As I am writing this, I am literally counting my breaths.

I am calming myself as I feel my heart beating wildly in my chest. 

If someone were to look at me right now, they’d probably see smoke whistling from my ears.

Because, I am spitting mad.

At my daughter.  At myself.  At my handling of the situation.


The situation:

Noelle (after some major issues with testing my patience today) yelled to me, “WHY DON’T YOU TRY AND MAKE ME?!”

In our driveway.

For everyone in the entire neighborhood to hear.  In response to me calling her back in the house.

Oh yes she did.

I about flipped my lid.

As mentioned above, she has been testing and pushing my buttons all day. (A pretty common theme around here.)

This time?  Not sure why.  Maybe something to do with Mommy and Daddy having a wee bit of a vacation this past weekend? 

Who knows?  And you know what?  Who cares?  All I know is that right there? THAT wasn’t going to fly with me.

I marched her little behind in the house promptly, and escorted her up to her room.

In the midst of all this drama, I heard myself shouting.  I felt my blood pressure rising.  I could literally feel myself turning red with anger.

How dare she?

Why would she think that was OK? 

Why, why, why, why, WHY???


Before I was a Mom, I thought that parenting would be a breeze.

I was the oldest in our family.  (5 years older than my sister, and 11 years older than my brother.)

I had many younger cousins whom I saw often, and was often a caregiver to them.

I babysat VERY often for other folks in our small town.

Then, I became a teacher.  I had MANY students in my care. 

It was a breeze!  I was competent.  I was in charge.  I was capable.

And I always thought to myself, “I’m going to make a great Mom someday.” 

I would even go so far as to judge others for their parenting skills, or lack thereof.

As if I had a clue.

Now I AM a Mom.  And, I feel as if every day I suck at it a little more.

I don’t always feel as if I’m “in charge”.  I don’t always feel as if I’ve got it all together, or even that I’m hanging on by a thread.  Sometimes I feel as if I’ve completely tripped and fallen off a huge cliff, and I’ve got no spare branches or ledges to grab hold of. 

I try to maintain my balance, but somehow I find myself teetering on that edge of insanity.  Of not knowing what the hell I’m doing, or how to make things right.

How could I raise a daughter that says that to me?  Or even acts the way she does half the time?  I certainly never acted that way growing up.  I was the shy one.

Where did I go wrong?

What happened to my “in control” self?  What happened to my confidence?

Because now?  I feel like I know next to nothing about this parenting gig. 

I find myself questioning my parenting skills every. single. day when I have power struggle after power struggle with Noelle. 

She wears me out with her stubborn-ness and with her (what seem to me) negative pleas for attention.

I just feel inadequate.

I’m probably breaking some Mommy code by saying this, but my younger daughter is the one who renews my bruised ego.  Always eager for hugs and sweetness, she makes me see that I’m not a complete screw up.

I honestly don’t want to have these feelings.  The ones where I wish Noelle would just cooperate for once, and be more like her younger sister.

The ones where I feel resentful and hateful and helpless.

These are the things that you THINK you know about, but you have no idea. 

Not until you live it.  Breathe it.  Handle it.

Or try to.

But fail.


The deep breaths have subsided.

The heart rate is slowed.

We’ve had our talk. 

We’ve hugged it out.

We’ve promised to try better next time.

But I know that I’ll be right back here again soon. 

Because inevitably, I always am.

Published in: on June 30, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sounds familiar, except it is my younger one that tests my patience time and time again. Just know you are NOT alone in this parenting “battle”. You are a GREAT mom!

  2. You did not “go wrong.” You are not failing. She’s just testing your – and her – limits. We’re all just figuring this out as we go along. We all get angry and wonder how our children could act this way. YOU ARE AWESOME. Repeat that next time you take the deep breaths.

  3. Without sounding like I think I know everything, ha,
    I can’t really comment.
    Except to say this:

    Love can be angry sometimes.

    And this:

    You are an inspiration to me!

    M1 is a strong and beautiful girl and just think if she ended up with a pansy Mom with no experience with authority! Lord help us! 😉

  4. You know I think there are these battles all the time. Being a cousin, a teacher, or a sibling is nothing compared to parenting. You didn’t do wrong. You took control. AND, unlike lots of people who want to be friends and not parents, you refused to all that behavior. THAT was the right decision.

  5. Thanks for being so candid about your experience! I think a lot of people can relate.

  6. My older son was very high maintenance. My children are six years apart and my older son is the reason that they are.

    I’m so grateful I chose to have a second because otherwise, I would have felt like THE WORST MOTHER EVER. I wouldn’t have realized that there is a lot to be said for nature vs. nurture. I would have thought I had MADE my older son difficult, argumentative, stubborn and trying.

    My second son couldn’t have been more different than my first. Quiet, sweet, calm, easy going….heaven!

    All I can tell you is that I learned to MANAGE my older son’s behavior. I knew at any given time what mattered most to him and I used that information to make it worth his while to comply. That may sound AWFUL, I dunno, but it usually worked. He had a choice, he could continue with the bad behavior and lose a privledge or he could follow the rules MOST HUMANS FOLLOW and get the reward for that.

    Both of my sons were amazing, intelligent children and I enjoyed them both. I just had to be more creative with the older one.

    Still, there were times I wanted to walk out the door and keep walking.

    It’s a Mom thing.

  7. I swear, once they begin acting defiantly, on purpose, our sense of control goes out the window. I screamed at my two-year old BIG TIME twice yesterday and feel like the biggest loser.
    I also didn’t comprehend how all-consuming and spiritually challenging being a mother would be…it’s not at all like teaching or babysitting where you get to go home at the end of the day and have your OWN life.
    Anyway, I’m just chiming in with the others here to say we all face this stuff and we’re all trying to be more patient and creative in the way we parent. And “failing” is par for the course, I think.

  8. When people tell me what an awesome mom I am to Payton, I feel like a great big fraud. I want to say, “if you only knew how incompetent I am to raise this kid.”

    We all feel that way. But yet, intellectually knowing we all feel that way doesn’t keep us from feeling that way, does it? It definitely doesn’t help me feel better about it, but then, I am a special brand of crazy.

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