Community Question: What Do You Do When You Feel Inferior to Other Parents?

Every once in a while, I get a letter from a friend of this blog that touches a tender place in my heart. Usually a place that’s been well worn or is still a little sore or takes me back to the desolation that was there before the consolation. This is one.

Hi Beth,

I am an avid reader of your blog and really enjoy your writing.

I have a weird question. I feel a sense of community on your blog because you talk about the insanity of parenting and about crazy kids who do crazy things.

My kids are a very lively bunch. One has special needs but all of them are loud, crazy, messy and don’t really know the meaning of the word quiet or neat. They throw, scream, tussle, hit and seem to run on endless energy.

Sometimes we hang out with our siblings and their kids are just so darn calm and quiet. They actually sit at the table and eat, they don’t randomly whack other kids or jump on couches or spill out a million toys.

It often makes me feel badly, like I am doing something wrong, or I am the only one who has crazy kids, while they all have perfect angels.

I may be exaggerating a bit but any idea about what to do with these feelings of inferiority or jealousy? My husband says lively and energetic kids are more interesting and will go further in life, but that doesn’t really do it for me….

Thanks in advance for your thoughts,

Not Rebecca

Of course, our friend didn’t sign the letter Not Rebecca. That’s just what I’ve named her. Not Rebecca. Like we named Not Evan back in the day. It’s practically a tradition around here.

So here’s what I thought we’d do. I’ll answer Not Rebecca’s letter with my thoughts, which will be a piece of the answer but only a piece because it seems that’s all any of us ever has — just one, tiny piece — and then you’ll share your pieces and together we’ll see more of the puzzle than we can on our own.

Here we go.

Dear Not Rebecca,

My mom-in-law tells a story for which she has my undying gratitude. It’s similar to my own mom’s story, which goes like this: “I always wanted to have 4 kids. Then we had you, and I thought maybe I could handle 3. Then we had your brother and we decided 2 was the perfect number.” In other words, my brother and I were punks. So much so that our parents’ friends used to threaten their children with us. “You’re acting like Beth and Jeff,” they’d say, and their children would settle right down, thoroughly ashamed of themselves. It was like our public service to the neighborhood kids. We were givers, even then.

My mom-in-law tells this story: “When we had Greg, we were very confused about why people found parenting so difficult. ‘If only they were as good at parenting as us,’ we thought as we told Greggy it was time for bed and he jumped up to put on his pajamas, arrange his stuffed animals, brush his teeth and settle in for another quiet night.” Here she pauses and smiles conspiratorially. “And then we had Jeff,” she says and laughs and laughs. Because, of course, Jeff wasn’t wired like Greg, for calm or quiet or obedience. And suddenly my mom-in-law understood that kids are who they are. We may channel them and champion them and provide bumpers and boundaries and rules and reassurance, but kids are who they are who they are.

Greg and Jeff are both brilliant. Both accomplished. Both flawed and perfect, like all of us. But they were different than each other and required different parenting and different encouragement and differently crafted explanations to teachers.

Having the kids they did gave my mom and my mom-in-law two gifts: a) kids they love to infinity, and b) compassion for moms like me.

I know you love your kids to infinity, Not Rebecca. I don’t doubt that for one second. Just like I love my 2 kids who are easy peasy like Greg and my 3 kids who are, um, not so easy like Beth and Jeff and Jeff. 

Here’s what I think: When our kids are calm rule-followers, we want to take credit for our exceptional parenting. Of course we do! This is normal. We all desperately seek confirmation that we’re doing right by our kids, so kids who follow social conventions are easy validation. And when our kids are wild or loud or rule-challengers, we on some level want to take the blame because then there’s a problem that can be identified and fixed, and, at our core, we still want to fit in, just like we did when we were kids ourselves.

Somewhere along the way, we get the message that it’s better to be people who don’t rock the boat. And to be people who are always polite. And to be people who are calm and quiet and the same and blend in with the herd. This is a good message for those of us who are boat stabilizers. Great message. Very reassuring! For the rest of us, though? This message bites.

At the beginning of July, I sat on a hard wooden bench under a canopy of evergreens watching a campfire while my friend Heidi delivered this message to 100 elementary school girls:

If I could plant one message in your hearts and heads this week, it would be that you are not too much of anything.

Not too tall, not too big, not too loud, not too quiet, not too fat, not too skinny, not too emotional, not too reserved, not too stuck up, not too grouchy, not too young, not too old, not too poor, not too immature, not too ugly, not too pretty, not too shy, not too dumb, not too embarrassing, not too new, not too anything.

You are not too much of anything to be wonderful and lovable and LOVED.

And when she said “not too loud,” right at the beginning of her list, I became very still and, ironically, very quiet. My stomach clenched and so did my heart, and I drew a quick, stuttering breath that found its way to my soul while my eyes filled. I was stunned by my instant reaction to you’re not too loud, Beth. Stunned by how deeply at age 39½ I needed Heidi’s words. Stunned by how riveted I was, alongside all these beautiful young women, to a message that was the opposite of the times I’ve felt explicitly or implicitly shushed or silenced or like my words and my personality and my thoughts and my doubts and my convictions and myself were too loud, too big, too much, to be wonderful or lovable or loved.

photo 4 (28)Later the same week, the girls at camp made baked clay pendants for necklaces. Aden’s looked like a glob of squished, overripe banana with some hearts pressed into the goo. She gave it to me as a gift. I adore it.

I thought it was so cool, in fact, I went to craft class and made my own pendant.

photo 3 (47)It’s red with a butterfly and says LOVE. But then I saw one girl whose pendant said WEIRD, and I was jealous. I wished I’d thought of a cool word like WEIRD to wear around my neck. So I did what any mature, grown-up woman would do in that situation and I asked the 9-year-old to trade necklaces. She said no and indicated with her look of disgust that she was not at all willing to trade her rad WEIRD pendant for my gaggy LOVE one.

That’s when my friend Christy, who was in charge of Crafts and Protecting Kids’ Pendants, suggested I make another one. I grumbled a little about how there’s no word as cool as WEIRD so all the good pendants were already taken, but Christy, remembering my reaction to Heidi’s message, said, “Really? What about loud?”

photo 2 (69)

Loud.

Oh, yes. 

This is my word. The one I long to claim with pride instead of shame. 

Because I am a very quiet, introverted person, shy in new situations until I’m comfortable, and then… WATCH OUT; it’s going to get very loud, very fast, and also probably very honest and inevitably inappropriate.

I write from my loud place. Obviously.

Now, I know you were asking about parenting and somehow this letter became all about me, but I’ve found that a lot of my discomfort with my kids’ behaviour is, instead, discomfort with what others will think. With how they might judge me. With how I’ll be found wanting. By them… and also by myself. It’s when I secretly wonder if I’m somehow failing my kids that I feel inferior or jealous. It’s when I secretly wonder if I’m somehow too flawed or not enough — not disciplined enough, not a good enough teacher, not a good enough rule follower — that I become unsure that I’m fit for this job. 

It’s an active process to let that kind of thinking go. To champion our rule-challengers. To cheer for our loud kids. To believe they have something incredibly valuable to teach us about living a free and full life when they run around the dinner table in their underpants. Or without them.

What if this is true: what if our kids — calm or wild, quiet or loud, compliant or nonconforming — are exactly who they’re meant to be? What if they’re already exactly right? What if they’re already enough? What if we are, too?

Does that mean we stop teaching our loud kids to quiet down and listen sometimes? Of course not. We encourage them to stretch themselves and learn new skills, and we likewise teach our quiet ones how to get out of their heads and be silly and spontaneous and stick up for themselves.

But what if we — all of us — are becoming? As in, “Oh my goodness! She’s so becoming!” and also, “Look what a wonderful person she’s becoming.” Both definitions: already lovely and still in process. What if we believed that down to the depths of our bones? 

As the years have passed, it’s become easier for me to release my feelings of inferiority and jealousy. Do they resurface from time to time when a friend mentions what great table manners her 3-year-old has? Sure. Do I think uncharitable thoughts about what great table manners my kids would have if they enjoyed a 2:1 parent:child ratio like her baby does? Alright, fine. Am I deluding myself about my kids having good table manners under any circumstances? Almost definitely. But these thoughts are more and more rare as time goes on, which I attribute to 2 main things:

1. I’m very tired, and, unfortunately, feeling inferior and jealous takes energy I can no longer muster. 

2. I have actually come to believe that our loud, crazy kids have as much to offer us, themselves and the world as our quiet, calm ones do. After all, we can’t all be unconventional like Galileo or Mother Theresa or  Martin Luther King, Jr. or Einstein or John Lennon or Ghandi — but thank God someone was. 

Love, 
Beth

……….

photo 1 (62)

Good grief, I’m wordy! That was LONG. Loud and LONG. This is why I suck at Twitter. 140 characters? I guffaw.

So now that I’ve shut up (for now), what’s your take on this?
Do you ever struggle with feeling inferior or jealous of other parents?
If so, what do you do?

……….

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
52 comments
  1. Yes, very inferior and superior at the same time. I know my weaknesses as well as I know my strengths. I’ll even own up to them because i share too much and I’m not afraid to blab it to anyone who has an unfortunate ear (as long as they don’t interrupt me)

    My children will have every creative benefit, every art, every craft they have an interest in I will let them dabble to their hearts content.

    I will never really be able to teach them how to organize a drawer or their home, or survive on a regular schedule, or keep their tempers under extreme stress, maybe not even pay the car insurance before it’s lapsed for half a day, or the bills before they come with warnings but I will teach them to be kind to others (not the ‘nice’ that is phony for a show but truly kind) because we all need compassion.

    Children’s behavior in public and at home is governed by many things, parenting is only part of it. It is also effected by temperament and personality, hunger, thirst, hormones (can we say honey badger has mood swings?) exhaustion, excitement, and emotional needs. Really it’s the same way for adults too, only we have a bit more experience with feeling like a moron because of what we said or did, usually we punish ourselves by reliving it in our minds when everyone else has long forgotten because they are busy doing the same thing to themselves.

  2. Beth, I loved this. You are awesome.

  3. Before I became a mom for the first time, I saw the Mommy Competitions taking place on my Facebook wall, and it was something that really annoyed me. I mean, why are we competing against each other on something that really can’t be compared? Motherhood is individualized, just like each kid is their own little person. After I had my baby, I told myself that I would make the effort to focus my attention on parenting my son instead of looking at all of my friends and wondering what I’m doing wrong. And so far so good. Even though sometimes I wonder why my kid is such a picky eater at the moment (when others’ kids don’t seem to be), I look at his gifts too. Despite all my mistakes as a first-time mama, so far my husband and I are raising a polite, caring, engaging, independent little boy, of whom I am extremely proud. And that helps me to not feel inferior. Plus, I don’t necessarily know what cross the “perfect” mama from down the road has to bear with her child(ren). Being supportive and seeking advice from my mama cohorts also helps keep the green-eyed monster at bay, because then it feels like we’re helping each other, as opposed to engaging in the competition.

  4. This is a fantastic post !! I love it ! Thanks for sharing !! Made my day !

  5. I’m the wife of a minister with four kids, the younger two being twins. I find it so weird that some people think I really do have my stuff together, and others who think I need some “helpful advice.” I suppose I end up somewhere in the middle, making embarrassing mistakes in some ways and performing brilliantly in other ways.

    I was sitting down talking with my Dad, who usually thinks I’m doing something the wrong way, and he commented on many things I needed to fix. My fence needs repair and painting, my plants are all overgrown, my lights don’t work, my kids need to take a summer math program, my mattresses are too hard… And all these things would be fixable if I gave up on staying home to raise my kids and got a job.

    I’ve started to respond in the nicest way I can think of… “It’s on the list!”

    I can work on only one thing at a time, so all of the other imperfect things in my life will just have to take a number and get in line. But for right now, I’m going to have a second glass of wine, because that’s the next thing to do on my list. Ha!

    1. Too funny – I say the exact same thing, “It’s on the list.” Note to self: remember to put wine on the list.

  6. i loved that post about us not being “too” anything. i read it and reread it and just shared the thoughts this morning with a friend. i am not a parent (yet!) but these are things we need to hear as human beings (and teachers and leaders).

  7. I have both quiet and loud children. Everyday I ask Good to help me be the parent my children need me to be.

  8. I think you are brilliant. Thank you!

  9. One of the things I *cling* to at those times when I wish my daughter would just stop being TOO MUCH is: The worse a child behaves at home, the more secure in your love for them. They save all that good behavior for the public.

    Also, she is JUST like her daddy. I have to remind myself that some of the things that annoy me in her are what I fell in love with in her dad.

    Buck up, Not Rebecca. You are among your tribe of moms/dads/friends/neighbors. Everyone feels insecure at some point. It’s how you deal with it that can define you.

  10. Dear Not Rebecca,

    First, everything Beth said.

    Second, my kids need kids like yours. You see, I have a quiet rule follower whom I love dearly but who also drives me bonkers because he doesn’t think outside the box or have adventures or live life fully. I want a bit of both for him. It’s your kids coming along side mine that will encourage him.

    Also, I love my sister, whose name is also Not Rebecca. Her kids are so different from mine and gosh I love them too. The cousins play well together and bring out a little something special in each other. My sister encourages me in my parenting and heaps loving kudos on my kids. Sometimes it’s hard to hear through all of my self-criticism, but if I shut up long enough (or maybe it’s Beth I can’t hear over), I’m really grateful for her words and her familyship (OMG I invented a word!!).

    I’m going out on a limb here but I bet even your sister with her perfectly conforming kids feels insecure sometimes and wonders what you’re doing so well. I’d take some time to think about that and soak it in – What are you doing so well?

    In it With You.
    Heather

    P.S Beth – I feel like you need to host a craft party cuz yes, WEIRD necklaces – LOVE!!!!

  11. Yes, yes and yes and lots of head-nodding and hi-fiving myself, in my head of course, not out loud (the older little one and younger little one are sleeping, finally! ). Beth, I read every post of yours and either laugh out loud (btw, I am loud, like really loud, we’d be friends, am telling ya), or cry or giggle accordingly. Never commented, that of course requires use of hands and focus. I have two kids under 4 and it feels like more than 2 kids on certain days. Like today. Had some Judgy Miss Hoity-Toity-I-am-so-put-together-I-have-my-act-together type mom give me the “look” when I couldn’t control my screaming older little one who is 3.5 years old and wanted to drive, who then woke up the teething, cranky, unpredictable napper with said screaming. All I wanted to do was grocery. The basics. Sigh. And for the record, I never was and never am and never can be that put together. Like how? Like giving the kids the “eye” and have them settle down. Nope Siree. Beth, thank you, thank you for this post. At the right time. Stating the obvious, but then here goes, you f’ing ROCK!

    xoxo,
    Mommy Pingu (we are in the Pingu phase right now).

  12. I have a friend who has the easiest child known to man. Easy baby, easy toddler, easy little boy. And I know that if he had been at all difficult, my friend would NOT have considered for a second having a second one. She’s an atheist and I’m a Catholic, and I feel called to a big family. So when my first “high needs” baby came ripping through my existence, I accepted that I would have more and my life was already smashed to pieces, how much worse can it get? (I am ever thankful that God gave me the grace of love and contentment to accompany the nocturnal-for-the-first-year, nursing-or-screaming-18-hours-a-day baby that He gave me). So, when my friend offers helpful little tips (you should get them on a schedule) that might make my days with three little helli— angels go smoother, I just know that in the same way that God has smoothed so many of my paths, God has smoothed hers and allowed mine to be, um, rural, because He knows what I am made of ( yup, i do respond to feeling inferior with a smug little bout of pride) and, more importantly, what I need to push me closer to Him. This kids are my salvation. And I am grateful that He has chosen this beautiful loveable crazy-making way of refining me.

    1. THIS:
      God has smoothed hers and allowed mine to be, um, rural,
      <3

    2. Um, just to clarify: God smoothed her way and not yours because he knows what you’re made of? So he’s aware that she’s made of less in the parenting department? And he’s giving you a pass on the Pride/deadly sin thing? You are truly blessed.

      Not to sound snarky, and I’m sure you didn’t intend your comment to read this way, but as an Athiest, it can be offensive to have parenting ability/easy versus difficult kids/personal choice to grow your family bigger, or not, reduced to Believer versus Athiest. It’s hard enough to parent through the silliness of moms judging each other for working/staying home/attachment parenting/helicopter parenting/free-range parenting/etc; tying mother-judgement to faith/lack thereof helps nobody, and I believe, hurts all of us, regardless of belief.

  13. I have mayhem at my house. Four kids, two cats, a rabbit, and fifty pounds of mischief = one day at our place.

    I have to agree with Beth, and others, that your kids are who they are. They come to you with preset levels of intensity, energy, introvert/extroversion, optimism/pessimism, pain thresholds, and annoyance factors. But I also know it’s possible to be pretty strict and get fairly good behaviour with MOST children. Thing is, that kind of strictness takes a ton of energy and output and consistency that I’m just not all that committed to. It also doesn’t take into consideration your individual children’s young, soft, still developing sense of self or inner voice.

    I’d rather live with some mayhem and not squash some leadership qualities or joy or exhuberance or confidence.

    [But mostly I’m lazy and strictness seems like too much work. I gotta last a few more decades, batman].

    xo

  14. Gah. I know this feeling. Yuck yuck yuck. Occasionally a mother reacts to my kid’s behaviour or my parenting choices with all of the revulsion of stepping in dog crap. And there I was, just doing my normal thing, and my kids were happy and fine.

    You know mamas, for me it’s not even the embarrassment and insecurity that makes me feel bad in the long run. It’s the who’s-right argument that plays in my head over and over. Hmm, maybe I am wrong because her kids were more quiet, maybe she’s wrong because she’s a b**** whose kids will grow up cold and emotionally stunted because apparently joy is frowned upon in their household, or maybe her kids will become doctors and lawyers and mine will become drunkards and unemployed leeches . . . and on it goes. Who’s right? Who’s right?

    And the worst part is, it doesn’t matter what conclusion I draw – if I even draw one at all, because usually I just go around in circles about it. End result? I’m mad. Ruins my day. She’s wrong? What a cow, judging me, have fun with your joyless life you *beep*. I’m wrong? Well great, guess I’ll just carry on screwing up my kids like I do everything else . . .

    I know. I’m brutal. Still reading? Brave you. This is the part when sanity kicks back in.

    So what do I do? Say yes to both. Like Beth always says (thanks lady!), Both/And. Yes my kids are loud. They’re okay. Yes, your kids are quiet and polite. They’re okay. You’re a good mom. Me too. As long as we parent like ourselves, and not like an impression of the parent we ought to be, we’re okay.

  15. On a day when allergies and menstrual cramps were conspiring together and hit me on the SAME DAY – I nevertheless – donned my super mommy cape and took my boys to the library reading program! Da-ta-DA!

    Towards the end the event room had mostly cleared out since the kids and parents were finishing up crafty stuff in the lobby. I – being in much pain – sat and watched my boys horsing around. They were not loud, they were not unhappy or hurting each other, they were not on or too close to furniture, they were not even underfoot. However – another mother of a boy, after watching her son circle my boys looking for a way to join in on this boy fun, told him he could not join in the rough housing. Furthermore she added that she knew my boys where horsing around but SHE did not think it was APPROPRIATE so he could not play.

    Well if that doesn’t make you feel like a failed mother. No – it made me feel like I was smacked with a ruler across my palms.

    I didn’t say anything because I didn’t agree with her declaration. I did take time to re-evaluate the situation and consider if, indeed, it was inappropriate for my boys to be playing where they were, how they were. And I let my boys continue to play until the friend we were waiting for was ready to go. I spent that day wanting to defend myself. I started to panicked when I thought that this *is* a very outspoken woman who is very active in our small community . . . and she TALKS . . .I just KNEW she was going to be telling about my “wild” kids.

    Gah! I wanted affirmation, validation . . no; VENGEANCE! But I held my tongue. Then I started thinking of all the evil, sly, cunning, backhanded things I could do to; like leave a cryptic message on my facebook wall . . because she is a “friend” . . .
    *Sigh*
    I never did. Except telling my husband and a close (non talking) confidant, this is the only time I’ve even mentioned the matter. And I feel very good about that – because bottom line: WHO CARES? I comforted myself by asking – what is the worst that could happen? Really? If I chose not to get upset about people talking about me and mine, I refuse to take personally any condemnation, what else could be a consequence?
    Nothing
    That’s what else.

    1. I too have been in that boat. I don’t like it. I don’t like how it makes my kids feel like there is something wrong with them either.
      My oldest child has permanent marks on his heart from “well meaning mamas” who were going to “fix” him by the way their children treated him or by the remarks they made to him. In moments of self doubt, he, he is 14, will ask ‘Why do they have it out for me?’ ‘I can never do anything right mom.’
      Looking back, I can see I cared too much about what others thought and should have removed my child from the know it alls who knew NOTHING!!

  16. I really relate to this post! I’ve spent a lot of time feeling the same way. Number 1, I have boys. I grew up with girls, I am myself a girl, I babysat girls. Boys (especially toddler boys) are noisy and energetic and wiggly. And unrelentingly physical! Then, too, my oldest, almost seven, marches to his own beat. He doesn’t do anything the way you expect. Once we made bunnies for Easter–cotton balls for fur, straws for whiskers, wiggly eyes. He put six wiggly eyes on his and called it an alien. Then he decided it looked better upside down (the former ears became legs) and added more straws for antennae. And I loved it.

    I guess my point is, find the thing you like in your kid’s behavior and focus on that. My kid is creative, and I love the stuff he comes up with, now that I’ve learned that what he likes is to make things up himself. It’s easier to stand up for yourself and your kid when you are convinced he (she) has awesome qualities.

    Another thing that helps me: be clear (with yourself) about what you’re working on with your kids. I value politeness a great deal, but I chose to ignore working on table manners for a long time in favor of working on how we treat each other (ie, no hitting, no sitting on your baby brother, etc.). Yes, I was embarrassed when we ate with my parents and they constantly remind my children of rules I had yet to teach them. But we just couldn’t work on everything at once.

    Finally, I don’t know if this will help or not, but just give it time. Any actual discipline issues will get sorted out with time, your kids will learn to sit still eventually, or how to be socially appropriate or whatever. You won’t always feel this way. And even if your kids never like to sit still, they will have their chance to shine at something else–at art, at sports, at whatever.

  17. Wow. This post has brought tears to my eyes. “I’ve found that a lot of my discomfort with my kids’ behaviour is, instead, discomfort with what others will think.” That is the heart of the issue! I rarely feel that I am failing at a random time; it is nearly always when I compare my shortcomings to someone else’s perceived strengths.

    I have only two kids, but I have both ends of the spectrum. Thankfully (I think) my loud/challenger/frustrating one came first. Why we were brave enough to adopt a second one, I still do not know! After 15 years, I am finally learning that I cannot change him. While a part of me wishes that he would learn not to rock the boat, there is another part of me that wishes I could be more like him: that I could “not care” what others thought and follow my own path with confidence.

    The sadly funny thing is, my quiet easy-going one also causes me to fret. Am I doing enough to encourage his confidence? Will he be able to stand up for himself when he needs to? Does he feel slighted because so much parenting energy is expended on his older brother?

    But recently, I had one more realization. As a teacher I have had hundreds of students over the years. Because I live where I have taught my entire career, I regularly run into former students and/or parents of former students as I shop, etc. And you know what? Those kids have grown up well. I have never seen a grown former student crawling around under the table at a restaurant. I have not seen any of them beating a random stranger with a carrot in the produce aisle. They have grown up and become adults and workers and, yes, even parents.

    So I try to cling to this hope. I try to remember that parenting is about trajectory, not an individual moment in time. And when I find myself forgetting all of that…I come here and let all of you remind me that we are on this journey together!

    1. “I have never seen a grown former student crawling around under the table at a restaurant. I have not seen any of them beating a random stranger with a carrot in the produce aisle. They have grown up and become adults and workers and, yes, even parents.”

      -Amen

      1. “Parenting is about trajectory, not an individual moment in time.”

        Brilliant!

        1. I love this quote. I can do “trajectory,” I think. There’s too many individual moments to worry about them all….

  18. Thank you so much for sharing! I am pregnant with # 5 and feeling quite inadequate and like a failure to other moms. My 4 kids are very loud, wild and to someone who was raised to be so controlled, WAY out of control, but above all they are all very strong willed and stubborn and I feel like I am fighting all day long between the NO”s, the arguing, the complaining, whining and just plain ungratefulness. but we recently started involving “friends” and im getting a feeling that the other parents just don’t find my husband and I fit parents for their kids to be around. when out around other parents I am always apologizing for my children and of course going home with my head hanging down in shame once again because my kids were so out of control. but then there are days I get good compliments on how well behaved my kids are and I of course think they are from MARS!! but it does make me feel good. But one thing I have realized is that I cant control my kids..they are who they are and no matter how “controlled” I can get them they will always act out at the worst opportune time. Now if only I can just NOT CARE what other parents think that would be nice..

  19. I spent a lot of time feeling inferior.

    Now?

    My “first batch” (LOL) are 24 and 20. They are AWESOME, AMAZING young adults… who might even be MORE weird than I am and are DEFINATELY their own person … still strongwilled and not afraid to stand out in a crowd …

    all those things that I was critisized for when they were young (tho with less of a positive spin put on it…. ) are now such positive personality traits. My oldest, who never wanted to do anything the way anyone else did it … is heading off to Korea in a few weeks. My daughter (20) is hanging out with me here at home learning to be a home maker and STILL wishing others would let her live her life and pay more attention to their own.

    So, to all you moms out there struggling with this … one day all those traits that make those children look “bad” (how I hate that word) now will stand them in good stead. Trust me. My second “batch” is almost there and they’re right in line to make that statement come just as true. 🙂

  20. Beth, thank God for your loud, it helps me get through my crazy days.

  21. The thing is, the world is such a judgey place. I remind myself and my 5 kids about this regularly. They can be all judgey about my parenting, whatever. I do it my way and have to force myself to feel ok about it. I always say the hardest situation to be in is your own. Let’s face it, my stuff wouldn’t seem quite so hard to other people because they could hand it back to me and walk away. But their own stuff? Yeah, hard. But for them. It’s always easy to allow others to pass judgement on you and your stuff, but you have to just stop letting it in. You don’t need to pick up the crap that other people are trying to hand off to you.

  22. Wow – I have nothing more to add. (I am a quiet one – can you tell?) This is amazing. And something I must strive to remember about my own children. And nieces and nephews. And other folks’ kids… It may have taken a lot of words to say but I am so grateful Beth that you went to your loud place and just said it. Thank you!

  23. Yes. When I actually made my family sit down ALL TOGETHER for a meal for the first time in maybe months and I forced them to stay at the table long enough to have CONVERSATION, and my girls told me that at YOUR house everyone goes around at the dinner table and shares their best and worst thing from their day. Then they asked why we never do anything like that in our family. I said, “We’re doing it right now.” And then I Let It Go! Cuz that’s what I’m learning to do man! It’s a good motto for this my 40th year and for life I think. Let the guilt go. Let the comparisons go. Let the competitions go. And I do love you LOUD and I love you quiet too. You’re wonderful and love able both ways!

  24. What I usually do is think of all the reasons why I am so much more awesome than them. And then I feel bad about that, so I decide that maybe they are awesome, but there are definitely things about them (and their kids) that are not, and that’s okay. And my kids and my own flaws are ok too. And often I think about kids I knew who were little terrors growing up and turned out really great. There’s always someone I can think of, and it makes me feel better.

  25. I repeat this, emphasizing whatever word(s) is most needed:

    “God gave my son to me. God chose ME to be his mama. God does not make mistakes.”

    I also tend to think, “whatever. this is my family, not yours.” I also lay a ton of blame at the feet of my precious three year old’s sleep disorder, because, frankly, it is a huge source of issues in our lives. Unless you’ve lived with a kiddo who is perpetually tired and unable to shut it down to sleep, you can’t judge me (and if you have, please email me, so I don’t feel so inferior 🙂 ).

    1. Rachel, tell me a bit about your sons sleep disorder. I know it may sound “quirky,” but there are a few essential oils or blends (1 that I make for our family) that may be really helpful in getting your little one to quiet his mind chatter and help him sleep. If you want you can email me at ayersamy@hotmail.com Here’s to sleeping. **toasting you with warm milk** 😉
      Amy

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