Stefani's most-fantastical-reads book montage

Crooked Kingdom
Six of Crows
Yellow Brick War
The Wicked Will Rise
Charm & Strange
Their Fractured Light
These Broken Stars
Big Little Lies
I'll Be There
Red Queen

Stefani's favorite books »

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I think I've said this before...

but parenting is really hard.

I thought it was hard with a newborn - no sleep, no clue what I was doing, pumping milk every 3 hours, spit up, blow out diapers, packing an entire car load just to run to the store... it was hard.

Then I had a toddler - suddenly I was operating on no sleep {okay, more sleep than in the newborn days but compared to pre-baby, it was hardly sufficient}. We had moved past the pumping and spit up and cruised right into a cupboard raiding, electricity outlet seeking, temper tantrum throwing 2 year old... and it was hard.

Then I had a preschooler and a newborn and shit hit the fan {pardon my language... but in some instances, we could be talking about actual poop here... this is the stage where potty training when horribly wrong AND I had a new born with blow out diapers}... and everything that was hard about the first two stages got smooshed together under one roof and this mama may have come ever-so-slightly unglued.

Now, everything that I've just written up there ^ is exactly why this blog has been neglected since Cohen's birth. Parenting TWO children is exceptionally more challenging than parenting one... and I would hedge a bet that it is even more fun with three, and four, and so on... but I have no intentions of discovering that first-hand.

So fast forward to now, I'm mama-ing a 4-year-old and an 18-month-old, working more than full time, grieving the loss of my dad, holding together a marriage that on some days feels like it's on the verge of crumbling down {and on others, feels like perfection.. go figure.}, and trying to do it all and make it look like it's no big deal.

So, basically, I'm a big, fat liar.

Like I've said before, parenting is hard. Being an adult is hard. Being a wife is hard. LIFE IS FREAKING HARD.

{I do have a point, pinkie-swear}.

In the pre-baby days, I could lose my shit - scream, cry, throw things, buy things, starve myself, do whatever it took to make myself feel in control. I looked like an idiot more often than not, but it worked for me. Even in the early days when Addison was so little that I could be letting loose with a string of swear words that would make a sailor blush, but as long as I did it in my 'mommy voice' and had a smile on my face, she was none the wiser. Then, she started to get it. Addison knew when I was mad or sad, reacted when I was angry, and paid attention to whether or not what I did matched what I said I was going to do. Suddenly, I had to follow through. I had to watch what I said. I had to be a PARENT {read: role model} and it was terrifying. Back in the days when Addison was tiny and she cried or did something naughty, I could soothe or scold her and move on with life. However, four years old means memories and grudges tiny broken hearts over tiny broken promises. Four means laying down the law and teaching respect and asking WHY did it seem like a good idea to bite daddy... four means shit is getting real.

Addison is a mini-me... it's adorable most of the time - she's wonky and silly and loves people and runs on high octane... but minus a nap or with an unplanned change in the schedule or just because the moon is full, she can turn into a small, but mighty terror. Please understand, that until she turned three, I just thought that 'those people' with 'those obnoxious children' simply had no parenting skills and knew that no offspring of my womb would EVER dare act that way sohelpmeGod. Mmmmhmmm... That was the naivety of a first time parent. I know better now. The higher the stakes, the classier the joint, the more likely it is that my child will do something crazy. And I never wanted to be 'that parent' with 'that kid'... so I scolded and I YELLED. And then one day, Addison dropped her drink in the kitchen and I turned around  with what I'm assuming it the typical "take cover, mom is going to explode" look... and my kid flinched.

My child was scared that I was going to yell. She was expecting it. And it stopped me dead in my tracks.

{^ point, if you missed it}.

I don't want to be that mom. I want to be a mom who has well-behaved kids because they don't want to disappoint her, not because they fear her. I want to have kids who come clean about their mistake before I even find out because they know that I am a safe haven and that even though there will be consequences - they are SAFE. I don't want to be the mom who screams. I never want to see fear in my child's eyes.

So, I'm starting over. I don't think you really get to do that but it's better than mucking through the way I've been going. I read several articles today as I planned this blog and, as He has a way of doing - God guided me to this decision and gave me the resources and the support from other mom's to say that I'm not going to yell anymore. {I realize this is the goal, and not likely the actual reality... but I'm talking about my children, so I'm setting the bar high.} I'm taking the OrangeRhino Challenge. 365 days {and hopefully many, many more - of no yelling}. I may vent on here, I may lock myself in the bathroom to count to 100, but I will do my absolute best not to yell.

Because as I realized today... that even though I carried these two tiny humans inside my body, pushed them out into this world, nursed them, and fell madly in love with them - THEY ARE NOT MINE TO KEEP. God blessed me with these to precious souls and has charged me with caring for them and raising them up until they are ready to go out into the world and do His work. When I fully realize that these are children of God, not just children of Stefani and Derek, I feel even more pressure to do the right thing. And the right thing, the thing that God has done with me, is to raise them with love. God has never yelled at me and I want to mirror that parenting that He has shown me. I want to be worthy of being called 'mama' by these two precious souls.

So, my first step, is to stop yelling, to treat them with love and to be honest with myself, with God, and with my children about the kind of parent I need to be.

Today was my first day... 364 to go {and hopefully 6552 after that...}

I had one major trigger and I snapped, but I didn't yell. I caught Addison coloring in pencil on the door panel in the new Pilot while we were driving to the store. When I realized what was happening, I snapped at her to stop and give me the pencil. I asked her why she thought it was okay to color on the car {and herself, which happened yesterday when she came home from preschool with washable marker toenail polish, fingernail polish, lipstick, and body paint}. Then I handed her a wipe and made her clean up every mark of pencil we could see. She didn't get a treat at the store {as she had been promised} but I explained that it was a consequence of making the choice to color on the car. She didn't like it, but she didn't cry and she still held my hand as we walked across the parking lot.

I have a long way to go and I know that I am going to slip up more than once and end up back a zero, but I can handle that as long as I can turn around when juice goes crashing to the floor and not see fear in the eyes of my child.

I will do this. With God, all things are possible. {Matthew 19:26}

Here is a list of what I've been reading today:

Orange Rhino Challenge
10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling At My Kids
When Your Temper Scares You
How To Have A Temper Tantrum {This is the one that started it all for me... it brought tears.}
The Passion of Parenting


  1. Great post. Parenting is hard and especially with two. You have a great point about four being the age when they really start to notice how you do things and handle things. I yell too often but I have to disagree with you a little on the never yelling. First I guess it depends what you consider yelling. The times when I snap because I'm tired and impatient I need to stop but I feel when she does something such as cutting her sister s hair like mine did, yelling and freaking out got my huge disappointment in her across. It broke her little heart that I was so upset with her and I'm confident she will never do it again. I guess there s a time and place for it but it loses its discipline factor if we are constantly yelling. My husband rarely yells at the girls but they know if he raises his voice they better get their behavior together.

  2. Angela, I can completely see your point. The problem for us is that the yelling became an all the time thing, especially with my husband. I feel like it's too much and that our daughter tunes out the majority of it. That's why I want to take the challenge - I still snap and I'm still stern and if her safety or her brother's safety were on the line I'd scream like hell... and hair cutting would probably set my challenge back to day zero. :) Like you said - the times I snap are usually when I'm tired or when I have a long day at work - but that means that I'm snapping because of ME not because of their behavior, which is what I want to prevent from happening. Thanks for the comment and thanks for stopping by :)


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