Tag Archives: parenting

Parenting All the Wrong Ways


At dinner last night, one of my best friends was describing the kind of small parenting nightmare we all run into roughly three hundred forty seven times per day.  Her son had acted out, she’d disciplined him, and now a week later she is questioning what she did.  “I put him in time out – and I just read that you’re not supposed to do ‘time outs’ anymore, so I felt really bad,” she said mid-story.

Time outs are just one of the many, many things that parents can do wrong.  By using them.  By not using them.  By using them too frequently.  By using them the wrong way.  By using them too infrequently.  Really, evidence shows that no matter how you are using or not using time outs, you are irreparably altering your child’s emotional development.  I’m sorry to break it to you.  You’re doing everything wrong.

According to Parents magazine, “Sometimes the best way to cool off a heated conversation is with a time out.”

According to an article in TIME, time outs are “hurting your child” no matter how you are using them.

One children’s hospital calls time out “a frequently used and positive intervention that can help modify children’s negative behaviors.”

Yet another therapist’s article says that time out damages a child’s “core sense of security and connection.”

What is very clear here is that nothing is.  Time out, sleep training, childcare choices, discipline strategies…we can go insane reading too much information on any one parenting subject because nothing is consistent.  And in reality, it depresses us and causes anxiety when we never know what is “right” for our children.  We stop listening to what we know is right for our individual children in our unique settings, with the parenting tools we have at hand, and start trying to slog through the mess of information that essentially tells us we can never be good enough at raising our kids.

No one strategy can apply to every single child in every home except consistent love.  I’m a fan of attachment parenting, but if that isn’t how you bond with your kids, that doesn’t mean you are less than.  Just as I am no less than the parent who never uses a time out when their child is out of control and could benefit from simple removal from the situation.

But that is not the message we get online or in “expert” books, blogs, or conversations.  And so we question our mothering.  When we question too much about our every parenting move, we get distracted by the millions of options for parenting the right way, the millions of things that are detrimental to children in every way.  We spend so much time reading about the perfect techniques for getting our children to sleep or eat or do their homework that we forget to look at our children and ask them, with our words and with our trials and errors, what will work for them.  What will work for us.

Because we’re parents, and we know.  When I slow down and watch my three-year-old, it is so much more clear to me what he needs. When I quit worrying how my actions – when they are loving intentions at the very core – are surely negatively affecting my sons or which expert opinion I read in the latest magazine issue that contradicts everything I know has been working, I can at least begin finding out what my little one needs. I still lay in bed at night and worry that I’ve done it wrong or that I’ve damaged my kids in some small way, but hopefully I am finding my own way.



We’ll Probably Survive this One Too


It’s 9:43 pm, my husband and I are sitting on our bed pretending to be asleep.  All the lights in the house, save our bedroom lamp, are off in an effort to trick Little K into getting in his bed.  He is making the long and terribly painful somewhat difficult transition from his crib to his bottom bunk bed.  This is transition attempt 2.o.  Several months ago, we converted the crib into a toddler bed because he seems ready.  He’ll be 3 in February, he screamed for an hour every night when we put him in his crib, and he wanted to be a “big boy” like his brother.  After a week of miserable, up-all-night and refusing to nap, crying while he laid behind the baby gate we had to put up to keep him in his room, we asked if he wanted the crib back.  He said yes, and we were relieved to have a corral cozy space to put him in at night again until he was actually ready for a bed.

But then he appeared to be basically potty-trained, and he needed to be able to get up at night to go.  And he wouldn’t quit screaming at bedtime.  Not to mention he’s the tallest two-year-old I’ve ever met, and his giant body looks a little silly in a crib.  So we made a big hype about the big bed, got a mattress, left the crib up to give him agency in the decision to move to the bed, and then patted ourselves on the back when he slept peacefully the first night like the big boy he was.

Two weeks later, here we are.  Huddled in the cave of our bedroom, trying to outsmart a toddler whose discovery of nighttime freedom means he has absolutely no interest in going to bed before midnight.  He’s not screaming, so that’s a win, but he’s currently playing behind the baby gate in his doorway, using moonlight and a stuffed turtle’s star projections to see the blocks he’s stacking.  The ones he pulled out of some hidden drawer because I removed all the other toys from his room in an attempt to make this not happen.

And this is how bad betimes had gotten before the big bed.  We will take covertly typing on our laptops, silently praying the kid will just tuck himself in and go the f**ck to sleep, over listening to him screech while his brother screams at him to go to sleep.  Those are the evenings of nightmares.  This is just a funny story we’ll tell him when he’s older and when we’ve all survived one more miracle of parenting.

Rainbows and Butterflies: Getting Real About Motherhood

Rainbows and Butterflies: Getting Real About Motherhood

I was really surprised at the response I got writing a blog for Greeley Moms today about being a realistic mom.  It made me realize I am blessed with friends and a circle of people who don’t pretend.  We talk about the good and the far-from-good things about parenting, and we don’t hide the tantrums (ours or the kids’) from one another.  But the comments on and about my blog post make me see that not everyone has that.  Which is really unfortunate.

Here’s the original Greeley Moms post.  Tell me what you think – are you “out” as a real mom?

A friend of mine told me recently that she likes my blog postings because I’m a “REAL mom.” This really surprised me, because I’m no more real than any of the rest of you. But what she meant was that I don’t pretend motherhood is all butterflies and rainbows. What’s unfortunate is that, that reality, that raw emoting about the ups and downs of motherhood, is not the norm…read more

Waiting Game…Get Born Post


Boiling sky over South Fork, Colorado

My boys and I had quite the experience on what should have been an idyllic family vacation this week.  Read about it over at Get Born Magazine: 

Last summer, I posted a poem about the awesome strength of Mother Nature and our powerlessness in the face of that strength.  As Colorado is scorched by heat and fire far, far too early in the season this year, our air once again grows hazy, and our sunsets take on the eerie orange glow of a sci-fi movie.   Last summer, my boys and I watched the sky change daily with the fire in Fort Collins, and my four-year-old asked every fireman he saw if they had been to fight the forest fire.  But it stayed far away, an abstract event happening to other people.

This week, forest fire became a much more concrete force...read more