My Kids Bring Out the Worst In Me

Before I had kids, I thought I was a patient person.  I did.  And I thought I was organised too.  I enjoyed planning and was able to keep the house clean and tidy; I was rarely late. I enjoyed going out and dressing up. I didn’t feel angry, hardly at all! I was poised and in control.

Here I am, pre kids, with my then fiance (now husband) at a dress-up party. All fresh faced.

my kids bring out the worst in me

And then I had kids, four of them, and I turned into a monster! I found out I was horribly (horribly!) impatient, my organisational skills cracked when the 3rd child came along and I am rarely (if ever) on top of things in the house. Plus I lose my cool, a lot.  Crazy frustration, anger even.

My kids bring out the worst in me. Every weakness is exposed, pushed, stretched. There it is, right there.

And yet, I can truly say, without hesitation, my children are the best thing that has happened to me.  Although they bring out the worst in me, with abundant measures more, they bring out the BEST in me. Absolute best.

I am more gracious.

Compassionate.

I’m increasingly tolerant of others and have learned not to judge.

I know the meaning of real love. Incredible, unconditional, steadfast love.

I am braver.

More open.

I am wiser.

Kinder.

I am real.

And stronger.

I create more, smile more, see more.

I can improvise. In fact, I’m incredible at it.

I AM more patient. Yes, I can say that now.

Patience anchored in graciousness is truer than one of only self-control.

Amazingly, despite the chaos, I am calmer, and more relaxed.

Because small joys are everywhere.

My kids have been the making of me.

Maturity happens through many areas in life, but I know I wouldn’t have the depth I have now if it wasn’t for my children.  When I look back at my former self, I had poise and control — things that made me look good from the outside. Yet children have an incredible way of exposing truth and were (still are!) instrumental in breaking down walls in my life. Walls of facade. Today, after 11 years of parenting, I feel like a mess in so many areas.  That’s what you might see from the outside, it’s true. But I’m a beautiful mess.

My kids bring out the worst in me and I’m a better person because of it. Always, always grateful to these little people in my life.

the kids bring out the worst in me

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Comments

  1. says

    Amazing post Kelly. I feel the same way. Children have stretched me in both ways but I love them too the moon and back (a family saying). Stretching is good, even the best thing ever. I am happy to be a beautiful mess too. xx

  2. says

    I am ashamed to say that having kids has brought out so much anger in me. And I absolutely hate that. But, since becoming a mum, I have had to learn so much patience – which is a good thing! There is definitely an added dimension to life and mine have grown me in ways that I never thought possible.

  3. says

    What a great post. You could have been talking about me. Kids do bring out the worst and best in us and sometimes at the same time!!!

  4. says

    I’ve only been a mum for five years, but with three boys it feels like a lifetime! I really don’t know what I would do without my kids, except sleep a whole lot more. I have changed in so many ways, and so many ways for the better. Thanks for putting in words what so many mums feel.

  5. Maxabella says

    Aw Kell, that’s so true and so beautifully observed. Kids have a knack of making us live wholeheartedly, doing they! No shortcuts allowed, it’s in with both feet, leaping off the cliff.

    And I love a pontaneous grateful post! Come link it up with us later today!! x

  6. Mel says

    i love this, I get so tired of the perfect pics of beautifully dressed kids in white (spotless houses) and mothers going on about how much they enjoyed baking, crafting ect. I like to do stuff with my kids but they (and I) always look like a mess after woods, and they usually drive me batty n the process. I constantly clean and yet my house never is truly clean. I have 5 kids and I wouldn’t be without them but I think projecting life with kids should include those moments where we all know we fantasize about running off to a deserted island, if only to get the opportunity to go to the loo by ourselves.

  7. Misty says

    Your honesty is beautiful and the so too is the way you love yourself – the core of yourself – your spirit. More Mothers need to talk about themselves in this way, just beautiful.

  8. says

    I absolutely love this … and so so true. All the joy and frustration and hard times has carved out a depth in me that would never have been there, if I wasn’t the mum of my guys.

    xxx

  9. Lyndall says

    It is so good to know I am not alone with this feeling. I could have written your first paragraph word for word from my own life! The truth of who the real me is, as revealed by motherhood, is absolutely shocking as I find myself daily grappling with anger and frustration… and I have only two kids! I am dismayed at how I can get so enraged around these little people who I love so much. I have learned that I am so selfish at the core, and my anger radiates from it. I am trying hard to work on this with God’s help and guidance.

    The second half of your post has given me some positive perspectives – encouraged me to look at the positive elements of what my journey of motherhood has seen develop in me. Sometimes its easy to dwell on the negatives, isn’t it.

    Thanks again!

  10. Gail says

    I also could so relate finding the first paragraph as if it was written about me. But yes, I also have learnt so much and grown so much in my 9 years of mothering. Can also relate to Lyndall above! :) But wouldn’t change it in the world.

  11. says

    It’s rare to find someone willing to share the hardships of being Mum as well as the joys. I am often to the point of furious frustration and yes life has certainly changed but I’d never change a thing (other than perhaps a fairy godmother from time to time to clean up the house lol).

    It’s madness how often I beat myself up for not being the “Perfect” mum and wife…I learn each day.
    ciao lisa x

  12. says

    I thought I knew myself and had arrived at who I was. Then the kids came along and I could not have imagined how much more I had to grow and change. After initially feeling lost as a mother, grieving for what was the “old me”, I then realised there was a whole new dimension to my life as a parent that was enhancing the old me. It wasn’t that I lost the old me, I was being moulded into “the new me”, a richer, deeper and fuller life, despite the ugly revelations under my surface too, such as anger, impatience, selfishness, etc. Thankfully, you can pick up the dirty, tarnished pieces of our nature, and polish them fresh and shiny. What a rewarding journey and I wouldn’t, at the depth of my heart, have it any other way —- no matter what I might mutter under my breath in a sleep-deprived haze when the baby has woken me for the umpteenth time overnight over the past 16 months!

  13. says

    Thank you so much. I can relate to this a lot. I don’t feel very patient, kind, etc. of late, and yes there is a lot of chaos around me, but I hold on to the hope that this journey is going to teach me SO much and be worth every bit.

    Thanks again

  14. says

    OMGosh! I cannot thank you enough for publishing this post! I so often feel like I am failing miserably at being a Mum because my kids bring out the worst in me, and then you have those priceless golden moments that no amount of cloud could cover the glow of. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the first time ever I feel like someone gets me, and that I am not failing too badly! Kim :)

  15. Nicole says

    I would like to echo all of the above feelings. Before kids I was so tidy, clean and organised – almost to the point of being obsessive compulsive. But having kids has taught me to let go (rather reluctantly) of the need to have a clean and tidy house (an impossible feat with 4 year old twins and an 8 month old). I too feel that I have little patience at the moment and snap at my kids rather too easily. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one, but I still view it as a rather large failing in me. I keep reminding myself that they are little human beings and how I speak to them is how they will learn to speak to and relate to others. I am trying my hardest to lead by example. I can’t imagine my life without my gorgeous kids and, in all honesty, have no idea what I did with all of my time pre-kids. Anyway, am off to play lego and princesses now…the washing can wait! :)

  16. Kelly says

    As someone who feels like she is in the trenches at the moment doing combat with my kids, this is a timely post. Looking at all the great things that they bring out in me is a good thing. Today is an ok day, or at least this hour is (though my smallest person is asleep, so that helps!) and I hope that as my days go on, that the flow changes, there are more good hours than bad, God willing.

  17. Charmaine says

    Those sure are some priceless jewels around your neck there ;) I totally agree, I often look back and wonder what happened to me and where the ‘old me’ went but then I look on the faces of my two beautiful angels and know that the ‘old me’ has nothing on the ‘Mummy Me”!!

  18. Vicki says

    Hi Kelly,

    I’ve only just discovered your blog via FB and love it.

    Today’s post rang loud and clear for me. I thought I would be a great parent, however I do find it challenging and incredibly draining – juggling the lives of 4 family members instead of just myself is hard. I tend to shout more than I used to and become frustrated very easily and of course that doesn’t mean I don’t love them any less, it’s just a learning curve. I hate being thrown into the deep end or being taken out of my comfort zone and sometimes when you have kids that happens.

    Great Blog, I look forward to reading more.

    V :)

  19. says

    Awesome post! Love the raw honesty, sometimes I think I was better off before kids and then I remember how much more I love life and are a happier person now they are in my life.

  20. HappyBunch6 says

    I couldn’t agree more! Some days. (like today) are a nightmare. I end up screaming like a crazy person, crying. My grandmother died yesterday, she and I were close beyond explanation. My children chose today to fight, destroy their rooms, throw dirty nappies on the bedroom floor and then place clean clothing on top of them, rough house. I want to run screaming from the house! But, what would feel the best is to snuggle up on the couch with all four of the tyrants, sip cocoa and read a story. I wish being a good Mom were easier.

  21. Jetts says

    Loved this post so much I have to comment! This all rings true to me, especially the depth of compassion you can develop. Very uplifting, love it, thanks Jx

  22. Tracy says

    Thankyou for writing this. I only have one child but I can relate to everything you wrote. It had made me realise that i’m not alone in my feelings and that they are obviously normal. I do my best everyday, but still feel it isn’t good enough. Then when I have a bad day or days, I feel so much more inadequate. Thankfully the bad days are much fewer than the good and fantastic ones. My daughter is my world, I wouldn’t be without her.

  23. Kglly says

    Love this post! I can really relate to it and smile about that fact :)
    I love my girls xxx

    I love that most mums feel the same way inside,

  24. Michelle says

    Good, honest post. A great insight to what life is really like with children. Of course we all have these great ideals of how amazing motherhood is going to be. Fantastic images enter our heads of how we will raise our child/children, what we’re going to allow or not, before we even get there. And of course motherhood is truly amazing. But when we actually achieve motherhood it is of course totally different to what we expected. And of course some of the ideals we thought we definitely wouldn’t do in a million years, is what we end up doing just for some sanity. In a couple of weeks I will have been a mum for 15 years. And I still think I am an impulsive, unorganised, stressed out, screaming banshee some days. Which of course makes me feel awful, but sometimes my kids drive me to distraction! But what melts my heart and makes everything worth it, is when all 3 of my girls (even my nearly 15 year old) tells me that they love me and that I am the best mum in the world, and that I am so caring and fun! Being a parent is a blessing and I am so blessed with my kids. I can’t remember what it is like without kids, and I wouldn’t swap any of it for the world.

  25. Erica says

    I have only one child. She has just turned 4. I’m ashamed to say, that having her has (until only just lately) put me off ever having another one, in case he/she turns out the be as difficult. I hate it that I feel that way. I love her to death, but EVERYTHING has been a struggle ever since she came into our life. The biggest thing is probably the financial struggle as we had her right around the global financial crisis hit and my husband being a builder – just plain ran out of work. So we lived between scant paychecks, me typing from home to add a little extra and mostly on the 4 credit cards we had somehow amassed over the years. Before we new it, we were behind on our mortgage and $45,000 in debt on credit cards. We had to sell our beloved first family home to pay everything out and are now renting. We had a massive falling out with my parents over Hannah as they have (or had – he is dead now, thank god – not that that’s changed anything much in them) a vicious and untrustworthy dog, who tries to bite ME, let alone a baby, and he has already bitten the granddaughter of one of my parents neighbours. Therefore, my daughter who as I said is now 4, has not been inside her grandparents house since she was about 4 months old. And never will – as they still refuse to put their only grandchild above the dog and lock it away while Hannah is there. My husband and I’s relationship has turned to absolutely crap since all of the above. We never have sex. Not that we used to have it very often to start with, but something is at least better than nothing. There is no intimacy in our life. None at all. He has been forced to start taking jobs that are far away and generally all over the state. He builds those big sheds that house massive farm machinery etc. He is gone from 2am Monday morning and does not return until usually around midnight on Friday nights. He is exhausted when he is home and is not able to really find the energy to participate in our life in the brief moments that we are afforded his company. I feel that I am a single parent really, but worse I guess, because at least a single parent can date and/or get affection from an outside source. I look at my friends whose husbands work away on the mines. Their husbands are on a regular roster, so they know when he is going to be home or away and therefore are able to plan ahead and organize outings etc. Not me. I have no idea from one day to the next when or if my husband will even be home. I can’t make any plans for us. I just sit at home and wait. Wait for the phone to beep with an incoming message which might contain a hint of when I might be able to expect him home. He has taken to either not telling me or lying outright so as not to upset me, so I don’t really know what to believe when the message comes anyway. Hannah asks when Daddy will be home. Soon honey. I don’t know honey. Maybe he will tell us tonight honey. I look at my friends whose husbands work away but have regular rosters. They pack up their 4 wheel drives in anticipation of dad’s arrival home, and ride off into the sunset for some fun filled, quality time with the family, spent fishing and camping out yonder. Probably some place I know we’ll never go. It wouldn’t be so bad if I knew when we were going to have some time off together perhaps, so I could plan for us to do something together at least. My daughter is 4 and has never been to the Zoo, or the city or pretty much anywhere other than Collie, which is the one time of the year when I know he will be away from work between Christmas and New Years – simply because he CAN’T go to work then as they company is closed between Christmas and New Years. So every year, we spend an obligatory painful lunch at his mother’s house, go home and pack up the car for the only time we get to spend together in a whole year. 365 days. And we get about 5 or 6 of them together at once – if we’re lucky. That’s it. In a year. But those circumstances are not going to change in at least the next 5 years. So what do I do? Should I just start planning my life without him in it, and if he happens to be home at a time that I have something scheduled then he can just tag along? Then again, my girlfriends have taken to not even bothering to include me on their outings as all their husbands now know each other and get along. I get the feeling the leave me out out of pity. Either that, or it makes them awkward to have a woman there alone when the rest of them have their husbands there. I don’t know. I just know that I am incredibly lonely.

    • says

      Hi Erica. I hear your pain. Sorry things are so tough for you. I can relate to not being able to plan ahead and that sort of thing because it’s the same at our place. Personally, I’ve worked out that I have to create a life for myself and the kids apart from my husband because of his work — I don’t wait for things to happen or for him to be around…and my husband fits in where he can, how he can (and he works really hard to do that too). Over the years, we’ve found a bit of a system that works for us but it’s still very tough on family life.

      In my experience there are periods in family life — years sometimes — that are tough. Sometimes there are things I can change…and if I can’t, then I accept and make it work the best I can. It’s all learning and investment. That’s been my journey.

      Wish I could give you a hug! Sending you love. x

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