Parenting: the Hardest Job {MMoG #13}

This entry is part 12 of 16 in the series Monday Moments of Gratitude

In case you thought otherwise, let me tell you right now: parenting is hard.

parenting hardest job

Colic. Diaper rash. Teething. Croup. Chronic ear infections. Temper tantrums. Potty training.

Many people beginning the parenting race come out of the gate already feeling behind. They survive those early years just to be faced with new dilemmas.

Learning disabilities. Bullies. Disobedience. Diagnoses of various issues such as autism, food allergies, processing disorders, dyslexia. Even if families are spared the struggle of these major traumas, they certainly can relate to the little annoying things such sibling rivalry, messy rooms, procrastination. Additional nagging thoughts include how do you decide on how much screen time to allow, will they will they be allowed to participate in sleepovers and when is the right age to let them stay home alone?

Invariably, parents analyze the situation at hand and can’t help playing the What if game. I don’t know anyone who can avoid it.

What if we had a different teacher?

What if we lived in a different school district? In a different state? In a different country?

What if we homeschool?

What if we do gluten-free? 

Or if not the What if game, then the Why did I game?

Why did I allow those vaccinations?

Why did I let him sleep in our bed?

Why didn’t I say something? Do something?


Most parents want what is best for their kids (I started to type “all parents” but having friends in the foster care system, I know that not all parents want that.) However, what is good for one person does not necessarily mean it is good for another. So, really, we are all just scientists performing experiments, trying to find the right outcome for each child. Sometimes we get it right. But many times we don’t.

The sleepless nights.

The worry.

The anxiety.

The tears.

The wondering.

It can wear a body out. It can cause despair, if we let it.

When we start out on this parenting journey, we have ideals, we have dreams, we have goals. But then life happens and those standards sink lower and lower. I will never forget a Baby Blues cartoon from about 20 years ago that illustrated this point so succinctly. In the first frame [Before Children] a couple is out strolling in a park and a child dressed in mix matched clothes runs by. The woman remarks to the man, “How can people let their kids go out dressed like that?” In the next frame [After Children], the same couple is walking in the park with their child wearing mix matched clothing and the mother remarks to the man, “Well, at least she’s covered.” Parents understand this too-close-to-home humor.

In order to survive, we have to learn to fight the battles that really count. Unfortunately, sometimes we simply don’t know how to fight them, even the ones that really count. We have no ammunition for that kind of battle. And it’s at that point that the only answer is Jesus.

I know that to some this solution may sound trite, but until you have walked that way, you cannot possibly understand. The view is different from that place, from that valley.

My friend, Shaunacey, has written an article about eliminating Mom Guilt. My take-away from it: let us cut each other some slack. [Another great article that pertains to this topic deals with agreeing to disagree appeared on Grumbling Grace’s Mombies Unite series.]

So can I encourage us to hold back on judging another person’s decisions and, instead, pray for that mom or dad in that difficult situation? Can we do that? Rather than think about, or even worse, point out the mistakes that person may have made in her child rearing, join her in asking for deliverance for that wayward child. I am fairly certain that she is doing just that: praying, hoping, wishing for that season, that trait, that period to pass.

I know this sounds bleak.  I don’t mean to be such a Debbie Downer, but this is not a Pollyanna post. However, the Lord tells us to give thanks in all circumstances {1 Thessalonians 5:18}. So how DO you (how do I) find gratitude in all this?

Jesus promised us that where two or three are gathered in his name, he is with us. {Matthew 18:20} Even if the situation does not improve instantly after we pray, companionship with each other, and with Jesus, can help sustain a mother and a father through another day, another crisis, another season.

I am blessed to be a part of a small prayer group of moms who pray for each others’ children. We celebrate each small victory, and we cry with each other during particularly difficult moments.

Recently, I had an open conversation with family members and they, too, are praying. I am grateful to be surrounded by so many prayer warriors. I don’t know what I would do without my support system.

If you are local and are struggling with a similar situation, if any of this rings true in your life and you would like information about my prayer group, let me know! You can email me at

Until that day comes when my child is changed, I will continue to Ask, Seek and Knock {Matthew 7:7} and I will continue to give thanks, even in the hard eucaristeo.

(Seriously, if you want information about our prayer group, ask. Don’t be alone.)

Linking up with Simply Shaunacey’s Monday Moments of Gratitude.

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About Sheila @ Making the Most of Every Day

I'm a wife, mom, and a homeschool teacher. I'm always behind on housework and paper pile sorting. I'm fond of this crazy life but not of melted cheese. I want to follow hard after God, making each day really count. I like to run, read, cook (and eat!). Thanks for joining along on my journey!

8 thoughts on “Parenting: the Hardest Job {MMoG #13}

  1. I truly loved this post because it’s so true and real and easy to relate too (I also very much appreciate the shout out AND you linking up!). This mom business is tough, we need to give ourselves some grace but also remember that others need it too. We cannot and do not know what others struggle with but kindness and genuine love and care go a long way and EVERY mom is deserving of that!

    1. So very true Shaunacey! Moms too often wear a mask and they *look* like they have it all together but inside? Who knows what they might be struggling with. “kindness and genuine love and care go a long way and EVERY mom is deserving of that!” Absolutely!

  2. Praying with and for you, Sheila! This parenting adult kids thing is tough! Parenting at ANY age is tough! I totally agree: we need to cheer each other on and pray like crazy.

  3. Parenting is tough from the start, and it doesn’t get any easier, just different. I love what you wrote here – I’m so glad that you have your faith to help you through a tough time.

  4. Yes! Parenting is tough and it makes it even tougher when you feel you are being judged for things you think are right for your family. Thank you for this!

    1. My brother was recently telling me of an incident that happened to him in a store. He had all four children in a shopping cart – one of those ones that look like a little car. The twins were in the car, my niece was hanging on the side and my nephew (who is 8 mind you) was riding on top of the car. A man told my nephew to get down from the cart. My brother was standing right there. My nephew was doing nothing wrong but this man felt the need to parent him right in front of my brother. Seriously.

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