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Confessions of a Struggling Parent

by Kathleen Quiring on February 22, 2012

I know I said I was taking a break from the blog, but I just wanted to say this.

I sometimes worry that I’ve made parenting sounds so fun and easy-breezy, like I’ve got it all figured out and we never have any difficulties here in the Quiring household.

So I thought it was important that I share with you some of our recent struggles and failures.

For the last five days, we’ve been a mess. I don’t know why, but Lydia has been absolutely wretched every night from dinner time to bed time. She yells, whines, cries, and howls. She’s not happy anywhere or with anybody. I can’t figure it out and I feel like a wreck.

She then wakes up hollering in the middle of the night, as if waking from a nightmare about all the horrible ways I’ve been abusing her.

Elimination communication has suddenly become a disaster. She’s peed in our bed twice in a row now, so that I have to strip off all the bedding in the morning and do enormous loads of laundry. Her elimination timing suddenly changed, without warning, and I’ve been completely caught off guard. Partly because I’m so exhausted from all the yelling, I can’t wake up to respond in time. This morning she also peed all over her change table, soaking everything. At six months old, this is no longer a little newborn trickle of clear liquid that I’m talking about. It’s a fountain of yellow urine that soaks through all her clothes and whatever she’s lying on.

And oh, how she spits up. And spits up and spits up and spits up. I thought this was supposed to subside by now. By the end of the day my clothes are a patchwork of crusty white spots, and the floors are pocked with dried milk. The other day I actually stamped my foot like a four-year-old after yet another stream of warm, milky fluid went down my shirt and into my bra and yelled, “I just can’t deal with this anymore!”

Last night I paced around the living room with my screaming 18-pound baby in my arms and just sobbed, repeating, “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong . . . I don’t know what I’m doing wrong . . . I’m so sorry . . . I’m so sorry . . .”

I tell you all this, not to complain, but just to let you know: I still find mothering a struggle sometimes, even with all my “Secrets to Making Parenting Easier” stuff.

I’m still besieged with doubts. I still wonder whether I’m messing everything up. And my baby still cries relentlessly sometimes.

I still feel confident that the principles of attachment parenting — keeping her close, paying attention to her cues, etc — will help us to find a good rhythm and solve some of these problems. I still feel this approach makes parenting more manageable and fun by encouraging trust and open communication.

But it doesn’t make parenting effortless. I’m still fumbling through this, just like everybody else. I still throw fits and feel helpless and lose sleep.

I haven’t got it figured out. And thank goodness I don’t, because what would life be for, then?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christina February 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm

THANK YOU for this post. I love your honesty. It’s good to know that our house isn’t the only one filled with crying and spitting up. And I have also stomped my foot and said things a 4-year-old would say. Add to this a 2 1/2-year-old filled with attitude. I just have to tell myself (usually more than once a day), “this too shall pass.”
I know Leighton’s crying is usually from her teething: do you think that is Lydia’s situation as well?


2 Raeanne February 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Oh how I can sympathize! And I truly appreciate your honesty Kathleen!

About every other day I am convinced that I am raising a selfish, manipulative and needy child… because Kaylen too is going through a tough patch where all she wants is me and yet, she doesn’t even really want me either. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that sometimes they just get upset and there is nothing to be done except hang on for dear life to your sanity, rock your little one back and forth, and pray it ends soon!

Thank you for letting me know I am not alone! I’ll be praying for the three of you! :)

I love following you on Pinterest! :)


3 Amanda Dickens February 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Sorry if I am offering unwanted advice, but could she have reflux? This often gets worse with teething. My son had reflux and much of what you are describing sounds the same.
Also sending smiles and hugs


4 Kathleen Quiring February 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm

@Christina: no, your house certainly isn’t the only one! I’ve definitely considered teething as a possibly culprit. I went and bought some camilia to try the next time she’s super-miserable.

@Raeanne: I didn’t realize you were following me on Pinterest! Now I’m following you back!

@Amanda: Thanks for the suggestion! But she has always been a pretty happy baby until now (at 6 months). I don’t think reflux starts that suddenly — does it?


5 Emily W February 22, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Awww Kathleen, that does NOT sound fun. Thanks for your honesty, and for making infertility look just a tad better than it did before reading this post. (Kidding … kind of.) I’ll miss you while you take a break and can’t wait to hear what you concoct in the meantime!


6 Emily W February 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Ok I must confess that after reading Raenne’s comment I immediately went and started following you on Pinterest. You can un-friend (?) me if you want. Actually I don’t really know how Pinterest works in that regard to be honest. Anyways. Hope that’s okay!


7 Molly W. February 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm

6 months is about the time Henry started cutting his first teeth. It’s also about the time they’re going through a big growth spurt so things are getting out of sync but will come back together soon. It might be unlikely but it never hurts to check for an ear infection.

Thanks for your honesty though!


8 Grace February 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Sorry to hear you are having a hard time. It will get better soon!


9 Sandra February 22, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Dinnertime-bedtime is cranky time for most babies! You are doing an awesome job, girl. Just like the other girly said, this too shall pass! Promise! When she turns 16 she will not pee on the floor. Or in your bed. If she does, you can hunt me down and give me what-for. These are the yucky moments, but oh, how you can appreciate the happy ones!!


10 Mandee Jo February 23, 2012 at 12:30 am

I heard it called the bewitching hour once (dinner to bedtime) and the name stuck in our house. Six months was a time of huge changes in my daughter’s rhythms and habits. Eventually everything will get to a new normal, and then when you get used to that it will change again. Babies are constantly growing and changing. I always have to remind myself to not pay attention to schedules and clocks, but to tune into my little girl and what her needs are at that moment. And I feel for you on the laundry. I washed five loads of sheets this weekend.


11 sue February 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

Oh Kathy! you have me looking forward to the 6 month mark. (sarcasm) I’m hoping my baby will be different from them all and give me no hard times, I’m dreaming of course. But she’s doing great for an almost three week old considering were pretty much sleeping through the night. I know difficult times are yet to come, I gotta enjoy all this sleeping she still does now. =) Loved your post. Don’t love that you’re going through a hard time but it’s nice to hear it like it is sometimes because obviously you’ve related to lots of your readers.Good job. Hope you’re back to posting soon!


12 Rebecca Burgener February 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I just read this post in my reader, and I thought, “Teething? Reflux? Gassy, unhappy belly?” Reading the comments, I’m so glad you can post your confessions and get so many loving suggestions!

I was introduced to your blog just after you birthed your little one, and I have loved reading your thoughts on parenting. I look forward to your next project!


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