Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

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.

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.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

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.

Sometimes Love Means Slowing Down

In: Friendship, Kids
Two boys on bicycles riding to park, shown from behind

Think of something faster than a 7-year-old boy on a two-wheel bike. Maybe a race car at the drop of the checkered flag? Perhaps a rocket ship blasting into space? Or how quickly a toddler mom books it out of the house after being told she can have a hands-free hour ALONE in Target. Yes, all of these things are seriously speedy, but I have still never seen anything quite as quick as a boy on a bike on a sunny day with endless open track ahead of him. Until today. Today, my 6-year-old son wanted to ride bikes with...

Keep Reading

I Am a Wrestling Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three young boys with wrestling medals, color photo

As the sun is rising on a frigid winter morning, a brave and determined group of athletes are weighing in at a high school gym. They are physically and mentally preparing for a long day spent at a tournament where they will spend only minutes wrestling, despite the hours they sit and wait all day. Their sport uses offense, defense, and mental strength unlike any other sport. My sons and nephew are wrestlers. They are part of a special team of athletes who work together but compete as individuals.           Their youth team is run by all volunteer coaches with...

Keep Reading

3 Ways to Help Your Firstborn Embrace Becoming a Big Brother

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Pregnant woman holding toddler son, color photo

My oldest son turned four right after his first brother was born. Four years of alone time with his parents. Four years of extra mommy time during the week. Four years of having toys to himself, extra attention from family members, and more. I didn’t plan a four-year age gap; it took our family a lot longer and a lot more help than we expected to have our second son, but age gaps aren’t everything. When my second son was finally on the way, I heard a lot of opinions about how our oldest son would feel once he finally...

Keep Reading

Dear Busy Sports Mom: It’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mom watching soccer game, photo from behind

My daughter stands on the front porch every morning and waves goodbye to me as I pull out of the driveway to go to work.  She is 11, and recently eye-rolling, long sighs, and tears have become more commonplace in our daily interactions. But, there is also this: “Bye! Have a good day!” she calls to me in the quiet of early morning, neighbors not yet awake in their still dark houses. “You are AMAZING! You got this!” she continues in her little adult voice, sounding more like a soccer mom than a fifth grader.   Her hair is still a...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the Baby Hangers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Shirt hanging from small hanger, color photo

You bought them when you first found out you were pregnant. It may have been one of the first items, actually, to hold all of the precious new clothes. The smallest ones in your household. Do you remember that first newborn onesie you bought? It was one of your favorites. You couldn’t fathom you would soon hold something so small that would fit into that onesie. You washed all of the new clothing in preparation and hung them up in your baby’s closet. You know the item. A miniature version of the ones in your closet. Baby hangers. “Do we...

Keep Reading

Take the Trip, You Won’t Regret It

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

Two years ago, in the middle of a snowy, windy, Colorado March, my husband and I made the spontaneous decision to road trip to Arizona with our three very young kids.  Even though I was excited, the nerves were so very real. Over the next couple of weeks, I literally lost sleep worrying about the logistics of our trip. My late-night mindless scrolling was replaced by searches like “traveling with toddlers” and “keeping kids entertained on road trips”. We already had our hands full chasing kids at home in a familiar setting. Were we crazy to think we could just...

Keep Reading

They’ll Remember the Love Most of All

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman with kids from above, pregnant mother with kids hands on belly

You lie in bed at the end of a long day, the events of the day flashing back through your mind. You do this a lot—recap your day as a mama. How did you do? Did you maintain your patience? Did you play enough? Did you limit screen time? Did you yell less today than you did yesterday? You saw a really neat toddler activity in the group you’re a part of on Facebook . . . you should have done that with the kids. They would have loved it. There wasn’t enough time though, and you didn’t have all...

Keep Reading

He’s Slowly Walking Away with Footprints As Big As Mine

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Teen boy walking along beach shore

The true measure of a mother’s love is her willingness to wake up before the sun on vacation. On a recent trip to the shore, my youngest son begged to walk the beach at dawn to look for shells. So, I set my alarm, tumbled out of a warm, king-sized bed with extra squishy pillows, glared at my dead-to-the-world husband, and gently woke my 11-year-old. Without so much as a drop of coffee, we headed out into the morning, the sun still below the ocean horizon. With each step, I shed my zombie-like state and took in the quiet, salt-kissed...

Keep Reading

Dear Son, Raising You Right Is Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
little boy walking in sunlit field

You were the baby who slept nights. You were the infant who quietly stacked blocks one on top of the other. You were the toddler who watched other kids go down the slide at the park 20 times before attempting it yourself. You were the preschooler who hunkered down quietly and patiently when meeting your grandmother’s chickens. So I assumed you would be a gentle boy. And you are.   And yet, now that you’re eight, I’m beginning to understand the meaning of the phrase, “Boys will be boys.” I had my first inkling that day when you were five...

Keep Reading

Are You Watching?

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little girl playing goalie at soccer practice, color photo

I brought a book to my 7-year-old daughter’s soccer practice. To be honest, I was looking forward to one hour of time when I didn’t have to do anything but sit. No one would be asking me questions, and no one would need anything from me. I wasn’t in charge. So, I set up my lawn chair, got cozy, and opened the book. But then I happened to glance up as it was her turn to run a drill. The coach was passing each kid the ball for them to kick into the goal. She stepped forward, kicked, and made...

Keep Reading