When Raising Them is Hard and You Feel Alone

Derek + Diane Photography, LLC (65)

It was an ordinary Tuesday afternoon when I opened my email to find a Groupon ad for a cruise on the Caribbean. I desperately wanted to hit “buy” and wondered if it would be possible for my husband and I to leave the next day.

I imagined myself in my straw Panama Jack hat and my bermuda shorts, sailing off into the sunset with my camera in one hand and my other draped around my man. Certainly the grandparents could come up for a week to watch the kids, right?

Screams of, “I’m telling Mama!” echoed from the next room as I buried my face and tried to pretend I didn’t hear them. Then came the pitter patter of small feet looking for the referee who would surely give little brother a time-out for not playing nice.

“Mama, Gabe hit me on the head with the toy and I told him to say he was sorry but he did not.”

Nope. Of course he didn’t.

Two minutes. That was all the time it took after I left the room for brothers to go from getting along to bickering. I pulled myself away from my island fantasy to be peacemaker. My mind searched for a solution that would be permanent but couldn’t find one.

How many times would I have to punish him for the same actions? Everything I tried felt like putting a band-aid over the situation rather than fixing it.

Sometimes in the long road of parenting, it’s easy to wonder whether anything we do makes a difference.

I once heard a friend say she often felt like monkeys could do a better job of raising her children than she did, and sometimes I think the same thing.

We reiterate the same lessons over and over, but wonder whether our children really get it. We model the type of behavior we want them to practice, but there’s that one child who is violent in spite of it all.

So what do we do? Let the monkeys take over? No, friend. We turn to God and each other. 

Derek + Diane Photography, LLC (53)

When parenting gets hard, one of the worst things we can do is retreat.

For me, a hug often goes further than a round of advice. And a pumpkin spiced latte may not hold all of the answers to my problems, but it will give me the boost I need to go another round.

Friend, if you’re weary with the war wounds of mothering, can I encourage you to reach out to someone? You will be amazed at how much an adult conversation can revive a weary soul.

You may not leave the coffee shop or play date with a list of solutions, but you will know that you are not alone. 

Several days after my Caribbean daydream, I spent the morning recharging with some other moms and their kids. After my oldest came home from school, he and his brother played for an entire hour without any fighting. That is a new record. Somehow, even when I didn’t think all of my discipline and correction was making a difference, it did. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

Keep pressing on, dear one. You will see the fruits of your labor. Sometimes when you least expect it.


“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

*Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday. Come join us and be inspired.

*Pictures courtesy of Derek + Diane Photography, LLC.

17 thoughts on “When Raising Them is Hard and You Feel Alone

    • You too, Betsy? 😉 I often wonder about those teenage years, but try not to let my mind race ahead too much. Yes, I am so thankful to have other mom friends. Such a blessing.


  1. Abby- as I was reading this post, I mentally went back to times that I literally poured out my heart to God in my journal…asking for His sufficiency to fill my gaps in parenting skill! I have no parenting wisdom on my own. I’m outright desperate for God to bear me up with patience and perseverance and love-love-love. True story.


    • Amen, Amy! I have cried out to God so often, especially with my youngest, because I know I can’t do it alone. I need his wisdom, love and grace everyday. Thank you for sharing.


  2. Abby,
    You are so right that we can’t do it alone, nor should we because that’s not God’s plan. Doing the best we can and praying that God would fill in the cracks of our shortcomings is good practice when they are young because as they get older the cracks get bigger, our shortcomings seem greater and the amount of trust needed is huge. Keep persevering and practicing with the small stuff and seeking out others so you don’t feel alone is all part of the persevering. Wonderful and insightful post!


    • Oh yes, I can imagine, Bev. I think when they get older they are also more painfully aware of our shortcomings as adults. I am so grateful that mine are still at an age where they give me much needed grace. Thank you so much for your continual encouragement, friend! Hugs to you.


  3. Parenting is HARD! It gets easier, but there are always new challenges. I’m ready to let the monkeys take over my young adult…;). But I will stay in the game and read encouragement from others. You should sign up for stumbled upon, and have a little icon at the bottom of this post, because this is the kind of article I’d love to share with others on stumbled upon ;)!


    • Thank you for the tip, Anita! I just added the button. That one is new to me so I am in the middle of checking it out. 😉 Yes, parenting is so hard and I am so grateful that my children are still at an age where they give much, much grace. Thank you for stopping here today and for your encouragement, friend!


  4. It’s amazing what a little human connection can do! So many times I’ve found peace and comfort in the midst of a challenge not from reading an advice book or finding a list of solutions, but from simply chatting with someone who can commiserate or curling up on the couch with my husband. Those relationships really do build us up when we’re down.


    • Yes, I feel so much better after just chatting with a friend and getting whatever is bothering me off my chest. And I try to be a good listener, too. 😉 God and relationships; those are the things I live for.


  5. After a long day of feeling overwhelmed at the parenting journey I’m on, I found myself talking to a friend who’s recently found herself in some similar circumstances. It was so comforting to share encouraging words – and to be able to be the one passing along encouragement and advice, instead of the one seeking. We moms have to stick together! So grateful today for all the moms I crossed paths with today!


  6. There is such truth here…that I needed to hear TODAY! I am fairly certain monkeys do better around here a lot of days, too. And I do wonder how and why and when…will I get it right and will they just get it? Ha. It is SO nice to hear (over and over, because I tend to forget) that I’m not alone. And time with another mother is as good a medicine for the war wounds of mothering as any I know. Love you, fellow mama! xoxo, mb


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