Hi Friends! Iā€™m Natalie Mason. I live in Charleston, SC and I am mom to Sterling 12 , Frances Moon 8 and our mini golden doodle Dolly.



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Parenting The Heavy Stuff

Sep 16, 2016

Parenting.  Nobody warns you how hard it truly is.  You go into it blindly because people don’t tell you that kind of stuff, kind of like nobody tells you hard it is to truly get your body back after a baby.  You get pregnant and have this sweet innocent little baby.  You worry if they are eating enough and meeting milestones and you are tired but life is good.  Then they start moving and talking and all hell breaks loose.  

If you really sit and think about the enormity of raising a child it will stress you out.  

As both Sterling and Frances get older it has started to hit me even harder.  I am fighting constant battles with both of them and it is hard to know the right thing to do.   I want to raise them to be good kids but man it is hard.  I wake up every morning and think today is the day I am gonna be the best mom ever.  I won’t lose my temper, we will play and do fun stuff, I will savor every little moment and it will be glorious.  Then the kids wake up and Frances immediately starts crying,  whether I gave her the wrong cereal or forgot one of her animals from bed she is easily offended and upset in the morning.  Then Sterling has a melt down over what to wear to school.  Then we are running late because he refuses to get dressed because his favorite shorts and apparently the only ones he wants to wear are in the washing machine.  Then they both start fighting and I lose it.  My perfect day is shattered all before 7:05am. 

I know I will miss these mornings, I truly know that but sometimes being in the actual moment it is hard.  I constantly teeter between wanting to savor the moment and not wish time away to counting down the hours til bedtime.   Then I lay in bed at night and rethink the whole day and question what I could have done better as mom that day.  I beat myself up a lot questioning what I could have done differently that day.

We went to Sterling’s school yesterday to watch him run a fun run and as I watched all the first graders line up, I got teary eyed.  They are all so sweet and innocent and I just wanted to freeze time.   Sterling was smiling and waving at us and he was so proud and happy we were there at his school.  We are still cool for the moment.  I try to volunteer and eat lunch with him as much as I can because I know soon there will come a day when he will say Mom leave me alone and not really want me around.   I dread that day.  

He was sweet at school but that night as we sat down to do homework the attitude emerged.  When he is mad he is mad.  He frequently tells me I am a bad mom and that he wishes he never had a family.  The kind of stuff that tugs at your heart strings.   You try to brush it off but it hurts your feelings.  You want to say fine get out of time out and give him a hug but you have to stand your ground and that is the hardest part of parenting.  Sometimes it is so much easier to just give in to what they want so they will be quiet.  But in the end that is what will make them troublesome kids so you have to stand your ground no matter how hard it is.  He threw a pencil at my head that night- it did not hurt but it caught me off guard.  I sent him to time out and early bedtime and then went to my room and cried.  I cried because being a parent is hard as shit.   I expected the teenage years to be hard and filled with lots of attitude but not at 6. 

Sterling doesn’t like one single team sport.  We have tried soccer, lacrosse, and flag football and he hates them all.  I am talking we get to practice and he screams and cries and refuses to play.   At age 6 it gets to the point where it is embarrassing.  I watch all these other kids excited to get out there and play and think why doesn’t my son want to play?  Now I can’t entirely blame him as I never liked any sports either so maybe he gets it from me.  How do you know when to give in and let you child quit or keep pushing them to try.  I don’t want to raise a quitter but I also don’t want to keep forcing him.  It seems innocent enough but these are the choices that will mold him as an adult and that scares me. 

Frances Moon is full on terrible twos.  She is almost violent sometimes.  When she gets angry she lets out an almost primal scream and then she flails herself to the floor.  If Sterling has done something to offend her she gets so mad she claws at him.  Sometimes it seriously scares me and amazes me that this 2 year old has this much emotion and anger.  She makes Sterling cry way more than he makes her cry.  

Frances is impossible to get dressed in the morning.  She runs and hides from me.  Then when I find her she curls up in a ball so it is impossible to get her pajamas off.  If I pick the wrong dress she cries and screams.  The struggle is real every single morning.  Same with changing her diapers, she runs and hides.  I can tell she is gonna be hard to potty train because she will just sit in a dirty diaper and not care one bit. 

A few weeks ago at the gym I picked her up after my barre class and she was in time out.  I asked why and they said she had taken off her princess shoes and hit another child in the head.  They put her in time out and said she could get out if she said she was sorry.  Well Miss Frances Moon is stubborn much like her daddy and she doesn’t say sorry so they said she sat in time out almost 45 minutes waiting me for to get done.  We had a long talk about hitting kids and she is no longer allowed to wear princess shoes (they are hard as crap) out of the house.  Now every day when I pick her up from school the first thing she says is ” I did not hit anyone today.” Like she is so proud of herself for not hitting.  

Every single day I think about 16 years from now when the house will be empty and they off at school and how much I will miss these days.  I know these are single handedly the hardest and the best days of my life.   So today I just needed to vent and take note of this time in my life.  It’s exhausting, and it’s hard but it’s fleeting.  It is much better to have noise and chaos than a quiet house:) 

Happy Friday.  Hope you have a Winner Tonight.

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Parenting the Heavy Stuff

Dec 6, 2012

Sometimes I sit around and my mind wonders and I think about weird things.  I do, seriously like, plane crashes, natural disasters, the world ending,  and hooking up with LL Cool J (weird but true I had a dream about him two weeks ago and it keeps haunting me). 

 Lately, however I have been thinking alot about the enormity of being a parent.  It is such a huge responsibility and I have to wonder am I doing the best job I can to raise Sterling right?  I feel like the decisions I am making now are going to affect how he turns out as an adult and that stresses me out.  Lately he has been bad, like real bad,  bratty bad.   He is that kid you see out in stores and judge the mom for not parenting better.  Throwing stuff at me,  screaming if he doesn’t get his way,  waving his finger in my face, pushing me away, not listening,  talking back,  and majorly stressing me out.  It is making me think hard,  is he acting this way because of me as a parent?  Am I not tough enough?  Should I punish him more?   What am I doing wrong?  I am guilty of giving in- handing him chocolate or buying him a treat just to buy myself  5 minutes of silence.  I know this wrong but I do it anyways, it keeps me sane.  Nobody ever warned me how hard being a parent would be.

This is the biggest job of my life and I want to do it right. 

 A few things that I think about all the time….

I want Sterling to grow up and be well mannered always saying yes, please, and thank you.  I want him to be appreciative of the life he has.  We have it good compared to so may others.

I want Sterling to be man of God,  attend church regularly,  pray, and be a good Christian.   I take Sterling to church. because I want to instill him the value of a higher power and the fact that there is more to this life.  This one is tough in our house because I always take Sterling to church alone, Matt never goes with us.  That is his choice and I don’t push him too but I know when Sterling is older he will say why does Daddy get to stay home and I have to go to church?   That worries me. 

I want him to be appreciative of things and not spoiled but I am fearful we are already in the spoiled category.  It is hard not to buy that sweet face treats.  I bribe him often just to get a few moments of silence.    I feel like he already has more than he needs.  It is hard to not want your child to have everything. 

I want him to grow up and be a hard worker and love his job and not complain about it everyday.  I want him to feel passionate about whatever he decides to do.

I want him to take time to help others.  This is something I need to be better at showing him.  Before he was born I volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House once a week and now I don’t volunteer at all.  I want to do that and bring him with me to see that we are so fortunate compared to others.

I want him to be a gentleman to the ladies and treat them with love and respect.  This is something I think all boys learn from their dads and how they treat their moms.  That is why I think is important to kiss and be affectionate in front of your children so they feel the love between their parents.

I want him to want to spend time with Matt and I when we are older.  This one I think about alot because boys usually never call their parents once they leave the house.  That makes me sad.  I on the other hand always talk to my parents and choose to hang out with them.  I love spending time with them and I want Sterling to feel the same way about Matt and I.  Sometimes I look forward to spending time with my parents more than my friends- sad but true.  I want Sterling to feel the same way.

I want Sterling to feel comfortable talking to me about anything (well maybe lets save the sex talk for dad).  But I want him to trust me and feel comfortable enough to tell me if kids are bullying him, or encouraging him to do bad things. 

I want him to be healthy and make healthy food and exercise choices.  Before Sterling was born I swore I would make all his food and only feed him organic things.  Well guess what?  If you opened my pantry today you would find it filled with Lucky Charms, Little Debbie Cakes, Oreos, and lots of juice (non-organic juice and full sugar).  I think the children that are restricted what they are allowed to eat over indulge more.  I allow Sterling to eat what he wants (in moderation of course).  My parents raised me the same way and I don’t even bat an eye about sweets being in our house- I don’t feel the need to eat them.  I want Sterling to have restraint and take care of his body.

I am terrified of when he goes to college.  I am scared the other boys will haze him and make him drink too much or do drugs.  I want him to be man enough to know his limits and say no.

I hope he doesn’t grow up being anxious and nervous.  I am such a worry rat.  Always worrying about something and I don’t want him to be like that.

Most of all I want Sterling to be happy.  No matter what he does I want him to find joy in life and be happy.  Life is too short not to follow your dreams and I hope he does.

Am I the only freak that thinks these heavy thoughts??  I question my parenting skills everyday.  I guess I will just cross my fingers and hope he turns out ok because I did (thanks to my wonderful parents).

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  1. heavy thoughts are my new life these days. I never thought it was possible to worry about such outrageous things. But I do. I worry about all the things you do. ALL THE TIME.

    So I know from my sister and other friends that Sterling is RIGHT ON TARGET with his age and the attitude. I'm pretty sure they all go through it but boys seem to do it at that exact not quite three age and then it gets better. It will get better because you are a good mom. And you care about being a better one. Girls do the same thing, just in different ways and I'm dreading the day Wells acts like an asshole. She's pushing it more and more and we both left a furniture store in tears last week. It was horrible and I swore I wouldn't leave the house with her ever again. I love your list. It's so good and routed in keeping him grounded and teaching him how to be a good adult. You have a leg up already because you had good parents who taught you well and you'll pass so much of that on to Sterling with out even realizing it. Just don't let him get away with the crap and remember he's only two.

  2. Hunny. You posting this shows how thoughtful of a parent you are and that is half the battle. While I don't have kids, I k ow they go through phases. This too shall pass. You are a great mama in my book!

  3. So much of what you wrote here hit home with me, even though my son is a year younger than yours. We want our children to be great people and to protect them from the world. I am tearing up right now, thinking about how I will only be able to do that for another short while.
    I want to give you a compliment too– taking a kid to church by yourself is HARD. You are awesome for doing it! God sees that for sure, and you should be really proud of yourself. It's something Sterling will appreciate when he is older.

  4. You're such a good mom because there are children whose parents don't even think these thoughts. Sterling will grow up to be such a great man because his momma raised him right!

  5. I think that these are things that all parents feel the weight of…you are certainly not alone. There are many things that keep me up at night and our little guy is only 10 months. Naturally we are much harder on ourselves and give ourselves absolutely no credit. I'm sure that you are rocking out the mommy thing…and the tantrum phase, this too shall pass (although at the moment, I'm sure that it feels like it won't!)

    Haute Child in the City

  6. I LOVE your blog. I have been following it for a while now, but have never commented. We are very similar…I am a blonde, went to Chapel Hill, majored in journalism, have a blog (but it's just a family blog) and worry ALL THE TIME. I think if you don't have these thoughts as a parent, then you're not normal.

    It sounds like you come from a good family, which is always a positive. In today's world I feel like we're pressured to all do things the same way…potty training in a day or they must be taking two naps a day by six months. I have found that you have to follow your instincts when it comes to your child because you are the expert. I believe as long as they know they are loved and can't get away with any and every thing, they will turn out all right. It sounds like you're doing a wonderful job and we must remember, he is only 2 šŸ™‚

  7. I agree with you, this parenting thing is pretty hard, and beyond the effort we make to stay sane everyday, is the thoughts that haunt us, just like the ones you have. I think that there are things in our control and for those we just need to trust ourselves that we are doing good, and for the rest I guess we'll have to hope that they make the right choices based on what we taught them. Being a parent is such a huge responsibility, I constantly wonder how my mom raised 4 kids, 4 kids that turned out to be good šŸ˜‰

  8. The fact that you took the time to think about your parenting goals and wants for Sterling show that you are doing a great job. I know that it can seem like an uphill battle but hang in there. All your hard work will pay off and I am sure Sterling will thank you someday!

  9. tpatters5 says:

    I can not tell you how much I appreciate this post. This morning at my house was a disaster with my kids and I sat on my commute thinking that I was a terrible parent and worried about how I am as a mother. I just remind myself that the toddler years are tough and that they know I love them more than anything in the world. The fact that we worry about this shows we are doing something right.

  10. Sarah says:

    My little guy is 5 now but 2.5-3.5 was quite challenging – same things you are describing. I read a lot of parenting books and found that the Love & Logic series was the one that worked the best for us. It's all about choices and allowing the child to feel in control (even though they aren't). I still use many of the tactics today.

  11. I stress about Ivey every day. I worry I was too stern, not stern enough, not enough hugs and kisses, spoiling her, etc., etc. We worry so much because we're such good parents. I find myself doing things that I said "I would never ever do" before I had kids. Oh well, we're just doing the best we can do. Sterling is sweet, precious, and well behaved with loving parents who provide for all of his needs and wants. He will grow up to be an amazing man!

  12. First, I LOVE your blog. You are honest and real! I am sorry to only now be submitting my first comment. I know I feel the same way every day about our little girl.
    I recently read "Heartfelt Discipline" by Clay Clarkson and it spoke to my heart about raising children. You may want to give it a try.:)

  13. Christina says:

    Aw, Natalie this is so sweet. I'm not a parent and can't imagine how tough the job would be. You do have these worries because you care so much and that says everything. You seem to be an amazing parent and even if he's going through a naughty phase, it's not indicative of your parenting skills. As much love as you seem to show him, I am sure that he will turn out to be a wonderful man. This post was so very honest and made me love you!

  14. Thank you for writing such an honest post. You took so many words out of my mouth. I'm getting ready to have my first baby… And the enormity of that responsibility and love is just hitting me.
    I think every worry, thought and prayer you have for Sterling is exactly what makes you a great parent. The appreciation you have for your parents has already given you a head start, because you had great examples to learn from.
    I think as parents. We can only do the best we can, and we can pray that they grow up and find their way.
    Thanks for writing this, it is exactly what I needed this morning! You are just great!

  15. Kati says:

    It's beyond normal – it would probably be less normal if you didn't worry, you know? It's never easy, and once you get a handle on this stage, he'll be into something else. You're doing a great job and you can see in the comments that we all feel this way, worrying about how we are doing. But you are doing GREAT.

  16. As a parent of two teens, I can say you have set a great foundation! And that's really all you can do. As your children grow older their peers start to exert more influence and you can be the best parent and have a child that makes some bad choices. Don't worry so much, as a parent you can only do so much! And yes, parenting is HARD!

  17. Jessica D. says:

    I read your blog everyday. It's the first thing I do when I sit down at my desk each morning. I love that it is simple and easy to relate to!

    I am not a mother (yet) but hope to be soon and I am already having these thoughts — so you are not alone! I also wanted to share my friends blog with you. She shares some of her similar feelings and I think you would enjoy reading it!


    Keep on doing what you're doing, because it is great!

  18. Sterling is lucky to have you for his mama!

  19. Okay, the fact that you are self-evaluating along the way means that you are way ahead of the pack!

    I remember one day I was Xmas shopping with my 2.5 year old son who was WAY out of control – and I was appalled that MYYYYY kid was acting that way. I scooped him up to take him to a corner of the store to have a conversation – and he yelled "where are we going NOW????" and all that came out of my mouth quite loudly was "somewhere where no one will see me beat you!!!" That was no where near my intent, but it shows how frustrating life can be with toddlers.

    SO, despite my belief that my parenting was going to land my kids on the therapy sofa for 15 years, my 3 (two in college, one in HS) are the independent, self-assured, caring, and kind people I had always hoped they would be. I learned thru the years it's not just what you "give them", it's what you SHOW them. Demonstrating self-discipline, kindness, healthy living, loving relationships, good manners, etc… goes so much further than I thought. And my son, who is prez of his frat in college and fully exploring ALL that experience offers, STILL chooses to hang with me and his friends choose to hang at our house when they are all home from school. Some friends do a drive-by even if mine aren't home. We made a deliberate decision to make our house the "go-to house" for all of our kids from the beginning. I didn't shy away from the inconvenience or the effort of saying YES on a dime to "can we all just hang here?". It paid off and I am so blessed.

    You are doing FINE!

  20. Alicia xoxxo says:

    I am crying. This hits so close to home for me. I worry about everything you listed. All the time. Yesterday I took little man to Gymboree and he was the only child who wouldnt sit on my lap at circle time and cried when I made him. I was embarrassed and mad that he was acting that way. So I feel your pain and anxiety Natalie. I pray every night that O doesnt get my anxiety and nervousness. O is younger than your little guy but I dont think it is ever too early to start instilling in them values. His dad is stricter than I am but he is with me 90% of the time bc hubs works so much. I am sure you are doing a fantastic job. I would bet you anything that you are just being too hard on yourself. You seem like a fantastic mom and you can tell that Sterling is happy little guy! Dont beat yourself up about it. Parenting is hard. Damn they forgot to tell us that in those birthing classes! šŸ˜‰

  21. You are not alone!! I think about these things all the time too. Sterling is just at an age where he is trying to exert his Independence. I promise you are doing nothing wrong. No child is a perfect angel. And if a parent tells you differently they are lying.

    So many things you are worrying about here will work themselves out. I have to believe that or I'll make myself crazy too.

    Put your trust that God will help you, and remember even though you can't be with him every minute of every day – God is. Even when he's a teenager and in college. Hugs.

    P.S. I want my kids to know God and go to church too. I was raised that way. But we never go. However, Keira is going to a Christian School and this helps my guilt in that department. šŸ™‚

  22. You are an awesome mom! Because he has good parents like you he will be fine! All you can do is be the best mom you can be and that is enough! Trust in God! He will cover Sterling!

    With the being bad… All kids are at that age! P is a hot mess! LOL!

  23. I so enjoy your blog. I also thing about these "heavy" topics especially having only one child. Hopefully we are all doing the best we can as parents and our children will turn out okay.

  24. Tess says:

    Girl, I have a 3 year old and boy I have those EXACT same thoughts. I am a born worrier too and I, like you, did not realize how much parenting entailed. I mean I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn't realize all the guilt that would be associated with it. Both my children are boys and I worry about how they will treat girls and if they will be good fathers etc… I worry I might not spend enough time with them because I work full time. I totally feel you… You are def. not alone. Thanks for this post– it very real and easy to indentify with. You and your girl Casey have the most real blogs I follow! Thanks for that, really.

  25. Dina says:

    Boy can I relate, and especially to the fear that my boys (just had #2 this past weekend, and #1 is 2.5) won't call me or want to have anything to do with me once they become teenagers and especially get married…I am super close with my parents and we talk all.the.time! I love the quote, just read it off to my husband actually!

  26. I am crying reading this post…partly out of relief that I'm not the only one stressing on a daily basis, and partly because parenting really is the hardest job on the planet. I definitely worry about all of that…and *SO* much more! The age that Sterling is at is a *super* tough age…don't worry, it gets better! For some reason, they all go through a super bratty age where you feel like a complete failure as a parent…but I promise, it passes and they grow up a little and then they are only bratty half the time, instead of all the time (c; But seriously, my oldest will be six in January, and when he was two/three, I thought I had birthed the antichrist! But now he is just the sweetest little man! Still have our bratty moments, but hey, he's a kid! I appreciate the heavy stuff, it's always such a comfort to know you're not the only one feeling that way! xoxo! P.S.-I know that you are a fantastic mom because you *care*…that is 90% of the battle…we all screw up and have our moments that we never want another soul to know about, but Sterling knows he has a mommy that loves him and would do anything for him, and that's what really counts.

  27. It's a hard age. My son is 3 1/2, and I feel like we have daily battles. He can be the sweetest thing in the world, but then can turn around and just be nasty. I swear parenting is the hardest job ever, and I think it's harder for our generation because we have access to so much information ,and everything tells us to do something different. My biggest problem is lack of constancy – I'll start in on a new wave of stricter discipline, then give up after a few days. Hang in there, and know that you're in good company!

  28. Okay, now I'm tripping out a little more!! šŸ˜‰ All your thoughts are normal and just mean you are a loving, involved parent. When jack was his age, I was in tears all the time!!! How could a little person have so much control and power over me?!? My hubs is a big believer in Love & Logic…which is basically a principle of not reacting and giving power to negative behavior. Now when there's a lot of bitching and whining, my response is a calm, "Bummer." drives them nuts! šŸ™‚

    Anyway, this phase will pass. And the way they act at home, and then act at school are usually pretty opposite. You are a great mama…just keep loving on him and try to keep your cool. #deepbreaths

  29. Hi Natalie, I have 2 boys who are older than Sterling, and let me tell you…boys are just so full of energy & testosterone it's mind-boggling. My boys are in middle school (yes, I got married & prego right after college) and they still.don't.stop.moving. And making weird noises constantly, etc. It's insanity. And the worrying…I wish I could tell you that stopped but it doesn't. I am terrified thinking of them driving, and I have the college hazing visualization constantly too. I think that's just the burden Mothers must bear. I was talking to my husband recently and we realized the worry will never end, and odds are good that some grandchildren will eventually enter the mix and we'll start worrying all over again. I wish it were easier. Hang in there!

  30. The Caumonts says:

    You just wrote out all that is in my head. I also have a little boy, he is two and I fear all the time that I'm not doing things right. That I'm too much of a sucker for his sweet brown eyes and that he won't grow up to appreciate the little things.
    I enjoy reading your blog, you make me laugh and I relate to all of your "mommy" posts.

  31. Allison says:

    I've been a loyal reader of your blog for quite a while, but haven't commented until now. After reading your post, then all the encouraging comments, I wanted to say how wonderful it is to see a virtual community of mamas lifting one another up and offering encouragement. Thank you so much for creating a space that fosters that!

    I also have a little guy who is hitting toddlerhood head on and headstrong, and my laundry list of worries is much like yours. I've started ready Dr. Harvey Karp's "Happiest Toddler on the Block" (mainly because "Happiest Baby on the Block" was a lifesaver for me) and it's given me some much-needed insight into toddler development. And one of the great suggestions he has is to take time at the end of each day to reflect on the many things you did well as a parent that day. Because it's our nature as guilt-driven mamas to focus on the bad, right? I've started doing it, and I can't tell you how much it's helped my heart and my mind.

    Thank you so much for your openness and candor… and your ridiculously fabulous sense of style.

  32. What a great post as I know being a first time mom myself I often wonder the same thing about my parenting so it is nice reading this and knowing we are not alone.
    Being a former school social worker I can tell you that you are an amazing mom. Most of my kids that i saw that did not have the best of homes all wanted moms and dads that had rules, made them do their homework vs having to do it with their teachers, parents that would came home at night vs being watched by their high school siblings, knew they had food at home and something to eat while their moms were out working late, and most of all they just wanted their parents to be present.
    No one should judge ones parenting unless a childs well being is at risk.

  33. Alexa says:

    Oh man. This post hits home. Parenting is so hard and unlike anything I imagined. The other day I was worrying in bed that I should have picked her up that time during the day when she really wanted me to, but I didn't feel well and I was grumpy. Of course she had a fit! But then I thought…I cannot pyschoanalyise every aspect of parenting. It is such a hard thing to do, but you are definitely NOT alone!

  34. Lindsey says:

    The fact that you're concerned shows you're miles ahead of many parents! I think most days we have to not be so hard on ourselves and simply do the best we can. I've learned that being consistent is key. If my daughter wants a cookie, and I tell her no, I need to stick with that, even if she continues begging for one, and it'd be simpler to just give her the cookie! For discipline, I highly recommend "1-2-3 Magic" by Thomas Phelan…it came recommended by my pediatrician. A great devotional for moms is "Out of the Spin Cycle" by Jen Hatmaker…she is so funny and honest and helps put things in perspective! I love your blog! šŸ™‚

  35. Sonny says:

    I love your blog! This is my first time commenting and I just want to thank you for being so honest. You are definitely not alone. My son just turned 4 & I remember when his "terrible threes" (not twos like everyone claims) set in. I was so confused as to where my sweet little angel went… It's all normal and part of their development. He will continue to test you as he explores his limits. Just remember you're not alone and it seems like you are a great Mom!

  36. Jenny Castle says:

    You are not alone. I cried the entire way home from the hospital when we first took Jake home. I just couldn't stop thinking about how I always wanted to protect him and all the the things you mention I've totally thought about. Seriously, every single one. I think all you can do is love them and care and there will be good times and bad phases, but love goes a long way. You are a great mother and it is so evident. Pat yourself on the back and pour yourself a big glass of wine tonight, you'll feel better just after reading all these commens. xoxo

  37. angela says:

    Any mom who is reflective (whether she admits to it or not) will have those thoughts, Natalie. I really liked this book (Guilt-Free Motherhood: Parenting with Godly Wisdom) by Julianna Slattery. There is a quote in there somewhere about how we base our self worth on the fragile decisions of our children. It made me realize that I was putting to much responsibility on them. If they acted terribly I would think "oh, I'm a crap mom." A good day and I'd think "oh, hey, we're ok." Kids have baaad days. Or months sometimes. They go through phases. Be loving. Be consistent. Be open to suggestions. Keep thinking and readjusting and talking to him. I have a lot of thoughts on the husband doesn't go to church thing…because I'm there too. My hubby was a church elder, and in the last year is having a major depressive episode and is not an atheist. My kids know something's not right. And they know he doesn't love God. My kids are 3 and 5, and they know their dad is not ok, but they love him passionately. You can find a way to show them to love and admire their dad while getting them the spiritual guidance they need from other men. He can respect him and maybe not model him in that area. It's all in your attitude. Let Sterling know you love your husband, you love God, and you want Sterling and your husband to love God. But that it does NOT make your husband less worth loving. My kids pray for their dad daily that he will love God.

  38. Danielle says:

    Ah, I hear myself in so many of your worries/thoughts. I am currently seeking advice from a life coach (awesome and would totally recommend it for you!) and what I've learned is that our children are mirror images of us. What we want for our children, they need to see in us. Remember, they are little sponges and are absorbing every little thing we do and say. Show him by your actions how important it is to volunteer, how to not whine when you don't get your way, etc. I know it's hard but just be aware that how you model your life is very important for his development. I'm not casting stones at you because I don't know you from Adam, but I'm just saying what I've learned to be true in my (very similar) situation. You are a wonderful person and your son knows that. Focus on your attributes and let him see you shine!

  39. angela says:

    Meant to say my husband is now an atheist…rather than not an atheist. And girl, it takes strength to go to church every week without your husband. I know. That alone will speak volumes to Sterling.

  40. Christina says:

    I'm not sure I have ever commented.

    I just wanted to share that I can relate to you in wanting to raise children in faith, with a non-practicing husband.

    I have the same thing going on and like you, I don't want to push my husband. I take my 2 kids to Church alone. The more you do it, the more you get used to it, and the more the kids get used to it and learn how to behave appropriately. I have a total system down these days. My answer to questions they will one day have as to why daddy doesn't go, is to get outside support. My family goes to Church with us sometimes. Also, I have found a really, active, parish that I love and I've gotten super involved, made a lot of new friends, the kids have made friends, and I want to eventually send them to school there too. If my husband is not going to reinforce what I'm teaching them, then I will find LOTS of other options to reinforce. Hopefully they'll grow up in this community and it will inspire them to be involved and grow their faith. At least, that's what I hope and pray.

  41. Leslie says:

    I think that just thinking about these things makes you a good parent. If it makes you feel better, my 27 year old brother and his wife live ten minutes from my parents. I'm also sure that my husband is better about talking to his parents regularly than I am.

  42. What a wonderful post! I think the same thing, and have to add one more to my list…how do I balance all of my attention between four??

  43. Thanks so much for the effort you put into your blog. I love reading it! I just recently listened to a podcast that a pastor and his wife did about their experience with raising three kids. It is very simple and practical and addressed a lot of issues you mentioned, such as discipline, respect for women, communicating with children, embracing the moments and creating an relationship that makes your children want to come back home when they are grown. If you are interested, the link is http://www.northpoint.org/messages/future-family. The talk is part 5 of the future family series. I am just coming out of the toddler years and a book that gave me lots of guidance was "Making the terrible two's terrific" by John Rosemond. All the best. You are a great mom!

  44. Ashley says:

    Your heart is in the right place, and that's half the battle! As long as you do your best, that's all that you can ask of yourself. The phrase "I know God will only give me as much as I can handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much" comes to mind for sure. Be strong and hang in there!

  45. Unknown says:

    First let me tell you that I enjoy reading your blog. We happen to be in very different places on the children front, but I have a feeling from what I read that we could have been good friends if our children were growing up together. So many of our friends we have met through the various phases of our kids activities…some remain and some are there only for that stage. I have a son about to graduate from high school and a daughter in her second year of college. Believe me you are perfectly normal worrying about all these things and it sounds like Sterling, who is absolutely adorable by the way, is perfectly normal for the stage of his life he is in. The good news is that you are all normal and going through the "worries" and "bratties" in all the right places…the bad news is the "worries" never really stop!! šŸ˜‰ The "worries" change from stage to stage and all you as a parent can do is the best you are capable of! The mere fact that you recognize how fortunate you are and that you want Sterling to be a good man of God leads me to believe that he will be just fine growing up and that you are a wonderful mom to him. Parenting can be overwhelming, like chilbirth itself no one can tell you exactly what to expect, and each day raising your child/children can in itself can be a totally different journey. Keep being you and keep the lines of communication open, being accessible to and authentic with your kids is so important! It is with a truly grateful heart that I can say I am so proud of the young woman and young man that Gob blessed me with the opportunity to raise! God Bless you and your beautiful family.

  46. elizabeth says:

    Check out "your defiant child"…it's a great book. We try to set up expectations and consequences ahead of time to avoid in the moment bribes. And my 2 yr old earns things he wants by having good behavior.

  47. I never comment but…
    1. Love your blog
    2. Sterling is the cutest kid on the blog planet šŸ˜‰
    3. You seem like a wonderful mother, very well balanced and an control. I'd love to be a mom like you one day!

  48. Amy says:

    Everything you just said is almost every reason I struggle with whether or not to have children. I always thought I wanted to be a mom, but now I don't know if it's the kind of responsibility I can handle. I'm a lot like you in the worrying department. I worry and have anxiety now, and I know it will only be ten fold with little ones. So while I can't sympathize with you, I can understand your feelings completely. I have complete confidence that you're a fabulous mother though. Sterling is lucky to have you.

  49. Cannon says:

    This is such a amazing post. You are not alone! Your fears/thoughts are my exact worries every day and my little girl is only 13 months old! I am a only child and am extremely close with my parents. I pray every night that I will have the same relationship with my daughter. Because I had her so late in life (I am 37 yrs. old) I find it hard to meet new moms my age that aren't already in playgroups or open to meeting new mommies. With little support and a hubs that works all the time I am constantly questioning my mommy skills. Thank you for this post Natalie! You have a beautiful family and are a amazing mommy!

  50. Grace in TN says:

    This was absolutely your best post that I have read. It really hit home and your hopes for your son made me tear up. It is clear that you are a loving and passionate mom. It is hard to convey that in everything we do with our kids; we just have to do our best. Someone else mentioned love and logic and I agree their approach and philosophy are amazing. Easy to understand and apply, firm but loving, and has helped me so much with parenting. Good luck this age can be tough, but you are not alone!

  51. Laura says:

    Well I feel like everyone has pretty much already said this, but hang in there. I think kids go through difficult phases and it always feels like this is the end of the world, and how did I go so wrong, but then in a few weeks things smooth back out. The only "advice" I have is that I realized that I had really been babying my son a lot recently (he's very close in age to yours). So, I've been giving him a bit more responsibility: bring dishes from the table, pick up his toys each night, help me with his laundry. It seems to be making a huge impact on his behavior! Hang in there though, this too shall pass!!

  52. "He is that kid you see out in stores and judge the mom for not parenting better." Girl please. I promise you, NO one is judging you when Sterling acts up in stores. We have ALL been there. When I see moms who are having a difficult moment with their little one, I'm secretly thinking "Thank GOD for once it's not mine!" And any woman who would see a misbehaved child and immediately blame the parent doesn't have children or forgot what it's REALLY like in those tricky toddler years. Because you can be the best parent in the world and still NOT be able to avoid those inevitable tantrums and cranky moments. Don't let it get to you. We've all had bad days. When my daughter was two, I had MANY nights where I would just cry and cry because I felt so overwhelmed and didn't know what to do because her behavior was SO out of control. Sometimes (many times) when my husband got home from work I would go to "take a shower" and after getting out of the shower, I'd leave the water running just to sit on the toilet with my head in my hands just for a few extra minutes of "me" time while my hubs watched her. As she got older and I could reason with her better, everything changed. Sterling will get there. You are by NO means a bad parent just because he acts up or you bribe him with cookies lol! All children have rough moments and ALL moms do what they need to do from time to time for a little quiet time (ahem, my long ass "showers").

    I've been reading your blog for months and have never commented. But I was so touched by your honesty and wanted to reassure you that NO one out here thinks any less of you for the choices you make as a mom. Because you will ALWAYS know what's best for your little guy, no one else, just you. Cut yourself some slack and have faith. Oh and I think it's SO wonderful that you take Sterling to church without your husband. You are amazing. I am so in awe of what an awesome mom you are. Don't ever doubt it for a second.

  53. I don't have kids yet but I am sure I will be exactly the same way! Like Julia said, the fact that you are worrying about these things and concerned means that you are a great parent! All kids go through phases and act cray cray so I am sure it will go away with time! Just pray for your sanity until then!! You are a great mama! XoXo

  54. Just stumbled upon your blog šŸ™‚ Loving all the cool information & food!! Your little one is a cutie!!

  55. Jennifer says:

    I love this. I'm amazed at the horrible scenarios I can dream up. I can't even watch the news anymore because I take a bad situation and go through the emotions of it as if it happened to me. Motherhood is so intense. I wouldn't worry too much about giving in on the tantrums. You'll eventually teach him by example, but I think now it's just important to keep your sanity even if it means giving them that sucker šŸ™‚ I'm reading the best book called How Children Succeed. It's a game changer. It will make you feel good that you're on the right track, trust me. Love your blog!!

  56. 17 Perth says:

    Love your openness and honesty in this post! Thank you. Even though I don't have kids–I was a teacher for several years and I agree with Sadie + Stella and all kiddos go through phases! I think being present and intentional (which it sounds like you are!) are the best things you can do! You are no doubt doing a great job and I can only imagine that it is completely normal to worry and wonder if you are doing a good job. Being conscious of that undoubtedly makes you parent well!

  57. Janet Dubac says:

    I think as a parent it is really normal to think heavy thoughts like this. Part of being a parent is learning that you are going to worry, but being able to accept that. Chances are your worrying means that you are a good mom! People worry because they care, and you care so very much by the looks of this post. It is natural to always think you could be doing a better job, but the truth is you are already doing a great job. Keep being an amazing mother, you will be proud of your son in the future.

  58. Girlfriend, I worry about these things for my future children…and I'm not anywhere near having kids yet. You worry about these things because you are an amazing mother.

    I'm sure your awesome parenting will reflect in Sterling when he is much older. Brandon speaks to at least one of his parents everyday. We go home a lot… him to his parent's home and me to my parent's. I do think it varies with each man, but he still recognizes the comforts of home and I don't see that changing with age. I bet Sterling will be the same way!

    Love this post! Have a happy, happy weekend with your guests!

  59. Natalie says:

    I loved this post. I think about so many of these things now and don't even have kids yet. I don't think Sterling's behavior now is going to determine what kind of person he becomes when he's older — he's lucky to have you and Matt as amazing role models for him!

  60. You are a WONDERFUL mother and if you were not having these thoughts THAT would be a problem. All you can do is your best (which it sounds like you go above and beyond)! xoxo

  61. Just having a chance to sit down and read this post and I swear Natalie it's like you wrote the exact thoughts I have been thinking about lately with Jonah. Jonah and I have had a couple of rough weeks too with his attitude at home. He's been a "bratty" six year old and very argumentative. I thoguht maybe it's bc I've been traveling or I'm not spending enough one on one time with him. But then I got a call from his school a few days ago and they told me that he had come into the office and asked if he could adopt an angel off the Christmas tree. He said he wanted to make sure that the child got some nice things for Christmas. He handed the office admin $3 from his own piggy bank. Of course that wasn't enough to sponsor the angel but the staff didn't tell him that and they decided to all chip in and make up the difference šŸ™‚ They said it wasn't the first time he had come in and donated his own money to help someone! I started crying on the phone bc he really does have such a good heart and I hope that these little moments are a glimpse of how he will turn out as an adult. He still has never told me about adopting the angel and I haven't said anything to him either. So, with that said, I believe that bc you do worry and think about the things in your list, that makes you a great mom!Keep doing what you are doing and he will be just fine! Remember, this too shall pass!

  62. This parenting gig is so not easy! Why didn't anyone tell us that?! I have to tell you how much I really adore you, you're someone I would love to sit and drink wine and hang out with. Your posts are so real and so perfectly great to read, I find I don't have time to read many blogs anymore but yours is always one I visit šŸ™‚
    I don't know if this would make any difference with your sweet boy but I want to tell you just in case. When our oldest was 4 ish she was awful. Terrible. Kev and I would look at each other and ask what the hell we did wrong. She was angry, mean, snotty, rude, yelled at us.. you name it. Then just last summer the same thing happened with Lauren.. she was the kid at the store laying kicking and screaming. Screaming. I didn't want to take her anywhere just in case she freaked out. In both cases the girls were reacting to food. It sounds crazy, but it's true. With Calleigh, she can't have red dye. Any candy, gummies, anything red. Lauren was reacting to gelatin. Like in jello and gummie candys. I just figured out for me that gluten makes me mad and angry and agitated. So nuts.. not eating it I'm a much nicer person šŸ˜‰ Just wanted you to know just in case you can maybe narrow it down to something he's reacting to, you're an amazing mom and doing everything just perfect, so don't doubt you.. xo

  63. Kristin says:

    I couldn't agree more. I worry about my daughter all the time. I don't even like to talk about politics or watch the news because I worry what the future will be like for her. I work full time and she goes to an in home daycare with her cousins and our friends kids but I worry that she and I won't be as close as my mom and I because I miss out on 8 hours a day with her. My mom and I are super close- talk multiple times a day about EVERYTHING – I want the same with her. But what really haunts me is the constant fear of losing her – physically- I practice law and hear too many awful things daily. I'm scared to death that something could happen to her. Guess its really true what they say about parenting- its like your heart is walking around outside of your body.

  64. Follow "It Starts at Home" on Facebook. A fellow Charleston nanny with a million $ worth of advice. Her daily tips of the day are so meaningful!!!