Facing the Tough Moments is Making Me a Better Mom

Facing the Tough Moments is Making Me a Better Mom

As parents, I think we all have the child who has the power to bring you to your wits end in a matter of seconds. The one that makes you want to be a better mom 8000 times a day.

This does not mean that they are a bad kid, that you love your other child(ren) more or that you are a bad parent—it just means that their personality clashes with yours sometimes and you go from 0-100 before the spilled milk even hits the floor.

Facing the Tough Moments is Making Me a Better Mom

My oldest has this power over me. I only had him to myself for 10 months before his sister joined our family but for those 10 months, when my focus was only on him, I gave him my all. He was spoiled with love and ‘stuff’. Actually, that spoiling lasted for many years while I tried to make up for leaving him at daycare while I pursued that coveted college diploma and then joined the workforce. 

A picture of mother and son

It wasn’t until I went on Mat leave for my third baby that I decided to pull back on the ‘stuff’ and focus on parenting my children myself. When I made the decision to not go back into the workforce I had these grand visions of having an amazing relationship with my kids where I gave each child the same amount of attention throughout the day. Where I could make each one feel loved and unique. Help them grow their passions and reap the rewards with an endless supply of hugs, kisses and ‘I love you so much, mommy’.

That was wishful thinking and the one who really got the short end of the straw is my oldest. 

The more kids I had the more I expected him to happily fill the role of older, more responsible, sibling. In reality, he was the one who needed my one-on-one the most. He is the one who has gone the longest and he has been impatiently waiting for me to give it. He let me know several times a day that I was failing him but instead of sitting down with him for that one-on-one I did what was easier. I took space so that I could calm down. I asked my husband to talk to him while I did something for the other kids. I didn’t parent him. 

A picture of mother and son

During fits of frustration, my oldest would scream at me and tell me he hated me. I’d tell myself that these words are a normal part of parenting, I said the exact same thing to my mom when I was young.

As he’d stomp away from kitchen screaming at me I could hear him come back in and he’d come give me a hug. He just wanted my attention and I remember that when I was younger I used to feel like the only time my mom ever paid any attention to me was when I did something bad. Looking back now I know this was not true but the kind of love and attention I was yearning for was a lot to ask for from a mom of four that was often juggling running her own business and parenthood. Now history is repeating itself. 

A picture of mother and son

Trying to get him to smile mid-meltdown

At some point, I realized something. That this kid, this child which I thought was bringing me all this anguish, was actually the key to calming my nerves. One day I gave in. I laid down on the couch with him and let us both decompress. I let our anger towards each other dissipate. My raging heartbeat calmed down. As his body calmed in my embrace I listened to him talk (and talk) about Minecraft, Youtube, and the newest video game that he wanted. 

It felt like the weight of the world that was placed so squarely on my shoulders was no longer such a hard weight to carry. Or maybe I just realized that a lot of what I carried was not actually important.

His words escaped me as I drifted off into sleep. I didn’t realize that all the tension I was holding inside would stop when I allowed myself to relax and lay down. I think my heart was trying to show me how to be a better parent to him. It gave me relief when I have been feeling so overwhelmed for so long. It felt like the weight of the world that was placed so squarely on my shoulders was no longer such a hard weight to carry. Or maybe I just realized that a lot of what I carried was not actually important.

A picture of mother and son

I can’t very well lay down and take a nap with my kids each time that we are feeling at odds but I can face my parenting challenges head-on and not delegate the bad parts to my significant other. Running away from the bad parts has made me miss out on the good parts. The parts I was looking forward to so much when I first decided to be a stay-at-home-mom—the hugs, the kisses and mostly the ability to make each of my four children feel like they were the most important person in the world to me. 

Somedays it is hard to look at a child and see so much of your own insecurities in them but I feel like I have the cheat sheet to making things work because I’ve already been there. Wish me luck <3


Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

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  1. tammy ta
    January 11, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    So handsome!

  2. Ira
    January 12, 2018 / 7:31 pm

    Good luck! The hardest thing for me after having a similar epiphany is to keep it in my head 24/7, not to loose the perspective, especially when it feels like screaming. Thank you for this post!

  3. January 16, 2018 / 10:47 am

    It’s hard sometimes but we are making progress. I make sure I lie with him at bed so that he gets extra cuddles and patience with him is an ongoing thing

  4. Janet Meisner
    February 8, 2018 / 11:57 am

    There are many tough moments as a parent. We do have to learn to deal with the good and the bad and it is difficult.

  5. Julie
    February 9, 2018 / 9:47 am

    It’s amazing how each child is so unique and has their own unique sets of needs! I find the same thing with my 4 kids….you don’t parent them the same, you can’t because they are all so different!

  6. Brian Hwang
    February 9, 2018 / 12:18 pm

    It is through struggle that we learn and grow, and our children see that and learn too

  7. kristen visser
    February 9, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    awe at least you know the situation and trying hard to do your part to make it work for the both of you. Bringing in a third child to our family I am kind of concerned about Sofia and how she will be. If she will feel she is not getting enough attention or not feeling the love. My oldest is fine and laid back and loves to entertain herself most of the time. Thankfully I will be at home with baby all day while they are both at school and when they come home ill make sure to spend some quality time with them so they all get it. You are doing good mama!!!

  8. Sharon Thurston
    February 10, 2018 / 6:57 am

    We have so many personal daily problems to consider, we need to put aside these thoughts and try to focus on the importance of giving full attention to our family especially dealing with the concerns of children who absorb the tension from us if we are not managing to put these issues aside.

  9. Kim Tanti
    February 10, 2018 / 8:36 am

    It is funny. My first child is the one I clashed with the most. She is still the one I clash with. She is very strong willed and dose not care what you say if she thinks she is right that is it. She is 35 now and we all know it is not worth arguing with her. LOL just step back.

  10. AD
    February 10, 2018 / 11:42 am

    Good luck Aneta! Parenting is so tough, especially when you want to be perfect at it (and there is no such thing). Such an emotional and honest post… Thank you for bravely sharing!

  11. Olivia clow
    February 10, 2018 / 3:17 pm

    I am a stay at home mom and i am single .money is tight but a am doing the best i can. Some times i am run off my feet. Life is not easy. I love what you wrote.

  12. Calvin
    February 10, 2018 / 3:43 pm

    Good share, thanks for being so open about parenting, everyone faces challenges and we can take something from here and learn

  13. February 10, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    What a good feature to read and enjoyed how open and honest you are. I have three children that are all different and all their needs have to be dealt with accordingly. I think if we truly care and give them all we can to help them that everything will workout. All we can do is try and keep hoping for the best.

  14. Debbie White Beattie
    February 11, 2018 / 4:27 am

    This was a great post and I was wondering if you and your son are getting along better because I think the best thing you can do for him is give him you all by himself and this way he gets to feel special and that he has your undivided attention I want to mention that I only know this because this is what my mother did for all 4 of her kids.

  15. Elizabeth Matthiesen
    February 11, 2018 / 3:49 pm

    I believe that each child needs one on one time, some more than others. You are doing a good job and never ever think otherwise. Parenting is not easy and can be downright tough at times. There’s no handbook to tell you what to do, each child is different and so also needs different parenting. For the older kids it’s often more difficult as they often get less attention than the younger ones. I involved my older ones with the needs of the little ones at bath time, diaper changing, feeding etc. I think that helped them too.

  16. Nate
    February 21, 2018 / 11:25 pm

    you get better with more experience.

  17. Lynn G
    February 28, 2018 / 9:21 pm

    Yup, history does have a funny way of repeating itself!

  18. Joanne C
    March 25, 2018 / 9:58 pm

    Parenting is the toughest job in the world. Hope things turn out for the better. Good luck.

  19. kathy downey
    June 13, 2018 / 12:57 pm

    Parenting is the hardest job you can ever do because everyday is different and brings new challenges,but awalys remember to keep the conversation going !