Pour Your Heart Out: In a Quiet House

IMG_1111 At the end of the night, when the house is quiet, I tell myself I will do better tomorrow.

I look at the sleeping faces of my boys, so innocent and sweet in their dreams.

And I realize how young they still are and how entitled they are to their mistakes. Knowing they don’t do things intentionally to push my buttons. That it’s the exuberence of youth that spills over and makes the noise and messes that I have such little patience for as the day is winding down.

And yet I still yell.

For them to stop, be quiet, leave each other alone, leave me alone.

It’s not any one thing they’ve done. It’s the culmination of everything from the entire day or maybe days upon days that each feel a year long until it adds up to just too much.

And so I lose my patience.

I yell. I say things that could break their feelings, as my youngest says when he’s been hurt by someone.

I don’t want to.

I want to remember to count to 10 before I open my mouth.

To take a deep breath.

To lower my voice and watch my tone.

Because they are only little kids.

Little kids who aren’t to blame for their mom being tired and out of patience.

And in the quiet of the dark house, I promise myself that I’ll do better the next day.

When I start to mentally beat myself up for I try to remind myself of what I’d managed to do right that day.  The hugs and smiles, the words of encouragement, the countless times I say I love you. Does it all balance out?

Or does only the way the day ends count?

I sigh and wonder if I’m the only mom who wishes she had more patience, who needs to work on holding her tongue. Who makes these same promises over and over. Who knows that sometimes, she really does do better the next day and other times, she’s right back where she started, gazing down at sleeping faces with an apology in her eyes.

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    • Shell says

      Hubs was laughing at me yesterday for how quickly my oldest can push my buttons. I think it’s because he’s so much like me. 

  1. says

    You are most definitely not the only one. I do this daily too. I also do it with life in general. Today will be the day I have more energy… am more organized…exercise… have time to play with the children. I think that every morning and then I get home and I’m spent… exhausted and get to nothing, but I always try to start the next day with the same renewed good intentions.
    Single Mom in the South recently posted..A Dating Double StandardMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Oh yes, with everything else, too. I’ll get the house organized, cook a better meal, exercise more, eat better… on and on. 

    • Shell says

      It feels like it’s just me… but from all the support on this post- I see I’m far from alone. That helps. 

  2. says

    I’m not a parent yet but I wish on a daily basis for more patience (more than I already  have) because of people making not the best decisions around me.  Its life and each day I’ll just have to try again to make sure we’re all doing our best.
    Julie recently posted..Bullseye!My Profile

    • Shell says

      Oh yes, and pre-kids it was all about wanting to do better the next day with something- exercise or organization. 

  3. says

    I bet you do a lot better than you think. If you were really that impatient w ith the boys they would eventually lose that noisy childish exuberance so they didn’t get the yelling in return. But apparently you do not yell that much because they are still your noisy rough and tumble boys.
    Making It Work Mom recently posted..Awkward Birthday Present DebacleMy Profile

  4. says

    I’m right there with you. Some days I wish I could have a do over, and actually keep the yelling at bay. They know our love and our heart though, and that matters above all.
    Kimberly recently posted..Daily BuzzMy Profile

  5. says

    I wish for do-overs days, too. I just think that if I could do it one more time I would have said *this* instead or I wouldn’t have said *that.* I think it just comes along with this whole motherhood thing, doesn’t it? 
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..WeirdnessMy Profile

  6. says

    Oh, you are definitely NOT alone!
    There are many nights where I find myself promising to do better the next day. To not yell as much. To play and laugh with them more.
    All I can really hope is that they remember all the fun we had together and not the times I yelled at them.
    OneMommy recently posted..Kindergarten NervesMy Profile

    • Shell says

      That makes me feel better. You always seem to me like a mom who has it together. So knowing even you make mistakes is comforting. 

  7. says

    God, I hope it is not just the end of the days that is remembered. You are so in my head with this one. It’s a daily prayer at night, “Please, God, let tomorrow be better, let me be better tomorrow.” You are most definitely not alone.
    AnnMarie recently posted..Tidbits for New BloggersMy Profile

    • Shell says

      It’s so hard at the end of the night. I lose whatever patience I can muster during the rest of the day. 

  8. says

    It’s as if *I* wrote this. seriously. I have really been trying to be SLOW to anger, but I have such a fast tongue. :( Every mother is tried, and it is very apparent that you love those sweet ones so much. If we didn’t question ourselves, I think THAT would be bad parenting. Ugh, being a mommy is SO hard. Keep your chin up and focus on the good. 
    Teresa recently posted..fear no evilMy Profile

  9. says

    You are so, so not alone. I have thought this, I have done this, I have written this. It does all balance out, and you can’t punish yourself. You just have to be better the next day. That’s all that any of us can do!
    Marta recently posted..Called Myself Beautiful.My Profile

  10. says

    Not alone at all. I didn’t have patience before kids and I think I have even less now! I hate that end-of-the-day guilt when you realize just how many times you screwed up throughout the day. And if we can remember it and improve – even a little – every day? I think that makes us damn good moms.
    Natalie recently posted..Where I’ve Been This Week 2012: Week 8My Profile

    • Shell says

      I don’t really remember mine losing hers, either. And I imagine she had to. My brothers and I liked to find trouble. 

  11. says

    yes. YES. Always, every day. I pray and promise, more patience, more ME, more of the stuff that counts.
    To the boys, to the writing, to John, to MYSELF.
    It isn’t always easy, but I think that the KNOWING that we need to do it is the first step every single day…and when our rope is fried, we remember the shoulders of the people beside us that are struggling with it too..and we lean.

    LOVE YOU. xoxo
    Kir recently posted..Everything She Wants is Everything She Gets {Master Class, WOE, Trifecta, Scriptic}My Profile

    • Shell says

      That’s so true- knowing we need to change can be a first step. If we don’t think we need to improve, that’s probably where the problems come in. 

  12. says

    I have the same conversation with myself nearly every night. The kids are acting exactly like they should at 4 and 2, and yet I always end up yelling. Even in the moment, I can see where I’m heading and it’s just so difficult to turn it around. I’m endlessly thankful that my kids are forgiving and happy to see me in the morning.
    chimomwriter recently posted..The end of a marriageMy Profile

    • Shell says

      It is totally normal kid-behavior. I try to remind myself that they aren’t doing anything on purpose to irritate me, it’s my issue, not theirs. 

  13. says

    Your post, Shell, is hitting home for me…I totally get it. I, too, end up every night thinking about the day, what went right, wrong, are my kids happy? Sometimes I put so much pressure on being the best mom possible, but that only leads to more stress for me and the kids. I’ve been trying to let go more, really be present, listen (since I’m sometimes plugging away on my laptop!) more, and if I yell or lose patience, I try to forgive myself. It’s hard, but we can do it. Thanks, Shell, for your honesty.
    PS. What a cutie!
    Lisa Consiglio Ryan recently posted..Winter Renewal Red Lentil Soup RecipeMy Profile

    • Shell says

      We can always do better. It’s hard not to put that pressure on ourselves to continually be better and better. 

  14. says

    I had the same emotions this morning…I’m not feeling well and I felt like Nolan was just trying to do everything to bug me…sigh there is always tomorrow right? We can keep trying.
    Natalie recently posted..My Go-To MealsMy Profile

  15. says

    Bless your sweet heart! Oh how I have been there and I do the same thing sometimes even with my grandchildren… I’ve been praying for patience for years and the Lord has blessed me. I’ve come a long way but I have a way to go. God’s not done with me yet but when I talk to my four grown children they seem to remember the good over the bad… I think we’re harder on ourselves than our children are on us in the long run. Thanks for sharing your heart. Your children will rise up and call you blessed :) 
    Kathleen recently posted..We Are Created for God’s GloryMy Profile

  16. says

    So well said. I actually got a little choked up. This is me, almost every morning. I get so frustrated with my oldest because he is moves slow in the morning, and notices everything so he stops getting ready for school to pick up a toy or kick a soccer ball and I yell. And he looks at me like I’m breaking his heart because he isn’t doing it on purpose to piss me off. Thank you for sharing, it helps knowing I’m not the only one beating myself up.
    Coreen recently posted..To Pee or Not To PeeMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Oh yes, the mornings. When I’m rushing my boys out the door and OMG, can’t you just find your shoes???? Stop playing on the iPad and get your backpack! Get out the door! Now!!! 

      Every. single. morning. 

  17. says

    No, no, no and no– to answer all of your questions.  No, you are not the only mom I do that same thing everyday.

    My mom was so patient I don’t ever remember her getting upset.  When I got married my dad even gave me a father’s blessing and one of the things he said is that I would learn to have patience like my mother.

    Well almost 12 years later and I am still learning– still ending way too many days with too many regreets, to many needed promises to do it better.  

    But you know sometimes I wonder if I just don’t remember the times my mom lost her patience– maybe I knew she loved me so much and that she cared about me that over time that is all I remember.  It gives me hope that as long as I do keep trying, do keep praying for that patience which eludes me too often– that someday my kids will remember me as being so patient and loving. 
    Emmy recently posted..The Best Book for Dinner TimeMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I like to think that- that you just don’t remember and that our kids won’t remember either. That they’ll just remember the love. 

  18. says

    I feel completely the same way. The worst part is, I lose my patience with my daughter thinking she’s just being cranky and whiny, soon after I realize it’s because she’s not feeling good then I feel like the worst mother in the world. 
    Venassa recently posted..I’m Wondering WednesdayMy Profile

  19. says

    Many days I wish I could take things back or have a redo. But we are only human. I have been working on the same thing and with God’s acceptance, love, and guidance, I think I can do better. But there will alway be those times where I wish I could have done it differently. It’s part of being a mom, part of wanting to be a better person. I like you, always secretly hope it’s just not me 😉
    Kelly recently posted..Courage Takes FlightMy Profile

  20. says

    So true! Yesterday was one of those days for me. My kids (and everybody else) were on my last nerve. They really weren’t even being that bad, I was just tired of being ignored, tired of them doing things I’ve repeatedly told them not to, etc. And I snapped at them, again and again and again. Don’t know if it was hormonal or what? But I feel like I yell at them so much. Sometimes I wonder if that is what they know of me, someone who yells? Which is the complete opposite of how I am otherwise. I am even-keel. A sweet, nice person, as everybody used to always say. But do my kids know that? With 4 kids there is always someone to correct, get onto, discipline, whatever. I just go from one thing/person to the next with something negative to say it seems and it makes for a not real happy mom either. But how to change it? It’s really hard. I agree – I hope all the other moments outweigh the negative. It DOES usually all come together at bedtime. Books, prayers, and mother/daughter chats – once they’re FINALLY ready. And then I don’t have time for those things, but I do them anyway. I think they’re worth it. Then hubby is bothered because he doesn’t know what’s taking me so long. Sorry dear, but those moments are critical. If that’s the hour that they come then so be it. But 30 minutes before that? Not so pretty. I think all of us moms share your feelings on this one.
    Kimberly recently posted..My ValentinesMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I can see that now. There’s always the worry that some perfect mom will come in and be like you yell at your kids? You’re a terrible mom. 

  21. says

    You are definitely not alone Shell. I feel like I go through this every single day – every single day I make that promise to myself and my boys that I will try harder the next day and not yell and not lose my patience. Sometimes I don’t, sometimes I do. We keep trying.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Sneaking in workoutsMy Profile

  22. says

    I definitely go through this too, believe me you. Just as it makes you feel better to hear that you’re not the only one going through this, reading all the comments from moms who go through the same thing makes me feel better too. Being a parent is not easy! We are not perfect! Those are the two most important things to remember. You children wake up loving you no matter what. It’s also important to be firm with them, especially when it’s bedtime. My son cries hysterically and asks for milk and juice and cereal and markers and paper all when it’s time to go to sleep. It can get really frustrating, and I often yell too, but we cannot beat ourselves up over it. We, as moms, heap way too much guilt upon ourselves. Thank you for sharing these words…because I was literally thinking and feeling the same way the other night… watching my son as he peacefully slept I felt badly for how things had gone right before then. But he woke up happy and loving the next morning. It will all be okay!
    Xiomara| Equis Place recently posted..Tragedy of Errors: A Rape StoryMy Profile

  23. says

    I feel like this is me every single day. I lose my patience often during school, b/c I know that the whining and complaining wouldn’t happen in a regular classroom. Those are the days I want to drive to the nearest public school, throw my kid our at the front office, and pull away as fast as I can. Then, the day winds down and find myself realizing they’re just kids. It’s so hard to the moms we want to be in our hearts, but I think we have to remember it’s the heart that really matters. God knows our hearts and even at the end of a long day the boys know our hearts too. I hope anyway. 

    I was too afraid to hit publish on my post yesterday. I had one drafted but I’m still not at peace about it. So…I baked instead. 
    Adrienne recently posted..If only life were this simple.My Profile

  24. says


    Sounds like you could use a good squeeze. Every time I come here I think of what a wonderful mom you are. I have to imagine it’s only natural to lose your patience now and again. And pausing/counting to 10 is a lesson in self-editing I don’t know that I can do myself. 

    At the end of the day, take pride and comfort in the fact that you are raising boys who know just how much you love them. And they love you all the same, even if mommy has an off day every now and then. 

    XOXO you are a wonderful mom, Shell. 
    Charlotte recently posted..keep her in your heart for awhileMy Profile

  25. says

    At the end of the day, we all have regrets about how we mothered our kids that day. You are part of a BIG family. :-) Don’t beat yourself up too badly. God’s mercies are new every day.
    Mare recently posted..Sweet, Sweet DayMy Profile

  26. Angie says

    Sigh. I know this feeling all too often. Not too long ago I actually had to apologize to Zach bc I got angry at him over something trivial

  27. says

    Oh my goodness, I feel this way ALL THE TIME. Not just at home, but at work. Like, what could I have done better? A MILLION THINGS.

    Today, I got all worked up about laptops not being plugged in properly. Because I’ve told them again and again how to put them up. Told them I was gonna lose my mind. Took a deep breath. Changed my tone of voice, the bell rang, and I told them all to have a nice day. One of them noticed and say, “Wow. You changed moods quickly.” I just laughed and said, “Yep. I calm down pretty quickly. Just have to take a deep breath and move on.” But honestly, why do I get worked up over something so little in the first place?
    Teresa recently posted..Car rides from HellMy Profile

  28. says

    You just went over mine and most of my friend’s day to day lives. It is so hard to be everything we want/need to be for our families. Some days I can keep my cool and sometimes I have steam blowing from my ears.

  29. says

    I have been fighting this same battle lately and being really critical of myself. I’m trying to focus on the good and remember that none of us are perfect.