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Amy Zarrella

I have so much sympathy and empathy for you. I know exactly how you feel because I feel the exact same way most days. Everyday there is a tantrum and everyday there are time-outs and everyday I quesiton my abilities as a parent. Maybe I should get some cheez-whiz tonight. LOL. Wish we lived close so we could go out and vent together. Sending you big hugs across the country. Happy New Year. xoxo Amy

tara pollard pakosta

glad to know i am not alone! seriously, you are doing a GREAT job, whether you realize it or not....your kids arent' your friends right now and that's the way it should be! and God doesn't want us to raise them just to be happy, he wants them to be doing the right thing and following his path! you are doing all of this and more! keep up the good work! and dont be so hard on yourself!


Well, you know at least there is Cheez-whiz. What a REAL miserable time it would have been without the Chees-Whiz. You know that I have the same issues in our house. This morning I was even crying to Jason about how it sucks that I'm always the problem in the house and never the solution. How I'm always the weakest link (Goodbye). At least we have each other and know that there is someone else out there who has the exact same problems. By the way, you are way stronger than me in the Blockbuster situation, I would have caved. (Another reason why I'm the weakest link!)

Jodi Buckmister

Don't beat yourself up girl! You are doing the best you can and that's all ANYONE can ask. My daughter (who is now 19) was a daily challange and I also tried to ignore her bad behavior. One day during an especially long battle about a nap I just broke down and cried in front of her. Not little tears but big uncontrollable sobs and you know what happend? She stopped her screaming and came over to me while I was sitting on the floor and comforted me. This of course made me cry more but my long winded point is that she realized her behavior was upsetting me and stopped. It's probably not such a bad thing for your kids to see you frustrated every so often. They need to know that you are human too. Have a great New Year! Jodi B.


I've never heard of Love & Logic. Gonna check that out.

I've never heard of a parent not feeling the way you do today.

You don't know this, but you have (with your blog posts) encouraged me to be a better mother/wife/person. Truly.



I'm great with the "thanks for not screwing me up too much, Mom." I feel for you though. I have a 2, 6 and 10 year old with a baby on the way. Somedays, by the end of the day, I can't remember anything I felt like I did right. My two year old is just starting to throw tantrums. I totally ignore them. I agree that the behavior and the consequence belong to the child, but I also struggle with the not showing my feelings. I think that you are doing great. All of your blog entries show how nuch you love all of your kids. I think that you take life in stride and do your best, and I think that that says alot about who you are. Your kids, even while acting like kids, are very well behaved. Look at your teenager! Do you know what teenagers do these days? You have one great kid and I think that that comes from having at least one great parent that a child can look at as a role model. Don't be so hard on yourself, your kids will pick up on that also.


ohhhh(((HUGS))) We all have these days. I think its part of the "mom package" we sign up for! lol Look at your teenager...really he is AWESOME! You've done a great job raising him into a polite/caring/energetic young man and your doing AWESOME with the other three too!!!! Your a fantastic mother and don't ever forget that!

Carrie Purkis

Hang in there! If we were perfect, why would we need God's help?
I've used Love and Logic, Growing Kids God's way, they're not perfect, but good guides. Just rememver God is perfect, and will help when we call. Thanks for being real!

Tanya Webster

anyone who thinks they are the perfect parent are probably the ones that are going to screw their kids up in the long run Karen. You are an awesome parent because you care...and me saying this is not going to make you feel better because I know you but you honestly are one of the best moms I have ever known and it is because of that heart of yours and allllll the things you do for them without them knowing...and I will put money (seriously) on the fact that every single one of those kiddos thanks you someday because are truly an amazing amazing person and you are doing the very best you can. Remember my favorite saying in days like this (you have heard it before) "The days are long but the years are short" so focus on what you are doing right every once in a while and be nice to yourself ok??? Love you sweetie! :)

Jen Cozz

Wow! I've been feeling almost exactly the same way and needing to read more Love & Logic. It seems to come so easily for my husband but I struggle to not get angry. We've also been dealing with a family member (extended) who is grown and making terrible decisions with his emotions and I freak out thinking one of my kids in particular could turn out that way. I do not want that to happen.

I so admire you for how you handled the BlockBuster situation. That must have been very difficult but I'm sure Annie learned from that.

Thank you for sharing these struggles. It makes me feel like I'm not the only one.


You probably won't believe me when I say this, but, Karen, honestly, from what I read...your kiddos have an incredible mom. I totally believe in the Parenting with Love and Logic but know how much easier it is to read than carry it out (especially in public when a tantrum is happening). You have it down so MUCH better than me. You always inspire and encourage me. You have put your heart, your intellect and all that you are into raising your children. That is not the case in lots of homes.....lots and lots. Your kiddos are so lucky and I sincerely believe that God will honor your efforts, even as imperfect as they might be some days. You probably won't hear it for a long, long time but I'm certain someday your babies will tell you they are grateful they had YOU as their mom and even if those words never come, I'm sure God will say, well done good and faithful parent :) well done. Hang in there and give yourself a break :)


i feel very similar most every day....did i over correct, did i miss something, did i say or not say the right thing, was my voice too harsh, do i tell them i love them enough yet let the older ones be their independent teenselves? is utterly overwhelming.
the older i get, honestly i give my mom much more grace than i did in my 30's & definately 20's. i hope my girls will give me the same grace.
you are obviously a fab mom....just look at every picture you take - they speak a thousand words & in those words i see and hear---joy, security, love, contentment, peace, & true happiness on each of their faces.


This post has seriously,

I had a similiar experience with Chloe a couple of weeks ago at the grocery store, and I literally walked away from her... leaving her screaming on the floor of the bakery/deli section. I could see her from around the corner (she couldn't see me), but OMGosh... the looks. I believed in my heart that I was doing the right thing, but it provided little comfort. The same thing happened the other day in the post office (Dec. 26th to be exact). Would you know that I apologized to each of the 5 people standing behind me, and not ONE would acknowledge my existance. I immediately thought that Christmas must have exhausted every bit of their spirit. There was NO compassion in the air.

I am without much time right now, but know that you are in my thoughts and I really do understand the challenge of raising children... children of varying ages (ours are 2, 6, 8, 15 and 18), each with their own personality and needs. I honestly feel panic'd at times when I think about my responsibility in raising them, and how little time we have to shape them.

Much love to you, Karen.


thanks for sharing these with us. Then we know we aren't the only ones going through these things! From all the pictures and the great stories here I can tell that you are a great mom!

Linda F.

My daughter just turned 24. I know I raised only one, but there were days when the screaming tantrums and embarrassment were that of 10! But you know what? She's a lovely young woman. Still maturing. Still finding herself. But she's said her thank you's to me in so many ways! It'll come,'ll come.


DUDE! So seriously how we all feel. I just figure if we try our hardest, and love them as much as we can every day, everything else will work out in the end. My kids are tons of disciplined, and receive a bunch of encouragement,and I bet that I am not "doing it right" and in the end they will be the same as someone who did it differently with their kids but loved them with the same amount of passion. THAT is what probably matters in the end, the amount of love and attention that they receive from you- the real time, the real you, "warts and all" (as my mom used to say). Mine see me cry, yell, happy and angry, they see me for my goods and bads and every day. I hope it's enough, because it's all I know how to do- and I figure all of us are doing that too- what we know how to do best. So- I hope that helps- do your best, I know (from reading) that you do, and that's what they'll remember in the end.

kelly snelling

aw honey girl you are singing to the choir! if you didn't feel like that then you wouldn't care and it's so obvious how much you do care. but that isn't the point right now. some days i have to tell myself about every ten minutes, this won't last forever, this won't last forever. and i try to stay in the moment while praying for the moment to hurry up and end already! children are not always reasonable, to say the least. and it IS embarrassing to have everyone look at you with disapproval. i don't know anyone with a thick enough skin to deal with that (and i have some tough skin!). with my little boys, i reached a point that i just couldn't take them both to the grocery store with me. it wasn't a battle worth fighting for me. so i stopped doing it for a few months. my husband did the shopping on his way home from work. or i would take the little one when the big one was in school. and then, on the rare occasion i had to take them both, they behaved better than expected because they hadn't been allowed to go. so maybe, next time if you can, don't take annie to blockbuster. while there are many, many opportunities for the children to learn every day, it shouldn't have to come at the cost of your own happiness. you are important, too. that's something we as moms overlook sometimes. you shouldn't have to feel terrible about trying to do what's the best for your family. those blue periods hit and everything gets tougher. i hope that in a few days (and a few cans of cheese whiz later) it all seems less tender and sad. blessings to you and yours!

Brooke - in Oregon

Oh my, how many of us totally relate with you? Don't you know I am always wondering if I some how messed up so bad and that is why we are in the situation with custody that we are? I still sit and cry about it. Then I have to have a long talk with myself and then with God so I can put my next foot forward. So ya, I totally understand. You are doing a great job (hugs)


So relate to your feelings. Brings back a situation in the grocery store many years ago. Our biggest challenges came when our son was a senior in high school and the first two years afterwards. He's now 24, but one day about three years ago he said, "I don't know what would have happened to me if I hadn't had parents like you." It made every sleepless night, every tear (and there were lots) worth it. I know your kids will feel the same. It just may take a few years before you hear it. (He's now a junior at Cornell and doing great--never lose hope.) :-) Consistency is truly the key--and it ain't easy!


Thank you for this post. I was talking with a friend of mine yesterday who has 2 children and doesn't put up with any nonsense from her kids and we decided that although it may be VERY hard to be firm and consistent with your kids it's always easier than dealing with kids who are out of control. Hang in there!

Kristen Culberson

When your kids get older they are going to sooooo appreciate what you have done for them. I'm 24 years old, I've been married for 2 years in April. And I have called my mom numerous times since moving out of her house (which I didn't do until I got married) just to tell her thank you and apologize for the nasty way I have acted and all the attitudes I've copped. Every rude teenager I pass that smarts off to their parents just makes me cringe with the reminder of how I acted at that age. But it makes me appreciate her even more and I make a point of telling her that. You are doing the best you can and just by reading your blog I can tell how much you love your children. When they get older they are going to see it all in a completely different light.


you know, sometimes you think people are staring at you, but maybe they're just looking.. i might have been one of those people watching.. but what i would have been thinking is, "what a good's not easy to watch your child cry, and she's doing the right thing.." - i've been thru those years where you didn't want to set foot out of the house - but kudos to you - you stuck with your agenda and i'm sure annie learned something as well

love the picture.. one of these days annie will love and appreciate it too ;)


wine is my cheez whiz!
i'm just starting out...i am 30 and have a 5 week I certainly don't have a leg to stand on.
but...what I can tell you is that you seem to be a fabulous mom. i'm the one who always comments about how well you love Courtney. and i'm with the rest of the folks...look at Ross! you've done well...very well in my opinion.
finish off that cheez whiz and get some rest. you deserve it.


you know, sometimes you think people are staring at you, but maybe they're just looking.. i might have been one of those people watching.. but what i would have been thinking is, "what a good's not easy to watch your child cry, and she's doing the right thing.." - i've been thru those years where you didn't want to set foot out of the house - but kudos to you - you stuck with your agenda and i'm sure annie learned something as well

love the picture.. one of these days annie will love and appreciate it too ;)


I have no kids (nor do I plan on having any) but I just wanted to let you know that I'm sure your kids will appreciate you no matter what. You are THERE for them when they need it and even though they act up, they're just testing boundaries (as you know) and that's natural. It sounds to me that you're doing it right. :)

Patty S

hi karen! i feel the need to come out of *lurking* and tell you YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
i feel the same way you do quite often! it's so hard to stick to your guns and do what, as a parent, you know to be right when the kids are screaming and whining. it would be so easy to give in to the kids - especially when you're in public and don't want to cause a scene (wink!) but then, in the long run, you're enabling your kids to be what you are trying to keep them from becoming. Does that make sense?
so, when you hit the *breaking point* and you have to vent -- go ahead. but then, keep on doing what you have been doing all along... being the best mom you possibly can and loving your kids with all your heart.
patty :-)

Theresa Grdina

I am sure that one day, when I am in the nursing home, I will be watching Oprah and my kids will be the guests...they will go on to say that I screwed up their lives royally...LOL! You know, they do get older and they do come to appreciate what we did for them - even if we screw them up! But the best advice I can give you is this: Welcome to parenthood and can you pass the cheez whiz?

Mel Nunn

Oh the constant battle! Half my problem is that my daughter and I are so alike in personality... We both fight to win! Luckily both my kids rarely throw a tantrum and if they do it lasts a meagre 30 seconds. That I am thankful for, so I feel for you... My biggest issue is that they both argue and bicker so much I wonder what sort of Adults they are going to be if they cant even get along with their own family.

You are most definately being a great mum... I'ts the bad ones that don't sit and worry about screwing up their kids.

meg duerksen

my girlfriends and i sat up till 2:45 this past Friday talking about THE EXACT same thing!! how to stay neutral...unemotional...make their problem be theirs not mine...being truly empathetic. i sat there in a daze...i don't know how to do this!!! it is so hard. the fact that you are aware of all of this is huge. it takes so much to change yourself. i am honestly happy to hear that everyone has this struggle. we are all normal just trying to make it through. my friends gave me Boundaries with Kids and The five love languages to look over also. love and logic is awesome but i can't seem to do it right...ever!
good luck.
i enjoy your honesty.


I agree with the other folks--we've all had those times when we feel bad about how we are parenting. I like to think that the simple fact that we care about what kind of people we would like our children to be when they are grown means that we are good parents (or at least on the right track!) Hang in there and pass the Cheez Whiz! Oh, and don't worry about the nasty looks from strangers. You can't win and who cares what those meanies think anyway. I always try to give parents an understanding smile when I witness a toddler making a scene.


Your post brought me to tears also. I think we've all felt like that at some point. Sometimes more than others. And the fact that we question our parenting must mean we care about being a good parent. My kids are past that stage, but recently I seen a mom going through something similar - I told her don't feel bad we've all been there and she thanked me though on the verge of tears. Hugs to you!


i always intend to look into love & logic... since you've talked about it so often.. but i wonder how effective it would be starting it mid-toddler years..


this is a poem that i found for my mom years ago, and maybe you've read it somewhere before, but, i think it completely encompasses what your hoping your kids will get out of your efforts.

as a child, i'm thankful i had a "mean mother" as a mother, i hope, & struggle to find that same balance of love & tough guidance!

"The Meanest Mother in the World"

I had the meanest mother in the whole world. While other kids ate
candy for breakfast, I had to have cereal, eggs or toast. When others
had cokes and candy for lunch, I had to eat a sandwich. As you can
guess, my supper was different than the other kids' also.
But at least, I wasn't alone in my sufferings. My sister and two
brothers had the same mean mother as I did.

My mother insisted upon knowing where we were at all times. You'd
think we were on a chain gang. She had to know who our friends were and
where we were going. She insisted if we said we'd be gone an hour, that
we be gone one hour or less--not one hour and one minute. I am nearly
ashamed to admit it, but she actually struck us. Not once, but each
time we had a mind of our own and did as we pleased. That poor belt was
used more on our seats than it was to hold up Daddy's pants. Can you
imagine someone actualy hitting a child just because he disobeyed? Now
you can begin to see how mean she really was.

We had to wear clean clothes and take a bath. The other kids always
wore their clothes for days. We reached the height of insults because
she made our clothes herself, just to save money. Why, oh why, did we
have to have a mother who made us feel different from our friends?

The worst is yet to come. We had to be in bed by nine each night
and up at eight the next morning. We couldn't sleep till noon like our
friends. So while they slept-my mother actually had the nerve to break
the child-labor law. She made us work. We had to wash dishes, make
beds, learn to cook and all sorts of cruel things. I believe she laid
awake at night thinking up mean things to do to us.

She always insisted upon us telling the truth, the whole truth and
nothing but the truth, even if it killed us- and it nearly did.
By the time we were teen-agers, she was much wiser, and our life
became even more unbearable. None of this tooting the horn of a car for
us to come running. She embarrassed us to no end by making our dates
and friends come to the door to get us. If I spent the night with a
girlfriend, can you imagine she checked on me to see if I were really
there. I never had the chance to elope to Mexico. That is if I'd had a
boyfriend to elope with. I forgot to mention, while my friends were
dating at the mature age of 12 and 13, my old fashioned mother refused
to let me date until the age of 15 and 16. Fifteen, that is, if you
dated only to go to a school function. And that was maybe twice a year.

Through the years, things didn't improve a bit. We could not lie
in bed, "sick" like our friends did, and miss school. If our friends
had a toe ache, a hang nail or serious ailment, they could stay home
from school. Our marks in school had to be up to par. Our friends'
report cards had beautiful colors on them, black for passing, red for
failing. My mother being as different as she was, would settle for
nothing less than ugly black marks.

As the years rolled by, first one and then the other of us was put
to shame. We were graduated from high school. With our mother behind
us, talking, hitting and demanding respect, none of us was allowed the
pleasure of being a drop-out.

My mother was a complete failure as a mother. Out of four
children, a couple of us attained some higher education. None of us
have ever been arrested, divorced or beaten his mate. Each of my
brothers served his time in the service of this country. And whom do we
have to blame for the terrible way we turned out? You're right, our
mean mother. Look at the things we missed. We never got to
take part in a riot, burn draft cards, burn the flag, and a
million and one other things that our friends did.

She forced us to grow up into God-fearing, educated, honest adults.
Using this as a background, I am trying to raise my three
children. I stand a little taller and I am filled with pride when my
children call me mean.

Because, you see, I thank God, He gave me the meanest mother in the whole world.

ps- i'm with everyone else when they say you seem to do an AWESOME job of raising your kids!


TWO and TANTRUM are synonymous and anyone with kids knows this. Give yourself a break - we have all been there. My favorite is the 2 year old tantrum in the long line at the post office. Ahh. Good times.


Hopefully you will see that you are NOT alone in this thought, the moment in the video store played out in everyones day in one form or another.
Always remember that you are who are by the choices you make, the mistakes along the way are places we all can pause and learn something from. I myself had almost the same day as you. Keep going on, you are a strong,loving woman with feet on the ground, and a fine appreciation for Cheese Wiz !!
Have a Happy New Year !!!
Love, Beth W


Karen - you are the best. I love your blog. I am having a very bad day, and you make me laugh. I wish you were my neighbor. I freaking LOVE cheese wiz. I wish we were neighbors.

Kristi Sikora-Blankenship (from Cropper Hopper)


awww....hang in there kiddo! We all have those moments, questions, worry.....and in the end, all we can do is the best that we know how! Mine are grown and oh how it seems like yesterday that one of them was throwing a fit. It flies by..I know that's not really comforting but one day, you will tell little Annie about her fits and both of you will laugh together.

Beth Williams

Bless your heart. The fact that you are so upset shows what a really good parent you are-YOU CARE! You will make a thousand mistakes between now and the time they are grown, and than you'll probably make a few more-but they will always know you cared. My four are grown now-and I once left my youngest screaming on the floor in the grocery store-they never remember what they did get for Christmas only what they didn't, they remember all my mistakes and laugh about most of them-but everyone of them will tell you what mattered most was they knew I loved them and would be there for them. You're doing a great job-believe in yourself.

ana roat

Ha! Mom said there would be days like this! Seriously speaking...God knew what he was doing when he made you a mom. He knew you would worry and worry and worry and then worry somemore, but more than that he knew without a doubt that you would love your children unconditionally. It's not so important to know all the secrets to raising Godly children, sometimes it's more important to enjoy the ride and in some cases learn the lesson together. Remember, patience doesn't come without circumstance and wisdom doesn't come without time.

God is on your side!


Except for the trip to Blockbuster that sounds like my day. {{hugs}} to you from across the miles.


Karen...I hope you know how much your love for your kids shines through in all of our posts and pictures. As long as they know you love them, the other pieces will fall into place! Love them dearly and daily...and don't sweat the small stuff! Take care.


Oh, your post made me sad. You ARE doing a good job, whether they realize it or not.

Lisa Hall

First you are a good mom i have seen that my self.
I know you are we have all been there. I think for me the baby was the hardest' last chance to get it right.
My youngest always threw a wopper of a fit in the mall at preschool, Store, family get together's. My friend said don't let her get away with that. So off to a time out in her room she went with the door shut. I did this with out a word. I just said till you can be respectful there you'll stay. and sometimes it was 3& 4 times back there for the same thing but.. when my mouth was shut not trying to get the last word things went better, then she would put her self in her space till she was ready to join the family.At the store i would just leave and we would go home and in her room she would go yes big pain for me but she got it ...
Don't be so hard on yourself.. we all have walked that path.Take some mom time.
I also gave her a treat to hold on to for me that way she had to keep her hands in pocket or at her side that worked to.
Life is hard but the rewards are the greatest.
You take care.
Aren't moms the best they know that too.
Happy New Year
Lisa Hall


Oh Karen, I'm sorry you had such a sucky day! Hope the cheese whiz is helping! I think almost all mothers of young kids have days like this. I only have one, so I can only imagine what it would be like to have 4 (with three of them being so little). I am positive that your kids will grow up to know that they mean the world to is so obvious! If you didn't love them so much, it wouldn't be so hard. I bought Love and Logic and few months ago after reading one of your posts, and I think there is some great stuff in there. You are trying so hard to help your children become worthwhile adults. You are definitely up there in the top 2% of great moms!! No one gets it right 100% of the time. Look at the picture of Annie's big ol' tear rolling down her face, then glance up at your banner. Kind of puts it in perspective, doesn't it? I am sure the good and happy times outweigh the bad temper-tantrumy times, right? If all the times were happy, they wouldn't seem so happy.

The holidays are especially tough because the kids are all over-stimulated and we are just plain exhausted!! Hope you get some peace soon!

Maybe tomorrow you will have a glass of champagne with your cheese whiz!

Dianne Nelson

Just remember that you don't have to explain yourself to anyone in public. It sounds like you are doing everything right. And humanly. Indulge in your fed up moment and know that tomorrow will be another day, with another chance to do the things you feel you need to do.


Leonie -Australia

That's all any of us can do Karen, try our best, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, & I am sure almost all Mothers can relate to how you feel & have all felt at times like we are a failure.There is no perfect way to be a parent other than the way you are doing it - trying your best.


I sooooo hear where you are coming from.
What works for me is remembering 'it is only for a moment'... whether it be a tantrum, a messy room or the fact that they grow up so darn quick, it's only a fraction of the time in a life time and I try not to dwell on the fact that people, children, can be so horrid and not see the point... the life point... the point where they are meant to listen, to do as they are told, to always be the sweet child you know they are....
I spose what I am trying to say is YOUR NOT ALONE and that yes it is hard, darn DARN tough and sometimes it feels like everyone is against you even when you know you are doing the right thing, so hang in there, keep on floating thru this river of life and know that at the end you will have pulled those babies through it with you...
Hope some of this, any of this makes some sort of sense as I just type it without thinking about it lol
Take care, love them as best you can and thank you for your wonderful blog :)
I will head back to my seat in a corner of lurkdome now :)

Jennifer NIksich

ALL mothers have been there, even if they don't admit it. Honey, it may have looked like the people in the video store were looking at you as a bad mother, but I bet at least half were not. I bet that half were comiserating with you and wishing that they could help you, but knew that it would not help Annie with her lesson. I hated when my oldest would throw fits. She was tall and looked older. I felt the need to explain "She's 2" especially after I had a bystander say to me "Don't you think she is too old to do that?" It will get better and be aware that your children will not be the ones in Kindergarten throwing fits because they did not get their way. Trust me their are students in my class that try that. Not a pretty sight as they lay on the flower crying and we continue on with the lesson after they have been told "You can cry all you want, but you must cry quietly so we can continue learning." But the main thing is hang in there, this too shall pass.


I only wish I had known about Love and Logic when I was raising my kids. You did a great think by putting yourself in the embarassing position to do what was right for Annie! What a woman! What a mom! I know what you mean also about Josh's response. I would love to have that ability. I think part of that is a guy's mindset. Anyway, for what it is worth, you do seem to know what to do. Pray for God's grace to carry it out (at least most of the time)! happy new year, are a blessing to many!


You are not alone in those feelings, Karen. Big hugs to you. I just want you to know that when you are feeling like that, just remember that A LOT of Moms feel that way from time to time. Being a parent is THE BEST job and THE HARDEST job both at the same time. It's hard to find that balance that we all strive for, but just the fact that you care so much and it's hard on you sometimes shows me that you are doing a good job, despite what you may feel sometimes. Some parents go through their children's entire lives not even caring how they are doing or wanting to be a better parent. I commend you for challenging yourself and for sharing your feelings with us here because that in itself helps so many other Moms. So thank you for that, Karen. I love how honest you are on this blog and I truly think that you are not only a wondeful Mom, but a wonderful person. Hugs and love. K

Amy Ragland

Believe me, I've been there and I feel the exact same way and I only have ONE child to deal with. I can't imagine how much harder it must be to stay neutral with 4. I have a hard enough time with my one. Throw in an unsupportive spouse (to Love & Logic that is) and my dreams of a better way to parent were dashed. I am going to try it again though, because when I was doing it, it worked.


I am totally with you going for that last one! Sometimes I would feel very lucky to make it that far.

The one thing that I really want to say about people staring at you at the movie place: either they have no children and their opinion really will come back at them some day, or they were looking in admiration and studying what you were going to do next with your awesome parenting. Kids throw fits - really. It's already in the past. And I bet Annie's not emotionally scarred from it.

And you are one rockin' mom. I just know it :)

Lisa B.

Been there...done with that..THANK GOD! I will let you in on a little secret. They WILL thank you when they're grown. Mine have and they were every bit as difficult as you describe Annie to be.


you are NOT alone. Many of us have been there. It's just parenthood.
You're a good mom. It shows through in all you do. NO ONE is perfect. Not even Martha. Give yourself some room to grow, make mistakes, learn and evolve. You're a fine parent.



A little cuckoo betting!

Just to tell you that I love your work;

I wish you the best for 2008


Google translation


Dang. I could have written this. Except Cheez Whiz scares me...I go for the red wine. ; ) Love and Logic is HUGE here in Colorado and we have taken many many classes. And what we have discovered is that it works great for one of our sons and not so much for the other. So it's a juggling act and I'm trying to make my peace with that.
As for the other people watching...I sooo know that feeling. And when I'm not the parent (for a change), I'm not staring at the parent being dragged through the parenting wringer...I'm feeling the pain right along with that mom, wanting to just go up and give her a hug. 'Cause parenting is hard enough without being judged.


Thanks for being so real in your posts. You are doing a great job at parenting, keep it up.



The fact that you take the time to parent AND reflect puts you leaps and bounds ahead of most. God is gracious and we need to remember to have grace with ourselves. I love how you narrate your family life and there is no question that you absolutely love your kids. You know their strengths and their weaknesses and ultimately they will know yours as well. We don't have to be perfect to be parents, just willing to be honest and transparent. I admire your heart for your family.

I have 2 boys (9&7) and I love being their mom. It's a huge responsibility to be a parent and I often feel like I am doing something/everything wrong. When I am most discouraged and I question God's decision to give me the privilege of being a parent, He reminds me that in my weakness He is strong and that I can't do it without His guidance and help. When I finally surrender and stop trying to do it on my own strength I am filled with peace, knowing it is not me but God to whom they belong to and that I am just a vessel to direct my boys to Him.

My husband said one of the sweetest things I have ever heard the other day. We were talking about parenting and he told me that he loves the way that I look at our boys. He said, "It's like you have found buried treasure each time you see them". So far, in my 30 years of living, that is the most meaningful complement I have ever received.

When I read the stories you write about your kids, how you describe them and how you capture them so beautifully in photographs, I get the impression that you also look at your kids like you have "found buried treasure".

Take care and have a very Happy New Year!


I'm right there with ya Karen. Having a hard time parenting lately. you're not alone, I'm not alone. All we can do is our best. but what if our best is not good enough. it really is a daily struggle. ((hugs))


Your kids might not recognize the lessons they are learning with you now but when they have kids of their own, they will definitely thank you so much for the model you were. I so admire you, Karen (and I know lots of others do too). ((( HUGS )))


i'm interested in love & logic, i've never heard of it. i'll have to check it out. i think that the unconditional love that children and their parents have for each other is something that can't be explained. for that matter, i don't think it can be tarnished very easily either. we all do the best we can and i am quite sure you are a great mom! :) you have a beautiful family that seems to be very close - gotta love that.


girl, I totally agree with every single emotion and thought you had.
Perfection is my goal too much as well and I guess it does not happen on this planet.
Fortunately we have the Lord who gives us mercy, compassion and grace.... which is new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22-24)


Oh how I would have loved to have Foster or Jim in my back pocket for the proper responses especially when the anger just oozes into the bloodstream. Keep up the good parenting, and taking care of yourself! Happy New Year!

tammy t

So in the trenches with you on this one! And it's even harder because my husband rarely looses his cool, and I find myself yelling all the time. And getting frustrated. But I think that may be part of the lesson. That everyone has a limit. And we have to give ourselves a bit of grace.



((HUGS)) Karen! Parenting is such never ending hard work, isn't it? I've struggled since her birth with my difficult daughter (now 5 1/2). I've taken every parenting course offered in my area (including my favorite- Redirecting Children's Behavior FOUR TIMES!) and read every publication and the thing I think that we have to remember is that some days despite every perfected parenting method in the book that there are times when they're simply TWO years old and we're simply tired or cranky or imperfect. I happen to believe that we're as "human" as our children are with our reactions and that's it's impossible to expect perfect parenting behavior out of us all the time. You are an AWESOME parent to have put this much thought and insight into your babes. And they will be better for it in the end just knowing they had a caring and invested parent, regardless which parenting method you use. I see so many parents go through the motions giving so little thought as to how they're raising their kids, you should be commended for all the hard work you've put in. Effort counts, you know. Sometimes we don't see all the outcomes right away. And like you, Cheeze Whiz and Coke can fix many things for me as well. Looking forward to seeing you @ Scrapbook Oasis in February. YOU ROCK! -Amy :)


There are so many wonderful comments here that all I can really add is a big hug for you and a prayer that you'll feel better soon.

Andi Sexton

Yep. Been there... My son did a somewhat similar thing... We went to rent movies, he and dd each picked out their own, we went to checkout, at front of line he said 'I don't want this movie'.. So I said, fine. and just paid for dd's.. he thought we would go pick another one... Nope. Done Deal. THEN he pitched his screaming fit... I said no, we are leaving, you changed your mind.. YOu said you did not want the movie.. Proceeded to leave, with him with his arms around my waist, behind me, being dragged out of the store with him screaming and saying 'no mommy, I'll get another movie'. Me, holding everything in, got to car, got kids in, into car seats... The whole scene felt like 20 hours, people behind us in line, watching, people in the store watching, people I knew, watching the entire thing....

. I cried too when I got home... and it took him days to get over it...being such a mean mommy... I tried to explain about making decisions, etc...
This was about oh, 4 years ago? He is now 8. I have great kids, they are so awesome...very good kids, and very human.. We all have our moments... our breakdowns... our scene throwing at every single age! Wish I had cheesewiz...

Leslie M

Awww, Karen. I remember those days so well while raising my kids. Now they're grown up and my oldest son is expecting his first child -- a son -- later this month. I am going to copy your post and send it to them.

I recall once hearing from a psychologist we were visiting because of this same son's issues with ADD about "good enough parenting." It was such a relief to me to learn that kids grow into responsible productive adults without perfect parenting. I can tell you that it is true of Jordan. I'd like him even if he wasn't my son.


I think it's just that time of year. All moms unite against not measuring up. Families beware ... pending strike imminent!

You know how I know you're doing ok? You haven't given up! That's the difference between a great mom and one that's not - those that are really awesome always keep trying, even when they're so down.

You are amazing!


I so agree with the Sue on the post above. I would have been watching too, but I would have been watching to learn how to deal with a situation like that. I don't have kids, but hope to some day and I worry if I'll do a good job or not. So it's good to hear about problems actual mom's have.
Also, most males deal with their emotions completely different than most females, so don't feel bad that you can't be like Josh, that's the reason he's the Dad.


i'm so glad i read this...

i spent HOURS working on my girls' room purging, organizing, and putting away the after-christmas stash...
i spent HOURS sorting, purging, and putting away laundry...
and while my husband spent HOURS watching footbal today, the girls undid everything i worked on

i just stormed out of my bedroom yelling at my husband "this is the crap that makes me want to pack my s**t and leave!"

i really need a fresh approach, and i'm seriously considering looking into the love and logic technique

you are an amazing mom! (i don't even personally know you, but i can say that with certainty!) there will always be times when it gets overwhelming, and you just have to step back (with your che4ez-wiz and your tears) and pray that the next time it will be a little bit easier

lovely cee

i'm glad you have this blog to vent. and there's us aout here and we won't condemn you for feeling the way you feel at this moment. i have no solution but i am willing to read so you can vent. i can totally relate to what you are saying. but i think you're a great mom from the looks of it. maybe annie just had a bad day and just stick to what you think is right.

Katie Szymanski

Karen, you are a wonderful mother. Your children are very lucky to have a mom like you. They will thank you later in life. I never understood why my mom did what she did and thought she was just trying to make me miserable. I know see that she just loves me and wanted whats best. And all and all I think I turned out pretty good. They will thank you when the time comes!

Tammy Gray

Thanks for writing about the real life struggles of being a mom. All we can do is our best and trust God with the rest. You are doing an awesome job! Hang in there!

Jessica K.

You have far more patience than I even give myself credit for. Our parenting ended up along the lines of L&L but we kinda just made it up as we went b/c we want our children to understand that every action has an equal and greater reaction.

I can't say don't be hard on yourself b/c I am the same way. But I can say I've been there too (still am) and I guess the old saying is true, "what doesn't kill you..." I too am hoping to still be alive to hear my children say that I did a somewhat good job and didn't screw them up too bad :)


Just a word of encouragement. My parents were firm believers in the love and logic principle (and yes my dad also had a much easier time than my mom). They raised three children and my two younger sisters were definately CHALLENGING children, and as adults every one of us has express thanks to them more than once for the way that they raised us, even though it wasn't easy because we can all see the results in us as adults.

In a society where being your child's best friend instead of their parent is the norm and actually being a parent is rare, it can be difficult not to get discouraged (especially when everyone at Blockbuster is casting disapproving glaces your way) :o)
It is a constant battle to keep going now, but don't give up Karen. You children WILL thank you one day.


Wendy WVG

wow...and all I can say is ME TOO! I can't hide the frustration and my kids see it. My husband says it's what makes them do it more. I think that's mean, he says it's just how kids are. hhhhmmmm.. BIG HUGS to you!


I just wanted to let you know that I think you do a fantastic job with your children. I know I don't 'know' you and you don't 'know' me, although we did meet at your photography class at memory lane, pa (i'm the lonely film gal!) But it is very clear to see through your blog and the photos that you capture the love that your family shares, even with all the 'dynamics' that are thrown in the mix. We all have our "I suck as a Mom" days, and we all handle them differently... I cry too, never thought of the cheese whiz though!!! Personally, I just lay in the fetal position on my bed!! So I'm just sending you a Mom hug, cuz you deserve it!! You are an amazing woman, and you've earned a can or two of cheese whiz ocassionally!!!


I don't know how you got into my head and articulated it so well, but God bless you honey - Jesus loves our kiddo's more than we possibly could. If we can't get them thru these different stages - rest assured - HE can. He is bigger than all of this. You're doing good. My mother assures me the consolation prize comes when they are 30, and parents themselves...



ah. i would've been one of the ones staring at you - not in a disapproving way but in a "oh my god, how is she going to handle this.....take mental notes Cass" way.

Michelle Last

I just wanted to thank you for not making me feel so inadequate as a parent. I recognised so many similar characteristcs in myself as a parent as you described. I wish it wasn't so difficult being a parent. I had this very same conversation with my best friend last night and we decided that in 5 years time we will still be saying the same things but that the problems would just be bigger which left me feelign more desperate than ever. I love your blog and I think Annie is just so damn cute and from the outside looking in life can look perfect so it's nice to know that we are all thinking and feeling the same at the end of the day. Thanks for sharing your feelings, I found it a real help all the way over in the UK.


I know I'm reading this a month after you originally posted... but I am compelled to comment because I've been there! I love 'Love & Logic' and am so impressed wth how well it works. I love reading about the experiences others have with the parenting strategies and I commend those that give it a go. Thanks for sharing. :D

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