Perfect Parent World

gianna, blog_9426Sometimes I feel like a double agent.

By day, I am the mom of a funny, happy, mostly content, toddler. I change diapers, make dinner, pick up toys, sweep Cheerios. We grocery shop and say things like, “what does the cow say?” I pick out her clothes with no fussing, lay her down for a nap with no whining and we go about our day. Sometimes we Instagram or tweet it, blog it or video it. Because that’s what you do as a 21st century parent with access to social media.

Then 3:15 hits and I become that other mom. The one who contends with eye rolls and science fair projects, high school PSAT scores and sassy attitudes. There are soccer practices and basketball tournaments, cell phone rules and driver’s education, homework and late nights. I cannot blog or tweet or gram all of that reality or I will hear a “Mah-um, please don’t post that!” {insert heavy sigh with a side of eye roll}

I’m not sure which is harder. But, the old saying that says parenthood is physically hard when they’re young and mentally tough when they’re old?

Yeah. It’s 100% true.

The thing is this, my story is starting to become someone else’s story. I’m trying very hard to tread lightly. I am ever-mindful of the powers of the internet and stories living forever. But for all that trepidation and fear, there is one thing I do know.

I must find a way to share it because as we travel these hard days of parenthood, the tween and teen years, soon to give way to driving, college-accepting years, it is the only way I’ll survive.

Writing about it. And, perhaps, helping someone along the way.

Perfect parent world used to exist at our house. Yes, we made mistakes, but I largely viewed them as bumps in the road on our way to perfection. That sounds so arrogant to even type. When I read back on some of my earlier posts there is a cringe factor. But, it’s how I was feeling at the time, so they stay.

The middle school and high school years have a way of making you honest. Or crazy. Depends on how much Dr Pepper is in the house. At present? Zero. Therein lies my problem.

We’re searching to find our way, much like we had a hard time grappling with middle-of-the-night feedings and changing dirty diapers. The stakes are higher now. The years left, much shorter. When I say we’re struggling, I know fellow parents of teens are right there with us. I pray this isn’t scaring you young mamas.

Parenthood is a series of struggles. You reach an impasse, a new road to travel and so you cry, research, call a girlfriend, pray and then forge your own way. My only advice is to stay far away from Google. Then, when the struggle re-emerges, you see the signs, make some modifications and move about your way. Dos Equis may, or may not, be involved.

Our kids are not perfect people. We are not perfect parents. Along the way, I think I forgot to remind myself that my kids are still, kids.

I know I could post about riveting things like: getting the boy stink out of your teenage son’s room or talking your kids off the ledge when they lose the basketball championship game. But, for now, I just might be tackling the bigger stuff: loving your kids even when you don’t (temporarily) like them, being sensitive to hormonal changes, finding support in your spouse and navigating the world of social media with teenagers.

You tell me. You ask, I dish and we’ll learn together.

Perfect parent world never really existed anyway.


  1. Wanda on February 25, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Yes when we have multiples across the ages this is where we find ourselves. And not to make it worse, but food for thought in this hi tech world….by the time you have been through all the “stuff” with the older ones and think you have it down, the rules will change and it will be like beginning again. Now helping with the grands, I find myself learning yet another way of doing! Bless you sweet girls! We still need to meet in Waco for coffe or ” a drink”:)))

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 8:08 am

      No kidding. By the time Gianna is a teenager I’ll have to start all over. Heaven help me.

  2. Tara on February 25, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Love this post. Feel like it wasn’t a coincidence you posted about this today! Here’s to another day of ‘perfect parenting’!

  3. Delia on February 25, 2016 at 8:20 am

    I have no advice, as I am in the trenches myself, but so appreciate your honesty and willingness to put yourself out there. Your experience (and mine) is more likely the norm, but no one is talking about it, making it even harder and more isolating.

  4. Patty on February 25, 2016 at 8:27 am

    I am right there with you! People told me it was coming but I didn’t really understand how difficult it is. It helps to remember to put love first (as you say) and also to remember I’m not alone. Doesn’t it make you want to give your own parents a hug, now that you know all the feelings and struggles they went through with you?

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 8:07 am

      YES! That, and major cringe-worthy moments over some of the things I said and did. Oy vey.

  5. Melissa on February 25, 2016 at 8:34 am

    My two oldest are in high school ….I hear you. We signed the schedule sheet for our oldest son’s senior year last night. I am at a loss on how it got here so fast, I mean he is turning 18 in September. Our other teenager turns 16 this summer …that meand 2 teens behind the wheel, heaven help me. I post very little of the teenagers on social media, pretty much just family pictures and a holiday day shot, it’s their story to tell, mine is etched in my heart. Being the mom of teens brought new meaning to me of the verse in the nativity story where Mary ponders it in her heart….I get that.
    Thanks for sharing your insight, I m off to iron FFA clothes for the banquet tonight.

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Boy did those words get me. So much to ponder. So very much.

  6. Sue Ryan on February 25, 2016 at 8:46 am

    From the parent of a almost 21 year old and a 22 year old….communication, communication, communication as always is the best advice I can share. Listening to them is very important, and as much as we wanted our kids to like us , we must be their parents not their friends! We stuck to our rules ( not necessarily the same as their friends parents or the choices of our friends with children the same ages.)

    I can honestly say I enjoyed the teen years as much as the younger years.

    PS ( the young 20’s are fun too!)

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Oh Sue, I miss you!!!!! Back in the day, I would always tell myself, “If I could approach motherhood with Sue’s sense of humor and faith, I’ll be a-ok.” Thank goodness the internet has kept us connected. I’m so glad to hear you say you enjoyed the teen years because my mama self was beginning to really worry.

  7. Jenny on February 25, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I was just having this conversation with a friend of mine a few days ago. Our oldest are 10 but man how quickly things change. I am just amazed how I went from having a small child to a kid that can almost look me in the eye…at my eye level. It happened overnight it feels. It’s so challenging yet the moments that are good with older kids are soooooo good! The conversations we have {when he lets me}, the hugs are tighter, eating out is actually enjoyable and there are so many more! I too, have a toddler at home and I feel like it’s a blessing to get to navigate 2 different types of motherhood at the same time. I actually left FB a few years ago because I just didn’t want to deal with the pressures I felt it was putting on me or that I was putting on myself due to it. Now I just blog and instagram and both have been so much more fulfilling for me. Motherhood is quite an interesting journey I must say. Nothing else in life could ever match the journey that motherhood takes us on 🙂

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 8:03 am

      You were smart. I’m a fan of those good conversations, too. It’s like a balm to the crazy. We’re raising great people, we just have to hang on during the hard days!

      • Jenny on February 26, 2016 at 8:17 am

        “Balm to the crazy” that’s my fav thing I’ve heard in awhile 😉 So freakin true!

  8. Kristen on February 25, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I’m right here with you, nodding along at every word you type. I’ve got 7 kids ages 15 years down to 3 weeks old. I would love to hear any insights you glean along your journey as many of the trials you are going through parallel my own. May God continue to Bless you and your family and guide us all through this parenting gig.

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 8:02 am

      It’s a good gig. Thank God we have each other to lean on.

  9. Maureen Davis on February 25, 2016 at 9:02 am

    God bless All! Just a note to say you are doing a wonderful Job of parenting. l enjoy reading your blogs and seeing your beautiful family. Love and Prayers. Maureen

  10. Rozella on February 25, 2016 at 9:45 am

    I can’t tell you how many times I have apologized to my oldest and explained that I’m still learning how to parent her and that will never change. Ever. She always smiles and says “i know”, She knows that we are doing the best we can, but we are only human. Keep on keepin’ on, Kathryn. You and Scott are doing an awesome job.

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 8:02 am

      Ha! I say that to Will all the time and get the same smile.

  11. Meghan on February 25, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Yes to all of this! Lately I’ve been at a loss of how in the world we’re supposed to navigate this teen to infant parenting gig! If only Texas and Wisconsin were only a bit closer, I’d stock your fridge full of Dr.Pepper and we would figure this whole thing out. Or not, but at least we’d enjoy a DP together…or two, or three….

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Or five 😉 I promise to holler when we head to Wisconsin!

  12. HollyB. on February 25, 2016 at 10:27 am

    My oldest is nearly 6, but this has been weighing on my heart as we contemplate raising our kids in a new-to-me culture, and what that may mean for teenage challenges that are far away from my own experience. Praying in advance! PS: I love that doll that Gianna is loving on! Do you remember what brand it is? Having had my first daughter a couple months ago, I’m always keeping an eye out for non-creepy baby dolls 🙂

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Oh shoot, I don’t. It was a gift from a grandparent at Christmas and I no longer have the tag.

      • Nicole on February 26, 2016 at 3:49 pm

        Hey K – I recognize that doll…we’ve had a couple around here that look very similar. I think it’s a “Corelle” doll… Here’s the website – Hope that helps! Their dolls are super sweet… 🙂

        • Kathryn on February 27, 2016 at 8:40 pm

          Oh, that’s right. Thank you!

  13. Rachael on February 25, 2016 at 10:39 am

    LOVE this post! Was just reflecting on this as my oldest 4 are home from school with a snow day and I was thinking how dramatically different it is than my usual quiet, calm days with just my two-year-old. Please never stop blogging–I glean so much inspiration from you!

  14. Maureen on February 25, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I would love some more discussions of parenting older kids. My oldest is in middle school but it is a whole different world now than when I grew up so it is hard to go to my parents for advice. I feel that there is so much discussion and “we’re all in this together” when talking about the younger years but it drops off sharply for the tween and teen years.

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 8:00 am

      I agree. Plan on me rambling about that transition and how it’s going.

  15. maia on February 25, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Can I just say that this post is one of the reasons I still click over to your blog for your perspective even though blogging and blog-reading is SO back burner for me? Writing about being a mom was great when the littles were so little – and now that they are less little, I don’t want to saddle them with an online record of Momma’s ramblings. Really appreciate the way that you put out this perspective! To one of the “blog world” moms that I admire from afar, thank you!

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Maia, those words were a gift this morning. Thank you!

  16. Jill VT on February 25, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you Kathryn! My eldest will be going into high school next year, and I have 7 all the way down to 9 months. I really worry about all the things: exposure to porn, peer pressure, whether we are passing the faith along, his lack of effort despite being very very bright, just keeping him close to us…..AAAH! 9 months is so easy, happy and lovely. It is so reassuring to know we are not alone in these worries and battles!

  17. Jill VT on February 25, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Oh and also – the mental angst that goes with teenagers and the physical challenges of having littles – AT THE SAME TIME, as I’m sure you know – have really been taxing – on me (time for anything besides family seems CRAZY) and my marriage (we are good and in love but holy crap there is not time to express it) – anyhoo.

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 7:57 am

      It’s the mental part that can wear you down. No wonder I’ve earned all these gray hairs!

  18. Nicole on February 26, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Love, love, love this post, K. I thought it was hard a few years ago…back when I had five under eight. It feels so much more difficult – balancing all of this – from tots who swim circles around me – to the tweens that are growing up all too quickly… Glad to know I’m not alone in all of this! A big hug to you from Indiana! I don’t post comments often, but I’m reading and thinking of you all along the way….

    • Kathryn on February 27, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Love and miss you, very much, Nicole.

  19. Jenny on February 27, 2016 at 5:07 am

    I’m not there yet. You didn’t scare me. I’ve been thinking a lot about it because it feels like it’s about to come so fast, seeing that the last 7 1/2 years went so fast. Thanks for the reality check, it’s strangly encouraging.

    • Kathryn on February 27, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      It does go by fast, but don’t get so caught up in what might be that you forget to enjoy what is!

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