Loving Our Kids Even When It’s Hard

Loving Our Kids Even When It’s Hard

There are some days my kids just aren’t that easy to love.

My younger (perhaps kid-less) version of myself would have gasped in horror at a statement like that.

But the truth is that kids are human beings just like all the rest of us. And sometimes they have grouchy, cranky, bad-attitude days that make you want to just give up. Nothing entertains them. The slightest thing causes fits and eye rolls, stomps and kicks, and just plain disagreeable behavior.

We seem to have been having a lot of those moments lately. And sometimes I feel so exasperated. And other times just downright angry.

But one night, after a particularly difficult day, I tucked Ace in and watched him snuggle in to go to sleep and I realized.

If we (his dad and I) don’t love him, even on the most difficult days, who will?

Who will be there to weather those awful days, sticking with the discipline even when you just want to quit?

Who will care enough to handle those eye rolls day after day after day, to work to train and shape his character into the man he will someday be?

No one.

I’m not saying we don’t have loving family and friends. But a parent has a very special role to play. It is up to us, as parents, to deal with the good AND the bad.

There’s no one we can “give him back to.” The buck stops with us. And it is a hard, hard, hard job.

But it is the most important job.

Loving Our Kids Even When It's Hard

It is effortless to love our kids on the easy days when everything goes well and everyone is in a good mood.

But it’s at the end of those hard days that I have to remind myself that it’s up to us to love them and stick with them even when we wish we could quit (and believe me, there have been days when I wonder why I ever thought being a parent was a good idea!)

How else will we teach them about life and what it means to love? Someday my boys may be husbands and fathers themselves.

And my boys will need to know how to love their wives and families when they aren’t very lovable either.

So what is an exhausted and exasperated mother to do? Here are 3 quick ways I try to show some love even in the midst of a struggle:

  1. Give a hug. Simple yet sometimes incredibly effective.
  2. Color or draw a picture with them. This can sometimes be all the distraction you (or they) need to change the pace of the moment.
  3. Go for a walk or even just go outside. This is the more active cousin of tip #2. I use this one when it’s obvious that a larger energy release is needed. The fresh air really does help refresh your spirits and the openness of the outdoors gives everyone a larger sense of personal space.

And after reflecting on those tough moments, I’ve learned that obedience is a journey, not a destination.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Loving Our Kids Even When It's Hard

I keep expecting (or perhaps naively hoping) that one day we will “arrive” at a place where my sons will have grasped the concept of obedience, have absorbed all the discipline and training, and will then be obedient.

We will plant our flag on “Obedience Mountain.” Then we will live blissfully with our obedient children and begin to tackle the next challenge.

But that will never be.

Even though we adults have achieved a certain mastery over our emotions and behaviors, we are still not “there.” We are still on the journey and that makes me realize that I have to temper my expectations.

When I accept that this whole parenting gig is really a journey and things like obedience are not pit stops but ultimate, lifelong destinations, it helps to change my perspective on this whole thing.

So breathe through those tough moments.

Give yourself grace when you realize you’re losing your patience or you haven’t handled something exactly the way you should have. (Read more at To The Mom Recovering from a Rough Day.)

And know that when your kids are toughest to love, that’s when they need it the most.

What do you do when your kids are tough to love or you feel like you’re at the end of your rope? Let me know in the comments below!

5 thoughts on “Loving Our Kids Even When It’s Hard”

  • I love the sentiment that obedience is a journey, I’m still on that journey myself! It definitely puts those struggles into perspective for me. Whenever we are having a tough time, I try for the hug option, even if it isn’t received well, at least they will know I offered! 🙂 Other times, especially if they stomp off to their rooms, I will let them go. Depending on the child, I will either go in later or just wait until they come out on their own. Giving them their own space gives them (and me!) a chance to cool down and sometimes that is all that is needed. Those tough days are really tough, but I try really hard to forgive, and ask forgiveness, and let them know that although I don’t like their behavior, we do still and always will love them:)

    • I love all this! It’s all so true. And you’re so right…the tough days are really tough. And they always seem to happen when you’re the most tired or your patience is completely gone. But it’s just another way that I’ve been learning that love is an action and not just a feeling.

  • Kristi, I found you through our Facebook convo and this was just what I needed to read this am. Last night at the end of a very long day I explained to my husband “I’m just not sure I like them anymore.” I was kind of kidding and kind of not. But, you’re so right. We’re all people with ups and downs and it’s so important to love each other through those. What a great lesson for kids. I always tell my kids I’m not just “mom,” I’m human. I mess up everyday. I over react, underreact, freak out, and have my own unlikeable moments. And that’s even when I’m trying. We’re in this together and that’s what counts!

    • ❤️❤️❤️I am so glad to know this post helped encourage you right where you are in your Mom journey!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️Lately, I feel like I need to read this one (and my other one “To The Mom Recovering from a Rough Day“) to myself every night before I go to bed to remind myself that it’s okay to have the tough days and give myself grace! And I feel like so many times we feel guilty when we don’t feel so amazing and wonderful about our kids all the time. But that’s just not reality. Knowing that my words and experiences helped you means so much and I’m so glad you shared.

      • I agree!! It’s so hard not to let those rough parts of the day be what we remember at the end of the day!! Thanks Kristi!!

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