tough times

Parenting isn't an easy path to tread,
we know that when we sign up.
We know there will be sleepless nights,
we know there will be tough decisions to make sometimes,
we know that our children will be the best things to ever happen to us
but that there will also be challenges and hard times.

But knowing that doesn't make the tougher times any easier when they come around.
Because the tough times tend to blindside you
when you are least prepared for them
and when things have been happily lulling you into a false sense of security.

And there has been a fair bit of the tougher stuff going on around these parts lately.
I knew months back when everything was going along so swimmingly
that it wouldn't always be so lovely.
and how we needed to stock up those lovely moments for harder days.
I knew that parenting can't always be sunshine and rainbows.
I knew...

Well I'm cashing in those memories of easier times on a daily basis at the moment,
because my lovely, charming, clever little man,
is spending a large proportion of his time driving me slowly, but surely, insane.

We seemingly missed out on the infamous "terrible twos"
and except for the odd hour where he'd get over tired and a bit crazy for a bit,
we breezed through most of his third year.
But lately I have spent ridiculous amounts of my time questioning everything about how I parent
and spending monumental amounts of my time being the sort of 
"no" mummy
that I never wanted to be.

It's so so hard trying to look after a little person
who has made up their mind to automatically disagree with every word you say.
Who wants to stay home when you say you're going out,
but who then complains about staying home and asks to go out.
Who wants to wear pyjamas all day as soon as you say it's time to get dressed,
but who refuses to put pyjamas on at bedtime.
Who sometimes wants you to sing along with the television,
but other times will scream at you if you so much as hum a tune.
Who doesn't want their bath, until the water is being drained out.
Who is absolutely "not sleepy" at nap time or bed time.
Who is never, ever, ever hungry for any food you put in front of him.

I don't worry particularly about how I parent and manage behaviour.
My years teaching mean I feel pretty confident about how I should be dealing with him.
But it's surprising how much harder it is when it's your own child,
and when the challenging behaviour doesn't stop at three o'clock
when you get to hand the children on to someone else's watch for a bit.

I feel like I am dealing with him,
and with the challenging behaviour he's been practising of late,
not always fantastically,
but mostly fairly,
and mostly in a way that will help him to understand the boundaries
which he is trying so hard to push,
while I try so hard to inforce them.
Because that's my job.
It's not my job to always be his best friend,
it's my job to raise him right.

But it's exhausting.
It's hard work feeling like the simplest tasks are a battle.
It's hard work getting over one obstacle,
just to know that there is another one straight after,
and another straight after that.
It's hard work keeping up the "you're not getting under my skin" facade,
when really I'd quite like to cry and hug him and beg him to just stop already.

And we see these tantalising snippets of the lovely him from time to time;
where he is charming and loving,
where he is witty as hell and we share a laugh together,
where he is so so so clever
and does something so amazing that he leaves me gobsmacked with pride.
Sometimes these snippets last minutes,
sometimes hours,
sometimes most of a day,
and I cling onto them as if they are keeping me afloat in rough seas.
That awesome little boy I love to pieces is still lurking in there,
and I know he'll find his way back.

I love him so much
...of course I do!
It's just that some times at the moment,
I really don't like him all that much.
And that is so hard for me to admit,
because I know parenting is a 'take the rough with the smooth' kind of journey,
and because I know this is all part of it.
But I don't want to have days where he drives me mad,
I don't want to have days where I just want to leave him napping a bit longer 
just to put off the inevitable post nap strop,
I don't want to have days where I don't like my son.
Because he's the best thing to ever happen to me
and I hate myself for feeling like that.

I know it's a phase.
I know it won't last.
But right now,
while we're in it?
I just desperately want my lovely boy back.


  1. Aw Lucy, it can be so hard. Some days I feel like all I do is tell Leo no for one reason or another. It is their job to push their boundaries to see exactly what is acceptable and what isn't. On those days when they are really testing us we just need to rember that it won't last forever. They will come out the other side and ultimately they will know right from wrong. Then all of those days will just be a blip on the radar and so totally worth it xx

  2. Can I send you a hug? Terrible two's are nothing compared to "threenagers". It is really tough. Like you say it's about testing boundaries and I think as they get older our roles (not as parents really) shift as they try to find and probably define their role in the family. I know Charles see's himself as an adult a lot of the time and we really have to remind him that we are in charge, as much as he is just trying to help.
    It is a phase though, as you say, and I'm not sure it really gets better as such because other phases come along.
    Our worst moment so far was when Charles started school. I know this was a common thing with other mums I've spoken to but at times I would fear collecting him from school because I knew he would moan at me, or cry at me about something so silly.
    I think it's all about changes in them and in their lives and how they react to them. Not changes we can see but with their development.
    It's hard and you can't help but to question yourself, I know I do a lot, but it's important to remember that it happens to a lot of us and it's nothing YOU have or haven't done :-)
    He'll be back soon xx

  3. I'm sorry to read your little man's pushing you so hard right now, all I can tell you is you aren't alone in this or your feelings. It is so hard to be a mummy and you know you are doing your best, thats all you can do xxx

  4. Hugs, you know I have always found Addison challenging, we did have the terrible twos, things did finally get better, well until this past month, preschool has changed Addison again, I love her and I love having time with her, but parenting her has become difficult again, I am hoping this phase will pass quickly, I constantly blame myself that we don't do enough for her.
    But I can honestly say Lucy I know you are an amazing Mummy and offer BB so so much, he is a sweet boy and shall be through this very quickly x

  5. Lucy i can totally relate to this post, i think to be honest every parent can. We also missed out on the terrible two's and i am finding the 3's much more of a struggle.
    At the minute things are improving and for a few days have been great but who knows what is around the corner, i think they just like to keep us on our toes. I always try and tell myself that its pure spirit and determination shining through - which is a good thing right?!
    Not sure if you reach Rachel's at 3 years & Home blog but she posted something very similar yesterday which was a lovely read and i'm just about to post something along the same vein too - maybe there is something in the water! xx

  6. Parenting is hard isn't it?! Nobody ever tells you this beforehand! I hope the tough days pass by quickly for you and I have no doubt that you are doing a fantastic job dealing with the hard phase. xo

  7. I don't believe in the terrible twos, nobody I know has had to deal with terrible twos - nearly always terrible nearly-four onwards! It's so hard, and sometimes it feels like you are the only one in the world going through it, when in your head you know that is definitely not true! And some people hide it better than others, and I guess some people cope better than others too. The worst thing about a 'phase' is not knowing when the phase will end, because all children are different... and I guess if you knew 'well he's only going to be like this for x' it would be so much easier to get through it but like everything in parenting it's an unknown, and we have to roll with the tide... so much easier said than done. It's hard to imagine it sometimes but just think how the behaviour is shaping him, how much he is exploring and learning about the world without even realising it xx

  8. From knowing BB as well as I do now, he is a wonderful little boy and you should be so proud of him. In fact I always used to wonder if he ever kicked off as he always seemed so much quieter and more well behaved than Mads. ;) He's just learning and growing and exploring the boundaries. I said to you just before Christmas that Mads was being really tricky, well at the moment she is being an angel with the odd tantrum, but just like that it will change again. Motherhood is really hard, and everyone can relate to having tough times. I know that I question myself a lot. Just as you think it won't ever stop, he will become fab again. And then BG will go through one. It's part and parcel of being a mother. x

  9. I think the terrible threes can be really really challenging. Little Z seems to be learning the art of defiance and going from being all happy and charming to kicking me today for no reason at all is a bit shocking to me. I know, from reading your blog that BB is a wonderful little boy and I hope it's a very quick phase. In the meantime I am sending you lots of gritted teeth vibes xx

  10. I almost want to say welcome to my world! Please don't think you are alone. I actually said in the car tonight "oh boys sometimes you make it impossible for us to want to spend time with you" which makes me sound awful! But they push me beyond what I am able to deal with. Hurting each other, whining, squabbling, moaning about having to eat a hot dinner when they would much prefer a snack tea, I've poured the wrong drink, picked out the wrong spoon, very often at the moment I am glad to go to work! Please let's hope it's just a phase! There are moments when they are so lovely and then they both tell me they hate me. Charming. Especially as Ollie has picked up on it. He's 2. Beastly! Just got to think they will grow out of it but could they just hurry up please!!!!! Much love xxx

  11. We are going through something similar with Dylan at the moment, he is trying to assert his independence, except when I want him to be independent, and he is driving me bonkers on a daily basis. I hate getting cross with him but I struggle sometimes. He is a wonderful boy, bright and happy and bubbly but my goodness do these kids know how to wind us up! Hope it doesn't last long for either of us! x

  12. Ahh sounds like tough times! We have been in terrible twos for a while now, it's exhausting isn't it! We went through a phase of trying to pick out one lovely moment each day with our little man .... however small! (when the rest of the day I was tearing my hair out!) it helped us to stay sane and positive :) A glass of wine helps too!
    Hope to hear you are out the other side soon x

  13. Oh Lucy, we all are there with you. From reading your blog your little man usually is an absolute angel. I have been going through this with Buba lately. I feel like all I do is say no, no, no, no and stop, stop, stop. I dont' want to be like that but I have to be consistant. Well so is he very consistantly making me crazy lol It's hard when you have two young ones as well. There is alot going on at once. As you can see by all these fantastic comments you have here, we have all hit this stage once or twice or going through it now with you. Great of you to share it because sometimes I feel like everyone makes it look so easy and where am I going wrong with my parenting. I never want to have those children no one wants to be around. Your kids are lovely you can tell by all your wonderful post and pictures of them. This is just little bump that will fade. I know not what we want to hear another "its' just a phase" hahahahah

  14. It's the age three I'm sure! Cherry was an angel until she turned three, then BOOM like you said she started disagreeing over everything and turning everything into a battle. Your words here are perfect, I couldn't have expressed it so well. Mainly because I don't always feel confident of my parenting ability nor so I have the ability to not let her see it's affecting me. I usually have J screaming all day too and have ended up shouting and despairing far more than I ever wanted to, the lack of sleep doesn't help. It's bloody tough! I'm trying a few different ways of handling things though and am starting to see improvements, it's so hard to find the right way to do things. I've started noticing things I can do to stop certain situations occuring and then like you said I will catch her doing something and all my love comes flooding back in and makes me forget how difficult she was being. One thing's for sure, by the weekend I am desperate for an alcoholic drink, something which has never happened to me before! Sorry if this is rambled and doesn't make sense by the way, I'm exhasuted and falling asleep but just had to comment! xx

  15. This has been my world since Meg was 9 months old, she's always been a 'you said left so I'm going right' kinda girl. Everything you've said though is absolutely right, as a parent you just have to ride the tough times out and remember that your beautiful, loving and sensitive child is still there somewhere under the raging one in front of you! I never wanted to be the kind of parent who said 'no' and 'stop that' 500 times a day either but I've learned that it just part and parcel of the journey sometimes. If we don't show them where the boundaries lie, who will? Hugs though, you are definitely not alone and it really can be crappy sometimes.

  16. Oh goodness I think we've all been there, or are there, or are about to be! It's one of the mysterys of parenting - you never know whether you're going to wake up to find your angel replaced by a monkey, or the monkey turned back to angel (or usually somewhere in between). I love the mantra: Don't take too much of the blame, or too much of the credit; especially the bit about the blame! Do you think we'll all be a lot more mellow by the time our littler ones hit the same age? When you think about it it's the first time anyone has been that irrationally cross with us since we were that age ourselves; to be able to step outside the "why are you doing this to me" and not take it personally is a fairly Herculean task of shifting perspective.

    For me the potty training plus newborn sister stage was my biggest 'in the trenches' moment to date, and there were definitely times when it all fell apart and I had to shut myself in the studio to phone my husband and just vent at him - he thought it was rather funny which usually restored my sense of humour!

    You are a great Mummy to a lovely little boy - sending big hugs because you and he will get through this before you know it.

  17. Oh Lucy, i feel for you, i really do. We're going through a similar stage with Riley at the moment and it's so hard dealing with it on my own all week. I find myself saying 'no' a hundred times a day and willing the weekend to arrive so Mr B is home to take over but i don't want life to be like that and i feel guilty for thinking that way because i never wanted to be 'that' kind of parent. Motherhood is a struggle at times and bloody hard work but those fleeting moments where my 'normal' boy returns make it all worthwhile. I'm sure this is just a phase with BB that will pass and you are an absolutely amazing mummy so don't doubt yourself. xxx

  18. This is us right now. I feel like I need to reassess my parenting skills. It's hard because the more I feel like I'm trying to address it the harder and more defiant he becomes. It all feels amazingly frustrating at the moment. I just try to persevere keep calm and hope this too shall pass.


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