February 28, 2014
Categories: Culture, Family

Over the next several weeks while I’m focusing on my book, I’ll be offering questions meant to cultivate community-wide discussion. My hope is to weave some of your responses into Motherwhelmed, as testimonials straight from the trenches. Every contribution to this conversation is valuable, much appreciated and of benefit to others. 

Community-Wide Conversation #1

Q: At this point in your parenting journey, what are your greatest sources of frustration? If you are a seasoned mother (grandmothers, your voices are of particular value!), what do you remember of your frustrations from when your children were younger and how do you see them as different from those of young mothers today?

*Please include your age and the ages of your children.

Feel free to respond to each other’s offerings, share this with your friends and check back throughout the week to read what other mothers have to say!

Can’t wait to hear from you. Back to the book!

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63 Comments

  1. Wow…Sigorni looks JUST LIKE YOU in that photo. I thought it was a throwback of you at first!

    Reply

  2. Hi Beth,
    I’m the mother of an 18 year old son and 10 yr old twin girls. One of my biggest frustrations as a mother is making sure my children are fed clean, nutritious food. When they are with me, we do a pretty good job of eating good food. When they are at a friends house, at school, or anywhere else they are not usually around healthy food choices. It is frustrating and sad to see how “most people” eat and what they feed their children. And it is a struggle to try to get others to understand where I am coming from and to really THINK about what they are putting in their bodies. My son is 18, and makes good food choices and enjoys preparing food and is very good at it. My girls are learning how important it is to make these choices for themselves and not let others influence their decisions. but it is a work-in-process.
    The public school system that my children attend actually have given cans of soda pop and candy as rewards in their “reward system” (which i’m against in general).
    I could go on and on. But basically my biggest frustration has been regarding good clean real food.
    (This frustration was heightened when my son and I moved from Santa Barbara, CA to Indiana when he was 5)

    Reply

    • I second this! I am a huge supporter of organics, and whole foods in general. My kids are home with me, so we don’t have the school influence, but family is impossible! Family buys conventional fruits and wants to feed them to my kids, or buy something that is labeled “gluten free” and assumes that it is ok even with 10#s of sugar in it! I am so sick if hearing “just today” or ” it is a special occasion” …I do not want my kids associating crap food with family time.

      Reply

  3. I’m what I thought was a young mom, but getting older by the minute. My oldest will be 8 soon, I also have a 6 year old and 18 month old. My frustrations stem from food and proper care of the body. I don’t wear makeup, I don’t see the need to shower every single day, I don’t wear deodorant…I am real. I hate that family and society feels the need to cover up who they are with chemicals, I want my kids to feel beautiful in their own REAL skin. I also want my kids eating real organic, whole foods. It is a struggle when everyone wants to hand your kids pretzels, chips and candy.
    I also catch a lot of grief for cosleeping with my son, and still nursing on demand. Apparently, it is bad for your child to meet their needs at such a young age…

    Reply

  4. I have one daughter, 5 1/2 years old. My biggest parenting frustration is my constant companion: self-doubt.

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  5. Hi Beth,
    My biggest frustration as a parent is not being able to have constructive discussions with our pediatrician (or ANY pediatrician for that matter) about vaccines. Because it’s such a controversial topic, I’m automatically labeled as a “fanatic” if I even bring it up. The simple fact that most doctors haven’t done research themselves on the topic is infuriating. I want to know what’s going into my children’s bodies, and weigh the benefits/risks of each vaccine, not just get a blanket statement that “the CDC says it’s fine.”
    Lindsay

    Reply

  6. I have 2 daughters, ages 8 and 10.

    My main frustration would be that despite what we want to believe, it is NOT possible to have it all. I have made, and I continue to make, choices that I think are the best for both my career and my family, but something always has to give in order to allow for something else. I wish I could focus more on my career, but then my family would pay… and if I focus more on my family, then the career pays. It’s a very fine balance. Up to now I have no regrets, but it is a source of frustration on a regular basis.

    My second, lesser (maybe) frustration originates from the fact that I try to raise my daughters to be well-mannered, independent, helpful, resourceful and healthy… in a society where a lot of kids are no taught those essential values. It is sometimes a problem when my kids bring friends home for a “playdate”: some kids just sit there expecting to be served, and don’t hesitate to talk back… not pleasant at all!

    Reply

  7. Balance….how do I balance my responsibilities at work (full time out of house), daughter to aging mom, sister to screwed up sibling, friend to wonderful people, mother to 4 year old and wife to awesome husband.

    Reply

  8. One of my big frustrations is school homework. My boy needs a LOT of sleep, and homework seriously cuts into his free time after school – not much left, given that we need to get him to bed early every night.

    Once we get to the weekend, lots of great learning goes on in a relaxed way, without pressure, and yet we also get to rest more. Wishing there were greater balance within the week, and less desperate need to catch up/rest at the weekend.

    My wish would be for more unhurried time for him after school: to play, to read, to see friends, to wind down from the official learning – to be with us! We love being together but it is sad that the time feels so short.

    Reply

  9. I have a four year old son and a two year old daughter. My biggest frustration is trying to figure out the best way to parent them through their own frustrations with patience. Second that is the constant temptation to take on more responsibility at work and start more exciting projects at home, which are effectively mutually exclusive commitments.

    Reply

  10. My children are 13 and 10. One of my greatest frustrations is parents not saying “no” to their children. My son is one of the only kids in his class that does not have a cell phone. At 13, this is more the exception these days than the norm. I have spoken to parents who have literally said that it’s just easier to get them one and refer to that silly fitting in and peer pressure argument. People are afraid to disappoint their children, which ultimately denies them from learning important life lessons. Change takes courage and strength and so many people seem to just cave in to their children when decisions become difficult and ‘everyone else is doing it.” I’m always inspired when I meet people who, not without difficulty, walk the talk and stick to their values, which may often mean falling out of favor with your kids for a while…all for a greater good.

    Reply

    • I understand this one. When we moved to England, my older daughter was 12. Everyone told me in a condescending way that I would have to get my daughter a mobile phone. We didn’t and somehow she survived.
      Now my girls are 12 and 18 and don’t have cell phones. We homeschool, so I realize there is a difference there. We can’t just afford it and they don’t need it. They can use my pay-as-you-go non-smart phone when they need to. They are fine with it most of the time.

      Reply

      • I think conversation is key. If we discuss it all the time, they understand the reasons. I’m lucky that my girls agree with me on this one. They understand that money isn’t so easy to come by.

        Reply

  11. Meg Konturas

    My biggest frustration at the moment is finding balance parenting a 13 yr old & 5 yr old. It always feels like someone’s needs are not being met! And my needs often are the last to be met, as I spend most of my days accommodating everyone else’s schedules. Oh, yeah, there’s also the fact that my husband works & goes to law school, so is pretty much unavailable most of the time.

    Reply

  12. I am a 35-year old mother to a 7-year old daughter, a 4.5-year old daughter, and 23-month old son. I stay at home and homeschool.
    My biggest frustration right now is balance. My husband and I have tried to fit in one date a month and even that is proving difficult. I was an independent woman and driven in my education and career before I had kids. I wanted to be a stay at home mom but I also miss the other part of ME that is separate from my role as a mother. I keep thinking that my 30s will be about raising kids and my 40s will be about fulfilling other parts of me. So I guess that’s a “big picture” thing that’s on my mind.
    A more specific thing that I find very frustrating is parents who complain about their children (behavior, grades, attitude) but won’t do anything about it. I think a lot of parents don’t want to do the hard part of parenting, like saying no and listening to the crying/whining that follows. I see a lot of parents appeasing their children but then complaining that their kids are naughty, don’t listen, or get in trouble at school. It has been a learning curve for me as well but I’m rarely frustrated with my children because they know the rules, the limits, the consequences. That sounds a little square I’m sure but we actually have very joyful children and a lot of fun together because I think we all know what the rules are and we do our best to be respectful and kind.

    Reply

    • I’ve had a chance to think more about this and I’m going to add the fact that I have to feed my children everyday! Seriously I feel like I’m spending half my day making meals and snacks. And trying to make all of them happy is getting ridiculous. Let alone make sure it’s healthy. There is nothing better in the world than having someone else cook a yummy warm meal for me and my family so I don’t have to think about it. Yes, feeding them all day every day is very frustrating!

      Reply

    • This is a blogger I believe you suggested at one point. Anyway, her latest post is exactly what I’m talking about:
      http://www.janetlansbury.com/2012/10/if-gentle-discipline-isnt-working-this-might-be-the-reason/

      Reply

  13. I have three major ones, the first is that I know what is best for my family but cannot afford to implement it.
    The second is that as a breastfeeder, co sleeper, homeschooler ….etc.. etc.. This seems to give people a free pass to comment but If I were to return the favour to someone who bottle feeds or uses the cry it out method for example, good lord can you imagine the backlash. I never would say anything because its none of my business but people seem pretty quick to judge me.
    And thirdly, the lack of community from having moved to another country. No one to share the wonderful burden of motherhood, no fellow sisters to help each other out. Its lonely, and full of anxiety, because you have to have it together ALL THE TIME, and that’s a hard pedestal to balance on!!

    Reply

    • Oh mama do I feell ya on all of the above! Everyone has an opinion on how I raise my children naturally, but if I deny the blue colored drink they freely hand their child…im the monster! I have learned not to voice my opinions, but when under attack, sometimes I cannot help it!

      Reply

  14. My greatest frustration is my lack of energy as an older mother, mostly due to health reasons, another frustration is expectations (what I thought being a stay at home mother and homeschooler would be like vs what it really is like), and not having any time to myself would be another.

    Age 43, mother to a 7.5 year old daughter and 23 month old daughter….and 2 cats….and one fish.

    Reply

  15. A couple of things- my kids are 2 and 6. I would love to provide my kids with an alternative school experience but find the schools with philosophies I like the most to be too expensive. I have been unhappy with the focus on drilling my son on sight words and letter sounds in public kindergarten. I wish he had more time for exploratory, inquiry-based study, with more focus on play. This year has been full of boring worksheets. I wish there were affordable alternative options. Another source of frustration is the general power struggle- I feel like I’m constantly threatening or cajoling my kids into getting shoes on, eating dinner, etc, and it jut gets exhausting. I read parenting books and blogs with advice, but nothing seems very practical in the moment. Finally- one of my biggest challenges is getting on the same page as my husband and communicating regularly. We have a wonderful partnership, but its hard in the midst of all we have going on to stop and connect and strategize around parenting and such. We agree most of the time on how to handle things, but I tend to always think I’m right and have a hard time supporting his parenting choices sometimes. I guess I’m a work in progress! Thanks for the opportunity to take a moment to reflect on this :)

    Reply

    • I pulled mine from p.s. was set on a strict structured curriculum, and learned they do better when left to be kids! We are not unschooling, with regular trips to the library. I’ve learned morw about what my kids are interested in, and they are happier in general.
      I also had to learn to think before saying no all if the time. I want my kids to think, we now allow them to “convince” us on certain things, no badgering or whining, but if they can convince us something is worthwhile, I try to makw them feel heard.
      Oh, the power struggles…we say one word. If shoes are left in middle of floor, the word is shoes. If they do not gef moved, they are gone. Kids are constantly thinking and “busy” and get distracted, trying to talk it out just loses them in my experience. A gentle reminder seems to work here.

      Reply

  16. As a grandmother of 7 from ages 23 to 4 and the mother of 3, who at one time were three under four years old, I think I can feel your concerns and frustrations to a point.
    As I look back, I wish that I had relaxed more and not tried to be perfect. Not to always worry about their meals, their studies, their friends or their friends parents skills.
    I think, more then anything, we are the example. Not the once in a while bad meal. Not the friend who is sassy and undisciplined but the example and instructions we give to them.
    There were times that I wondered. I was widowed at 36 with three teenagers. I was sure we would go down the drain, at times. But through a strong bond and lots of love, we made it.
    My adult children are absolutely priceless in their love of their children, their compassion for others and the manners that I never thought I would live to see! Ha………so relax, enjoy and know that it doesn’t all have to be perfect!

    Reply

    • PS, I’ll be 72 in April.

      Reply

    • Thank you Babs! This is exactly what I need to remember! My husband was out of town all week, and it took me all week to remember that sometimes the best answer is “sure!”

      Kids – “Can we take the My Little Ponies in the bath with us?”
      My normal answer – “No sweetie, they were not made to be in the water, it will ruin them.”
      My answer this week – “Sure!”
      What changed? Nothing, I just realized that I have to pick my battles. And this one, when picked apart was simple. The My Little Ponies were purchased for $2 from the thrift store, with birthday money from Grandma. They came in a bag of 20! We got two bags. Our lives will not be worse off if a few of them get ruined in the bath!
      Mama’s life just got way simpler for a few minutes… Exhale.

      Three-year-old – “Don’t brush my hair! It hurts me!! Ahhhrrrggg!!!”
      My normal response – “SIT down! I am brushing your hair, because that’s what we do every morning! All little girls who want to have long hair have to have it brushed! I’m tired of you walking around looking like a street urchin.”
      My normal internal response to myself – What are you talking about mama?! She is three! She does not GET IT! Chill out! You used to have dread locks yourself, for God’s sake!
      My response this week – “Ok. Someone get me a rubber band… there! That is a beautiful bun! You look just like a ballerina!”
      Mama’s life just got way simpler for a few minutes… Exhale.

      Kids – “Mom, can we take another bubble bath with the organic, non irritating bubbles that you got us? We promise we’ll rinse out our yonis with fresh water before we get out!”
      My normal response – “I don’t think so… it’s really not so good for your skin to bathe so much.”
      This week – “Um, you want to take another bath? Yes… hehe, you sure can! Call me if you need me. I’ll be sitting in the living room drinking a glass of wine and knitting. Don’t forget the My Little Ponies!”
      Mama’s life just got AWESOME… Exhale.

      Kids – “Mom, can we climb up on top of the chicken coop to rescue that chicken?”
      My normal answer – “No! Abslutely not.”
      My answer this week – “No! Absolutely not.”
      I haven’t completely lost my mind. I seriously don’t want to be driving someone to the hospital with a broken arm while Daddy is out of town!

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      • Same. Life. Nail on the head. (It’s really uncanny). I have to try your new answers. Thank you!

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      • It is so easy to say no, im learning with my husband how much better our lives, and the lives of our kids can be if we say yes, or at least think first!

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      • Annie,

        This is brilliant and simple. I’m cracking up. You have set boundaries while also giving your girls and your self more freedom. So important to keep in my heart. Thank you for sharing.

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    • Thank you for sharing this long term perspective!

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    • Thank you Babs! I certainly tend to take it all far too seriously, and need all the reminders I can get, that relaxing a little can create a lot more peace.

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  17. My frustration is trying to meet the emotional needs of three needy little people, 10 yo of whom has Aspergers and ADHD, 7 yo with separation anxiety, and 2 yr old who is typically whiny and contrary. Homeschooling because that was always my ideal, but my ideals are becoming somewhat tarnished with reality, including my own ongoing OCD, depression and anxiety that I do take medication for. Longing for a clean and organized house, some time to breathe and think, alone! Disappointed in my lack of energy and patience. Wanting to be everything to them, but also meet my own needs, which I’m only vaguely aware of. The two older kids will be in public school in September, or so goes the plan. I’m just so so tired and disappointed. Maybe it’s my turning 40 crisis!

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  18. As a 77 year old grandmother and great grandmother, my biggest frustration is keeping my mouth shut. It is hard watching my grandchildren be so over programmed in their parents’ efforts to make sure that they participate in sports and music and church groups AND make all As in school. When do they have time to breathe? When is there time to do any service for others? Even their summers are programmed. They are all teens now except for the oldest who is the father of two already. They are great kids, high achievers with good friends. Am I an out-of-touch granny? Is this new norm? Of course, as parents, we want everything for our children even when they are grown but at what cost to creativity, compassion, community?

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  19. I´m a mother of two boys, 15 and 11.
    My biggest frustration is food. I share the ideals of the other moms here, but in order to keep my sanity I´ve given in and ask for much less now. Against all odds (like their granny and peers) I managed to establish good clean water as the standard drink in this house. But that´s about it. There is a lot of resistance around me concerning vegetables and even fruit. Not to mention whole grains. Careful cooking for the little boys resulted in one sugar craving carnivore; I learned the hard way that doing one´s best does not necessarily lead to success. The other boy used to love veggies and fruit but refuses them these days – in a way that suggests it´s a peer group issue. Veggie based dishes on the table mean disgusted faces of the boys, so I make these dishes just for me. Feeling like an alien eating other food than the rest of the family is not nice, but there are two other more painful sources of my frustration:
    first the boys´ surroundings (school), that offer soda and sweets for a snack or lunch. What the boys do not find at home they´ll buy there.
    And the second source of frustration, very embarrassing, is my spouse. If I don´t buy treats and processed food, he´ll fill the cupboards with them. His body responded to his food choices with high sugar and painful gout, still he keeps buying and feeding himself and the boys this stuff. The boys seem to take after him – recently one got told that his stomach ache, the other that his gingivitis was due to too much sugar…
    I stopped explaining and arguing. I´m just very sad.

    Reply

  20. I’m 35. I have 2 girls, ages 3&5. So many frustrations, so little time… As a stay at home mom, I am generally frustrated with trying to balance household management and child rearing and feeling like I’m not “rockin’” either one, daily, like everyday I feel defeated and outnumbered. Add in the balance of time for my marriage, friendships, family (mom/ sister/ in laws),little side jobs and obligations that I have signed up for (attempting to still have “something that’s just mine”), and sleep and self-care, and I don’t have a clue. I feel like I am bad at life. I see others who have the same on their plate, but they seem to be good at it. Since I have quit my career to stay home I have lost self-confidence, but my passion is parenting, and i wouldn’t have it any other way, which brings me to my biggest frustration right now: my husband. We are not on the same page about parenting and he is generally checked out until we drag him in.

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    • I accidentally sent… whoops.
      Wanted to clarify that we have the same values and ideals for the most part (which was all part of our decision to marry of course), but as I am giving my all every step of the way in the huge job of shaping our little humans, he is not, and it is lonely.

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  21. As I look back on this parenting journey of 26 years (5 kids ages 26-8 and one grandson), I think most of the frustrations have stemmed back to trying to figure out how or if, following my heart/internal messages was right given the world we live in. All the attachment parenting and unschooling is wonderful but we also have to be realistic about the world our children live in. Same with all of our traveling and living in multiple countries. I have to ponder if it’s good for the group and not just me:)

    Right now I am doing the same pondering again. My second oldest is home after university and has spent the last year living with us in Dubai helping out with his younger siblings and taking time to think about what he wants to do with himself. Society and family tsk tsk about not pushing him out to get on with his life. But we all enjoy being together and he is growing and learning (developing as a fantastic chef) the same way he did when younger. It stems back to trusting instincts and not allowing societal mandates (i.e. at this age you will do …..) to dictate how each family must live. We need to find our own paths that allow everyone to grow healthily and happily.

    It’s funny though as so much of this is now noise rather than frustrations. Still juggle food issues, work-life balance, education, etc. but as time goes on it does get easier and as I say, become noise rather than something that keeps me awake at night.

    With peace..

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  22. So frustrated with the lack of adequate paid leave for mothers in this country!! Our country cares so little about our children who need their families when they are little. Disgusted with the lack of support for breastfeeding, ever tried pumping in a corner of a retail Pharmacy sitting on a stepstool? I have…ridiculous. Frustrated with my inability to take care of myself for fear of the guilt of not giving my all to my family 100% of the time. Being a mama is HARD work! :)
    Btw, LOVE your blog and cannot wait to read your books!

    Reply

  23. Megan Alton

    Hi, I have one 3 year old son and there seem to be too many frustrations to choose from. Here are the frustrations that come to mind today:
    -Knowing when and if I should push my son because some activity or interaction will be good for him, or if it will harm him in some way.
    -The desire to listen to my son and give his voice a legitimate part in discussions and when I need to mom up and be the parent.
    -Trying to live up to all the parenting memes on the internet (un-followed those pages eventually, thankyouverymuch)

    I guess these are all members in the same family of frustrations, which boils down to the the main frustration that is questioning myself and my ability to parent.

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  24. I am…. I’m turning 38, where did the time go? I know, to time spent with my 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son. I have loved being able to be a stay at home mum, and hated it at the same time. You don’t realise that’s possible until you live it. My biggest frustrations currently revolve around them getting to sleep while they are sharing a room (and a bunk bed). Tonight they were tired enough to pass out after 5 minutes so it wasn’t an issue but on a bad night they can both still be awake an hour and a half after we put them to bed. They finally stop winding each other up and go to sleep and we look at the time and realise we still have 2 hours of work or home duties to do before bed but we are wiped out! The other thing we have trouble with is big sister trying to discipline her brother for something she perceives as wrong (or knows that we say is wrong) and won’t give us time to work it out first. The poor 2 year old gets it from all sides! And it’s usually after big sister has spent half an hour ordering him around while they are playing. They are both determind, stubborn, intelligent, creative kids so we have our work cut out helping them become well rounded older children/teenagers/adults. But then, I don’t feel like I’ve got my act together, so who’s to judge anyway?

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  25. My biggest struggle as a parent of three (ages 7, 4, and 2) is definitely the decision in sending my daughter (the 7 year old) to school each day. Im at complete confusion as to wanting her to understand authority does exist but also not being comfortable with her submitting to it.. Im at complete odds and send her each day with guilt and confusion as to why i am sending her.. Why do other mothers send their children to school? what is the main reason?

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    • Good question!!!

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    • I don’t send my daughter (6) to school. This wasn’t planned we just kind of fell into it. we realised we didn’t want our child to be exposed to (gosh where do I start) kids that have been around sexually explicit t.v, music etc.. as their seems to be more and more incidents in school of boys victimising young girls, I didn’t want her learning to restricted to the curriculum, I wanted her to learn about life, humanity, nature, not how to memorize (which in my opinion seems to be the foundation of school- remember a bunch of facts, do a test, move on). We actually visited a school for 2 weeks, and the behaviour of these kids was absolutely disgusting, towards each other and the resources, im not saying all kids that go to school are like this but that was my experience (and we live in NZ!) so my heart told me to homeschool, every granny I meet says if they could go back they would do the same :) and my girl is just soaring, she spends her day reading, playing, make art, using clay, going to music classes, building hide outs, gardening etc.. etc.. and I fully intend to do the same for my other 3 :)

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  26. A constant fear that I have missed giving my children the right
    tools for their “tool box”…will they be able to make
    the best choices, stand up for what they know (feel) is right,
    not cave to peer pressure, remember to double
    check the driveways along our street. I can not
    impress upon them enough that though they should
    enjoy playing and exploring our world they should also be
    mindful of the possible dangers/accidents/not so nice folks that
    are everywhere. More importantly, I would hope they
    can execute their lives in a manner that does
    not (indirectly) make them neurotic! They need to
    be kind, understanding…to find balance among
    the caos; not to be bullied nor be a bully. My boys are
    so precious, innocent, imaginative and full of wonder. I
    hope they can hang on to their childhood until
    the last moment. I am 39 and my sons are
    9 and 5.

    And Beth…thank you. Thank you for sharing your
    journey with the world. Though I sense we would
    not always agree on the “details” of day to day
    living, I value your insight. Your perspectives are
    priceless!! ~Good luck and many blessings upon
    this new exciting chapter of your life~

    Reply

  27. I’m a stay at home 31 years old mama to 2 boys, 5 years and 2 months old. We live in Brazil.

    One of my biggest frustrations, at the very beginning of motherhood, was how different parenting was for mothers and fathers, for me and my husband. I knew breastfeeding would be (obviously) my responsibility, but I though everything else would be shared equally. Especially during the first years, that was NOT the case, at least not for our family. Being the mother meant I was the main source of comfort and security, while my husband did an awesome job of being MY source of comfort and security. That has changed with time, and my 5 year old son relies on us both now, and a lot of times prefers his papa’s company. Having a newborn baby has reminded me of this, but this time it hasn’t been a source of frustration.

    What continues to frustrate me is the lack of time to myself, to do my own thing, from having a long bath after a hard day, to reading, writing, sewing or just being quiet! We homeschool and do not have extended family living near by, so it we’re all together, all the time.

    Reply

  28. It’s very interesting to read through all of these frustrations and I can identify with so many of them. My girls are 12 and 17. We also babysit a 2 year old boy 55 hours/week. Right now my main frustration is feeling like I’m not contributing much to the good of the world. I realize it is sort of insane to say when I am doing my best to pour love, purpose, education, nutrition, values…..into 3 whole people! I homeschool and am at the will of their (and my busy husband’s) schedules. I am doing exactly what I want to be doing, and yet….

    Reply

  29. I’m 34 years old, and I have a 6 year old daughter and a 3 year old daughter. After much deliberation, I think my biggest frustration as a mother is three fold – self doubt, guilt, and anger. All three of these nag at me every day. Some days are worse than others.
    I feel like each day is a battle with myself. I have the good angel on one side whispering into my ear that I have beautiful, smart, loving, fun, active, well behaved girls, and I am a great mama. Then there is the bad angel on the other side, yelling into my ear about every little obnoxious thing my children do, and my filthy house, and that huge pile of dirty laundry, and that huge pile of clean laundry, and that song that I need to work on for that one piano student, and those bean bags that I said I would sew for my big girl’s kindergarten classroom that I haven’t gotten to yet, and that meal that I need to cook, and those dishes that I need to do, and the animals that I need to feed, and the eggs that I need to collect, and that friend that I need to call back, and that play date that I need to *regretfully* decline, and, and, and, and! And I am complete failure as a human being! Not to mention mother!
    And then I snap… yelling and screaming ensues. It comes out of my mouth, and I instantly regret it. I am filled with guilt and self loathing and regret. It is insanely frustrating to feel this way!

    And then some days I remember. I remember to say, “sure!” Pour myself a glass of wine. Take a seat in the middle of my piles of laundry. Grab my knitting. Sit back and reflect on my beautiful, messy, vibrant family. Sometimes, when I stop to look, I see how good my life really is.

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  30. I’m 30 and I’m raising a 5 year old girl and 2 year old boy (so far). By biggest frustration (off the top of my head) would have to be not being able to find many parents locally who raise children to have manners. It may be that I’m not ‘really’ looking, but it seems everyone that we casually meet condones their kids acting mean/being bullies, and generally having the complete absence of manners, parents do not correct them or show proper behavior. Thankfully we have many relatives locally, and they have similar values in raising children who are respectful and have manners.

    My second frustration is just with myself! I work from home 35+ hours a week. I am hard on myself for not being able to have the house clean, etc. Kids are the priority and then work, everything else just goes. Sigh.

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  31. I’m a 52-year-old single mother of a 9-year-old girl. My sources of frustration: not feeling confident in my parenting ability; the multiple and conflicting societal expectations of mothers; the tendency to blame mothers for all personal and social ills; the lack of appreciation of what mothers do all day (from kids, partners, child-free friends, random people on the bus, media commentators, policy makers, etc.); physical and emotional exhaustion; and the tension that comes from knowing that I really do not enjoy parenting very much, in spite of how much I love and cherish my child. Maybe it can all be summed up as the gap between expectations (mine and others’) and reality.

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  32. Hi Beth
    I’m on Vancouver Island and have a 9 month old daughter. I’ve really been enjoying your blog and am looking forward to your book :)
    I think it’s challenging to strike a balance between motherhood, self, relationship with my spouse, work, home, extended family, friends and community. No one can get it all done all at once. I find it really helpful to take time each day to reflect, feel grateful and appreciate accomplishments.

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  33. I used to feel so confident in the way I parent and it seems now with so much information, I trust myself less and feel as if I have no idea what I am doing. And it is absolutely untrue. When I remember, I am really good at this, albeit still learning everyday.

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  34. I am 36 and mother to two girls four and one and a half. I find that there are many parenting challenges and they change almost daily. I agree with people that have mentioned food. The amount of money and prep time it takes to feed my family good, organic food is sometimes incredibly trying and tiring. I feel like I cook or clean up from cooking all day sometimes. And that does not even include gardening time during the growing season, bread baking, food preservation, ect. It can feel frustrating. And then all their friends are just fed total junk and they look at me like I am denying my kids the American way because I do not let them eat processed junk all the time. It is hard to stay strong and not just give in and give them the darn cookie!
    I also think one of the biggest challenges facing all mothers in this modern world is too much information. It is hard to feel self confident in your parenting when there are all these different views and opinions at your fingertips. It can feel very confusing and judgemental at times. It is very easy to start feeling like everyone else knows what they are doing and they are doing it better. And it can make it hard to find your own groove as a parent, because you are so busy googling what everyone else is doing. It is a tough environment for following your instincts.
    My other very large frustration is education. I do not want to send my girls to public school to learn how to obey and memorize. I think there are some major problems in our educational system. Unfortunately, the private options are way out of our price range. I want to homeschool, but I constantly question if I am able to pull that off and if it is in the best interest of my girls. Especially my oldest who is highly extroverted in a introverted family.
    So I think those are my three largest frustrations although there is always the daily frustrations of anger management, time management, how to discipline, self care, romance that comes with being a parent. Thanks Beth! I miss your posts already!

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  35. Hi – I’m 36, mom to 5 and 8 year old boys. My biggest frustration is never feeling like I’ve got it all “together.” Somehow someone is always late, forgotten their homework, un-bathed, still in yesterday’s clothes, eating junk food, or acting like a lawless hooligan. And I am not exempted from the list. I guess I always thought I’d have things figured out by now, rather than constantly struggling to balance my needs, career, household, marriage, and parenting. I never feel like I’m doing well. I do well-enough at a few for a while as the others suffer, then juggle things around to do well-enough at a few others. How and when do things ever get balanced and “together”? Oops – 10 mommy minutes online & there is chaos in the boys room. Off I go!

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  36. I am 50 and have two boys, 22 and 19, and three step-daughters. In raising my boys, my intentions were always the best for them and I love them like crazy, however, I didn’t always do the right thing or make the best decisions. It was much easier when they were younger. Since I didn’t always do the right thing, I never offer parenting advice to anyone. I’ll be happy to listen but I can’t really tell you what to do in situations. I learned after having my first son that many people – family, friends, strangers – are eager and willing to offer you advice on just about every aspect of a child’s life. I gladly listened and became frustrated that I couldn’t incorporate all those suggestions. It didn’t take too long to come to this conclusion – they do not have to live with me and I can do raise my child however I want(lightbulb moment). I continued to received advice and would listen and then do whatever I decided was best for me and my child. I didn’t always do it correctly or make the right decision but my intentions and love never changed for my child. My boys have taken very different life paths and not necessarily my plan but they are doing what they love. In spite of world influences, they don’t participate in any social media, they don’t play or own video games, and they call their mother almost every day(yeah). Many of these posts seem very sad to me. I am sorry that so many women feel guilty and like they aren’t doing a good job. We as women are so hard on ourselves and on each other. Know that your children, for the most part, have no idea if you are parenting correctly or not. Your intentions for your children are what’s best for them and no one knows that better than you. Let’s all agree that you can raise your children to the best of your ability and you can decide what is best for them. Just becuase you decide what’s best for yours doesn’t mean it’s best for my family and women should agree to empower each other in their own situation and environment. Love your children well and pray for them daily. They will remember your time shared together, your laughter, fun things you do together and the love you gave them. Enjoy yourself in the role you have now and don’t overthink every little thing. Life is too short and kids are grown and gone before you know it. Blessings to all mothers!

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  37. I’m a 29 year old mom to a 7 month old little boy. Reading through this comments it sounds like we have many frustrations to come :) My biggest frustration now is the lack of support for families in our society. We don’t live near family sadly (we are hoping to move closer soon) and it is tough to find a good community that can support us and our son. We have found some but it is hard – I want my son to be part of a village of people who will hold him and care for him and love on him – and likewise that we can do the same for others. It is just not part of the way we live in this country. My husband and I have talked about trying to houseshare or do some coop living but that’s hard to find – seems very against the grain. I work full time and my husband is at home with baby and it just feels like it would be so much easier (and better for us all) if there was a better way to share the load and the experience with others.

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  38. major frustration: my husband’s long hours. I often find myself grumbling that i’m single parenting my two kids (4 years and 7 months). This grumble usually comes after a few days spent cooking, tidying, cleaning, washing up, feeding and all other ways caring for the needs of home and family without actually sitting down and playing with my kids or taking any self-time (like a shower). I have gotten in the habit of this mindset and so have formed a counterattack. When this feeling starts to creep onto the sidelines, I stop cleaning. I remind myself that if he wasn’t working, I would have to be. If I was truly a single parent, I would have to work a fulltime job and my children would be in the care of someone else for long periods of time. And then I remind myself how fleeting childhood is and that the dishes can wait until later (when they’re sleeping or dad’s home to play with them, etc.) and I bust out the dance music or the dressup box or get dirty with them and laugh my stress away.

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  39. Hi Beth,

    First of all I want to say that as a fellow expat mom living in a developing country (Ethiopia) I love your blog!!

    I am married with four children – Three boys ages 10, 6, 5 and our daughter who is 2.

    My biggest frustration is much like yours perfection and control over situations and balance. I constantly need to remind myself to ‘let go – be here and now” and most night as I lie in bed about to drift off to sleep I have two feelings that come rushing in:

    1. How much I love and cherish my family

    2. How I feel I have ‘failed’ at being the best mom to them – but that I can always try again tomorrow.

    Keep up the good work Beth – because ‘good’ work is always the hardest.

    Blessings,
    Tash

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  40. One of my biggest frustrations is finding enough time to express my creativity. I have a 5 year old son, 18 month old daughter and am 4.5 months pregnant. I feel like a fountain of creativity, and hey, I’m not complaining about that, but it’s just finding the time to express it. When I compare myself to other moms who are blogging and writing and doing all these amazing things, and I’m just thinking about them, I feel completely defeated. So, for me it’s just finding those spaces in the day when I can sit down and write the cliffnoted versions of my creative seedpods and hope to god that one day there will be space for these too to be born.

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