From potty training to tantrums, us parents face many battles from the day our child is born throughout their teen years and beyond. We’ve asked our bloggers to share their biggest parenting challenge, a helpful reminder that we aren’t alone in this whole parenting thing.
We know raising kids isn’t always a walk in the park, and so do these 14 parents as they share their biggest challenges:
1. Constant worrying.
“I struggle with falling into the worry trap, as if every parenting concern could mean something so much bigger. It’s robbed me of much joy in parenthood and I’m working to recognize it, confront it, and find meaningful ways to focus on the positives every single day.”
— Lori Garcia
2. Lack-of-sibling guilt.
“The sibling situation is hard. It would be wonderful if my son had a brother or sister, but he doesn’t. Together we struggle with this often and together we get over it. And then suddenly the desire will resurface again and the struggle returns. Being a single mom with fertility issues is a struggle, but not every day. Not even most days.”
— Dresden Shumaker
3. The potty training war.
“My Vietnam as I like to call it — was potty training my son. He got the peeing thing very quickly — but the other other — not so much. 3 MONTHS it took, of me arriving at his nursery to be told, ‘the underpants didn’t make it today.’ They would be given to me in a little plastic bag, the way folk scoop up dog poop. No matter what I offered in treats, how I tried to reason, how close we were to a toilet — my son had accident after accident. One day he pooped his pants three times and then pooped in the bath. I was close to murder! Potty training without a doubt was my messiest, hardest challenge — but the teen years have still to come!”
— Suzanne Jannese
4. Public tantrums and fits.
“Tantrums and fits in public. I have 3 children and my youngest is by far the hardest. He will scream, ‘I hate you,’ hit, bite, and basically do everything you are mortified by when out in public if he doesn’t get his way. It is always very hard, because you want to discipline your child properly, but in public that can be difficult. Especially when you have your other children with you. Those are the times I find most challenging as a parent. But I remind myself that this is a stage, and we are working through it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, I just need to remain firm yet kind … and not lose my marbles in the process.”
— Jessica Abbott
5. Finding a balance in every day life.
“Striking the balance between knowing when to clean and discipline and knowing when to let things go and just enjoy life has been a surprisingly hard and ongoing battle for me. My instinct is to let things go, to hold my kids close, to play with them. But then the house gets messy, the kids get lazy, and I get frustrated. Walking that tightrope of balance is an everyday struggle that never seems to have any real answers. I basically feel like I’m just winging it everyday. Some days I get it right. Some days I get it wrong. So many days I just don’t even get it at all.”
— Brooke McLay
6. Angry outbursts.
“My 7-year-old son is smart, hilarious, and is an angel at school. Unfortunately, he’s extremely defiant at home and acts out in a variety of ways from violent outbursts and name-calling to damaging property (like cutting my headphone cord in half with a pair of scissors). It’s beyond hard, it’s heartbreaking and I find myself mourning the family life I thought I would have. We’ve been in family therapy for over a year now and progress is definitely being made. He’s opening up more than I ever thought he would and is gaining better control of his anger.”
— Sonya Benham
7. Panicking about the future.
“By far, not ‘projecting’ too much into the future. Hard not to panic about what I’m seeing now as indicators for what the future holds. I’ve been able to overcome it by watching my kids grow and realizing that they change so fast that to get overly mired in the ‘now’ is not very constructive — or healthy. Moreso, there have been times when a ‘weakness’ as a toddler actually turns into a ‘strength’ in adolescence.”
— Sheri Silver
8. Balancing work and family.
“I work full time so whenever one of my two children gets sick it is always a struggle to balance work and family. I have been trying to give myself a break on both ends. I will let myself work from home a bit when they are sick and I will also stop feeling so guilty with having to send them back to school when they are not 100% yet.”
— Julie Lay
9. Honoring our diverse heritages.
“My biggest parenting challenge in our transracial adoptive family is learning how to honor my daughters’ diverse heritages while still developing our own identity as a family. Our first year together we celebrated Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, and every other Jewish, Hispanic, Black, African, and European holiday I could find. Slowly we’re creating our own family traditions that celebrate our unique make up.”
— Rebecca Winkel
10. Total lack of patience.
“My total lack of patience and complete selfishness. It’s so hard for me to remember, for some reason, that my life is not all about me. When you have kids, sometimes the simplest things, like just eating breakfast, don’t happen the way you expect them to, and that’s when you learn we’re all really stubborn toddlers who want our own way at heart.”
— Chaunie Brusie
11. Trying to prove we can do it all.
“As a single mom, I’ve found myself really hyper focused on proving to others that I can do this all on my own. I never want anyone to be able to look at anything going on in our lives and say, ‘Well, it’s because she’s a single mom.’ Unfortunately, that has me often caring a whole lot more than I should about what other people think, and also really struggling to ask for help — even in situations where most other parents would. I certainly haven’t overcome it, but I try to remain cognizant of my motivations and to remember that my kiddo — as wonderful, and amazing, and special as I think she is — is still just a kid. And it isn’t fair to put the pressure on her to prove to others that I’m a great mom, either.”
— Leah Campbell
12. Focusing on the things that matter.
“I struggle with trying to do EVERYTHING. Meals, housework, maintaining relationships, making time for my own interests and, oh yeah, keeping my kids alive. I’m working on letting go of the things that don’t matter — laundry will always exist so why stress out about it? — and focus on the things that do matter — being in the moment with my kids (and eating nachos when they’re asleep).”
— Toni Hammer
13. Letting the kids make their own mistakes.
“My biggest parenting challenge is learning to let my teenagers make mistakes. I’m trying to focus on giving them tools to help make good choices and then I have to let them implement the tools, or not. Like turning in homework. I can’t be at school to give it to the teacher, but we’ve created methods to help them remember, most of the time!”
— Rachel Jones
14. Having enough energy.
“Having enough energy to devote to my kids. I have some bad habits — staying up too late, rarely exercising, skimping on vegetable consumption — that I know are keeping me from being as healthy and energetic as I could be. I’m trying to change that by replacing TV time with more sleep and slowly easing back into an exercise routine. I’m not super optimistic, re: vegetables, but I do make a point of getting salads whenever we go to Wendy’s, so at least there’s that. If my children ever read this and roll their eyes over all the times I ordered them to eat their vegetables, I’d just like to say, yes, Mommy is a hypocrite … deal with it! Also, eat your vegetables!”
— Alice Gomstyn