So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Don’t forget to check on your tough kid.

Kids, especially young ones, usually wear their emotions on their sleeves. If something hurts, they cry. If something makes them mad, they yell. And yet, sometimes they don’t understand their emotions at all. They’re hungry? They cry. They’re frustrated? They cry. They want a different toy or wish their friend would share? They cry. Or, they throw a full-on fit and kick and scream and yell and throw things and you have absolutely no idea what the real problem is, and neither do they.

Then, there are the other kids. The ones who run screaming through the house and jump on the couch and slam their toys together. They love to wrestle and throw things around. They go barreling through the yard and you watch them hit the pavement—hard. You wait to see a reaction. You wait to see the tears. They jump up, dust off, and are right back at it.

You lovingly call them your “wild child” or your “tough one” or the one with all the “personality”.

They are the kids who can’t be tamed. They are the ones they speak of when they say some kids could run with the wolves. They are the ones who are ruled by their wild spirits, and nothing can get them down.

But, sometimes, some things can.

My youngest is my wild child. She just turned four and is the definition of rough and tumble. She loves to roar with her dinosaurs. She loves to go barreling through the yard with our huge dogs and laughs as they literally plow her over. She loves to kick a ball, to wield a sword, and to see all of her toys fight it out. There is rarely a day she doesn’t come home with a new bruise. They stopped calling from preschool. They send notes now, in her backpack. They talk about how she jumped off the swings, tripped running through the playground, etc. She can’t be slowed down.

However, she still loves just as fiercely. She’s still a typical 4-year-old in that sense. She wants praise and adoration. She wants to hold your hand in the moments she is ready to stand still. She wants the biggest bear hugs and to ride on your shoulders every chance she gets.

She wants to know how much she’s loved.

So, every night, after she sprints to her room and somersaults into her bed, I lie with her for a few minutes. I give her hugs and play with her hair and try to help her unwind from her wild day. I tell her how much I love her and hope she has the sweetest dreams.

The other night, as I tucked her in, I told her to get to sleep so she’d have a good day at school the next day. She said she hoped that her friends would be nice to her tomorrow. I asked if her friends were nice to her today and she quickly replied no. She said they told her they didn’t want to play with her again today.

My heart broke. How many times had her friends left her to play alone? How many times had she had her feelings hurt at school? How hard was it for her little mind to understand these feelings she was feeling?

My “tough one” who can wreck her bike and get right back on it was feeling emotionally hurt.

It was so horrible to hear. I hated to think of her feeling alone or confused. I hated to think of her feeling rejected.

Granted, kids her age don’t usually mean to exclude. They don’t usually mean to leave others out or to hurt feelings. They may have just wanted to play something different than she was playing. They may be frightened or overwhelmed with her boisterous personality. They may have just been tired or hungry that day and wanted to play alone. But, I wish I had been there to explain to her. I wish I had noticed she was hurting.

She’s so full of life it’s hard to see when hers is hard.

So, I encourage you all: check in on your tough kid.

Remind them it’s OK to be sad and it’s OK to feel hurt when they are. Don’t assume just because they can handle the hardest falls that they can handle the toughest days.

After all, even the bravest and the strongest just want a little extra love sometimes.

You may also like:

Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it

The Mama of the Wild Child is Trying Harder Than You Know

Dear Strong Willed Child, You’re Worth It

Michelle Downing

Michelle Downing is a married mother of two young daughters. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and home renovation projects.

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

The Only Way to Freeze Time Is to Take the Picture—So I’ll Take as Many as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two kids sitting in wagon, color photo

Life ebbs and flows. Seasons come and go. One of the reasons I take so many photos is because they are the only way to make time stand still. They provide a nostalgia that can’t compete with anything else. They help us remember the exact moment captured and show us how fast time is fleeting. It doesn’t matter if their texture is glossy or matte. It doesn’t matter if they are in a frame or on a screen. It doesn’t matter if they are professional or if someone’s thumbprint is in the upper corner. All that matters is the moment...

Keep Reading

For the Love of the Game and a Little Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Several baseball players with coach, color photo

When your babies are babies, you think the days are never going to end. You’re so filled up with love for them, but oh momma, you are sooo exhausted. One day runs into the other, runs into the other, and so on. Those days are filled with feedings, diaper changes, sleepless nights, and milk-drunk smiles. You get all the firsts. The first smile. The first laugh. The first words. The first crawl. Before you know it, they’re walking. Walking turns into running. But hold your breath momma, these are the good old days. These long days and even longer nights...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime