Monday, October 25, 2010

We Survived the Day

All I can say is we survived the day - a day in which my daughter was trying her hardest to make me have to take her to the ER for stitches or a broken bone or something. Her other goal was to send her mother to a special home for women who used to be sane but went insane while mothering small children. At about 11 a.m. I asked Curtis to make a reservation for me in one such home. But here I am in my living room and I survived the day. And so did the rest of the Joneses.

This morning I took the kids to a Learning Express toy store, where a friend of mine was doing a book signing for her first children's book. We showed up early for the story time in which the book was going to be read. It was a risky move.

The Joneses have never really been story time people. The last story time we went to was when Jackson was 22 months old and we were at First Irving's preschool Christmas extravaganza. The fun day was capped off by story time in the library. Everything in me was going "Run! Run for your life!" but I didn't want to be rude. So we stayed. And my son did not stop moving the entire time. In fact, he grabbed a book off the shelf next to him and started flipping through it. We didn't really pay attention to the book because (A) we were in the church library and (B) we were listening to Mrs. Donna read her book. A couple minutes later we realized Jackson had chosen a book from the 1970's that teaches older kids about their anatomy. Awesome. We are the awesome parents who didn't realize their toddler was flipping through a book with huge anatomically correct diagrams.

So, story time 2010. I was not dumb enough to let Annabeth off my hip in a toy store with multi-level displays, which meant that I actually held her for 30 minutes straight. But Jackson got to sit on the floor like a big, mature 4.5-year-old. He listened politely but I know he was mostly thinking about all the toys filling his vision that his mommy had told him not to ask for. I would have felt bad for him if we hadn't been in that very store a week ago (because I had the date wrong for the book signing, of course) and bought him three toys and none for his sister who didn't care. She just likes to throw things these days.

After story time the kids "got their sillies out." The kids got to get up and do silly moves and be childlike. To my surprise, I looked down and saw my child sitting on the floor with his face in his hands. Pouting. Have I mentioned that several of my friends from growing up were there seeing this? Well, they were. And I shouldn't have cared, but I did. A few minutes later we bought two copies of the book - one for me and one for a giveaway I'd like to do - and lined up to have them signed. My sweet friend, Erica, got up from the table and asked her mom to take our picture. At that moment my son completely turned his back to the camera, so as to avoid being photographed.

*Sigh*

We left right away. Is anyone else experiencing this kind of attitude from their preschooler? His recent interactions with adults and other kids have STUNK. So far I'm not aware of any problems at school or at church. This is happening repeatedly in my presence. Last night, we walked into my parents' house and the first thing he did was rudely say to my dad, "Why did you eat all my animal cookies?" And scowled. Y'all! What in the world? He was in so much trouble. I'm just at a loss.

My mom gave me really encouraging pep talk today about Jackson's world getting so much bigger recently with new things like soccer and choir. She said his little psyche needs time to catch up to the size of this world. That makes sense to me. But dealing with these heart and attitude issues is so hard. Curtis and I have been asking ourselves what we did to mess up our friendly kid. The only bright side is that maybe the Lord is giving him a keen awareness of his sin nature so he can come to repentance and put his faith in Christ. Maybe?

Then there's Annabeth, that sweet, sweet girl of mine. So precious with her big blue eyes, wide grin, and gooey boogs in her long bangs. Meal times have been nightmarish lately. Wait, do I want to call meal times nightmarish or save that word for any time I change her diaper or dress her? All are equally nightmarish. Meal times are a combination of violently throwing food, cups and silverware (such as the fork that was aimed at Jackson's head today) and the tantrum that ensues when I take away her plate for this bad behavior. Sometimes I ignore the throwing. I haven't figured out which one works because clearly neither tactic is working. Help me, Jesus.

Have you ever put a diaper on a cat? I'm guessing not. I feel sure it is somewhat like diapering Annabeth. My blood pressure goes up at the smell of anything bad because I know what's coming. It's such a battle. And yesterday when I was trying to get her dressed and her hair done for church, we ended up wrestling on our backs on the floor. It literally caused perspiration. By the time I got to Sunday school I just went straight to a chair and sat down. I had no energy to smile or initiate conversations. This stage of parenting is so stinking hard.

So today Annabeth appeared to want to visit the ER, based on her refusal to quit climbing everything in sight. In the four o'clock hour, she fell off my bed, nearly fell off our netted trampoline, and pulled Jackson's Leapster off the counter top in such a way that it smacked into her forehead. Now she has a new bruise to add to the one next to it that was finally starting to fade.

I think more than anything, me and all the moms who are raising little kids want to be validated. Even though our children are adorable, and even though we will look back on these years with longing and tremendous fondness, and even though we love our kids with all our hears, it is really hard. We are physically exhausted from lifting them, cleaning up after them, cooking for them, carting them everywhere we go, bathing them, and being available every waking and non-waking moment. We are emotionally drained from being consistent with our discipline and listening to the sibling feuds. We are worried that we aren't doing a good job and discouraged because we compare ourselves to other moms who are more creative or put together or organized or resourceful.

Older women, please pray for us. Please pray for my friends who take their children to physical, occupational, and speech therapy multiple times a week. Please pray for my friend B who found out this year that her son has autism. Please pray for another friend whose beautiful son has limb differences. Please pray for my friend K, a mother of two little ones, who has been sick for a month. Please pray for my friends J and C who are getting ready to add to their families by adopting through foster care. Please pray for my friends whose husbands work very long hours or travel all the time. Please pray for my friends who haven't been blessed with children yet and would trade their set of frustrations and exhaustion for mine. And yes, even after all that I have written, I mean it when I say "blessed with children." I am blessed.

169 comments:

Angela said...

Ava seems to be in the throwing food phase too! (And plates, and forks, and cups!) Yikes, it is hard. My dogs really love it though!

Amen to all you said. It is HARD some days!

Erica said...

What a perfect post! Girl, let's just say that right after I left Learning Express, I had to spank one and threaten the other. In the parking lot...right outside the store. Nice!
I have often wondered what we did so wrong that one of our would have such extreme emotions...It is almost more than I can handle at times, but maybe that is the point. I can handle a lot on my own, and the Lord knew I needed a little one that would make me seek him. I've had a lot of friends say things like, "I'm so glad I'm not the only one," which always makes me feel so great, but it is our reality!
Oh, I could not do it without Him. You were so sweet to come to the signing twice! Thank you for your support!

Jamie said...

This post made me laugh at the beginning, but when I got to the end, I cried. Thank you for making me feel normal.

Sue in Grapevine said...

Mine are 25 & 22, but I was right there w/you darlin'! I was a teacher's pet, goody-two-shoes & felt like a complete failure when my kids behaved miserably in public. They are fun people to be around now - the getting up for the 100th time to stop them from doing whatever pays off!
Will pray for you. I leave you w/the motto my DH & I adopted: "Parenting: it's NOT for cowards!"

Marla Taviano said...

I had a rough day as a mom too. :( I don't know if almost-35 qualifies as an "older" mom, but I don't have toddlers anymore (praise you, Jesus!) so I'm taking this as a prompt to get out of my pity-puddle and pray for some fellow mamas. Love you, friend! You can do this!!

Lauren said...

Sometimes I have to remind myself to be thankful that I am able to stay home with my kids. You are right; it IS so stinkin' hard.

You know what? I appreciate that you spelled out some of why it is hard. I am going to have my husband read your post, just, as you say, to validate that what I tell him is felt by others, too!

One more thing: More than anything else, the thing I appreciated most out of doing Mom to Mom in Boston (which is like MOPS) is that they went to great lengths to encourage mothers, to help them realize how essential they are in their roles, and to validate them--stay at home moms in particular. I really needed that as a new mom (heck! I need it now!) and recommend it to anyone who's about to have their first baby.

Landon Andrew said...

My thoughts exactly Amanda. I love that you "get" it. I am one of those Mama's running my sweet Landon to PT, OT, and Speech every week.

Today was just like your day in our home. Exhausting. Thank you for being real and posting this.

Kari

Deborah said...

Bless you for writing that.

Sister Lynn said...

Bless your dear heart. Praying for you and all you mentioned.

This is your path of holiness... I marvel at the selfless giving you and so many parents do on a daily basis.

Hang in there!

Bourg Family said...

SO TRUE!!! Bless you for putting into words what I don't have the energy to right now.

3girlsmom said...

Oh girl. My youngest will be 4 next week and I keep thinking it'll get easier. And then we have today when she locked 3 doors in the house (1 bathroom and 2 bedrooms) and closed them, leaving me to figure out how to open locked doors without the little tool thingy that OF COURSE was missing today. Then I have moments when she brings her blanket and wants nothing more on this planet than to sit in my lap. And it's quiet and snuggly and heaven.

I think we have to just do the best we can at the exact moment we're in, try our hardest to remember that their little strong willed - hard headed selves will be really strong adults, and that the grays that are multiplying on our heads can be covered up by a talented hairdresser. And pray like crazy over their little sleeping bodies at night.

Praying for you. Praying for all of us. And just think, one day they'll be teenagers and it will all get easie...wait nevermind. We'll just pray through that one, too.

The Haines said...

oh Amanda- this post almost brought me to tears. It's been such a hard day here as well.. I can relate to EVERYTHING you just said. Where did my sweet 2 yr old go.. the 3s are much harder. My 16 mo old has been throwing herself in the floor screaming for months, and well, my newborn is precious, but a newborn. I'm pooped. Thank you for the encouragement and reminding me that I'm not alone and that I'm not a terrible mother.

Laura said...

It IS so hard. This post is spot on! Thanks for reminding me I am not the only one with those kind of days!

Nicole said...

Ok, so I know your post wasn't sad, but I completely teared up reading it. Thanks for sharing!
I am right where you are - and I have been asking Justin for a break (he is taking me to Memphis this weekend to see Wicked & stay at the Peabody.) The only advice I have.. Ask Curtis to take you away for a night... and read Shepherding a Child's Heart again... that is my gameplan.

Kristin said...

Amen and praying. Jesus help us all.

Holly said...

I totally understand...I don't do story time, I hate play dates and play groups (I always leave more stressed than when I came!) and my kids never ever ever will walk the line, esp. when we want them to. Sometimes, we do it anyway and hope it's just sort of better than last time. Ha! Sydney does seem to do better than the other three did...

These times are not ones I wish to relive or go back to, BUT I know one thing from our older two.. I grew from it. I grew up and saw the ugly things in my own saved-self. And sometimes, I still see some ugly surface. My dear Kylie just brought me a cup of coffee...she'll be 11 on Thursday. She and Noah are 21 months apart. Some days, I thought I wouldn't make it. Certainly, I have holes in my memory from just being flat-out tired all the time.

Give yourself some grace. Tell yourself tomorrow will most certainly be better. And hug them like there's no tomorrow. Let Curtis take over and go spend some time alone. I used to recharge by being with people--not anymore! Now I just want to be alone for awhile.

Prayng for those you mentioned. LOVE, Holly

The Ivey's said...

Girl...what a great post! I don't think I could have said it better myself. I have 3 boys..yes ALL boys ages, 7, 4 and 2. I homeschool, so there is no downtime. My oldest often ask me, "Why do you like when we go to bed?" To which I respond, "I need to rest." My husband is a traveling music evangelist and I spend most of my weekends alone. Let's just say, by the time I get to Sunday school, I have sweat dripping and I often wonder, "What do I look like?" But I am so blessed and would not trade them for the world. Thank you again!

Tracy: said...

Oh girl! I will be praying for all the young moms in my life! My kids are 12, 16 & 18..all so busy with life that we are never home at the same time and my oldest is 1300 miles away at college. I miss those days of cranky children at my feet. REALLY! It's not easy..hang in there..it's not forever! You are doing great!

Dickinson Family said...

Amanda,
This is my first time reading your blog, but can I just say (as the mom of a 5yr old, 2yr old, and 10month old) that you are my girl!!! lol
I will be back for more. I just needed to hear someone else feel the exact same feelings as me! I can CONVINCE myself that I am the only one.
Thank you for this post,
Robyn

Heather C said...

Praying for you. Being a mom is sure not for sissies! But you'll make it. And we'll continue lifting you before the Father. You're doing an amazing job, Amanda. Amazing. Keep on keepin' on!

Meg said...

I SO needed this today. I just got up from being all teary on the couch after a long day. Part of my tears were from the frustrations of the day...a stinker 3 1/2 year old along with a all of a sudden sassy 19 month old...the other tears came from the immense guilt I felt for allowing any part of motherhood to feel overwhelming. Although it is overwhelming at times, it is my GREATEST joy, and so when I feel overwhelmed I feel like a bad mom, which makes me feel guilty and the cycle continues. Sigh...
Anyway, I am glad I wiped my tears and brought my tear stained face to the computer to read this. Because I really needed it tonight, I really needed to know that I am not alone in feeling like this. So I know I speak for all the tired, tear stained, overwhelmed mommies when I say thank you for sharing your heart tonight! And above all, thank you JESUS for blessing us with these sweet babies that we are so undeserving of. Because yes, we are all blessed beyond measure!

The B's said...

Can I say, THANK YOU???? THANK YOU! I am so glad to know that my Emma who will turn 4 in two weeks is SO MUCH LIKE JACKSON! My parents are trying to say something is wrong with her because of her behavior. She is extremely strong willed and definitely does not behave "angelicly". I have been so hurt and frustrated by their comments but I know nothing is wrong...she is just strong willed. My husband and I pray that the Lord will continue to work in her heart and reveal her sin to her and that her heart will be "stron willed" for him. Thank you for this post...I needed it. :)

Mariel said...

praying for you in this season. been there, done that and got lots of dirty t-shirts out of it!!

I have two boys and i can attest to the fact that when a growth spert hits, so does the testosterone!! they get more "alpha male" and really begin to test me more. they are also more hungry and more tired..which also contributes to their poor attitudes. the key is recognizing this. i do not allow the bad behavior...as i am sure you do not, but it helps to know it's origin and know that you will soon get your happy boy back...when he he's 2 inches too tall for his britches!! :)

Danana Banana said...

YES! On Saturday morning, as my husband left for work, I was in tears at the thought of another long day stretching out in front of me. And I know he was trying to help as he rattled off a list of all the things we could do while he was gone, but really I just wanted someone to understand. It's hard sometimes. Overwhelming even.

Thanks for putting it into words in real, non-complainy way.

tiggerdaisy said...

You have uttered the very words of my heart. Blessings indeed; exhaustion indeed. My babies are a 17 month old boy and a just turned 3 years old baby girl. You have described the way I feel most days perfectly. But like you, I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Priscilla Shirer said at one of her conferences in September that this is a season. We don't need to pray our way out of it or wish for the next season to come quickly. We need to enjoy this season and allow all God has for us to get into us. We need to enjoy where God has us and ask Him to open our eyes to what He has for us and what He wants us to do. It blessed me tremendously...I hope it does you.

Prayers and blessings,
Rebecca

p.s. I'm glad you survived your day. I survived mine, too. God protected Annabeth just like He protected my little one yesterday. :)

Erin said...

Praying. Amanda, you are a fabulous mother. Love you!

Veronica said...

praying for you and all those you mentioned. i'm single with a desire for marriage and children, and while i would look at your beautiful chaos and want it - i understand that it is unbelievably difficult.. and you godly mothers are amazing. thanks for sharing.

Allison Boman said...

Amanda,

I have never commented before, but I really enjoy reading your blog. I found it one day, not sure anymore how, but it is great!

I really appreciated your blog post today. I am a new mom of six months to my 3 year old adopted daughter. I have been saying for a while now that it seems that NO ONE talks about how hard it is to parent young children! I had NO idea! I am constantly worried about my daughter and questioning her behavior - your post was an encouragement that she is pretty normal.

Thanks for being honest! It is a blessing to know that other moms are going through the same thing and feeling the same things, too.

Allison

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Oh Amanda. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Either way, it would be to harmonize with your tune. It is hard - physically, emotionally, spiritually. And yes, we are blessed beyond measure. But sometimes, it's OK to mention the inescapable - parenting is the most exhausting, holy work we do.

I should write a post on my 1st grade's son down Bad Attitude Road this year. We don't have it under control yet. But man, I have felt just like you the last few months. "What HAPPENED to my sweet boy?" Followed immediately by, "If this is what he will be like as a teenager, Jesus, you will need to deliver me every hour."

redsplace said...

I found your blog after following you on twitter (makes me sound like a stalker), but I want to say THANK YOU for putting words to how I feel so very often! I have a three-year-old daughter who could have inspired "The Strong Willed Child," and we've had so many days like yours! I told my husband to come right over to the computer to read your post, and then I said, "See? I'm not the only one!" I truly believe the Lord has used you to be a light through this post--it is so refreshing to have someone validate the TOUGH parts of being a mom! Thanks for sharing your experiences--they were an encouragement to me!

Sabrina said...

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! I am so sorry that you had a rough day. Things are a serious challenge for me lately too...sleep deprivation is a terrible thing and makes me blow everything out of proportion and I end up taking it out on sweet Emerson. "Just make it through the day" is my mantra of late too. I am right there with you girl! We will survive this.

lizz5990 said...

I sat here reading this, tears streaming down my face, while listening to my baby boy cry on the monitor because I didn't feel I had the patients to go get him and not act totatlly exsaperated. Today has been a hard day as a single mom. Whatever situation you are in as a mom when it comes down to it is just hard. Thank you for writing this, this is real and what I am able to relate to.
And just wanted to add-I did go get my sweet boy and get him calmed down and asleep between reading and writing this comment, I just needed a minute to get it together!

thegypsymama said...

I just love you so. That is all.

~Lisa-Jo

shana said...

amen! well said, amanda!
blessings,
shana, mom to jacob (11), rebekah (9), lydia (8), joe (5), anna (2) and sara (2 weeks)

Living to Love said...

PTL, I'm not the only one experiencing such a phase with my little! It was only an hour ago that I was getting a pep talk from a mentor friend of mine...except it was geared towards my food throwing, fit having, sleep fighting, 22 month old! ;o) It especially helps when my husband proclaims "We can't let him do that" like I can do something to prevent it! Prayers it is!! When I stop and think about it logically, I know that it's a very common season, but in the heat of the moment the blood pressure certainly does rise!

Joyce said...

Well let me just offer you a hug because reading this brought back so many memories, particualy with my second born who was determined to send me to an early grave. She is 20 and I'm still here so she did not succeed. She is an amazing young lady and I recognize some of her best traits were also present in her 2 year old self.

I used to wake up and feel like every nerve ending in my body was standing on end. Every second or third thought in a day was where is she and what is she up to? And we made three trips to the emergency room in three years. I was certain they had my name on a computer chip.

I think you learn so much in these years that you cannot see while you're in the midst of it all but you will take lessons from these early parenting years and carry them with you all thru the rest of the parenting years which become less physically exhausting and more mentally challenging.

Your mom is so right about their world growing exponentially. They need time and space to catch up too. The thing about two kids or more is that just when you feel like you get a handle on one something pops up with the other. I want you to know too that what is oh so challenging in a 2 year old can be a wonderful trait in a 20 year old.

God used my second daughter to teach me to cling to Him, even in the smallest moments of the day. With her small moments could become big in a eyeblink.

I will pray specifically for the young moms I know. And I will add you to my prayers this week as well.

szuckero said...

This post is so where I am today. The next to last paragraph sums up the completer and utter exhaustion I feel at the moment and many of the situations in the last paragraph also apply to us...we are raising foster children (after battling infertility for some time) who have various therapy appointments every week and my husband works shift work. WHEW... Hang in there sister - someday we will miss this, or at least that is what people keep telling me! :)

Sherri D said...

First of all, if you find the home for women who used to be sane but then became mothers, I NEED TO GO THERE. Immediately. I feel your pain, because literally today I was having to walk away from my sweet little girl so I could pray. And my prayers probably weren't sweet and holy. They were probably more like, PLEASE GOD MAKE HER EAT WHAT I'M FEEDING HER! OR ELSE I'LL GO INSANE!! Praying for you!

Jean said...

Amanda I am an "older" mom (I put that in very loose quotes since it's all relative :) ), and I am praying for you young moms! I had a rough day with my kids too, but my son is a 15 year old teenager. The challenges don't get easier - they just get different!

My heart goes out to you all raising little kids. It is very tiring. But nothing you do is wasted. You are doing a wonderful job, and being a mom is a sacrifice that is worth every exhausting minute. I think moms have such high expectations of their own kids. Don't be hard on yourself when your own child doesn't act like you think he and she should. Every day is a new day. Love on that little one because you will blink and they will have their driver's permit! And then off to college....and then...

Praying for you! :)

Julie Marler (Mammy) said...

Sweet Amanda,
All I can say is - it does get better. Yes, eventually the horrible antics of pre-schoolers/toddlers fade away. However, they are usually replaced with something equally as frustrating. But the good thing is that children eventually start understanding reasoning - and they truly understand that "no" means "no"! Thankfully you will soon have moments/days - not years so don't get your hope up - of wonderful children! Yes, we were born with this horrible sin nature that will rear it's ugly head every chance it gets.
But all in all - I bet your kids are really great! They are usually always better for others - much more so than they are for the parents! My grandkids can be great for me and the minute their parents walk in the door they are instantly replaced by someone else in their bodies!!
As hard as it is - my encouragement is - be persistent and keep doing all those wonderful things you are already doing. Remember the scripture says, "when he is OLD he will not depart from it"! You just have a few more years til then!!
Lovingly, Mammy

Kiki said...

Amen. It is so hard. I'm convinced my neighbors think I'm looney. I am often yelling at someone as we get to the van. And sweating, I'm always sweating.

Kristen @ Moms Sharpening Moms said...

Oh, sweet girl! My youngest is 7, so I'm not too far removed from those preschool years. They. Are. Exhausting! My sons (who are now 11) did the same thing at that age. I always said the "terrible two's" were a dream with them (though I didn't realize it at the time)...it was ages 3 and 4 that almost did me in!

I am praying for you right now. Hang in there...the exhaustion component will get easier! Promise!

Fortner Family said...

I read you blog all the time and today was just what I needed to hear. My daughter is 20 months and I am WORN OUT! It's so good to know that I'm not alone in this mother world...Thanks for the honesty!

Leebird said...

Lord,

Amanda's post causes my years of being a SAHM with three blonde-haired boys. The tantrums, the messes, the sleepless nights. Amanda's right: being a mom of little ones is hard!

I pray for Amanda tonight...and for all the other mommies out there trying to bring up children who will love Jesus. Breathe your refreshing spirit into their frazzled souls. When they are at a loss as to what to do, remind them that Abba is near, and that You have a special place in your heart for mommas. In Jesus' Name I pray, AMEN

Isaiah 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Kristi said...

It must be in the water, or maybe it was the full moon, but I had one of those days this weekend. My 3.5 yo son threw the biggest tantrum of his life (at Walmart, of course) to date. I drove home in tears just wondering what I had done, how and where I was failing as a mother, and what to do w the 18 mo girl that I'm sure will follow the example given.
Someone posted 'pray like crazy while their little bodies are sleeping' and boy do I, because I feel like the only lucid thoughts I had are when they're not running laps around me.
No, we are not alone. It sure feels that way when I'm changing my own cat and sweating just from the effort...every time.
Praying for you, praying for all of us. Love you girl!

Kelsey said...

I can feel for you, but my momma would know more about that than I. I was like AB twenty some years ago and I can tell you it does get better, I do think I turned out pretty well. Praying for a better tomorrow (and the rest of the week) for you and your family. God will use this to make you a stronger woman.

Cindy- My Life HIS Story said...

Bless your heart. IT IS A TOUGH JOB!!! At 13 and 21, I look back at every age my girls went through with great fondness, but I try to never forget how stinking hard it was! I'm never one of those women who hold a baby and want another one! But now I am learning that most of my parenting is not done on my feet anymore but rather my knees.
You hang in there, sweet thing. God is crazy about your precious babies - and He is about you, too! Just remember perfect parenting doesn't lead to perfect kids - at least I don't think so 'cause I don't really think it's ever been done.
Praying for you and all you listed. As a special ed. director, I often walk into the room that has literally hundreds of files -each one representing a unique gift of God - and I pray for them. And their moms and dads, or whoever is in that role for them. I think it is probably the most powerful thing I do.

o u r g r o w i n g f a m i l y said...

Our days are similar. Our three are 5, 3 and 5 months.

Thanks for the honesty! ~ Lisa

Janelle and Ella said...

Thank you sweet friend!! This was a beautiful post!

Mary Katherine said...

I don't think I have commented on her before but after that post I had to! I currently have a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old. When my oldest was throwing things from the high chair we totally ignored it. And when we got down from eating she had to pick everything up. Imagine and whole thing of corn kernals! It took a while. After a few days of this then she got the hint. Also, if she is very disruptive I have turned the high chair around where she couldn't hit anyone with the throwing and to show her that there was no attention to be had from it.

Melanie said...

Amanda,
I so appreciate your honesty. I wish blogging had been available when my kids were toddlers, posts like this one would've talked me off the ledge. ha!
Seriously, though, it is one of the hardest things you are doing. It will get easier. My kids are 13 & 10 and the physical demands are less, but the mental and emotional demands are still there. I have found great comfort in this verse over the years: Isaiah 40:11, especially the latter part that says, "he gently leads those that have young." Praise His name.
You are a good mother. You will survive this. Your children will survive this. Take time to rest. I will be praying. Love your heart.

Katie said...

My mom often says that the first 3 years are "suicide watch"...the kids are exploring everything and just can't foresee the consequences.

May God give you the endurance to withstand these years and the peace to enjoy them!!

Spicy Magnolia said...

Yes to it being hard. Yes to being so blessed. Yes to it all. You are loved. May you bask in His love and grace toward you and your family. Sweet dreams and restful sleep!

Jeff, Abbey, Reed, Nash, and Will said...

I know exactly how you feel. I love my children, but so much is a struggle right now.

bethany said...

Maybe something was in the air today making children especially crazy? I had an awful day too-still grateful for my kids, but really really grateful they are in bed now....

Carrie Beth said...

Can I just say "THANK YOU!"? You so adequately expressed everything for me. I have three boys (7, 5 and 2). Some days I tell my husband I want to give my two weeks notice! There is no break - no vacation or sick days. Parenting is constant. Every time I think we survived that phase, another one starts or one of the younger boys hits a particularly rough spot. My just turned 5 year old has exhibited some of the same things you say J is dealing with - to the point that I absolutely dread going out in public. He is throwing fits like a toddler on steroids!!!
I second your request for prayer from older women/moms. PLEASE pray for us and by all means, do not be that person who stares or even criticizes in the grocery, restaurant, etc. REMEMBER what it was like and pray on our behalf!
Thank you Amanda for putting my same frustration into words!

Kim said...

And then there's me with our six week old. Most days I just try to survive until my husband gets home. She screams bloody murder in the car seat (to the point where she could about throw up), she doesn't take naps during the day, and she doesn't like to be put down. I have had to lean on God more than I ever have before. Thank you for reminding me that I'm not the only mom who thinks it's HARD work!

Nicole said...

I have three children and my youngest is now in grade 2! I don't always feel I have the words to encourage Mom's with Toddler's the way I would like to. The toddler years are what drove me to see my deep need for God. I was seeing ugly things come out of my heart that I didn't know were there! God has used Motherhood to change me more than any other thing in life. It is how He is calling me out of my self absorption and pride. I love my children and constantly pray that God will increase my love for them but being a Mom is very hard work.
I just finished reading Mary Beth Chapman's "Choosing to SEE" and am thankful for her willingness to share her incredible story. I have been so challenged through her story to live faithfully with what God has entrusted to me as a mom.
All this to say, I will pray for you and other young mom's. I also pray that we can remember those years and speak and live into those situations so that we can journey together through this and testify of a God who gives us strength for each moment.

Lisa said...

Ok the brand new kids book blogger wants to know more about this book!

The mom in me can totally related. I have two who were amazing as toddlers and preschoolers, then ADHD kicked in just as #3 was born. He is spoiled beyond belief.

Some days as a mom are a total victory just cuz we survived others make us feel better about ourselves. Just got to let the bad ones roll off our backs.

C:M:W said...

I have much to say but since this is your blog, I will say this....I am so blessed by the post and even more blessed to have you as a friend. I left Sunday school, feeling encouraged that I wasn't the only one who had wrestled their child to just put a diaper or shirt on them that morning. Thank you for talking to me and sharing that then and this now. And thank you for thinking of me when you are in the midst of the craziness. I am blessed to call you friend!!!! love love.

Elizabeth Seay said...

can we all just get in a huddle and hug and cry together? seriously.
no one told me how stinkin' hard it was going to be raising small children. (especially not 3 under the age of 4!)
i found out the hard (and sometimes) lonely way. i'm definitely not in the clear yet, my kids are 8, 6 and 4- but they have made huge strides.
they do understand reasoning much more so, which prevents a lot of tantrums and meltdowns.
i used to go to bed just wanting to forget the entire day that had just happened- the kids had been so terribly bad, i had lost my temper...it was just one big UGLY day. and i hated days like that. that was not at all the romantic idea of what i thought motherhood was going to be like!
my kids were supposed to always obey me, and be lovely and affectionate all the time, smile on cue, never bite other kids, or scream bloody murder at the store when i wouldn't buy them a toy. not MY sweet kids! :)

i will say, even though i'm not much older than you that if i could go back and change how "I" reacted those days, I would. i took all of my kids tantrums, defiance, and crazy behavior so personally. now i know that EVERY mom goes through days like this with their kids...even really good moms.
sometimes we need to reevaluate our parenting tactics, sometimes we need to sit and cry and pray for our kids, sometimes we just need a glass of red wine and some chocolate...and a do-over.

R said...

just wanted to chime in on the 'roll call'! :0) i'm in the same boat. mine are FIVE (as of friday--when did THAT happen?!), almost three and 18 mos. same struggles here! it's so great to hear from other moms in similar stages.

Lisa Lundy said...

Thanks for being so honest with us :) I completely related to the description of diapering a cat. What is so awful about having your diaper changed? I'm juggling working full-time, supporting a husband in ministry and two little ones (30 and 8 months). I know there must be more physically exhausting things in life, but I can't imagine them right now. You have a real ministry to all of us moms - the ministry of mommy honesty. Thanks for answering the call!

Tracy said...

Amen. But, be encouraged ... my girl is now 14 and when she was Annabeth's age I wanted to mail her to anyone who would take her. Don't judge ... I was going to put airholes in the box. My sister thought I was mean ... until her own strong willed little girl arrived. Today, Torrey is a delight ... in love with Jesus and still thinks her parents are pretty cool. But, gracious ... I never thought I'd see the day. I expected to open Dr. Dobson's book and see "Because of Torrey" in the cover! You can do it. Even on your hardest day. Thanks for the reminder to pray for those in the thick of it.

And, I teach Kindergarten ... and some days it is a lot like herding cats ... 18 squirrely cats. Oh my!

Tara G. said...

My husband was out of the country a few weeks ago and our 2 year old did fall off the bed and split her eyebrow open- of course, it was late at night, I had to call the Marines for the dr. on call and they couldn't get through to one, and I had to find someone to stay with the others. Finally, a little glue and butterfly stitches later, we were home and the rest of the week went about the same (she also began changing her own diapers no matter what was in them). I can laugh a little now. :) I often quote Gal.6:9 to keep me going!

Mommarazzi said...

Oh how I needed to hear that I am not the only one who struggles.

{Thirty} Little Piggies said...

You are so not alone! My kids (boys ages 4 1/2 and almost 3, and baby girl who is almost 10 months old) are going through very similar stages! Amanda, last night I changed my little miss' {poopy} diaper in the pitch dark in our RV {we are on a business trip} so I wouldn't wake the sleeping guys! No lights at all just totally changing diapers from memory! This morning I changed her diaper while she was on my lap, latched on to me breastfeeding in the front seat of my minivan with my goods in plain sight should anyone happen to glance in the front window! And she's a fit-throwing, squirming, hates-to-be-changed girl like your precious little Annabeth! I swear, I've no pride left. This motherhood thing is hard and I've got an amazing husband and amazing kids like you do. I pray and encourage mamas who do it alone or under much more difficult circumstances. We must stick together and pray for, encourage, and giggle with one another on this wild ride! Thanks for the laughs tonight!

Skubaliscious said...

Right there with ya in the rough- day-with-young-children department.

Word of Hope Ministries said...

Thanks for the reminder to pray for all the young moms in my life (including you!). My kids are now 27, 27, 23, 21, 15, and 12...and it is STILL HARD! It changes, but being a mom never gets easy. I think that's by God's design, for so many reasons, including to keep us on our knees (or flat on our faces), needing more of Him and therefore less of us.
My first 5 years of motherhood were spent as an unbeliever. Let's remember to pray for all those young moms who don't know the Lord. They need HOPE!

lavonda said...

sweet Amanda, I echo everything Holly (and so many others) just said. My two are 13 (boy) and almost 10 (girl). I remember where you are. It gets easier. Love and discipline are the two best things you can give them, and grace and forgiveness are the two best things you can give yourself. I've prayed over my kiddos so many nights while they're peacefully asleep. and I can see how God has honored those prayers. People tell me all the time now how well behaved and pleasant my kids are to be around. Nothing makes me more proud. And I know for a fact I was overwhelmed and stressed at times when they were itty bitty. Hang in there girl. It really does get easier.

I think your mama's right too... Jackson discovering his world is so much bigger. Maybe just hold him when he needs you to shelter him, I promise you it'll be fleeting. Man, I wish someone had told me that perspective when mine were that age. I'm curious how long this phase will last... my memory is faded here.

On the bright side, at least you're not helping him handle peer pressure and girls yet. GoodLordHaveMercy... the emotional stress of wanting to do and say the right thing now is almost as bad as it was when I was trying to mold their behavior as toddlers. Only now their hormones are involved!
(Please help me not to mess this up, Lord.)
((That's pretty much how my prayers have always sounded when it gets tough)). :)

Amanda Ermanis said...

Can I get an AMEN?!?! Preach it sister... Parenting is tough stuff. But I guess that is part of the blessing come the other side of the journey (or so I hope/pray!). Thank you for being so real. So candid. And for bringing a huge stinkin' smile to my face after my own very long, insane Monday (aka any old day of the week!). I bet this stage/season of life has a channel of its very own on the big screen in Heaven - something like "World's Funniest Realities..."

Colored With Memories said...

oh, amanda! i went from tears of laughter at envisioning diapering a cat to tears of sincerity during your last two paragraphs.

so well said. i will be praying all of those things.

my girls are now 6 and 3...and while there are definitely struggles at each age, i can say without hesitation that it DOES get easier!

kerry

Marc and Charity said...

Ya girl! Preach it.

Sarah said...

I have been reading your blog every now and then for some time now, but never commented. I have a three year old and an 8 month old and the part where you wrote about putting a diaper on a cat cracked me up! I laughed so hard because that's exactly how I feel trying to put a diaper on my 8 month old. Giving him a bath and dressing him are equally exhausting. But I, like you, feel very very blessed.

Joni said...

Amanda-

My children are now 11,9 and 7 but I remember the rollercoaster feelings that accompanied caring for toddlers. One moment, the joy was so full, praising God for the precious stages found at the peak.

The very next moment, it felt like my stomach could hurl, as we plummeted downward through monkey fits, sibling spats and sleepless nights.

Hang in there. God sees your heart, your hard work, your undivided devotion. Soon, you'll get off that rollercoaster.

And then it's off to the bumper cars. : )

Joni

WendyB said...

I'm an "old" mom, and praying for all of you. Yes, loves, it's hard, hard, exhausting, nonstop work; and I promise you you will miss every millisecond of it! It's worth all the toil; as much consistency as you can muster is key. Hugs!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for this! It is nice to know I am not alone. My son is 2...and I like to say he is very, very two! Sweet as pie one minute and a terror the next. My daughter is 6 so we're beginning the homework phase of life. Help me, Jesus!

Phillips Family said...

Laughed through this entire post and felt like "Amen!"-ing every sentiment.

My son, who is 5, went through a very sulky stage about six months ago. He is super friendly, but seemed to have adopted the attitude of a mad teenager for a while. My mom told me he is just trying to catch up with his emotions and that he would even back out as he matured a bit more.

Thanks for this post and this realistic look at mothering preschoolers. It sure isn't pretty some days!

Carri said...

Amanda, I am seriously convinced we have the same children...except my oldest is a girl & my youngest is a boy...but they are doing the EXACT SAME things your two are doing! It's EXHAUSTING. You just wrote all that I go through and am feeling on a daily basis...it's nice to know I'm not the only one!

Rebecca said...

Amanda - thank you.

thank you for writing what all moms of young children have felt - what I have felt and thought many, many, many times. It is so nice to know that I will not be the only mom of young-ins in the 'special home' :)

seriously, thank you

Monica said...

Bless you for your honesty! It is so hard. My daughter is 6, and my son is 10 months. So much time has passed in between children I forgot the exhaustion babies bring with them. And my son is the opposite of my daughter...wide open, out there, into everything. I feel a comraderie at least with other moms who are brave enough to be real about it. It's the best job in the world, but the hardest.

Johnnie said...

This might have been about the age that MJH thew the fit at Willowbrook Mall and you didn't think I handled it well! You are going to make it Baby Girl! You are a wonderful Mom.
Love,
jj

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Oh Amanda....I could SO relate to your post today! Even though I'm about 30 years ahead of you I can still remember those days! You're so right....it's HARD! I remember the toddler years with "fondness" but NOT with "longing"! ha

Thirty years ago I had a newborn, a 19-month-old, and a 3-year-old. My husband worked long hours many miles from home and most of the time it was just "me & the kids"! I can remember once in the middle of the night after being up with the kids repeatedly....for whatever reason....I laid my head down on the washer or dryer, covered it with my hands and just sobbed telling the Lord that I just couldn't go on! That I was SOOOOOOO tired! But His grace was and is sufficient and here I am with 3 grown, well-adjusted adult children and two beautiful grandchildren just about the age of your kids! (My daughter-in-law is facing some of the same issues as you!)
Thanks for being real Amanda!

Your "old" friend.....

Marilyn...in Mississippi

Debbie said...

You just described my life. My two-yr-old seemed to complete the "throwing everything" phase just as my 1-yr-old began. So now, everything x2 hits the floor because said 2-yr-old likes the attention said 1-yr-old gets. I might as well serve them dinner down there, because that's where every bit of it ends up.

I, too, dread diaper changes, getting them dressed, etc., etc., all x2. I also break into a sweat, and have to recover with a tall glass of water when I'm done.

One day my husband is going to walk in the door and I'm going to be tied up somewhere, I'm sure of it.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Your post brought me back to those days in the trenches of parenting toddlers. I will pray for you and all your friends and won't mention that the teen years are equally exhausting just in a different way ;)

Amber said...

I'm right there with you... simultaneously overwhelmed with thanksgiving for my precious babies (almost 4, almost 2, and due in 10 weeks) who are healthy and well and overwhelmed with feelings of exhaustion and anxiety under the weight of the huge responsibility of parenting.
Hang in there!

Casey said...

It is hard! I have had a week just the same. I have an 18 month old who chooses to climb everything. He has learned NO. Which I don't tolerate. I am trying so hard to not be a loud mom as I was with my others. He is good but just never stops. Add to that my 11 year old who just doesn't get it. Everything is a fight. I feel like a failure as a mom with him and have no idea what else to do to reach to him. Add to that child who has now been in a wheelchair for 6 months and has a fighting spirit...which is good , for everyone but me. I have a step son who hates me and a husband who just had surgery last week.
I am just tired. This life is exhausting. So I get great encouragement from other mom's who look forward to bed time as much as I do. I know someday I will miss this. I know what you mean by the diapering a cat. My daughter was just like that. It's amazing how fast you can get to keep up with them.
Amanda, thanks for sharing..because lately I feel like a stinky mom because of my inability to keep up. You help me realize that I am not alone. God gives us the kids he know we can raise with his mighty power...right? That is what I keep telling myself. Hugs to you sweet girl.

Charity said...

Wonderful post. The thing is if most of us moms would realize that we're not alone in the craziness that in and of itself is validating and gives enough whatever to say, "Ok, I'm normal... they are normal... there is no normal... let's saddle up and do this thing."

Thanks.

JottinMama said...

I'm so thankful you wrote this.

I have a 4 year old boy and 15 month old girl and I am experiencing the same things you are! It's good to know I'm not the only one :)

Motherhood is not for sissy's, is it?


Blessed by my babies too,
Kate :)

~S~ said...

Last night I texted my husband (who was working at the hospital, which has been so much lately) and told him that I feel like an utter failure. Then I cried because I'm pregnant and I'm wondering what in the world I'm doing adding to our family. It's nice to know that I'm not alone. Thank you so much for this post!

Tabitha said...

I have an 8 year old, a 5 year old, a 2 year old and am expecting our 4th baby in April. I go through some of the things you did everyday even with the older ones sometimes. Yesterday was a bad day for me too. I homeschool my oldest two and my 5 year old daughter decided that she doesn't want to learn to read. She doesnt, in fact, want to do anything anymore. I was frustrated by that and everything else that had gone on that day in our home and I just sat down and felt all alone. It is hard and I just wanted to share that with someone. You are exactly right! Thank you for your very real post. I really enjoy reading your blog!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Amanda, I have been observing my friends that have more than one child here recently, and I was thinking, how do they do it? I mean one woman with eight kids even in our church! Then I had to conclude that the Lord must give them some kind of special enabling grace because I would be beside myself in not such a good way,probably,if I was in their situation-then again, He would then be giving me the grace I need too if I ever do have two or more...I've got to believe it, yes, you are blessed!:)

Nesha said...

Oh yes, I remember those days. Mine are 9 & 13 but that just means the battles are different. 13 yr olds are just a breed in themselves. I never know if I am a good mom that day or a mom who has just ruined his life and that is all based upon just him waking up in the morning. Though, we do have our private moments of tenderness (nobody else can see it).
I want to know where I went wrong with the competition that they have with each other. I don't think I ever compared the two, because they are SO different in every aspect to begin with: looks, likes, school, personality, sports, etc. *sigh*
I do have a technique that worked on my youngest at meal time, home and away. At times, I still use it today with him, yes, he is my border line pusher. Let me know if you want to hear it. I've already wrote enough.

Kathy W said...

Mine are 24, 22 and twins almost 20, but I can vividly remember where you are! All you can do is continue to do your best, get a break now and then, and remember, "This too shall pass." It's all worth it when they are young adults discussing how glad they are that they had parents who disciplined them, had high expectations from them, and didn't give them everything they wanted. My kids had this discussion in the car with my husband and me not too long ago! It was AMAZING!!

GO RANGERS!!!

kittyhox said...

I so often feel like the comment I leave on your blog is a lame, "Me too! Me too!"

But ME TOO! And I really needed to read this this morning. Just last night my husband and I were laying in bed last night discussing what is going on with oura almost 4.5 year old. What happened to our sunny, cheerful little guy who was so loving and affectionate? He is just a cranky pants and so sulky, half the time. I don't get it. My mother always told me how wonderful ages 4-6 were, and I'm just hoping that maybe it's because he is a boy? We are going to try to be purposefully calm and cheerful ourselves, because he has honestly gotten so annoying (doesn't that sound horrible to say about your own child?) that I am noticing our tones of voices being very annoyed lately, and I'm wondering if that is part of the problem? What an I doing wrong?!?! Anyhoo, sorry you are also dealing with some behavior issues, but as usual, thanks for sharing.

And yes, my almost two year old is the biggest mess-maker and constantly on the verge of hurting herself and I'm very much looking forward to looking back at this phase as a memory instead of living it daily!

Aren't children seriously more complicated, mysterious, and challenging than we could have ever guessed? And they keep changing. I wonder if it ever gets easy.

Lovesgarlic said...

I really like what Sister Lynn wrote about how "this is your path to holiness". For some reason, that really encouraged me today. I am at home with two boys and can understand what you wrote. I also really liked Mariel's comment about "when a growth spurt hits, so does the testosterone!! they get more "alpha male" and really begin to test me more. they are also more hungry and more tired..which also contributes to their poor attitudes." For some reason, this had never occured to me at all??!

Anyway, thanks for sharing. I can relate to everything you wrote. One of my boys, who has PDD(Autism), used to scream/tantrum uncontrollably when it was time for a diaper change. Man, I remember feeling the blood pressure surge you wrote about.

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

Love your heart Amanda
will be praying for u and your friends
Carol

Kevin said...

It is so very hard! Thank you for being honest. I thought it was just me!Thank you older moms for praying for us and encouraging us with your godly wisdom. We/I so need it. I need to be reminded on a daily (well lets admit hourly)basis that we are nurturing eternal souls. May I trust in you Lord!

Kylie said...

I'm so glad I'm not alone!!

Darcy said...

I just want to say thanks so much for this post. It reminds me I am not alone. As a mother of four children (ages 2, 6, 10, and 14), you would think I would handle this toddler age with grace but I so identified with your post as my youngest just turned two this week and has been throwing those massive fits and learning to spit his drink out everywhere (where did that come from?). My favorite term is "really?" and I am sure I use it all too frequently but it is so exhausting to care of little ones. This too will pass though! Thanks for being such a blessing and sharing with us!

Barb said...

It's so good to know that we aren't the only ones who go thru trying times with our children!! It helps to know that no one is perfect!! I wanted so much to be Donna Reed and fell so short of that!!!

May God bless all of you in your efforts with your babies - keep them in your prayers!

love, Barb

Becky Stephens said...

Wow...I am so thankful when the Lord puts things (like this blog post) in my path when I most need it. I have two boys...2 and 9 months. I love them....I adore them....and am so blessed to have them....AND...some days I also want to walk out my front door and leave them right in the middle of their tantrums and go get a big sweet tea and read a book! Is that too much to ask:) My husband and I were just talking about this last night. I was sharing with him how I feel so guilty for having feelings of being overwhelmed and frustrated when I know the Lord in His mercy will always give me what I need....but in my human state...some days....I just feel like I am never going to make it through this time with all of us intact!!! It was so encouraging to read your post and I was really laughing out loud at one point because I can so completely relate! Thank you for being candid...your honesty is a ministry. I will pray for you today! One of my fav verses that I cling to during this time is Romans 4:20,21 "No distrust made 'her' waver concerning the promise of God. But 'she' grew strong in 'her' faith as she gave glory to God. Fully convinced that He was able to do what He promised"

mhutsell said...

I am a 39 year old mom of six boys, ages 14 to 21 months. I am in all stages currently and I can say...raising babies and toddlers is INDEED hard! And I could not agree more that what mothers of young ones need is validation! Let me say this also, get a book on child behavior patterns and you will see how utterly normal your children are! I have the book "Child Behavior" by Frances Ilg and it so beautifully and objectively details the stages kids go through. At age four the book says..."the key words are OUT OF BOUNDS. THey are out of bounds emotionally...motorwise.. verbally....in imagination... and interpersonally. He loves to defy parental commands, In fact he seems to thrive on being just as defiant as he can manage. A terrible toughness seems to have come over him-he swaggers, swears, boasts, defies." This book doesn't tell you how to parent...it isn't written from a Christian perspective. It is just objective. It says at this age a good deal of firmness is needed but also you need to know he is NORMAL and will come out of it. I don't know Jackson but I can sa this..five year olds are a delight. The book even says so! :) SO hang on sister...it isn't your parenting...it is their development...and your sanctification that are at work here. We are all with you!

Becky said...

Bless you!! I am one of the older moms. (well--maybe not older....how about "been there done that" moms? 41 is not old, is it?) I am praying for you and moms of little ones. I am sitting home alone (which is rare). It is quiet. It is weird! Seems like yesterday my girls were running around driving me nutso! My girls are grown (one married with a baby) the other a freshman in college (but still at home). I miss the younger years but you are right--it is HARD!!! My 6 mth old grandbaby come to stay with us this summer and The Lord gave me a fresh new admiration, as well as a new call to pray constantly for moms! I was exhausted this summer. I was late to church everytime the grandbaby was with me. My bible study and prayer was neglected (almost non-existent..thank The Lord for popcorn prayers!!). So bless you--each one of you.

Press on you precious mommies!!! The Lord (El Roi) sees you!!!! You are loved and prayed for!!

melinda said...

"This stage of parenting is so stinking hard." Truer words were never spoken.

I guess we can take solace in the fact that it feels hard. If it felt like a cake-walk we'd know we weren't present -- alive -- *in* it. Sometimes it helps me to remember that the reason I am irrevocably tired and spent is because I have given it all. Poured out every little shred of DNA on the demanding though darling peeps. And I wouldn't trade a rested me for a reality that meant I'd just missed the chance to do this thing with excellence.

All the same -- I just love this quote from Datenight "I just want to have one day that doesn't depend on how everyone else's day went."

Praying for you, your friends, and all of us who are trying to do this parenting thing well. Guess God wants to remind me (again) that the road to the end of ouselves is indeed a short trip. We need a savior.

p.s. Diaper=Ball and chain according to my 2-year old. What on earth. I'm blogging similarly if you ever can't sleep (as if) then come and take a peek. You are not alone.

God's not so little dutch girl said...

Congrats on making it through the day! I know what you're going through! I am done with diapers and such,my girls are teens now,but we have other issues. I don't have much advice, but I will be praying...for you and those you mentioned in the post. You're doing a GREAT job! EVERYBODY has THOSE days, and if they say they don't, they are LYING! My mistake was not being consistent, so I guess my 2 cents would be to be consistent. It is SO hard, but I believe the results would be worth it.(I wouldn't know because I wasn't consistent)Praying for you, Amanda!

Tiffany said...

Bless you for writing this! You wrote what every other MOM including me wants to write. Thanks for making me feel normal. There are days that I completely butcher as a parent and wonder where did this child come from that prayed so sweetly last night and is disrespecting me in front of my peers today. Jackson and Annabeth were such a joy to be around on Saturday! I mean that. Thanks also for the encouragement.

Jill said...

i RARELY comment.....you are about 6 months to 1 year ahead of me....i have a 3 y/o boy (to be 4 in jan), and a 14 month old little girl. i can easily see your life being mine in the all to near future - ha!! YES, it's exhausting, and i sometimes wonder if i'm just a wuss, wimp, and a host of other things. thanks for the post.

jenmom said...

Thank you for this! I could just cry because you voiced beautifully exactly where I am with my 20 month old and 5 year old and pre-teen 12 year old!!!
I've never had a harder job than being a mother!

Kristen Maddux said...

Amanda,
Yes, yes...to be validated is so important, because it IS hard. I'm a mother of a young one too. You know the thing I love most about this post, though? Is that you totally validated those of us who would give their right leg to have the frustrations and stuggles of a mom with two healthy children.
My daughter is three and I have had three back surgeries since she was born and live in chronic pain. I am just now facing the grief that my body will not be able to carry another child, and because of my health don't know if we could ever adopt. It's a heavy blow.
So on blogs or facebook, when I see mom's complaining about caring for their beautiful, numerous healthy children, my heart stuggles with anger and the deep grief of unmet expectations.
So thanks for being honest, but also being sensitive while you are! You are a blessing to me!

Kristen said...

Sweet friend...what a day! Being a mom is so hard. I asked N yesterday if I could die from no sleep. It was that bad.

Annika said...

Amen, amen, amen. Just read through about 20 comments and it seemed many of us in the world had hard days on the same day! :) My goodness.

I am so exhausted. I have four kids under 5 and just found out that I am pregnant again, after having a long discussion with my husband about when to schedule his vasectomy. I guess God had other ideas, but I am so tired and now I'm sick with morning sickness once again. I love my kids deeply, and I love that I am a mom, but I echo your thoughts here about how exhausting this stage is. I desire nothing more than to do the best job I can with God's strength and wisdom, and to point them toward Him. These hard days I sometimes feel like I've done NOTHING for them, besides keep them alive. Ugh. Us young moms appreciate any and all prayers!!! Thanks, Amanda

Michelle said...

We are living the same life! Thanks for such a great post.

The McClure Boys said...

Thank you for posting this, Amanda! I laughed and cried while reading it because I've been in so many of those exact situations. It is exhausting and hard and humiliating sometimes. I could not make it through one day without Jesus!

Tonya said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I am a blessed mother of three - an almost 8 yr old, almost 3 yr old, and an almost 4 month old. The 8 yr old gives me hope because he is independent and maturing in a wonderful way. The littles ones exhaust me - although I have to say my almost 4 month old is the sweetest baby ever, but I know she will be a toddler one day - yikes! :-)

Thank you for the reminder that I am not alone in my daily struggles. I joke with my mom that my 2 yr old is bi-polar. I know that's not funny - it's a serious thing - but the constant mood swings and never knowing what might set him off and cause a meltdown wears me out! One minute he is the sweetest, most loving child and the next he's screaming at the top of his lungs because he dropped something or his brother looked at him. I mean - come on!!

I will pray for you and let us rest in the knowledge that "this too shall pass." Let us also not forget to cherish the sweet moments because they pass by entirely too quickly.

Kelli said...

This post was such a blessing

These comments were such a blessing.

Praying for us all collectively!

wdjp25 said...

An awesome post! Thank you for putting words to my frequent mental state!

I know I am supposed to "enjoy" this season but all I can think of is "survival"! 3 boys - twin 4.5 yr olds and a 3 yr old Strong-willed does not even come close to correctly identifying them most of the time! Some days I just want to drive away and then the guilt of actually thinking that overwhelms me!

Thank you for being transparent and so open with your struggles! It's like a breath of fresh air in a world filled with pressure to be the perfect mom who has it all together!

Much love and prayer to you and your family!

Brie said...

I soooo needed this today after my toddler threw ridiculous fits about getting in her car seat has climbed everything and spilt everything. You start to wonder if it's just bad mothering.

Dionna said...

I have tears in my eyes after reading your post. I've been there. So tired. And yet I long for those days again. Not that I don't enjoy today. But my girls are now 11 and almost 14 and I feel like they are slipping through my fingers - getting so independent and not needing me as much anymore. Life is but a vapor.

Kids test their boundaries. Not in a mean way or even an intentional way - I don't think. They are just soaking up life, learning and experimenting. Some days are really rough and other days you feel like you are doing quite well (that's when God uses our little ones to humble us quickly!) But hang in there. I KNOW how much you love your children - it shines through in your posts.

They will make it through and so will you.

Wade's World said...

Thank you so much for making me feel like I'm not alone in this rough stage of parenting. Our 4 year old is pushing boundaries constantly, and its driving us crazy! He is very headstrong, and it seems like we're in a constant battle over discipline. We really do need prayer!

Brian and Nicole said...

Amanda you summed up my life. My daughter is about a week or two older than Jackson and my son is two months younger than Annabeth. I found your blog after we all met up in San Antonio, and have followed since. When you post, I sometimes feel like you are looking into my house and seeing the craziness that goes on here. I find your post very encouraging, thank you for sharing your life. And the throwing plates/silverware, squirmy diaper changes and wrestling dressing matches I have concluded are just part of this season of my life! I wish you luck!

Allison said...

I am so shouting AMEN, becuase this is my life...with one...I am so freaked out about two.

Oh, and my parenting moment of the year. Gia in the back of the car,

"UGGGh. You are making me crazy"

all while throwing her hands up in the air...just like me.

a_outland said...

My kids never went thru the throwing food stage. Probably becuase I would not put up with it. They know better. My 3 year old has just bit his sister twice and this better not last long because his Daddy is home and I guarrantee it will not last. The biggest thing I have learned with kids is that you can not spare the rod and who cares what your 'friends' think.

Amy Hammons said...

I have three children: almost 16, 8 and 6. Reading your post brought back those memories that I had hidden....the days of not getting to accomplish anything except discipline and the horrible feeling of inadequacy. Terrible mother was often times played in my head! I have been exactly where you are and it is trying on the soul and the heart, but it will get better. You may not even realize that it gets better until one day you are sitting down and realize it. That is how it happened with me and when that happens you may long for the days when they were so small and needed you for help...even if it is so frustrating. Just remember you are not alone! Thank you for all your posts!

Lisa said...

Sweet mercy! I love this post because I have been there and still am occasionally. After many hours of prayer (and I do mean HOURS!)God has impressed upon me one thing repeatedly: it is not all up to me. Many times, I have to step aside from my desire to have children that elicit praise from other parents/adults and ask Him, "Do You approve, Father? Do You approve of my job as a mom to Your children that You loaned to me? Even though their actions are not perfect, am I loving them and guiding them the way You would have me?" Sometimes, the answer is "yes" from Him....even when others have looked at us with disapproval. You are a fabulous mom and one thing is certain: God has perfectly placed your children with YOU, not another mom and He is certain that He is correct! ;) Also, thank you for asking moms of older children to pray for us. I truly believe if we could stop judging each other's parenting and pray for each other instead, our parenting journey would be even sweeter.

Rachel said...

I love this post! Thank you for being open and honest! It is always nice to hear that as a mom you are not alone- other moms (& kids) are going through the same thing!

Theresa said...

So I would hug you if I could. This is it girl...it's hard and it gets harder. August 12, 2010 I dropped my youngest son off at college. Fast forward past the tears, sobs, feeling like I couldn't breath, drive home 4.5 hours to pack up and head to our promised land in Colorado for a month to rest. (I know how unbelievable is that! A blessing) All I kept telling my husband was how tired I was. How tired I was after raising these kids all these years and I was exhausted. It was the hardest work we had ever done. Don't mean to discourage you, just wanted to tell you to "cowgirl up" and keep fighting and battling. You will see such bright, amazing moments of victory and it will be the push that you will need to keep going with those babies. Then when you are finished blinking they are the young adults who you prayed that would become. Loving God, respecting and loving their parents and the relationships keep going and growing. Thank you Jesus!

Your "today" is hard, challenging and exhausting but one day you will wake up with the house a little emptier but your heart fuller.

I read your blog and see myself so many years ago. God Bless you and all the other young moms out there doing the hard thing. Know that when you see a girl about 50 or so and she is staring at your beautiful children, she is probably not judging, she just might be remembering how quickly the days flew by and be giving a quiet thank you in her soul to the one who gave them to her.

In His Grip,
Theresa

courtney said...

oh, i'm with you. i am so with you.

Lindsee said...

I don't have children, but I love your honest heart. I prayed for you and all the sweet mama's with young kids this morning! I hope today was a better day!

Nancy Jensen said...

Parenting is NOT for sissies!

The toughest job you will ever love. Some days are just HARD aren't they? I had one yesterday - where you get to the end of the day wondering how you all survived it. I feel your pain, I have been in your shoes - little ones are demanding and exhausting. My children are older now at 9, 13 & 16, the challenges have changed, but they are still challenging!

We just have to do the best we know how and pray that the good Lord will fill in all the gaps that we missed.

God be with you and your friends who are struggling now as well.

Mommy Dot Com said...

I can only encourage you w/ the encouragement God gave me. It's okay to lend your children your self-control until their self-control has a chance to be developed. And not just developed but rooted and grounded, which takes time. Don't let seeing them "going backwards" scare you. It happens. You just be the example that you desire for them to become. When we are absolutely powerless to change our children's behavior, it can be refreshing to realize we can at least change our own. And that change always proves fruitful for our children. Always.

I count it an honor to pray for all the mommas. May Christ minister to each one of us out of the abundance of His compassion. He gently leads those with young. He remembers that we are dust.

Leslie said...

Like others, I can totally relate. I was just telling my husband that all I can say about today is that I kept our son alive. He (my son, not my husband) has recently started climbing upon chairs and couches and would fall off of them head first if I wasn't there to catch him. Consequently, I've been a nervous wreck today. And then to top it off he's been throwing some intense tantrums. Once I got him to bed and the laundry folded I just wanted to be left alone. But I did research online activities I can do with a 15-month-old, hoping that if I keep him focused on something he won't get into trouble. We'll see how that works out. I predict that any crayons/fingerpaints/chalk that I hand him will just be thrown at the cats.

Ginnylou said...

I'm there with you! I'm so sick of arguing with my 3-year-old over EVERY. STINKING. THING. And my 7-month-old is doing me in with the diaper nightmares. Combine teething diarrhea with a newfound game of rolling over on the changing table and you get a very messy (and annoyed!) mommy!
After having one such incident just before church Sunday morning, I plopped down in the back wearing my poo-stained sweater. The sermon was on how we are all different parts of the body of Christ-hands, feet, etc. My first, extra-spiritual thought? "Well, I guess I must be the colon, I'm surrounded by poo!" After further comtemplation, I figured that someone has to do it, right? Might not be glamorous, but no one else will ever love my babies as much as I do, so it might as well be me in the trenches with them!
Thanks, Amanda!

Michelle said...

Every mom who reads this post will feel so very validated! I remember that before I had kids I wanted to be a "nice" mom. Then I had my firstborn child. Wow. I'll be praying for you.

tanya said...

Perfect timing - I took my 2 year old to the ER Monday for biting a hole in his tongue. I nearly fainted after he was stitched up.

And, I have a sixth month old. My body feels like I'm going to have #3. Didn't this happen to you about the 5 1/2 month stage? This is normal, right?

Barb said...

Hi again,
As I was praying for you this morning, a thought came to me - wondering if Jackson is really ready for soccer? Isn't that the only thing that has changed lately? Unless it is the 1/2 year mark - my children always seemed at their 'worst' around the 1/2 way mark to their next birthday - but they usually took turns, unlike what happened at your home on this day. :) Just thought I would throw it out there. Or maybe AnnaBeth is needing so much attention right now that Jackson is having a hard time dealing with that plus the extra possible learning curve of soccer?? Again - just thoughts - see if they ring true or not. with love, Barb

Jamie said...

Amanda,

Thank you for keepin' it real! As a Momma of three small children, I can definitely relate to what you've written! THANK YOU for sharing!!

leslieandjacob said...

I found this post through a mutual friend's blog, and I just have to say, you wrote a script of most of my days! I am a mom of a 3 year old boy and 1 year old girl and I can absolutely relate! Thanks for the laugh!

McSwain said...

Thanks so much for posting. I am in the trenches with you girl! My son will be four in December and baby girl is 20 months. I am truly blessed and totally exhausted.

Rena said...

Sister, you are validated!! So many needs in so many families!!

But day to day life can certainly wear us down. My girls are 20, 17 & 4. The oldest is married, husband deployed, with almost one-year-old. And they live with us. My husband had back surgery last week and I feel like "I" am going to die. I feel guilty for feeling that way yet I am worn! Slap! Out!

Dressing my grandson is like dressing an octopus. He is so strong--Bam Bam strong! My neck and shoulders are constantly aching. I feel like I run in circles cleaning up one mess and moving to the other only to have the first cleaned up mess undone. I've had this conversation with the Lord many times. And lately it's been a LOT! Your post makes me feel validated. Not to whine and give in to pity, of course, but by all means to stop condemning myself. There is NO HOPE in condemnation.

Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder how in the world I'm making a difference. Thanks for posting this! Praying NOW for those requests and extra grace for all of us!

jonesbones5.com said...

You have my prayers. I have not tried to diaper a cat lately but I do remember those days with my girls.

A respected friend of mine once told me that letting kids climb and crash a bit is a good thing. She said it is better to let them learn their boundaries by tipping over in a tricycle than not learning boundaries and flipping a car one day. Hang in thee!

Linda (Sewfordough) said...

Oh, yes, these are trying times for all you young moms and I will be praying for each one of you. My girls are now 22 and 24 and the long, trying days you just described are etched in my memory. Only now, they make me smile instead of cry. Well, I still cry, but only because I miss those days. Isn't that crazy? I remember putting them to bed thinking "Finally!!!" and then wanting to wake them up a half hour later. A few pointers, besides the obvious of trusting the Lord and continual prayer....try to keep a good sense of humor. It goes a long way when you can find something funny about the tenseness of the moment. Remember that the evil one wants you to collapse in all of this. Don't give him a foothold. Remember that mommy needs a time out once in awhile, even if the only place you go is to your room for a breather. Find those verses that really speak to you and mutter them throughout the day to yourself. And most of all, don't wish the time away. As you already know, it goes by so fast!

Linda (Sewfordough) said...

Oh, and I forgot to say that you have the most important (and toughest) job in the world and no one is going to do a better job at it than you are. You've got a vested interest in how those adorable kids turn out. No one loves them like you do!

If it helps at all, my 22 year old is living at home while doing her student teaching for a semester and she gave me some attitude the other day. But the neat thing is, she came back and apologized! See, there's hope!

My husband used to tease our kids when they did crazy things. He'd tell them that they'd get their brain when they graduated! Well, we had to extend that to..."you'll get your brain when you graduate from college." And now, we think we'll have to change it to "you'll get your brain after you're married and have kids." We hope it happens by then!!!!

Ashley N said...

This post made me laugh and cry!Sister, I am right there with you. I just wrote about my heartbreak over my 4.5 year old daugther's behavior issues that are similar to your son's, and I'm like you...wondering how we got here? Not to mention my newly walking 1yr old who seems determined to tear my house apart from top to bottom everyday. I find myself seeking Him more for direction these days, and maybe that's the whole point. Thanks for sharing, and reminding me when I REALLY needed to be reminded, that I'm not the only one dealing with these things.

Shelli Littleton said...

Look at all these posts! You touched a nerve! Yes, I would have never survived without Shepherding a Child's Heart. I had a plan! Eventually, I could just simply say "obey" and they did ... from discipline in LOVE. But I sure had some moments of embarrassment prior to that. Every momma has.

Praying for you and your friends.

Michele said...

Thank you so much for your honesty! I have had many of these types of days lately with 2 boys...3 1/2 and 19 mo. My 19 mo. old is starting to really push the boundaries on everything and sounds a lot like your AB. Oy. I feel your pain. :) Blessings to you during this difficult season and I'll definitely take some of those prayers!!! :)

mallory said...

Preach it sister. I totally relate! It IS really hard, but at the same time we ARE blessed. How they can both exist at the same time is a mystery!

"The Mrs." said...

So cute!!! What a story!!!

Tonya Gray said...

I just read your post with big, fat crocodile tears in my eyes. I am going through such a trying time in my parenting. My 3 boys are almost 5, just turned 3, and 4 months. There is not a moment of the day that I don't feel like someone needs me, wants me, has to poop, is thirsty, needs something wiped, is crying, screaming or on the verge of one or the other...or both, actually.
I am really struggling with having anything left to give to my husband. My marriage is suffering because of it. Not in a dramatic way or really any major way, but we are co-existing way more than loving.
Thanks for reminding me that I'm not alone! We'll pray each other through this stage!

Shellie Paparazzo said...

Oh, Amanda! I remember these days so well and I know it's hard! I ended many days in absolute tears thinking I had completely failed and can't live through another day of this. It really wasn't all that long ago and now I have 3 amazing grade school children who love the Lord! My youngest (8) has decided whe wants to be my research assistant like your sister is to your Mom as I am working on a book (not sure yet if it'll be a devotional book or a bible study) on 1 Corinthians. So adorable! Those kind of things will be coming soon for you, too, I promise! So much fun to watch her starting to read the bible on her own while she "studies" with me. It slows down my work a litte, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! Consistent discipline and lots of prayer! And I will pray for you! Hugs

Your not sure if she's sanguine or not friend wink
Shellie Paparazzo

kSk said...

http://girlygirl.typepad.com/girly_girl/2010/10/beth-moore-hes-just-not-that-into-you.html

I love your blog because you are so real and you don't put on a mask! I read Christian chick lit author Kristin Billerbeck's blog and she mentioned meeting your mom. The link is above.

The Parker Family said...

I am wiping the tears from my eyes. My sons are 3 and 5. The older just started kindergarten and I miss him so much (even his rebellious attitude & whining). Raising children is so challenging. It makes me admire God so much for the way He disciplines me:) I have deserved to be struck dead like those in the OT so many times!

stacikristine said...

Sorry it was such a tough day! I'm thankful for this time where we don't have all of the trails that come with kiddos, but we're also excited for the time when we do.

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Oh Amanda.

I often think: How did I so entirely mess up these beautiful kids??

And He murmurs: "Grace is for messes, remember?"

I'm with you --- clinging to Jesus.

I just love your heart, Amanda... Glad we are in the trenches together and Jesus has carved our name in His hands...

All's grace,
Ann

Barbara Head said...

Oh, Amanda, Troy and I were reading this blog together and really chuckling!! He says "It has only just begun for these two young parents." You are only experiencing very normal behavior although there will be many times you will think you are the only one in the world with "misbehaving kids". Take heart, sweet thing, you are doing a marvelous job!!

Yavonne said...

My hats off to you for sticking in there and being a mom when it's hard.

A wise older woman once told me when children are acting up they are just doing their job and it's my job to set boundaries day in and day out. That's what motherhood is. Once I heard this I realized they are just doing their job....figuring out what's okay and what's not. But to us mom's it gets old and is exhausting to repeat ourselves over and over again. Once they know the boundaeries it will get easier....hang in their!!!!!

As for your son becoming unfriendly...when my kids did this it usually meant they needed some special time with mom and/or dad. Or they just needed to be noticed and praised out loud what they were doing right. You may be doing all these things and it is something else entirely....each child and family is unique.

On a side note, I have an old post on my blog called The Invisible Woman...I put it up to encourage young mothers like yourself.

Keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!!

The Bargain Shopper Lady said...

We rarely go to storytime! I don't think it was created for boys! Nothing has blessed me more than homeschooling and just laughing at life! I understand a hard day as a mom for sure! Sometimes my husband knows my look when he walks in the door and he just takes over, no words necessary! :)

TXSkipper said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, and THANK YOU! Hard not to feel a bit bipolar isn't it?

Sarah said...

Amen--to all of it! It's hard, and it gets easier, but only in some ways. I think God increases our capacity every year and with every child, but never so much that we don't have to really depend on Him, and learn much humility in the process! Or, at least, that's been my experience!

Bless you today :)

Exum Family said...

I saw your photo from Erica's book signing before I read this post. I thought to myself, "My Jackson isn't the only one who doesn't look thrilled to take photos. I'm glad I'm not alone."

Now that I'm reading your post, it fits so perfectly after my thoughts! I have never heard it more beautifully said than what you said in your second-to-last paragraph. I have felt or feel all of those feelings on a daily basis! This is so hard and my Jackson has been the biggest challenge of my life. I like Erica's comment and I think it must apply to me - I needed something that would really make me seek Him and not seek myself.

You are a great woman. Keep going.

Tasha Via said...

Sounds so familiar. PTL you survived, without the trip to the crazy farm, ha!

Just stopped by for the first time tonight and just LOVE your blog:)

Sarah said...

Wow, this post seems to have really hit home for a lot of people, including me. I've got an almost-4 year old girl, a 3 1/2 year old girl, and a 2 month old. I hear you on all counts. Sometimes it feels as though we're trapped in the house by the 'unpredictable' monster. And the throwing food? I haven't worked out a solution either. Other than to hope that in time, they'll eat less like animals and more like people. :)

tarawilliams said...

Amanda, I follow you on Twitter and have a 19 month old little girl who I often think would have so much fun with your little AB. I could almost plagiarize your "tweets" that refer to her and this post! Thanks for sharing. If you are ever in Georgia, maybe our girls can have a playdate!

brandy said...

THis was exactly what I needed to hear today. I had my 5 week old crying constantly while I was trying to put my 2 year old to sleep. I wanted a break, a shower, time to myself. So I went to the closet and cried and prayed. Your post was the Lord's answer. It helps me to know I'm not alone. Thank you.

Emmy said...

Oh Amanda! I just prayed for you... your list of friends!

It is hard! SO hard! That is how I came to know the Lord my kids were 3, almost 2 and 9 months my husband was in his residency (he literally lived at the hospital) and I just lost it... and the hard thing was that my whole life all I had ever wanted to do was be a mother!

I just want to validate you! You are an AMAZING Mom! You are also a gifted writer, wife, friend, daughter and encourager! You have taught me so much just from reading your blog posts! I am thankful! : )

I promise it will get better! You will have many golden years! Then you hit the teens... that is where I am now... if anyone is reading this... pray for Moms of teens! Ughhhhh..... that is all I can say!

God Bless Amanda! Thank you again for your honest, transparent post! You are a gift to all!

Suzy said...

I'll be praying!

Angela said...

Hi Amanda,

I just found your blog and wanted to let you know I'm right there with you! You blessed my heart today! It's nice to know that you're not the only one going through this. I've been struggling with some behavior issues myself with my little ones. I know that it will be better and that "this too shall pass", but it's still hard in the moment. Praying for you and your friends!

Jen said...

I'm so excited! I just found your blog today after years of lurking around siestaville! I've always felt a connection with you at the LPM blog because we are in the same life stage. LOVE this post as I'm in the throes myself parenting two beautiful 1 and 3-year-old girls. I could not have written about the challenges of parenting preschoolers more eloquently myself. Honestly, I'm just grateful to know that not everyone but me has perfect kids! :) Hugs to you Amanda! Like you, I SO want to do this thing well!

Ashley said...

Thank you for this post...I am in exactly this place with my 2 of my kids (the 2 yr old and the 4 yr old). I think I really might have the whiniest 2-year old boy on the planet. Why does my discipline not seem to work? How many back to back spankings need to be given before my sweet, yet, stubborn girl will back down? My goodness. I had a morning like that getting ready for church and by the time I got there I was in tears of frustration. However, I do feel blessed and I loved the last paragraph. It's so huge to remember the blessing that motherhood is.

And can I say, again, you are so gifted as a writer, and I imagine in other ways, too. I read another post where you talked about fear of public speaking - and while you may not ever take the platform (and who knows, you might) you have been given a platform. Not because you're a minister's wife or because you're Beth Moore's daughter, but because you are His workmanship, hand-crafted to good works - and you have something to say.