercely and anger too easily. But we all have grace. thanks again guys.

  21. Every single mother who reads this post is nodding in agreement. (If they say they aren't, they are lying liars!) I totally feel ya, Andrea. I'm currently in a book study reading The Mission of Motherhood and LOVING it. Not only the book but the discussion with other mothers that comes with studying it together. You are most definitely not alone. While this job of motherhood is such a blessing and privilege, it is freaking HARD! Keep taking deep breathes. ;)

  22. praying for you as you pass through this season! parenting is the hardest, most rewarding job-next to marriage:)
    love you, sweet andrea, press on!
    Philippians 4:19
    "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

  23. I have had the exact conversation with Steve that you had with Art (just last week as a matter of fact!). So thankful God blesses us with the husbands we need! Thank you for this post, true!

  24. I loved this too Andrea. My husband doesn't get the emotional drain of little girls, but then again he isn't with Ivy all day! Keep your chin up lady. You are doing a fantastic job I'm sure!

  25. Boils down to not liking the me that they sometimes reflect. Ouch. That hurts. So true!

  26. I thought "this last post" meant no more blog :( I can totally relate to your words and Im sure feel the same way in which all of the previous comments have been said. It's true, all we can do is guide these little people until they realise mistakes and hopefully learn from them. I am guilty of sometimes trying to make Miranda feel like crap when she does something awful but I have to pinch myself and realise she's only been in the world for 6 years, thats really not a long time for her to "act" the way I would like her too, if she's still throwing tantrums and telling me she hates me and tells me I'm stupid at 15 then I have problems( yes these are some things that she can produce) but she can forget and turn her mood around in a heartbeat whilst I have a harder time doing that..parenting is so hard as you know but I just keep the vision of her confiding in me when she's older and her knowing that I will always be there for her no matter what.
    Anyway, blah blah there will be many more tantrums and shouts and a few possible choice words from my end in the years to come but I think it's going to be o.k :)
    Take care and Yosemite looks awesome!! I cant wait for another camping trip.

  27. Ok, is it wrong that the shot of teary Taylor makes me smile...poor little thing. Remember what I said girlfriend, it's the 6 year change.

  28. Andrea, I have to say this whole blog is sooo fabulous!(for someone that knows little or nothing about them) I actually had time to read a little this morning..of course about Yosemite (since I shared the vacation with you..:) but the pics are lovely the day by day event log is wonderful... such a great way to remember everything..- I am sorry you had some down moments but you are such an 'involved' mum so this is the price you pay... your children love you and feel 'comfortable' sharing ALL their feelings ..:) (good or bad ) I loved reading all it.. - thank you..:) I actually was also looking to see if you get this immediately..? I have the Crate and Barrel table and will drop off today if you are not home I will leave on the porch for you!


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