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Today I wanted to quit

Parenting is hard.  I mean really hard, and today I wanted to quit.

Our 4-year-old is having nightmares at night.  Truth is, we don’t know what is actually happening.  He is not asleep yet and he is crying he had a nightmare.  I struggle with being supportive but I also know that he is trying to get me to lay down with him.  It’s hard when you are exhausted and you haven’t even had a chance to sit down yet.  You say to yourself, I just want a minute alone.

But it’s not just our 4-year-old.  Our 10-month -old has completely regressed in sleeping as well.  She has been sleeping through the night for months and now just this last month or so she has stopped. She wakes up and we can’t get her back down.  So my husband and I did what every parenting book told us not to do, we brought her into our bed.  We knew this was not the solution, but we were tired.  We are parents and we are tired.  Now she sleeps a couple hours in her crib, wakes up crying and won’t sleep alone. It’s horrible, it’s tiring, and I quit.

This weekend we are going to have to let her cry it out.  It’s going to be horrible.  We don’t want our son to wake up because of this, so we are struggling with letting him sleep somewhere else in the house with one of us while the other struggles with a screaming baby.  Needless to say, this weekend is not going to be fun.

There are times throughout all this that I just want to be alone.  I remember the times fondly when I was single or newly married and I could read a book and nap all day.  I could sleep in if I wanted and run errands for as long as I wanted.  I could go out to dinner anytime and wear something fun with pretty earrings, and I didn’t have to worry about little fingers ripping them out.  No one needed me, no one relied on me for everything, no one asked me questions constantly and no one fought me to eat dinner.  I could do what I wanted, when I wanted.  Sometimes I miss that.  That is why parenting is hard.

I am not a person that ever sugar coats things.  Parenting isn’t cupcakes and rainbows.  I knew that going in and I wanted to become a parent on purpose.   My husband and I wanted children, and we wanted them so bad we went to a fertility specialist for help getting pregnant.  I know I will miss the days when my son talks constantly and wants to play with me all the time.  I know I will miss the days of him coloring with me and allowing me to cuddle in bed with him.  I know I will miss the days of my daughter’s gummy smile and crying when I leave the room.  But today and some other days, I want to quit.  Since I can’t do that I go to work.  I throw myself into work when I am there and focus on being an adult.  I run errands at lunch and go window shopping alone. I go out to lunch with friends and have adult conversations.   Then at 5:00 I take a deep breath, go home and go back to being a mom and a wife.  I go back to warming up frozen pancakes for my son and carrying my daughter everywhere.  I do this because I know I have been blessed to be able to.  I do this because I love my children and I want to set a good example for them.  I will continue to work on my patience and my negotiating skills that I have learned in order to survive.  I do this because quitting isn’t an option even though some days I wish I could at least take a time out. 

Parenting is hard, but it’s also the best job in the world.


  1. Hi Katherine, I read your essay in today's D&C. Far be it from me to give advice, but I wanted to turn you on to the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. He has a research-based approach to helping children learn independent sleep habits: "he explains with authority and reassurance his step-by-step regime for instituting beneficial habits within the framework of your child’s natural sleep cycles." My oldest child (now 20!) was nearly a year old before I realized we actually had a situation...Reading Marc's book helped me recognize my second child's "sleep cues" and we had an easier time of things for round 2. Not that you actually have time to read, but I truly believe this book has something to offer nearly every parent with young children.


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