So this parenting thing is NO JOKE.
Life has fully unprepared me for life.  Parenting has fully unprepared me for parenting.

There are mornings that I just don't want to face.
There are nights that I don't think I will make it until the glorious hour of 8:15 when everyone is sleeping.


Maybe I am alone in this.  I have a feeling however, that I'm not.

Our dear baby boy has a personality better suited for being the firstborn.  A firstborn that is the center of the world, who can have a predictable schedule that isn't interrupted with the busy lives of his big sisters, who doesn't have to share, or wait, or not be the whole center of the world thing.

So that's fun.

If I was documenting a 365 project of him on Instagram it would have the hashtag #365daysofshanehatingtheuniverse

Not all the days, but at least once or one hundred dozen times a day, he hates the universe and all of the people who live in it.  Including me.

It usually occurs when he is given water instead of juice, or is stopped from running out into the street, or forced to be buckled in a shopping cart, or today for instance, given half of an In-n-out cheeseburger instead of the whole thing.

OH THE HUMANITY.

So as we muddle through our days together, as we learn patience, attempt to figure each other out, and by night, when I force him to lay against my shoulder in the dark quietness of his room, I pray that he is washed in joy and peace, and ask God to give me the grace and strength to be the mother he needs.

I need so much grace. So much strength.

It's the hardest thing in the world.
Sometimes I don't need answers, advice or solutions.
I just need someone to tell me that we will survive.
I am hanging on to that.

Besides I think, deep down, secretly, when he doesn't know I'm looking, he really, really, really likes me.
Did Drew have to shoot 999 images of him furiously trying to wriggle away from my arms?
For sure.  But for one frame, one split second, he nestled in, still and smiling.
She has no idea what a gift this picture is.  What encouragement it is to my weary heart.
I love this boy in all of his wildness and fury.
This little smile and snuggle will help me survive.

Survive we will.


42 Comments

  1. I have three boys and one girl, who is the youngest. I truly believe there is something about the whole, only child of that sex/baby of the family, that makes them feel like they are master of the universe. My husband lives in Japan and there are somedays I just feel like putting her in a crate marked live animal, and shipping her to him! Here's to living in "survival mode" aka, making it through the day without killing a child ;-)

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  2. Awww! Soooo sweet! What a beautiful picture of you two. I have survived life with 3 boys. : ) I can attest to the fact that the one with the strong will, who was quite a handful and a half during the toddler years, can turn into a respectful, thoughtful, godly young man. -So glad I didn't kill him when he was two! LOL! He's 20 now and brings us lots of joy and yours will too!

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  3. You are a great mom for making him buckle in the seat, giving him water instead of juice, and stopping him from running into the street. You are a great mom for being his mom and God knew this all along. Keep up the good work. I'm the momma of a 6 month old boy so I don't know this from experience--but I have a feeling that we will look back at these times and see just how short they really were. Good job, mama!

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  4. Oh hang in there, mama. My second born, also a boy, was a HORRIFIC baby. He had horrible colic that made him SCREAM, not cry all the time. I had people in stores ask me what was wrong with him, he screamed that much. Then he became a very hard toddler, strong willed, stubborn, prone to tantrums. His first 2.5 years were really hard. BUT I prayed that God would make me the mama he needed and I have to say, my sweet boy will be 7 this summer and is a joy. He is my cuddly, helpful, sweet and compassionate boy. I pray that God will continue to make me the mama both my kids need. And it is amazing that He is there on this journey with us!

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  5. I like you, a lot. I wish I could know you outside of the internet. Thanks for posting this.

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  6. You will. Because you know the One whose power is made perfect in our weakness. He loves to give us His wisdom and His love when we are desperate for it. this pic is amazing too.

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  7. I often say out loud: "God gave ME, THIS baby, knowing who I am and what our life is." I say it over and over again...until I believe it. :) So glad to see I'm not alone!

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  8. thanks for being the person that tells me i will survive.

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  9. Sheesh, Julie, how can you be so unreasonable to not let your child run into traffic? ;)

    My youngest (almost 3) thinks I'm crazy because I require her to do things like wear clothing on the bottom half of her body.

    All of us crazy ladies need to stick together :)

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  10. You will survive! I was an INCREDIBLY difficult child and my parents made it! When I say I was difficult, I mean I literally slept about 2 hours per night until I was 9. They took me to sleep clinics whose only diagnoses were "she just doesn't need a lot of sleep." They almost got divorced because of how tough I was. My mom used to have to lock herself in her bathroom to cool down--I would sit on the other side of the door, pounding and crying, and she would say "Dani, I am locking myself in here because if I come out I'm going to kill you!" and it was probably true. I eventually mellowed and would like to think I'm a blessing in their lives. So, take a breath, and if necessary, lock yourself in your bathroom every so often. :)

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  11. I so hear you that sometimes it's ONLY about survival. My oldest child is beyond difficult and has autism on top of it all. Some days my head tells me that God made a huge mistake making me his Mom, but I know in my heart that for some crazy reason I am a part of His plan for Nolan. The same can be said for your role as Mom to your crew. For the most part I really hate parenting books, but "Desperate" by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae has been refreshing. I'm not done reading it yet, but I recommend it! Hang in there, Mama!

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  12. Shane has reminded me of my son Jayce from day 1. You can always email me if you want to know how we survived. He's 8 now :)

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  13. I've read your blog for a couple years now, and am finally commenting. : ) I just love how real you are as a momma!! We have a "Shane" in our house as well--his name is Isaac and they are almost the same age. I often pull my husband in to show him pics or stories about your little man, and we both just laugh in amazement at HOW identical they seem to be! We even started calling our guy "Drama" because it suits him soooo perfectly. Isaac is our #3 and he def did not get the memo concerning how a 3rd child should be. We love him dearly, but I so identify with this post!! I need strength and grace every day to mother this precious gift. And I loved what you said about, "I don't need answers, advice or solutions". Someone who has not had a "Drama" in their life does not understand our desperation when we pick up a dropped cracker of the floor of Target, look around to see who's watching, blow it off, and hand it back to our special boy just to get through our shopping trip without a major meltdown. I carry ours kicking and screaming most places and just ignore the stares. It is exhausting. Here's to hoping we survive! (I have a feeling we will, though...God just has a way of carrying us through these times.) Please keep the posts coming so I know I'm not alone! P.S. I laughed SO SO hard at the hair post... kept me chuckling for days...

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  14. My eldest child brought about all of those same struggles for the first 3 years of his life. My heart aches for your aching heart. Been there, seems like yesterday.. My "spirited boy" is lightyears better than those early years. He's 5 1/2 now and like a new human! I feel like he loves me now and doesn't hate that I birthed him into the world. Things will get better, in time. There is hope. There is a big God to give Great strength in our greatest hour, days, years, of weakness. Cling to the One. He was my lifeline when I fell deep, struggling with this child I didn't understand how to parent. Cling. Have hope. There will be better days to come!

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  15. I started with a Shane (Nate) and a super easy baby (Alex) at the same time. At 7, it's still hard. I tell him all the time that he feels things more strongly, and part of my job is to help him learn to control those feelings. Still some days he hates me.

    (Like today, when he went to bed an hour early for being an a-hole, and then also got grounded for two more days for how he talked to me when I told him he was going to bed early.)

    But he has a special place in my heart, and he has made me grow as a mom and person in ways I never imagined. I wouldn't trade him for anything.

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  16. So. Needed. This. Little guy is giving me a run for my money. I'm kinda blaming it on the fact that this time I am 38 and not 27. lol.

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  17. Thanks so much for posting. My daughter caused a scene at gymnastics and I left feeling like my child is such a problem child and every other kid is so well behaved and perfect! Obviously, that is not true, lol. But nice to know other mothers have a hard time with their toddlers as well!

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  18. I have friends arriving at my door any moment, but I had to comment quickly, as I'm sitting here with tears. Tears because this is the story of my baby boy, too! And tears because those few precious moments make all the difference. And the parenting thing is so hard, but so good. Surely these boys will grow up to be strong, amazing men, right?

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  19. you are most definetely not alone, thank you for sharing this and letting me know i am not alone either :)

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  20. I feel ya! You are not alone. And you will survive!!

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  21. Just so you don't feel alone, my sister has a son about your Shane's age and he wants nothing to do with his mom. We actually joke and call him "angry baby" cause he tries to hit my sister and screams at her and just seems pissed at the world! haha! I know it is exhausting for her too. You will survive and you will be amazed that one day it is much easier. I have 4 kids and my 3rd is a passionate, spit fire, pissed at the world type of child. She is 6 now and really every year from 3 on has gotten better. We still have our days and I am still praying that she would be filled with joy and peace but really it isn't a constant battle anymore. And now I am excited to see how God uses that passionate heart of hers. :) Hang in there mama! You are doing a great job!

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  22. http://reasonsmysoniscrying.tumblr.com/ This always gives me a good laugh when my little man is having "one of those days". It makes it a little easier to deal with when you know you aren't alone :) I love reading your blog, you are so honest and inspirational!

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  23. been there with a little one we adopted but not quite to the level you're at. have you had him evaluate to see if he has any sensory issues? my son screamed about the most petty things & I thought he was being a brat. turns out he had sensory issues & just couldn't cope. he's 11 today & a great kid. he told me he wants to go on a family mission trip.

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  24. right there with ya. my middle, shane's age, is constantly trying to start a mutiny. i am viewed as the squishier of all fun and she basically has a huge love/hate relationship with me. i also have an 8 month old, so that makes it super fun. i laugh at the crazy because crying would take too much time and energy.

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  25. Oh, this post. I love it. I have three boys and just posted that today is our first day of summer and I just feel like I'm getting to know them again. I just sent 24 4th graders into summer and now I get to be just a Mom. It's crazy. This job of ours, isn't it?!?! You're not alone. Hugs.

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  26. Aw, hang in there. I had a long, hard struggle with my first born who was so difficult to feed, to get to sleep, to entertain. I was convinced she hated me. (she doesn't). Even at 14 years old now, if I go to kiss her she will pull away, where my other daughter will lean in and grab ahold of me. Personalities, man. Not much you can do. You will survive. You will have wonderful times. He does love you. My only tidbit of advice is be careful not to "stoop to their level". By that I mean, sometimes I think I want to give back a bit of the attitude I get, and I know on occasion I have hurt her by doing this. Bucket loads of love and patience to you.

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  27. Julie, I've been a loooong time reader and while I adored reading posts of your beautiful girls, its the shane posts that capture my heart. I have 5 (yep 5) boys. The oldest (my step son) graduated last night and turned 18 today, Tristan is 10, Dylan is almost 8, Jackson is almost 3 1/2 and lil' Preston is 18 months. Boys are HARD, very hard. It will get easier, I promise. He is testing you, testing to see how far he can go, how far until you break, but that lil' boy who appears to hate everything in the universe loves you and needs you. Boys need their moms, Shane needs you and even if you don't think you can face it-only you can be the mom he needs. Just like there is nothing sweeter than little girls with their dad, there is nothing better than the way a lil' boy loves his momma.

    Hang in there.
    xoxo
    Angela
    livingstonshousefullofboys.blogspot.com/

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  28. I have a little dude who is 4.5 and the first four years were so, so hard (especially following his relatively easy sister.) Know that it will get easier... it may not be for a few more years (2.5 was so hard for me!!) but it will. Lots of prayers and hugs!!!

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  29. your honesty and frankness ia like a breath of fresh air, and aiways seem to make me cry (thanks for that)! We just had a fam photo shoot and have to do a part two this weekend becuae my 3rd (& only boy) decided to run away and yell at me the entire time... i don't know you, but i love you. you will survive. i'm sure we all will. xo, m

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  30. You WILL survive! And I do feel your pain, because our son was not a happy baby or toddler. Those years were so tough, but with prayer and God' help we made it through it. For us the change came when he started preschool - I think a little time away from me helped. (both of us) And I'm happy to say that he's turned into a nice, respectful, God-loving, gentle 15-year old that we love dearly. Keep hanging in there and keep calling out to God. He will be your strength and wisdom. God bless. Rachel S.

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  31. I feel your pain, I really do. I just wrote a blog post about my Lillie and she and Shane could be twins. Maybe its the fourth child thing?! Who said that the fourth is easy? LIES I say. But they do help humble us, huh? Love the picture. You will get through it.

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  32. Awe, all I can say is me too.

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  33. Awe, all I can say is me too.

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  34. My youngest was a screaming, grumpy, mad at the world man, and he is the sweetest 8yo in the world. We laugh about it now, usually. Haha!

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  35. well I had a really challenging firstborn BOY and I will tell you there was so much insecurity in our parenting - we thought we were doing everything wrong! When our daughter was about 1.5 we looked at each other and said "it's not our fault"!! That very difficult baby is our 17 year old dream child. He is by far our easiest child at this point! He is kind, loving, sweet, responsible!!! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Try not to take it personally - stay consistent and keep telling yourself that God knew you would be the very best parent for your little guy!

    Hang in there - it gets so much better (and maybe he'll be a star athlete like my former difficult toddler!!)

    xo ellie

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  36. Ok.... so it is June 10th and I'm not sure you will read this response... but here goes. THANK YOU. I AM NOT ALONE!!!!!!!!!!! I am turning 36 thursday and I am exhausted. I have an awesome, spirited, strong willed, fiery 9 year old son, ...a sweet, ornery, beautiful, feisty 7 year old daughter and a 2 year old son (who is exactly like the first born) and fits the description of your son exactly.

    So... I am a tired 36 year old (almost) woman. I am weary too. I am depending on the Lord for every breath and for every day I am doggy paddling through the days. Thank you tonight for not making me feel alone. Thank you for reminding me that I need to depend on God more... and that the grace will come. Thank you for being open and sharing your heart and because of that blessing my heart to tears!!!!!!! I even read this post to my husband... and said... see... I'm not alone. xoxo. tiffany

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  37. I just wanted to let you know my experience with a headstrong boy: My second son was a very "I am your whole world" kind of baby/toddler/child. He wouldn't even call me Mom until he was almost 2 years old. He is very independent and we still deal with the "center of the universe" issue. My son is now almost 16 years old. He is in all honors / AP classes at school and wants to get a masters in law at an Ivy League college. Raising him has been really a tough, draining, emotional, wonderful, awesome, exciting experience. I didn't think we were going to make it through his childhood years...but now that I see the amazing young man he is becoming - I am so in awe that God let me be a part of his life. I look back at pictures during that baby/child time a just smile - I can remember the feelings of how am I going to get through this in one piece?? How is he going to get through this in once piece?? Lots of tears....lots of prayers...lots of sleepless nights....lots of standing firm in teaching him....lots of love....tons of patience!

    Hang in there. It will get better. God is making an amazing man and he chose you to be his mom. It is hard, but oh, so worth it!!

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  38. I have on of those too! Second boy, middle child. He is a lot...of ....a lot. He is passionate, headstrong, careless and loves to drive me bananas. He screams really loudly and he is stronger than he looks. He is three. We have a long ways to go! But then...he is a lot of love, and hilarity, energy and creativity and I suspect that he, underneath all that three-ness he is a totally awesome human being. And he does love his mom...I gets doses of Jake love throughout the day, big and small, but enough to keep me motivated for the big picture.

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  39. I have on of those too! Second boy, middle child. He is a lot...of ....a lot. He is passionate, headstrong, careless and loves to drive me bananas. He screams really loudly and he is stronger than he looks. He is three. We have a long ways to go! But then...he is a lot of love, and hilarity, energy and creativity and I suspect that he, underneath all that three-ness he is a totally awesome human being. And he does love his mom...I gets doses of Jake love throughout the day, big and small, but enough to keep me motivated for the big picture.

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  40. I, too, love that I am not alone :) I do, however, think that this is a BOY ISSUE. I have two girls and one boy and I tell you what, my boy can spout universe-hating drama like nobody else. And guess what? He's also my first born. Oh boy. God help me.

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  41. I, too, love that I am not alone :) I do, however, think that this is a BOY ISSUE. I have two girls and one boy and I tell you what, my boy can spout universe-hating drama like nobody else. And guess what? He's also my first born. Oh boy. God help me.

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