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I Admit It: Parenting Is Hard

posted October 18, 2014 by Moms in Tow (Kara)

By Elizabeth Morales

I keep having to remind myself of this new mantra I've discovered:  "Parenting is hard."  Nobody ever told me it was going to be easy, but somehow it seemed easier in the beginning.  Sure, I was sleep deprived and up to my eyeballs in diapers for ten years, but I've found this next stage of parenting to be the most difficult so far. 
Having a middle schooler threw me for a loop I was not expecting.   Having four kids in three different schools made for a crazy year.   I could not wait for summer vacation to be here!   I realize now that our life will be this way from now until who knows when...crazy.    The kids will always be in many different schools and experiencing  different stages of growing up.  Their ages are so spread apart, and it's extra obvious now.   When the oldest was 7, they were all still so young and little.   Now the older two are 11 1/2 and 10 1/2, and it's a whole new world.   We can never go back to what it was before, and I have found myself struggling to accept it.  
A friend of mine recently told me that these are the hardest years on a family.   I can see it now.  All the kids have mood swings like you would not believe.  One minute, they're best friends, the next, they're screaming at the top of their lungs that they wished the others didn't exist.  One day, they're telling me I'm the best cook in the world, the next, they're saying  I only make "gross food."  We can't let our egos get the best of us.  We can't believe these outbursts, or we'll never want to wake up to face another day.   When I look around at school or church or on Facebook, it's easy for me to feel like our family doesn't measure up to the others around me.   It makes me want to shut down and lock ourselves inside till everyone learns to behave in every social situation.  Then I remember, parenting is hard.  Everyone thinks it, they just don't always say it. 
I ran into two friends at the grocery store the other night.  We were all having the wonderful experience of shopping without our many children whining and pulling on our legs, calling us mean for not buying them a new toy or treat or whatever.  We were relishing in the rare quiet and chance to talk without being asked, "Are you done yet?  Let's gooooo!"  We laughed that we should grab some wine and not go home.  We had the chance to see that only a few weeks into summer vacation, we were all experiencing the exact same things.   We all could see that parenting is hard, and that everyone feels it.  Everyone's house is messy.  Everyone's kids claim to be bored when they have an entire house full of toys.  Everyone's kids fight with each other…a lot.
I'm writing this today because I need to vent, but also because maybe someone needs to hear it.  Maybe one of my friends is feeling the stress I feel.    Maybe you look at others and feel like they make parenting look so easy, but wonder why it's hard for you.  I won't have the chance to run into most of you at the grocery store.  I won't have the chance to give you a hug and say it's great to see you.  Believe me, I wish I could.  In the meantime, please take my little note as encouragement from afar.  Parenting is hard.  Let's admit it.   Let's accept it.  Let's get through it together.


Elizabeth Morales is a teacher turned stay-at-home-mom to four hopping children. She and her husband have been parents together in Indiana, Michigan and Japan, where she has learned to juggle being a mother, wife and community leader. She is the author of Mama Loves You and Chocolate, Too and writes for Lakeside Living Magazine. You can find more of Elizabeth's inspirations and imperfections of modern motherhood at and on Facebook (

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