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mandy friend glad I'm not the only one ( and the toothpaste thing? wow I really did need to hear someone else has to wipe down their walls, and switchplates EVERYDAY like me!!). If you ever need an overpriced coffee, a trip to Target and someone who gets it, give me a call( Ross knows where I live). We'll escape together!


OH I just love this poast. I completely relate. I find myself in this spot frequently. I laughed I cried. Thanks.
I am a silent stalker of yours. Read your blog all the time and enjoy your pictures too.
Hang in there
My favorite saying is "She has done what she could."


Yep, I so totally relate to all of it. My kids are 29, 27 and 22. but I so remember those days, and wishing my life away. Now it's quiet, and routine.
I admire you, your pictures, your stories. In 20 years you'll have a small pile of laundry, a clean house and lots of time to yourself. Enjoy the days you're having now, they're much more fun!


I've been reading your blog for year, and don't think I've ever commented, that is, until now. I must say how much I relate to freaking out (in a bad way) after someone very close to me that understands me and my personality tells me to "relax." I just CAN'T! Thanks for more great reflections!


So there with you. And there more days than not! You expressed my inner conflict and frustration just perfectly! Can you now give me an answer? Please? Lol! And perferabbly ine that doesn't have me giving the kids away or me running away, lol! No...seriously, parenting is just difficult. I think that if someone would have been utterly honest with me beforehand, there might have been a few differences. But I truly wouldn't trade them for peace and serinity, although at times that is very apppealing in loo of the fighting, complaining, whining, cleaning, stressing, and the daggum stupid laundry!

Jennifer Labre

Karen, that's me too. So me. So much in fact, that well, that's a lot of why I got behind in class (I just wrote you about this.) I felt guilty, like I should be taking care of them, not me. Now I feel guilty cause I spent all that money on me and lost out anyway. Anyway, you're not alone and if you find that chill pill let me know, cause the one I got ain't working! :)


You hit the nail on the head Karen! I am in the same sinking boat! I love that phrase, "expectations reduce joy."


I wish I had that gene too...but I don't and I often feel the same way you do. I don't have any words of wisdom. I just try to ride those feelings out and keep reminding myself that it doesn't stay this way for long. Hugs...

Melanie C.

I can totally relate Karen. I'm actually hiding out in the office right now because we just got back from Target with my kids & let's say their behavior was definitely not "Norman Rockwell-ish." I keep trying to tell myself to relax, but I can't. I can't bring myself to look at the laundry at this point. Hang in there.


Chill-pill maybe worse than being told to "Chillax" (last weekend by my husband and defined by my 7 year old) I'm right there with you-I think your post succinctly summed up what it feels like to be a mom. Hang in there and when you find that secret stash of chill-pills will you be sure to let us all know, I could probably use about a million.
put the laundry behind a closed door and have a glass of wine-


We all have those days...I think it was in the fine print of the kid handbook.....make a fire and have a beer tonight!! or hot cocoa...sounds more Norman Rockwellish!! I am there with's the holidays....what can ya do?
I bet you felt better after typing that out though. Maybe you should just hide that pile of laundry and maybe tomorrow you will wake up and plow thru it.
Have a happy night!! :)


Amazing that someone else knows exactly how I feel and have felt since I became a Mother. My sons are now adults, but my oldest son has health problems that caused him to have to leave college and move back home. My youngest is married and lives near Ft. Hood, Texas where his wife is stationed. My life still revolves around my sons and I really have to work on that more. I share a little secret with you. Right now it doesn't seem like many of the expectations are being met, but it's like planting seeds. I am blown away by the men my sons have become. I have also slowly had to surrender my expectations (I also have the Norman Rockwell ideal) with hope of being able to let go of control and allow myself to enjoy being in the moment with my family. The days were long but the years flew by too fast. A clean, quiet house with free time is overrated. I'd pay with everything I have if I could go back to those chaotic days. You and Josh are such a complimentary couple and co-parents!


You are my sister from another mother! I feel the exact same way. I do take a "chill pill" though, in the form of Lexapro. I was so anxious all the time about things being just so and I would have way too many freak out moment. Lexa and I are very good friends. My kids and hubby like her too!


The #4 source of my problem: You're a MOM. And a great one at that! :)

(btw, i'm right there with ya on the chill-pills).

Angela Kelley

Wow, I can really relate, it's been that kind of day here too... I hope that tomorrow will be smoother!:)


I wish I could take a chill pill too. I think most men are like that. They just don't worry as much as we do.

Val from Down Under

Karen, know that you are definitely NOT alone. Many of us go through the same thing. But let me tell you that as a Christian, I pray - I lean on God and ask him to give me strength, patience, wisdom and to open my eyes to what is really important - love. Right now, delight in your family because they grow so fast! My son is married and they are expecting their first baby 2 days before Christmas and my daughter is turning 21 2 days after Christmas and I think - where has the time gone? It makes me sad that I didn't document my life the way that you are now, when they are growing up and you can record everything.

So what am I saying? It's ok to feel the way you do. It's ok that you're not on top of the laundry or the housework. Love on your family - the rest will sort itself out.

Kim Holmes

I follow your blog religiously --- not because you are a fabulous photgrapher (but you are) --- not because you are an amazing artist (you are that too) --- but because you remind me on a daily basis that my kids are a blessing and that no matter is going on in my life, that I'm not alone! Your days mirror mine and I love the mix of reality and humor you give to your posts --- it never fails to make me smile. Never forget you are not alone --- the source of my problems are the same as yours --- in fact, my 7 kids range from 9 years to 28 years and 3 are on their own. I have days where I step on the toys and I can't wait for them all to be out of the house. Then there are those days when I already feel like I have an empty nest and I can't shake the sadness. You remind me to cherish every moment and take lots of pictures --- BTW --- there is no magic CHILL PILL --- things just don't matter as much as you age. Enjoy!

Andrea B.

all of this is normal!!! no worries.. However, my mom ALWAYS said that "Raising children is like being pecked to death by chickens" so true :) enjoy your time with them it will fly by!

Cindy Welch

I totally get you, it was the reason i worked, to get a break. Just keep doing what you are doing. Your pictures say a thousand words. They are happy and its okay the "freak out" as needed. They live in a happy two parent home and over all they are good. So, I can tell ya that my new favorite "pear"fect martini is the perfect "chill pill". Wanna have one?

Terry Gardiner

yup, I could have written this post of myself. I understand, appreciate and ride the roller coaster with you.

Jennifer M.

Everybody had "those days" every now and then. Some times rambling just makes you feel a little bit better, doesn't it?


You are a mom! I think all of us have this problem! I know one of the things I have learned is that I need to communicate my thoughts and expectations verbally to my family, preferably beforehand (saves a lot of anguish). The other thing that has made a huge difference for me is to notice and keep a list of the small gratitude gifts I have in my life daily. It doesn't sound like much but it is for me. Don't beat yourself up - you are living life and have an amazing family. Take care!


oh my gosh, you eloquently put into words what a million moms have wanted to for sooo long! At least I have. I could relate to every single thing you wrote about, so I applaud you for putting your feelings into words so the rest of us sympathize right along with you! That's the beauty of blogging. And you do a great job of it, so thank you! Merry, merry Christmas!

jodi lansink

I had to reply and say I SO GET the toothpaste thing----seriously, how does it get everywhere?!?!? It is a daily struggle to keep it cleaned....thought I was the only one!! Great post----I need some chill pills most of the time too!

Jen Spain

Thank you SO much for posting this Karen -- I totally had one of those days today! My house looked like a bomb had gone off when we all left this morning, and the kids were grouchy. It was my birthday and my 9 year old was so mad at me for making him do his morning routine quickly (so as to be on time) that he refused to talk to me when I dropped him off. I got home this afternoon from work and there was still stuff all over the place, but he had made me a birthday card that said I was the best mom in the world. I pretty much forgave him then, but it was a bit of a struggle when we tussled over homework. Again. Oh, and the toothpaste thing? My 5 year old eats it like candy given half a chance.


deja freakin' vue.

darlene melvin

all i can say is.. "I could have written this post VERBATIUM" .. and then I feel guilty and i try again and again..more frustration and guilt..mine comes from not having a great childhood and I dreamed my whole early life what I would do different - so I do different - and get dissappointed that no one gets that in other places and other lives that this striving to be a heartfelt family is not nearly the norm. bless you tonight. i'm there.

Laura Glover

Amen. I feel like I could of wrote those exact same words.

Give yourself a big are awesome!


At least you are not alone...I'm quite sure the minute a woman become a mother for the first time her guilt levels increase, that and the abilty to lay awake all night worrying. Just remember one day we will look back and laugh (at least I hope so anyway ;-)


oh, i hear ya! thanks for sharing....


Karen, i could have written this post. I so relate!!! I too have those Norman Rockwell expectations that don't pan out the way I think they should. The only thing we can do is love our kids the best we know how. Everything else is just extra (ie: clean house, laundry caught up, etc) I seethe when someone (namely the hubs) tells me to "just relaaaax"! Makes me want to spit fire! I came close to throwing something at him the other night when he said that after I'd had a pathetic day. He was lucky our son was standing there and stopped me from committing any acts of violence. Hee!
Hang in there. I'm sure you are doing a great job of parenting.

Janet W

So, how is it that you take a picture of your LAUNDRY and make it look beautiful????? Something is seriously WRONG! :) And, sitting on the other side of your 15 years ahead, yes it is nice to come home to a clean house but it is an EMPTY clean house! (But most days I have learned to enjoy that, too!) To each life season there are joys and sorrows! Merry Christmas and thanks for your "real world" perspective (even if you laundry is too pretty to be REAL!)

Shannon Riggs

Oh how I can relate to this post. I know exactly what you are saying. I wish I could just take a chill pill and it would all be better.

Thank you for always being so's very refreshing!


I have two sons, 6.5 and 4 and a daughter who is 9 months. YOU completely hit the nail on the head and described me to a T!!!!! Are you sure you are not talking about me - Angie, a mama you have never met?? Oh you are talking about you - Karen!! Holy cow!! I had this same week, day, life, and my husband is such my polar opposite and so much like your hubby. He stays calm and chooses the right attitude. Me I just don't tick that way. So right now I am going to conquer some laundry and sew for a bit. Good luck!


um, we must be evil twins separated at birth! my monsters are 16, 13, and 5 and some days the "edge" is really close. and that phrase my mama perfected "i brought you into this world i can take you out" has been muttered, um yelled, at them 1x or 2x before. hehe we are just mamas. and there is nothing wrong with norman rockwell. i have a huge book of his paintings right on my coffee table!

Heather B.

THANK YOU for this post! We just had one of those evenings tonight. I feel like a horrible mother when I get so snappy and wish I could just remind myself that my son is 5 and a pretty good kid. Maybe I just need to go to sleep and hopefully tomorrow will be better. Thanks for sharing, glad to know I am not alone.
Heather B.


Bless your heart....You just solved my issues too. It is all about expectations for me too....and boy do I get cranky when it doesn't work out. Like the past few days and trying to get my house perfect for the! Cranky doesn't even describe it.
My husband is a lot like yours......except he's a duck going to the rose bowl.....he's very logical, easy go lucky. We must keep them on their toes. :)

teresa b

I'm sorry Karen. I feel your pain..I hope tomorrow is better!


Everyone above has said all the right I am just sending warm hugs. This too shall pass, and believe it or not, when they have left the nest, you will wish you could do it over again!

Wendy Tienken

This is so me! I get so upset at myself when I feel this way. I guess I have this expectation of MYSELF that I will always be able to "be the best i can be" and that being the best I can be means being perfect every day. But I'm not. And clearly, none of us are. Thank you, thank you for being so honest in this post. I adore your images (I was in your first online class), and I adore this post.

p.s. the shot of Courtney running into the ocean during your CA trip to see Tara Whitney is my all-time favorite picture. EVER.


Everyday I have a matching pile of laundry on my floor & I read your blog, with a smile on my face and happily ignore the mountain of clothes & enjoy my daily does of your parallel life :) You have cyber-sisters that feel your pain.


Hugs my friend!!!


Oh man this post hits the nail on the head on many levels! That Norman R. moment didn't happen at my house this AM when I had sugar plum visions of sitting with my children while they carefully listened to my instructions on how we were going to accomplish the task of writing out the Christmas cards - oh I had that same mound of laundry at my house today, even the same laundry basket! The cards got done and out but not in a pretty picture moment! I guess you can rest in the fact that your children are so totally normal and that's a good thing and that you really will miss stepping on the legos and playmobil in the dark in the night someday! Merry Christmas Karen!


Karen thank you for posting. I have been losing my mind as a stay-at-home-mom with a three year old and a six month old. I feel like every day a piece of me fades away and I'm turning more and more into this "control freak" if things don't go picture perfect. And my husband constantly uses the "chill pill" expression and omg so pushes me over the edge you're not alone!! lol

Hang in there I swear its the anxiety building over the "Norman Rockwell" Christmas ;)

k. chock

it wasn't just you...I had the same kind of day with my kids. All 23 of them! I want them all to get along. I want them all to be nice to each other. I want them all to be good, but it doesn't always happen. They are kids! and they are excited about break and they are excited about christmas and really all in all they are just kids.


Are you living my life or are you living mines.. lol. I am so glad i am not the only one who feels that way!. BUT i would also be livid if my honey told me take a chill pill!!!

Cari Skuse

I say amen Karen in total agreement! Thanks for letting me know I am not alone.

jennifer Compton

You always know what to say at the exact time I need to hear it. Somebody "gets" me - that's how I felt reading this post. You rock as always. And just know that when we see your captured moments, we see Norman Rockwell moments.


Another one who can totally relate. Hang in there ... your kids are lucky to have you as their Mom. As for the laundry, ugh. I would rather clean toilets than fold laundry - HATE it. :)


Funny - I don't remember writing this post.
Seriously, do you know how much better it makes me feel to realize there is someone else (and according to the comments, several someone elses) who feel the same way I do? Your blog and the little snippets into your life it offers are extraordinarily inspirational to me (and even a bit Normal Rockwell-ish......although I call it 'MarthaStewartism'). So hang in there, from one Karyn to another. :o)


I can totally relate to what you're saying. It's as if you've climbed into my head and written what I've been thinking and feeling lately too! Thanks for making me realise that I'm not the only one feeling like this. You are such an encouragement!!!! Thanks Karen!


Amen. I am quietly chuckling (as to not bring a "not yet asleep" child out to see what is so funny) I read this all toooooo familiar- honesty. All the daily stuff is so relatable but the expectations confiscating the joy is so real that it isn't funny! What is wrong with us?? (By us, I mean lots of "us") They are kids! They are our kids, not bad, not perfect, but eeek we set the bar over our heads. And it creeps to a climax this time of year as more becomes necessary. I start being thankful of _______ & _______ until the cranky subsides. At least that's the attempt. As I venture on to your blog, whilst still having much to do to get ready for the class parties tomorrow & homemade teacher gifts and cute christmas-y outfits they all need to wear-it is a good reminder to just CHILLPILL it. Maybe just maybe Josh Downs sentiments ringing in our ears (although initially stung) will keep us more centered on what matters. Maybe.
Thanks for the honesty- I needed it :)
Ada in Coastal Cali
P.S. Just today I noticed toothpaste smeared all over the wall heater in the hallway, ALL OVER. Why? No clue, but maybe if it gets cold tonight it will also mint up the house! HA!


must be in the univeral ethers because I have been saying chill pill for last month.


Oh Karen, I could have written the exact same post, except my husband didn't use the exact phrase "chill pill," just something very much like it. I see in the comments so many others who relate, too, and it's amazing. I always feel like I'm the only one who feels like this, but it makes me feel better just knowing others are going through the same struggles. Thank you so much.


I don't even have kids and I totally relate to your post today! Thanks for keepin' it real :)


Ok, I don't think I've ever commented on your blog just to comment but WOW!! I could have written this post!!! In fact I'm sure I couldn't have summed up me or my life any better had I tried;) I feel your pain girl! And my husband sounds a whole lot like yours:) Gotta love how awesome they are!


Karen, I think every mum all over the world can relate to this. We all want everything to be picture perfect and it is usally never that way - at least not at my house with four kids. And why do the pile of laundry never stop growing - it is a never ending story....
have a great weekend, and wish you all the best for the holidays.


ditto sister. :)


Brilliant post Karen, you have summed up exactly how I feel at times. I have high expectations too and find it incredibly difficult to lower them at times! I plan lots of 'great' stuff (in my eyes) for us all to do and when these activities don't turn out to be as much fun I expected, it's me who ends up beating myself up about it! I find the unplanned, impromptu stuff that we do always turns out to be much more fun, probably because I haven't had time to set those high expectations beforehand.

Great photo too - you even manage to take good shots of a pile of laundry!

kelly s

Wow, did you read my mind? I may copy this and post it as my own, nice to know other people feel the same way!
Enjoy your holidays!
ps- I think your photos resemble the "norman Rockwell" Family of this generation!


I love your honesty. I can completely relate to all that you say about the children & I would sometimes like to throw my feelings about my husband into the mix too!

Thank you for making me feel normal!!!

Merry Christmas
Chris x


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Thank you so much. I admire your blog and your pictures. Pure. Honest.

Jennie Moreland


Thanks so much for your honesty. I didn't have a very good day at all and hearing your same conflicts really helped. I felt like you were reading my mind. Why do we always seem to put all the pressure on our shoulders. I wish we could be more relax like some of the men in our lives...I wonder if we would get all the things done that we do... or would those things matter anymore?? or maybe just repeat I HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS. Loved your quote. I will give it a try.
All best Merry Christmas-Jennie


Karen, I relate to your post 100% and I relate to your comment about how you feel as a mother when your kids misbehave 110%.


I'm hearing you! It's like you articulated exactly how I feel too!

There is that from John Lennon which I think of when things don't go as I imagined...
"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."


Hang in there! Things always get better! Oh....and don't wish away the legos, babies, color crayons, lunch boxes, crumbs, and dirty socks. Trust me - you'll miss them SOOOOOOOOOOOO much!


I love how honest you are, Karen, and I want to extend an invitation to be my neighbor. My best friend and I both live in Norman Rockwellvill, you see, next door to each other and separated only by a white picket fence. It's really quite lovely there, but amazingly the kids always seem to be at school in our vision! hee! True story! Just ask her. You are so not alone. I think a lot of us women struggle with that kind of vision and it is one of our biggest sources of frustration. ;)


Nodding my head as I'm reading your post. And Expectations Reduce Joy...ding ding ding! Guilty as charged...and I'm totally using that one on my mom too! Thanks, we're all in this boat, just getting thru the day some days.

Helen Walsh

I've not got kids yet (but I'm expecting my first in April). I love the honesty of your post Karen, it's just really nice to read someone expressing how life truly is. I have all of this to look forward to and feel!! The toothpaste thing is going to drive me mental. Thanks for sharing once again.

Michelle A.

Ditto!!!! So much ditto!!!! I am such a control freak & nothing --- NOTHING ---ever goes as planned. My hubby is just like yours & I get so jealous that I can't be like that. I try, really I do, but it is just not me. Plus, I think women do put more of themselves into this stuff --- it is just the way we are wired. We really need to give ourselves a break (but we can't). But, if it makes you feel any better, I was telling a friend about your picture perfect Thanksgiving and how I wished I had more of that. So, I guess we all think the grass is greener on the other side.


girl.. i hear ya! thank you for saying what we all are thinking! sending big hugs your way!


Amen sistah ~~~ you be preachin' to the choir!
I love the #1 problem...I have kids LOL....
I think we live parallel lives..I am so like that "norman Rockwell-ee'. My kids can have me feelin' defeated before the car doors close picking them up from school...sometimes I just stare.."Really, we haven't been in the car for 5 seconds and you are already whining, hitting, yelling, crying, poking, pushing, pouting.....REALLY??"
Off to find those 'chill-pills' ....


{{hugs}} I totally know what you mean...


You are SO not alone! Maybe we need to invent some chill-pills. They would sell like hot-cakes (not sure where this term came from, or how well hot-cakes really sell, but.....the chill-pills would do well. All I'm sayin').


Hi Karen,

I read your blog faithfully and am always encouraged and delighted to read stories and see pictures of your day-to-day life. I am not really a "blog commenter", but this website has really helped me learn about myself and deal with the same problems of expectation and everything having to be "right" all the time. I totally understand how you feel because I feel the same way about my life almost every day. This website is based on something called the Enneagram- kind of like Briggs-Myers personality stuff. It's personality types broken down into 9 parts. I am a #1- perfectionist. I think that you might be able to relate to it.



and now i totally realize why animals eat their young?! just kidding...
i love how men have such a different perspective on things than we do...
why can't we be wired like men? lol....i love your blogs and photography and i bounce from you to meg from "whatever" every morning with coffee...
time goes too fast...enjoy it all while you can...

Dianne Nelson

I think you are pretty normal overall...It wouldn't surprise me if most mothers feel that way.

I also think sometimes the reason why we choose our spouses is that the rocks in his head fit the holes in ours...we complement each other by having the opposite strengths.

Hang in there! Sometimes the lessons aren't learned in the moment, but later on.


You completely summarized how I have been feelling lately. Thank you.

Leigh Ann

Oh my goodness, substitute the name Kile for Josh, and I could have written that! Yep, that is exactly how I feel. And I do think it's just my makeup to have really high expectation and to get easily irritated when my children aren't the perfect little Stepford children I want them to be. I am trying to embrace imperfection and relax, but it is easier said than done. Glad to know I'm not the only one in this boat! Thanks for sharing--it really helped this overwhelmed mom. I am going to take a page from Josh's book and just decide to do the best I can TODAY.
Merry Christmas!

Solstice Mama

Oh me too, on all of it! I hope the laundry didn't eat you alive and today is going better!


I so HEAR you and I can totally relate to your entire post since that's how I am, too! And your husband sounds like my husband, too. And yes, I get irritated with his calm and go-with-the-flow attitude. And then there will be times when it occurs to me that that's precisely what I need - someone who accepts me for who I am (passion and all) and who keeps me grounded.


in case i haven't told you this before, thank you thank you thank you for making me feel normal and so not alone in this parenting thing!! I am really beginning to hate this Norman Rockwell freak!! LOL


I'm printing this one up! It's how I feel most of the time. Except I don't have the DH with the same attitude! lol

I see others who find so much JOY in those things and I DON"T I just get irritated! Thanks for relating!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to YOU and your family!

Susan (in IL)

Oh Karen (and most all the posts I see above LOL)
You have restored my faith in myelf. Here I am thinking what a horrible parent I am for having these EXPECTATIONS and disappointments when they don't happen and so many of the other things you mentioned. Thanks for being so honest (you always are) and at this Christmas season I have to remind you how many moments of pleasure you provide with all your beautiful shots and your wonderful writing. Terrific blog girl, terrific blog. I think you have become my favorite blog. Hang in there and keep on keeping on please. We love ya!

amy kelly

I am having the exact same kind of day - laundry in all! I think it's because I have dodged it all week. Best of luck to you and Merry Christmas! I am going to chill now..

Christine Edwards

How is it that you can take a picture of laundry and make it interesting? I don't have kids, so I can't really chime in, but I do relate to the "expectations reduce joy" quote. Sometimes you just need to vent, and hopefully move on. We've all been there, and will be there again. Hope today works out with all of that clean laundry.

Lan Amphone

You just voiced my thoughts so clearly! I have three kids also, just a bit younger 4,3,and 6 months but I can so relate.

Tracy Anderson

Oh my goodness, Karen - it's like I was looking in the mirror at myself while reading this. I too have a huge problem with the Norman Rockwell visions of what I think a family should be like all.the.time. And just as you said, it's just NOT reality. Unfortunately, I too am one of those parents whose attitude is decided on my husband and kid's attitudes at the time. My husband and I just had this conversation literally 2 nights ago with him telling me that I should never base my mood on him and the kid's moods - that my mood should be just that - mine. *sigh* Hang in there - I am in the same boat as you are - except I don't have 4 kids - I only have 2 and they are both 16 yo now - which does not make it any better. BIG BIG HUGS!

Sara R.

Think you feel how we ALL feel most days...hard to face it daily, huh? I am trying my very best to relax and let this holiday break just happen the way it wants to. No more expectations of perfection...because everyone knows I'm not perfect! So why would my child be? (or my husband for that matter) As for those piles of laundry...put in a good movie! Works wonders for me. ;)


I could have written this exact post. I wish I had those pills.


My friend just wrote on her Facebook wall "expectations are premeditated resentments..." and if that isn't the truth I don't know what is.
I am the same way, I want to have these "norman rockwell" moments with my children and then get bent out of shape when it doesn't happen. But having grown up with a mother who still has these same expectations, I've learned to "let it go" and hope that maybe tomorrow will be a better day...regardless, my kids will remember certain things about growing up and me hollering at the WILL NOT be one of those memories (like I have of my own mother, yelling!).
Merry Christmas Karen, you're a GREAT mom!

Merilee B

So right there with you!!! My expectations get me into trouble ALL the time! Merry Christmas, Karen. Looking forward to your class in January! :o)


I totally relate with you Karen!
(especially with the spelling words)


Amen, sista. Oh, and btw, what I hate more than "chill pill"......chillax!! That does it for me!!!

Traci Severson

You, Karen, are so not alone and I want to thank you for being so open with your feelings to let it be known that those of us who struggle with the same things are not alone!

Marian H

Thanks for sharing your thoughts today. I have been going through very similar feelings and needed to know that I am not alone and that my kids are just like everyone elses. AND that laundry happens at your house too.
Have a merry one!


Karen, I haven't had the chance to take your class yet (4 kids and a demanding job and a husband and a house don't seem to leave time for much else) but I love your blog.

I wanted to share one thing I have learned, though, about how the different genders tend to respond to things. I studied engineering in college at a pretty tough school. I was curious about why there were so few girls in engineering classes. The professors were befuddled, too, and many of them commented that "the girls are always the best students in my class...i don't understand why there aren't more of them." I actually did a sociology independent thesis on it my junior year, out of curiosity. There are some aptitude issues, but even more was that women seem to have a different reaction to performance than men do. In both my surveys and other studies that I read, women tend to reflect performance on self-worth more than men. If a girl gets a C, she thinks "I'm a C person" and if a boy gets a C, he either thinks "Gee, I should work harder next time" or "That prof is a jerk". Engineering and other hard sciences tend to have tough "weed out" classes during freshman year, and perhaps because of the different reactions, women tend to drop out at a much higher rate than men. These are obviously generalizations and not 100% accurate for every member of each gender, but I would say in both my school and work life I have been surprised at how true they are.

I would love to tell you that I have a solution. I don't. I still have a bad day at work and think I'm an idiot, or I snap at one of my kids and then think I'm a horrible person. The problem is that knowing that it isn't a rational reaction doesn't seem to keep me from having it. I thought I would share, though, to give you some perspective on why Josh might have a different reaction than you.

And if you ever figure out how to stop reacting as you do, please post it to your blog. I would be all ears! (or eyes, rather)

TerriB in Oregon

Ok,my youngest kids are 22, so they are grown, but you just verbalized all the things that I have been thinking for over 31 years (how old the oldest son is), and continue to think and feel. And the toothpaste thing, I mean really, is a genetic thing that all children have? I have cleaned more toothpaste off bathroom fixtures, walls, light switches, drawers, doors, etc. in my life than I would have thought possible! And I thought my kids were the only heathens in the world to do that! I thought I hadn't taught them correctly, and it seems the whole world has the same problem! Thanks for helping me see myself and be able to laugh about it. And laundry is the bane of the modern world!! Merry, merry Christmas to you and all your lovely, imperfect children and almost perfect spouse!


You are so real. You are us. And it is no coincidence that it appears I am comment are in good company, it seems. =)

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