Shop the fall collection ➔

“Whining, fighting, screaming, ungrateful. I’m having a hard day.” When I texted that to my husband, I was referring to my 6.5yr-old daughter. There had been numerous crying fits and fights with her brothers. Absolutely nothing was going her way. NOTHING! I text my husband looking for justification, some sort of agreement, that yes, lately she has been a little out of sorts. But as I stared at my phone waiting for his reply, I wondered if he would realize I was referring to her and not myself. Whining, fighting, screaming, ungrateful could very well describe my attitude on life lately. Nothing was going my way either. Absolutely nothing.

I had things that must be done, and of course they all interrupted the things she felt she must do. It was a grocery shop or starve day, certified letters had to be mailed, and the house needed to be cleaned or burned down. She informed me very clearly of her “to-do” list. She needed to write a book, play outside with her friend, and eat a popsicle. The most important item on her list, was play outside with her friend, while the most important thing on my list was to grocery shop and go to the post office. Because our lists did not align, the entire time we were checking off items on my to-do list, she was frustrated that we weren’t getting to her to-do list. It’s days like this when I am not sure if it’s her, or me, or maybe a little bit of both being unreasonable.

By the time we were halfway through the grocery store, my insides were twisted in a knot of frustration and anger that is so hard to release. Prayers for peace, for patience, many “Jesus be near” mumbles, and deep breaths, but I was still tense and angry. Physically and emotionally. The constant questions were an intrusion to the quiet I begged for. Every “Look at this, Mom!” was an interruption to the chore that required my time and attention. I was snapping. I was frustrated.

My final straw was near the play-dough display. I thought, “Let’s turn this chore around, and I’ll get some new playdough for the kids.”

“Hey guys, come choose one tub of play-dough.” My son was ecstatic! The baby said “Yay!” My daughter said, “Can we pick two?”

I repeated myself, in an attempt to stay calm. “Just pick one.”

Daughter, “Ugh, why can’t we two?”

That was it. I’d had more than enough. I snatched the play-dough out of everyone’s hands, and told her we couldn’t get any.

“You ruined this for everyone.” Those were my exact words. I know they were piercing. They look piercing even now on the screen.

What I didn’t see at the time, was my behavior before that last straw moment with her. I didn’t see myself in her actions, and I should have. It was so very clear that she was acting exactly like me.

I ditched mom guilt long ago, but this realization that my attitude was being mirrored in my daughter was crushing. Her behavior is a reflection of mine. Her attitude parallels my own. Her choices mimic my heart.

So, what else is there to do but ask forgiveness from my Heavenly Father and my daughter? It’s amazing how a little humility and gratefulness for mercy can change the heart and my parenting.

Adrienne Barnes

Adrienne is a wife, and homeschooling momma to three crazy kids. She enjoys reality T.V., chocolate, coffee, and a well cooked meal. She is a freelance copywriter at Adrienne Nakohl Copywriting, and loves writing pieces that are humorous and inspirational. Her love language is physical touch and acts of service, so hugs and doing the dishes are a great way into her heart. To see more of her see

It’s Okay to Say No to the Promposal

In: Kids, Teen
Boy holding pink sign saying "Prom with me?"

Promposals are cute.  But, even for the sweetest questions, it’s okay if the answer is not yes. I have more boys than girls at my house so the whole meet the boy asking your girl out with a gun posts don’t sit well with me. Boys and girls have an equally hard time negotiating friendships and relationships in high school, and I care equally for both. A young man spent some time, told his friends, made a cute sign, and planned to ask my daughter to a dance. A friend of my daughters mentioned he might ask (and even made...

Keep Reading

I Wipe the Slides

In: Kids, Motherhood
boy on slide

I want you to have the most fun possible at your tiny playground stars program, so I wipe the slides. I don’t want you to have a meltdown if your clothes get wet while I’m gone, so I wipe the slides. I want to have three precious hours of only managing your little sister, so I wipe the slides. RELATED: I’d Rather Serve My Kids Than Have Them be “Self-Sufficient” I don’t want you to feel embarrassed by a big reaction to wet clothes when I’m not there to help you, so I wipe the slides. I want you to...

Keep Reading

One Day You’ll Outgrow Being My Little Boy—But Not Today

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mother and two sons back-to-school picture, color photo

One day you will come home after your first day of a new school year and not wish to share a single thing. Not today. Today, you got into the car and talked non-stop about every second of your day. I was delighted!  One day you will not have countless first-day forms for me to sign and return the next day. Not today. I signed my name at least four times. I was happy to grant permission for you to play sports, learn algebra, and do whatever else I gave my permission for.  One day you will not allow me...

Keep Reading

The Sports Mom Shows Up For Her Kids, No Matter What

In: Kids, Motherhood
Youth baseball game

We’re nearing the end of club baseball/softball season, and the burnout is real. The time away from home, burning through gas to get somewhere for two hours with half your house packed only to pack back up and turn around and drive to the next two-hour destination is insane. I don’t even like the sport right now. There . . . I said it. I’m so sick of softball fields and wind-blown dirt in my face. I’ve seen so many balls thrown in the last two months that my eyes hurt. But I still show up. I love to see...

Keep Reading

Having Babies and Toddlers Is Exhausting—but So, So Sweet

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Family of four with baby and toddler on bed

I took the girls to one of our favorite coffee shops last week and all around me were parents of babies and toddlers. Their little ones ran about in the grassy area out back, toddling up and down the lawn, when it suddenly hit me with perfect clarity—the sun has nearly set on this season for me. It was a realization marked by internal tension, a mourning of the loss of one season contrasted by the joyful anticipation at the arrival of the next. It came out of nowhere and hit me like a tidal wave. Having five kids in...

Keep Reading

3 Common Phrases to Avoid Saying to Your Kids (and What To Say Instead)

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with young boy on couch

Learning to love yourself is hard work. I did not grow up loving myself. Instead, I always felt inadequate, and I felt the need to change myself to prove my worth.  I want more for my kids. I want my kids to know their inherent value and worth. I want to empower my kids to love and accept themselves.  My self-love journey, aided by the expertise of a counselor, has helped me realize there are some narratives from my childhood I needed to unlearn. I had to accept my emotions as helpful and not something to be pushed down. I...

Keep Reading

They Love Each Other (and Sometimes They Don’t)

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler girl lying with big brother, color photo

When I was pregnant with his baby sister, Forest kissed my belly and talked about all the wonderful things he would do with this little girl he already loved so much. His plans changed, however, after she was born, and the thing he wanted to do the most with her was place her gently in the trash can. Some mornings he would kiss her softly, other mornings he would walk into the room where I’d be nursing her and say, “Her doesn’t look precious to ME.” Two and a half years later, Forest’s feelings toward Grace remain about the same....

Keep Reading

As a Mother, I Matter Too

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in living room

“What’s more important than me, Mammy?” my daughter asked. I looked at her, and she was looking at me. Her question wasn’t harsh or accusatory, it was curious. She was curious. We were in the kitchen, I was at the table working, and she asked me to help her find something. I told her I was finishing up some important work and then I would play with her. This is when she asked me what was more important than her. I bit my tongue to stop the words that wanted to rush out of my mouth. I wanted to proclaim...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Follow Your Beautiful Heart

In: Faith, Kids
Mother and daughter smiling

When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible. As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you...

Keep Reading

My Daughter is “Extra” and the World Needs More People Like Her

In: Kids, Motherhood
girl jumping

She is . . . extra. She just is. All the time she is extra sad, and then extra “OMG, Mom-that-was-so-epic-let-me-tell-you-everything.” Extra energetic, then extra I’m too tired to help with any family chores. Extra hungry, then extra refuses to eat the food she just asked for because she’s full. RELATED: In Defense of the Wild Child Extra loves to show how much knowledge she has, then extra doesn’t want to do her homework because she’s too busy “being.” Extra defiant, then extra brings home adorable “I love you, Mom” art from school. There is no middle ground with this...

Keep Reading