A solemn contemplation over PB&J.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by overdramatic author

You can only fail so many times in a day before you hit the proverbial “T in the road.” The great “sink or swim.” You’re faced with a decision that either puts the nail in the coffin or slathers a little redemption over your weary soul.

That was my day. I have a lot of those days, honestly. Crumbs, laundry, scattered toys, and an unchecked list of to-do’s jump out at me like neon signs. Sometimes I can turn up my nose and ignore their mocking cries. It’s just stuff, after all.

But days like today, when I have to add yelling, irritation, impatience, and overall bitchy-ness to the list, I come undone. There’s something utterly overwhelming about feeling like your house, and your kids are falling apart- and it’s your fault. …

Tested to be effective, but not by a doctor.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

How advice complicates everything

One of the first things you learn as a parent: Everyone has an idea of the “right”- and only- way to do something. The second thing you learn? The fewer the kids, the stronger the opinion. Those without kids see themselves as professionals because they’ve never been in the trenches. Their theories have never been tested. Even people that are professionals don’t seem to agree on anything. Ever. And the information is constantly changing.

Put the baby on its side….actually, wait. Maybe back is better. Haha kidding. We meant tummy.

Start baby food at about three months. Well, maybe wait until nine months. Use cereals and processed food that might cause allergies later on. Umm, wait, no. …

Confidence doesn’t make up for poor interpretation.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Taras Chernus in Unsplash

Everyone has biases; no one wants to admit it. We like to think we have the necessary- and correct- information, but those biases influence what data we take in and how we interpret it. Our brains essentially end up utilizing a heuristic technique. It has to condense and simplify the information it receives because it would take too long to process everything correctly. We come to conclusions that are satisfying, or good enough. While this process is necessary, we shouldn’t get in the habit of assuming this first conclusion is the right one.

I’m your parent, not your friend.”

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Adrienne Koziol

I can almost see the wave of heads nod in approval, and hear the resounding chorus of “Yes!” whenever that phrase is said. This statement of finality seems to permeate parenthood. It echos throughout time and crosses all cultural barriers. It’s a resilient assertion that has no opposition. Who can argue against it?

Of course, it makes a valid point. Parents are supposed to keep their kids safe, raise them right, and discipline them when they’re wrong. …

We need more fearless people.

Image for post
Image for post

Because I Said So

Most parents tend to teach their children to obey immediately, no questions asked.
On the surface, unquestioned and immediate obedience is a good thing. At times it’s necessary and should be expected. A healthy fear of authority keeps kids safe and out of trouble. However, an unhealthy fear can turn them into followers that won’t stand up for what’s right. Authority dictates what they do, regardless of their convictions.

Authority Is Necessary

Children need structure and authority. Rules provide clear expectations, giving stability and safety. Kids learn respect, compliance, and self-control by following instructions.

Those things do not come naturally, and an unpleasant, uncontrollable child grows into a rude, selfish adult.

One certainty in life: Kids will keep you humble.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Author

Will we ever figure it out?

Sometimes I think I might be getting the hang of this whole parenting thing. You’d think so, after twenty three years and nine kids. Honestly though, I’m more used to failure and I’m slowly beginning to accept it. I have to. My kids keep me humble by pointing out my faults.

It happens to us all. We’re supposed to be doing the enlightening. We’re the ones full of experience, knowledge, and wisdom. In reality, it’s more like they don’t hear us at all unless we’re in the wrong. They catch us in our moments of weakness and proclaim it so the whole world knows. And then continue to remind us for the rest of our lives. Sometimes, their comments are so full of obvious truth that we have to shut up and listen.

I could probably fill a book with stories of this happening, but one situation came to mind recently. My then-3-year-old was mothering an older sibling. She was (and still is) known for her bossy and blunt attitude. She sounded very rude, so I told her she wasn’t being nice and needed to be polite. …

Because none of us want to pay for therapy.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Terence Burke in Unsplash

The fear that knows no boundaries

I don’t have scientific proof, but I’m fairly certain parents share one fear. It’s consistent regardless of time, culture, politics, and religion. It might come in different forms, but I think every parent fears for the future of their children. This world is insane and always has been. Now it’s to the point where we wonder how it can get worse. And yet it does—every day.

So, of course, we worry over what kind of world they’ll grow up in. We watch them live in blissful abandon, content in their own world of destruction. Innocent, playful destruction. Our instinct is to protect their naive bubble. We want to keep their childhood carefree. But are we doing them a disservice by completely shielding them? …

You’ll be halfway there if your priorities are in place.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jonathan Thomas on Unsplash

Why am I failing?

It’s easy to feel like priorities are set, like you’re doing all you can to reach a goal. You want something so bad you can taste it. But it just isn’t working out. Why?

  1. You could be doing more.
  2. Instant gratification is your true priority.

Both come down to mindset. There will always be things outside our control that play a significant role in the outcome, but it’s too easy to let those become our excuses and downplay what we do have control over.

Can you imagine yourself in 10 years if, instead of avoiding the things you know you should do, you actually did them every single day? That’s powerful.” …

We’re micromanaging and stifling the creativity out of everything.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Play, But Not Like That.

Sensory bins are from hell. There, I said it. I think they’re pretentious and absurd, and I’m afraid admitting that will exclude me from every mom group around (ok, I’m not really in the groups, anyway).

Maybe you’ve never heard of a sensory bin. It’s a container filled with bubbles, sand, beans, or rice. The idea is for small children to play with the items inside the bin. I remember when they first started popping up on Pinterest and educational/mom blogs. I hated them but couldn’t put my finger on why.

At first, I chalked it up to the mess. I mean, they aren’t supposed to be messy, but we’re giving toddlers access to large amounts of tiny objects that sound fantastic when thrown onto the floor. …

The joy that brings sorrow.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Adrienne Koziol

“I love you, too.”

My 3-year-old will say this at random times. I never get tired of hearing those words, even though the nerd part of me feels weird replying with, “I love you, too.” Usually, I’ll go with, “I love you more.” It’s undoubtedly true, but it’s also out of guilt because it sounds like he’s responding to me saying it first- when I didn’t.

Once, he said it while snuggled next to me on the couch, half-asleep. I was rubbing his back, admiring his little hands as he held onto my arm. His hair was sticking up most endearingly when it’s so cute, it almost hurts. He was happy with me, and I wanted to soak in everything about him. …


Adrienne Koziol

Wife and mom first. Muay Thai, freelance writing, and blogging for The Zoo I Call Home fills in the rest.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store