Dear son with all the big emotions,

I get it, you’ve had a long day.

There was lots to learn and social situations to navigate. There was attention to be shared and much of the time you weren’t center stage. It took everything in you to hold it all together: keeping the whining, sassing, complaining, arguing, and meltdowns in check. 

Now that I’m here to pick you up I can see it all starting to unravel.

I see that look on your face. Your need to sass and argue spilling out from your lips. Complaints, arguing, and whining about every small detail. Fighting with your sister the instant you get in the car. Inability to regulate once we get home. Cue the defiance and meltdowns.

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I want you to know I’m trying, little guy. I know this is your safe place, that I am your safe person and your natural inclination is to that undesirable whining, sassing, complaining, and arguing. I know it took a tremendous amount of effort and willpower for you to keep it all together today. I know that you are tired (and you’re probably getting hungry).

I’m trying my hardest to keep myself in check while navigating your emotional letdown. I’m digging deep to find patience and calm.  

I am trying and mostly failing but here’s the thing, I am tired, too.

I’m tired physically and mentally from all that was demanded of me today . . . and yesterday, and the week before, and the month before that. Demands that have stacked up over time without appropriate reprieve to regroup. 

I’m tired thinking about all there is left to accomplish before I can call it a night and tuck myself into bed. I’m already tired pondering what tomorrow has in store. The list of things to attend to along with all those details I missed getting to today, and yesterday, and the day before stacking up that won’t disappear until they get my attention as well. 

And I’m tired of being your punching bag.

It’s so very rare that we have a nice evening together and our weekends aren’t all that great either. I desperately want us to enjoy our time with one another but your behaviors are making it hard. Sometimes impossible.

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Instead of being drawn to you, I feel inclined to pull away. I am struggling to balance my need to preserve my own physical, emotional, and mental well-being and giving and allowing you what you need for yours. 

I am exhausted beyond comprehension. Sometimes I just need a break.

I am clinging to hope that this season will soon pass. I’m praying for answers to the inner turmoil steering you so far away from the boy I know God created you to besweet, kind, smart, and oh so funny with the most contagious laugh and smile.

I’m giving it my all to rally so I can stand strong with you, weathering this storm until it passes, pushing through even when I’ve reached my max.

Because that’s what a mother does. It’s the reason God made mothers and why He specifically made me yours.

We’ll get through this, my boy, one rough day at a time. I promise.

Hilary Doyle

Hilary is a wife and mother of three living in Colorado. She enjoys projects (especially with her young kiddos), gardening, writing, reading and swinging a club on the golf course. Her education and work experience fall in the category of mental health but her heart is in her home - just as God intended. Follow her at