My kid drives me crazy. There, I said it. And I don’t care what you think.

Ha! Who are we kidding. Of course I care what you think. I’m an anxious mother who secretly (but not so secretly) cares what everyone thinks. However, for the sake of this article, I’m going to pretend I don’t actually care what you think—while willingly spiking my anxiety—and I’m going to say what’s on my mind.

My kid drives me crazy and I tell him that. I don’t care what you think.

Our kid came into this world as a fierce being and at 16 months, I was certain I was dealing with a strong-willed child. However, I didn’t understand just how strong-willed he’d be. I had no clue that my plan before having my son would be thwarted after his birth.

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My attempt to live in a Mary Poppins-esque house was not working out for us. I was trying too hard to sugarcoat everything and we were sinking deeper into the abyss. Once I realized my son needed structure—just like his mama—we started becoming firmer and I ditched my plans to be the perfect mother.

The day I gave up tip-toeing around my son’s behaviors is the day we started calling out the behaviors for what they were. Crazy. Wild. Bonkers. You better bet your bottom dollar that we also call out his better behaviors like sweet, kind, and gentle. I figure if we can call out the good behaviors for what they are, we can call out the negative ones as well.

Let me explain. I don’t feel like I’m doing my child any favors when I refuse to call it as it is. He is one of those kids for which honesty proves to be the best policy. Make no mistake, I don’t call him names, I simply let him know how he is acting. Acting is the operative word here. So, when my kid is out of control, I let him know he’s acting crazy and needs to settle down.

Crazy. I don’t love that word, but it’s the only one I can muster up to describe his current state and sound-pitch. There is so much gusto in everything he does that he can become outrageous and seemingly unmanageable. He’s ballsy and determined. He’s trying to go through life right now by his own set of rules. The best way I can describe him is that he’s like the pinball in a pi ball machine, bouncing in every which direction and we’re unable to get a hold of him.

Now I suspect you may think that I’m exaggerating, but as an outsider, you fail to see what goes on behind closed doors. It’s easy to judge me for saying my kid drives me crazy because you haven’t seen him in action behind the scenes. It’s easy for you to gasp and think I’m terrible for letting my son know he’s driving his parents insane, but if you were the fly on my Indigo-blue wall, you may see things differently. Rarely will my son act in full force like he does when he’s with just his father and me.

When my mini is in full-swing, his actions are exhausting and I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling like a failure because my kid will look me in the eye while deceiving me. I’m tired of comparing myself to the all the perfection I see on social media. I’m tired of second guessing myself. I’ve quickly learned that what we see on the internet only represents the trailer of someone’s life, not the movie.

Right now, I have a living and breathing child in my house. I don’t have time to second guess myself or have my judgment clouded by things like Pinterest. I need to do what is best for us and calling our little human out on his crazy behaviors is where we are right now.

Parenting is hard. I can’t think of one parent who thinks otherwise. I also can’t think of one parent who wishes things would be easier and more like the photos they post on Instagram.

Each of us needs to do what is best for our families and our children, whether it be calling out behaviors for what they are or holding your child until he or she calms down. I’ve tried the latter and it didn’t work. The former is where we are now and that, my friends, is OK to admit.

Karen Szabo

Karen Szabo is a part-time worker by day, boy-mom by night, and blogger at The Antsy Butterfly any time in between. She’s doing her best to keep her sanity by writing about being an anxious mom. She’s a contributor for The Mighty and has written for Sunshine Spoils Milk, Sammiches & Psych Meds, Parent Co., Perfection Pending, and Mamapedia. Karen can be found on Twitterand Facebook.