When It’s Bad, It’s Oh So Bad

March 17, 2010 4:19 pm

Nobody ever warned me that parenting would be so damn… hard. That I would feel like a failure most of the time and just struggle to keep my head above water. Yet here I am, with an almost two year old and a three year old and it hasn’t gotten any easier. I don’t blog about it because it makes me feel even more like a failure to publicly admit my shortfalls as a parent. But I started this blog as an outlet and goddamn it, an outlet it will be. Prepare to listen to me whine on for a bit. We’ll get to the lighthearted humor you’ve grown accustomed to another day.

People always tell me that I’m going to miss these days. I don’t dispute that statement but right now, I’m running on empty. Telling me I’m going to miss not sleeping and getting screamed at and physically assaulted on a daily basis doesn’t help. I’m in a funk. Funkety funk funk funk and I’m trying every day to dig myself back out of it. My kids are smart, adorable, cute, sweet and a bunch of other adjectives. But when they’re bad, they’re oh so bad.

The past few months have been one thing after another. We went dye and gluten free. The stomach flu worked its way though the house. The flu flu and croup did the same. Elliot has had a five week long ear infection that drugs just aren’t touching. And so it began. Elliot is going in on Monday for her SECOND set of ear tubes. She’s not even two yet but her first set of tubes fell out and the ear infections have been nonstop. The poor kid has felt like shit forever and her mood has certainly reflected that shitty feeling.

Saying that Elliot has been grouchy is an understatement. She has been a ticking time bomb all.of.the.time for the last several weeks. I don’t blame her, really. Her ears are throbbing, umpteen doctors have dug around in them and she feels like her head is in a vice. I would be a raging bitch too if I were in pain like she is. The problem is that she wants me and only me all of the time. Jamie is no longer good enough and she screams like she’s being murdered whenever he tries to do anything for her.

And so, I go about my days with Elliot crying to be held. Jamie tries to give me a break to shower or eat but I can’t relax over the sound of Elliot screaming for her mom. Graham has started acting out because he needs his share of attention. It’s nerve wracking. Elliot has stopped being the great sleeper we once knew and Graham is still being difficult at bedtime. It takes an hour of screaming and crying to get both kids to sleep every night and it’s draining. It drains our energy too and I often fall into bed shortly after the kids are asleep, not able to have a conversation or even think.

It’s funny… I look around at the other moms I see and some of them look so polished and poised and just happy. How are they not exhausted? Is there some magic solution that I don’t know about? Then I talk to other moms who seem to be struggling like I am and it makes me feel somewhat better.  Believe me, I know how lucky I am to have these two beautiful kids. I fucking love those kids so hard that it hurts and everything in my life revolves around them. I’m just wondering when we’re going to catch a break.




  1. Beth

    My guess, you are just like the other women you see, it’s just that you are more enlightened that they are! It’s hard, then it gets harder and then they move away. Don’t beat yourself up. In fact, take better care of yourself. You deserve it. That’s all the advise I have today.

  2. MamaBug

    As a mom of 3, I have been the sleep deprived crusty-looking mom in food-stained clothing w/ screaming child in hand, dragging the other 2 to school. I have also been the mom w/ the happy, sweet child passing the tired mom in the hallway. We really all have these days and sometimes, the days are months. It can suck, but it does get better…I just can’t tell you when.
    And if any mom says they haven’t had any hard times with their darling angel (I promise that’s a mom of only one kid), try hard to resist slapping her silly and refuse to talk to her ever again.

  3. Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt


  4. Captain Dumbass

    I think we’re all just faking it most of the time. We act like everything is great when we’re out in the world, but at home we’re all facing the same disasters.

    PS. I constantly feel like I’m fucking up my kids.

  5. Jamie

    But when it’s good it’s so awesomely good, yes?All parents have bad hours/days/months/years/decades. Take care of yourself also, the bad is easier to deal with when you have the energy.

  6. Deemarie

    Whine whenever you need to, sweetie. Funks suck. Mine last for months. I’d be lying if I said it was gone. And it’s all me, no kids causing it. But we get up. And we try again….
    Big Hug!!!

  7. Tootertotz

    How could you not be struggling with all that you are going through right now and for the last long while?

    Hold out for that second set of tubes…you know that will relieve Elliot’s pain which should ease her moods and neediness. Of course, that is easy to say and not so easy to do. But knowing that there is an end in sight will hopefully help somewhat. That will, in turn, help Graham to some end as you won’t have to be her kickstand every minute of every day and he’ll feel less needy too.

    I finally emailed you about that sleep video that helped us with our fits. I am so sorry that I left you hanging since December. I just checked my gmail for the first time ever and found your message.

    Hang in there and know that there are plenty other moms (I am one, without a doubt) who enjoy motherhood but are having a rough go of it, too. It does help to know that you aren’t alone.

  8. Cat

    If I make Gray read this post, do you think it will make him keep “it” in his pants? Because I’m pretty sure HE’S ovulating these days. I am having a vodka-grape juice in your honor right now (klassy, yo) and wishing you ear plugs and vibrators and gluten/dye-free supermarkets and a fucking nap already. You are suspermom.

  9. Michele

    Darling, you are not the only one that has gone through this so don’t beat yourself up. Every kid is different. You just have to get through it. Try to get away as often as you can. Just the two of you.

  10. Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

    I just want to reach through my computer and give you a ginormous hug! I get it, believe me I get it! If I had been blogging when Princess Nagger was Elliot and Graham’s age, I’m not sure what I would have blogged about…there is a reason, after all, that she’s referred to as Princess Nagger. 😉 And poor Elliot with her ear issues! I’d be a screaming bitch if my ears hurt like that, too.

    Just know that you are not alone – really you aren’t. That’s the beauty of the blogosphere and all of us that adore you and your kids…the good, the bad and the ugly! No one’s going to judge you or label you because at some point in time we’ve all been there…or will be there. 😉 ((HUGZ!!))

  11. Lin

    I’m still in the funk, but the kids are just taller than me at this point.

    I’m not going to say “it’s just motherhood” because I hate that trite shit, but you know, Case, it’s just fucking motherhood. When it’s not one kid, it’s the other. When it’s not that kid, it’s both. You want to scream. You want to hug them. You want to be alone. You want to hold them….forever. Now I just want them to not glare at me and maybe throw me a bone once in awhile by just talking TO me and not AT me. Oh, and could you pick up your underwear?

    I get what you are saying because I have been there. Any mom who says she hasn’t is lying. I’ve had my 3 year old clench her jaws shut for antibiotic. I had that same 3 year old spit said antibiotic in my eyes after I finally force it into her mouth. And that same 3 year old willingly, joyfully opened her mouth for the same antibiotic when I wizened up and put some red food coloring in it and told her it was “Barbie” medicine. Arrrrrggghhhhh.

    Yeah, murder was on my mind a LOT.

    Just know that those moms who look so together are just having a good day….or a cocktail. We are all on a wing and a prayer and we understand how you are feeling. Motherhood is NOT for the faint of heart. And it is made harder because you CARE.

    Love ya, pally. Hang in there. Know that if I could come there and make it better for you, I would. Email me if you need a phone call. I would love to just send you a chuckle or an encouraging word.

  12. Mrs. C.

    mm,mm,mm…you are a woman in need of all the love-hugs-and-beer (oh, I mean CHEER) we can send your way. Some days, weeks, God forbid MONTHS get you down, especially this time of year. Come here and tell us about it anytime. That’s why we’re here, you know. If we just wanted funny all the time we would go to StupidVideos.com. Lifting each other up is just one of the services offered here…

    And if you want to appreciate how truly great your own kids are, teach at a school…at the end of a day I almost want to come home and make MORE children because mine are so fabulous.

  13. Zip n Tizzy

    I’m not going to tell you that it ever gets easy, but it does get better. Some people seem to love the baby toddler stage, but honestly, I found it to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I could have written this post just 2 years ago. Today, I’m actually enjoying them. Babies are cute and lovely and of course we love our own tremendously, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily miss this time. I don’t. I’m really diggin’ having kids though, and I wouldn’t go back. That being said, I think you are doing a remarkable job. Your kids are so close in age and you’ve been doing so much trouble shooting, of course you’re bound to be exhausted, but you’re doing it and from what I’m reading you’re doing a great job.
    I agree with a couple of commenters that a) some times it’s our turn to be the together mom, some days not, but none of us are there every day, and b )I’ve found that the ones that do have it together every day have a lot of help. Either through family help, money to get help, housecleaners, nannies, etc.
    It’s a lot easier when you don’t have to do it all, but when you do have to do it all, you have to give yourself credit for that and just know that it’s a hell of a job!

  14. Sprite's Keeper

    My feeling is those polished mothers have HELP and things aren’t always what they seem. I’ve been told how easy I am with Sprite by another parent at daycare. Three days later, that same parent caught me yelling at Sprite for not staying in her seat so I could buckle her in. The day after she came up to me and said, “Oh, good. You’re human.”
    My days with Sprite are getting progressively challenging. She is trying to one up me every chance she gets and I’m just not up for it sometimes. And you have TWO.
    I love ya, girl, and I’m less than two hours South if you need to get far enough that you DON’T hear the screaming. 🙂

  15. Pseudo

    I always like hanging with moms who admit to the hard stuff; the ones who appeared to have it wired made me feel shitty.

    When you look back, you will only remember the joy. I look at photos from that time and see the cuteness.

    For the last 8 months I have truely wondered whether I will make it through my son’s teen angst years. I only hope when I look back I will see whatever it is I am missing.

  16. Maureen@IslandRoar

    Oh, Casey, it does get easier. But in little dribs and drabs. When moms look back and say you’ll miss those days, they’re forgetting now hard it was and only remembering the hugs and cuddling and adorable times. Teens aren’t easy but there is nothing as physically draining as caring for babies and small kids. And you’ve been dealing with all this other stuff on top of that. I wish I could actually help you in some tangible way! I’ve been there and I remember how tough it is. Just hang in there and take whatever help Jamie and anyone else you trust can give. And maybe take a small break away from Elliot, just to make you saner with her when you return. It has to be out of the house where you can’t hear her. She’ll scream a while, but she’ll be okay. Just a short one…
    There is nothing harder than 2 tiny ones so close in age. Sending hugs and support and much love; YOU ARE SUCH AN AMAZING MOM; I CAN’T BELIEVE ALL YOU’VE DONE WITH THESE KIDS!! xoxo

  17. ymK

    I wish us moms could do something more for each other over the web, but a virtual hug and some words are all I can offer here.
    Hang in there, dear. I know the feeling. These days I feel like I need to go see someone to get some depression drugs. I feel like I cannot do this anymore. And when kids scream and just won’t listen, it’s the worst.
    I hope Elliot feels better soon, it must be hard on the poor little thing. And I hope you get some rest.

  18. jen

    as mamas we constantly beat ourselves up over not being what another mama looks to be. in the end, we are all struggling at some point.
    whenever i feel myself wishing i was like another mama … i convince myself that maybe my life sucks right now … but my kids are going to be perfect down the road. whereas that mama with the perfect hair and clothing that matches and isn’t stained with baby puke and her kids that are perfectly walking next to her in the hallway? well … her kiddos are gonna give her pure hell when they get older. right? RIGHT?

    just let me sit in my own little fantasy world with this one, mm-kay?

  19. Keely

    Dude, I have ONE little monster and I feel tired and overwhelmed and at the end of my rope a lot. I guess I might have the rare ‘polished’ moment as other people see it, but no, not really.

    Hang in there. Vent all you want. Scream into a pillow. Take advantage of Jamie and just go for a walk. It totally sucks that moms are always desireable for comforting, and dads are the go-to when a kid wants to have fun. But my kid can and will find comfort with his father when I’m not there, so maybe you just have to remove yourself completely for a little bit.


  20. Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings

    I’ve had those days. I’ve had those weeks. You’re having many days, weeks and months here. Jonathan had the ear infections, but one set of tubes did it for him. There are times, like when it is almost 11 at night and my kid is still awake, that I feel like a crap mom. We all do at times. And having a kid hanging off you all the time can not be easy. Others before me here have said it all better, but I’m here for you if you need me. You’ve got my e-mail, and if you want more, you can have it..phone number…whatever.

  21. robin

    I realize this is no help to you whatsoever… but damn, you’ve got some gorgeous children!
    Hang in there… sending you good thoughts.

  22. Mad Woman

    Sweetie, I just wanted to give you some ((HUGS)). I wish I had more that I could say, or do, I really do.

  23. Andrea

    You are human and every other good parent is going to admit they are human too. I screw up all.the.time. I always wonder what I am doing. (My 8 year old just literally this second said “Whatever.” with total attitude when I told him to get ready for school! WTF??)

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with admiting that you are struggling. In fact it helps me to admit I am too. Some days I want to drop the kids anywhere and find the bar. I don’t because I love them, but it’s a close thing sometimes.

    Hang in there. I hope these ear tubes will make a difference for your family. I’ve had the child who only wants mommy (and she still sometimes ONLY wants me). It is everything you describe. Just keep the faith that it will get better. Hugs.

  24. Suzicate

    Hugs! I know you don’t want to hear that it will get better, but it will. You are a fabulous mom who’s life has been put on hold for the sake of her children’s needs. Those moms that look polished just clean up well for the public! Motherhood is a hard and often thankless job, but there is none that rewards is well. Hoping that Elliot feels better soon and you get some well deserved rest. It’s always ok to bitch and whine because we all need to get it out. Don’t think that makes you bad, it only makes you normal!

  25. Lizgizzy

    I don’t know if knowing that you aren’t alone helps or not. I’m right there with you in so many ways (kid with endless ear infections, overwhelmed, tired, you name it.) I’m trying to squeaze so much in that I feel like I don’t really have enough time to do anything really well. As for the Moms that look so put together, it is either a very thin facade or they have a lot of help nanny, housekeeper, landscaper, plastic surgeon. I’ve only met one Mom that really can do it all and look fantastic all the time, and she is not the nicest lady I’ve ever met. She’s pretty insane actually.

    Get those tubes in and I bet your break will come.

  26. Bano

    Hang in there! I have no advice to spew, although I don’t think advice is what you need. Sounds like you just need a break. I hope you get one soon!!!

  27. Karen @ If I Could Escape

    Oh Casey, please know that we all struggle. Every day.

    You just need to hang in there and try to get out as much as you can to regroup yourself.

    Fingers crossed Elliot gets the treatment she needs quickly so you can get your family routine back to as normal as you can. My middle son suffered awfully from ear infections so I feel your pain. And, my youngest is my limpet — still doesn’t really let me out of his sight and always cries for me to do most everything for him.

    Hugs to you.

  28. ck

    I’ve missed you, Casey! I’m so sorry you’re going through this. We haven’t had half the illness in our house that you have and yet I still know *exactly* how you feel at the end of the night. I’m often asleep before they are because I’m so worn out by the every day.

    Please vent about what you’re dealing with more frequently so we can support you. You are not allowed to go through this alone.

  29. ck

    PS: gorgeous photographs.

  30. kyooty

    Here is the truth, the polished looking mom’s? they have their game face/act on. They aren’t polished at home, I promise every single mom I know has days/months/phases just like you are having now.

  31. Mrsbear

    The fact that you’re still functioning and putting their best interests above all, and baking gluten free! of all things, means you’re doing a bang up job. You’ve had a rough stretch, girlie. You’ll get through it.

    And those polished moms are robots. Also, they’re a little dead on the inside.

    Vent away. Vent away.

  32. Jenni

    You know I feel ya, Momma.

    Those polished moms are drugged. I’m thinking of signing up.

  33. Kendra

    I feel ya. I love my kid but damn it sometimes I just want to scream because everything I do I do for him and when he is hitting me or screaming at me I just want to say dude, cool it because this is for the greater good. And when someone tells me what a great mom I am i just laugh a little bit on the inside because if they only knew the thoughts in my head. You can make it through. I hope Elliot’s tubes stick this time. Good luck with everything

  34. Cara

    I agree with what Captain said…FAKING IT. Having little kids, especially ones that are close together, can be downright fucking miserable sometimes.

    Ear infections, lack of sleep, attitudes, clinging, whining, on & on & on…we’ve all been there. I hope Elliot gets her tubes soon & she goes back to being Easy E.

    Hugs to you, Casey. You deserve them.

  35. Pammie

    Kids are like puppies. They are so cute and cuddly, but you still have to clean the poop up off the floor. You’d just had to be here when I was training 2 baby poodles. I shouldn’t have had 2 of them and should have kept them in separate cages.

    My advice – hire a preteen to come and play. You shouldn’t have to pay very much and suggest it’s like an internship for bigger responsibilities that will make them more money. While you are nursing your baby’s ear infections, the preteen can play games with your other child and they’ll get the attention they are needing.

    I hired a 12 yr. old to come play with my kids so I could clean house and cook one summer. I was here the whole time for backup and I didn’t have to hurry. To get a real cheap deal, I let her bring her little sister who was the same age as one of my children.

  36. Mee2

    Just wanted to say hi. It’s been forever since I’ve read your blog. Not on purpose. I just can’t remember to get around to all the GREAT blogs. And I see you’re not with entrecard any longer. I think that’s how I found your blog in the first place.

    I want to say that I think parenting is tough. I have never had that fairytale relationship with any of my children. I don’t really see it showing up in the near future either. My children are 11, 7, and 5. Maybe after the move out??

  37. Cyndi

    HUG. Your words took me right back there, which means it’s better on so many of those levels for us – I hope it gets there for you! One difference, I think you’re working hard to do all the really important things for them…it will pay off in the end, promise. I don’t miss the feelings, just the moments – focus on those and take care of yourself and your relationship with Jamie…it will all reset at some point. Ears are always here – I remember feeling really alone with it, which is never good. If you weren’t trying, it wouldn’t be so hard. Big hugs and cheers heading your way.
    Thanx for the labels, btw – you rock!

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