I wrote when I was losing my mind. No, I take that back. I was not LOSING my mind — my people were TAKING it. Difference. Anyway, so many people have requested copies of this rant that we decided to let it live on the blog. Here you go. Listen: there are two ways to approach parenting: CHOOSE THIS WAY AND YOU MIGHT JUST SURVIVE.
Kay. At 2 am Child 3 shook me awake from a dead sleep to report with terror that: MOMMY! I JUST OPENED MY EYES AND IT WAS ALL DARK AND I WAS ALONE IN MY BED!! Once again, I explained that this was not a description of some shocking, unique horror but THE NORMAL PROCESS OF SLEEPING. “That’s just SLEEPING,” I said to my girl as she stared at me with a face that asked: “what is this “sleeping” of which you speak???? Is this something people DO?”
At 9 am I sat across the kitchen table, bleary-eyed, listening to Child 1 present a serious case for why he should get PAID by ME for, basically, breathing. Just breathing is what I gathered from him. Existing. Something about human rights. I don’t even know. I don’t know. What I do know is that I was so freaking tired from Child 3’s Breaking Sleeping News that I just picked up my coffee and said: “I need you to stop talking. Just stop talking. Now, please.”
At 10 am I took Child 2 with me to the store. There was a bird in a cage at the store. Child 2 spent ninety seconds with this bird. Upon leaving the store, Child 2 looked at me and said, “Mom, instead of buying me a horse, I’d like you to buy me a bird.” I stared at Child 2 and eventually said, “WHAT THE? I am not buying you a horse, or a bird, or even a popsicle. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, child? Get in the car.” It has been one full hour and Child 2 has not stopped talking about this bird. Apparently, I have ruined her life because — and I quote: “You say you value family, Mom. That bird was my family.”
I do not know. I just do not know.
Listen to me. Every time I go to speak somewhere — tired, worn out, wild-eyed mamas raise their tired hands and say to me, “Glennon, I feel like I’m losing it at home. I feel CRAZY.”
HOLD. UP. Okay: for obvious reasons, I am no parenting expert. But I know a helluva lot about crazy. And I want you to trust me on this one. I want you to write this down and put it on your fridge for me:
IT’S NOT YOU. IT’S THEM.
Listen: I spent time in a mental hospital and I am here to report that everyone, every single one of the beautiful folks I lived in there with was more reasonable than the small people I live with now. All of them.
YOU ARE GOOD AND NORMAL AND REASONABLE. IT’S THEM. The crazy is not in your head. It’s IN YOUR HOUSE. We have to wait them out. We just have to smile and wait them out. We have fought too hard for our sanity to lose it now.
Repeat after me: It’s not me. It’s THEM.
I love you. 10 hours till bedtime. Godspeed.
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ahhhh this my life… I caught my 4 year old peeing in the dog dish today! His response was that he didn’t think he could make it to the bathroom, we live in a 1300 square foot ranch he was less than 20′ from the toilet. Thank you for the new mantra!
oh my lanta, this was something I needed to hear today. I was sure I was going to have to be comitted. My three year old peed down our heat register, my one year old poured liquid soap on the floor and my six year old comes home from school relentlessly asking me for food, more food, im still hungry! i was sure my husband was going to find me on the floor under the table rocking back and fourth!
My 4yo wakes me up by LICKING MY EYELID!
Hillarious! Not sure if I am delighted or disgusted by his style 🙂
The truth of this can NOT be overstated! Seriously! I was sitting on the couch yesterday and my youngest (almost 3) came in. She looked at me for a moment, then sat on the floor and started sobbing uncontrollably.
Me: “What’s wrong baby? Did you hurt yourself?”
D2: *uncontrollable crying and some unintelligible gibberish*
Me: Baby talk to me, what’s wrong?
By this time I’m down on the floor with her convinced her appendix are bursting or something. FINALLY I get;
D2: I wanted to sit on the couch with you!
I think it was about then that I messaged my husband and told him I’d be requiring cider when he got home, and an hour alone to drink it.
I laughed so hard at the “you value family…” part! She sounds like she could be manipulitive lol. This made my night!
Oh my goodness ha ha ha ha ha! This is me at the moment, brilliantly written piece. Hope you get a good night’s kip tonight – I seem to be sleeping with one arm and one leg on the floor with an inch of mattress most nights! That’s motherly love for you x
Yesterday, when I thought I would lose my mind with ONE MORE negative word from my brood while I was simply trying to cook a meal for all of us, I tried screaming. Didn’t work. It just made my 10 year old scream back and my 22 year rant about people screaming or something like that.
Then, I tried going upstairs and kneeling beside my bed to pray the Rosary and meditate on the scripture involved. That worked! What a Savior.
I won’t let them take me down! I will remember and try to mention it to them, however, that sometimes it’s me and not them. Humility is one of my best defenses.
Oh my! I have a similar experience most mornings… our cat who is sleeping peacefully on the couch at night wakes up at about 3am and OMG it’s dark the tv is of the heating is of the people are all gone, OMG. So he starts calling out plaintively, where am I where are the people… and walks around the house, it never fails to wake us up and really I am beginning to think he is a bit senile it happens each night and each night the same OMG where are my people! Now I know it’s not me it’s him, so I feel so much better.
hahahah! I LOVE you! You give me hope girl!
Oh, my! My children must live with you. Reading this brought me to tears of laughter. You described my children and my day to perfection. Glad I am not the only one living with maniacs. 🙂
Your timing on this post was perfection. Living with two children, one of them, 16 is constantly exhausting. My son (the 16 year old) is on the roller coaster of emotions. I’m trying to keep my hands & feet inside for the ride…but those corners are a bit hard to take! I’m repeating your mantra, it’s not me, it’s not me. I already feel better. Thank you!!!!
Thank you so much Glennon for this gift. I needed it desperately after yet another crazy evening over the stress of school and homework, and melting down in the morning over- you name it! I seriously felt like I was coming undone, and cried after dropping my kids off at school! Needed this, and it came just at the right moment as I was literally questioning my own sanity! xoxo
I just reread this, and, I’m telling you, Glennon, I’m not sure I could be a mom in this world without you.
Keep on! I’m going to keep trying.
(And my kiddo doesn’t even really talk yet…)
I love you. My 15 year old homeschooled daughter didn’t want to do her school work yesterday, all day, after being told repeatedly to do it. Finally, I get an answer as to why. “Every day that I do schoolwork means that I am one day older, and I just can’t do it, because I can’t get older, because I am not ready to adult.” Well, apparently, NEITHER AM I! Lolol
That is such an awesome response! I can’t adult either!
Why is it that when kids wake you up in the middle of the night, it must be at close range? I mean, they are NEVER that close to my face during the day. WHY in the middle of the night?? I am surprised my heart hasn’t stopped yet.
Tara, your comment made me burst out loud laughing…because it’s so freaking true!
My son, who is now 36, would wake me up by getting his eyes about four inches from my eye (whichever one was closer) lift my eyelid suddenly and ask you awake Mommie? No matter how tired I was I just could not be mad at him when he was that funny. Plenty of other stuff, however!
Same here! It’s amazing how a four or five-year-old can use that little finger to wedge it between the crevice of your eyeball and your brow bone & then slide upward…. While they are 2inches away from it
I once punched my then 10 year old son in the face – The Face! – when he came in to tell me there was a thunderstorm. Yep, I thought he was a thief or something – I don’t even know. He now touches my feet before telling me anything in the dark of night.
ha ha ha ha
Glad i’m not alone…….I got 4 children….and each night seems like they are taking turn to wake me up in the middle of the night…..really close to my face…..
This totally applies to the 38 first graders I am supposed to be teaching something everyday. Glory to God they all go home at the end of the day. Teaching has instilled in me so much respect for parents. Kids be trippin.
It’s funny, Suzanne, because spending time in the evening with my 3 kids – one of whom is a first grader – gives me so much respect for teachers!! We’ll take the middle of the night as long as you take the days.
I once said to my 4 year old daughter ” I’ll give you some candy if you just shut up”. She laughed and took the candy. We’ve all been there.
Desperate situations require desperate measures! Lol!
Oh, I so needed this today. I have been awakened every.single.night by my daughter with the same shocking sleep report as your child – it is dark and she is alone. My boys would also like to be paid for merely continuing to exist. (Our summer vacation ends the day after Labor Day – and who freakin decided Labor Day could be on September 7???)
Ha! We’ve had plenty of those days. Nothing like waking up first thing in the morning and wondering how fast bedtime can come!
I loved this the first time around and love it more now that it is the first week back to school. I often feel crazy this,week. It isn’t me..it’s them. Both of them. Thanks for the reminder. Now to wait them out.
5 hours til bedtime
This makes complete sense. I am now the mother of 2 boys ages 3 and 2 months. This puts things in perspective and comforting to know I’m not the only one feeling like this.
I could not love this more, absolutely could not. ❤️
While I’ve always thought highly of you,I have to speak my truth when it comes to what I just read here.
As a mom who was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder & hospitalized numerous times for it, starting when my baby was six weeks old, I’d put a qualifier in your section that states:
“Listen: I spent time in a mental hospital and I am here to report that everyone, every single one of the beautiful folks I lived in there with, with was more reasonable than the small people I live with now. All of them.”
Because let’s be honest here – there is no way that every person on your unit was more reasonable than your children. Your statement, well intentioned as it was, sugarcoats mental hospitals and the people, like me, who unfortunately spent time there away from my children, as well as the others who weren’t parents.
I’d much rather have been with my baby and toddler, maddening as they were, than at any unit.
Yes, it’s hard as hell being a parent. Yes, it’s them, not us. And I appreciate you pointing that out and making me feel like I’m not the only one who feels this way. But NO, not every single person in a mental hospital unit is easier to deal with than a kid, even Silver Hill.
Dyane, thank you for voicing your opinion on this, and I am sorry you had that experience- it must have been terrifying. I have never been hospitalized but both my daughters have for psychiatric disorders- between the two, there were 8 stays over 3 1/2 years, so I have experience albeit different from yours and Glennon.
My girls are better and have been recovering/managing (I don’t want to give too many details, because it is both my story and not my story) from eating disorders and other psych diagnoses. The other day, one of my daughters was wearing a t-shirt from a conservation camp she attended, and on the back was a skeleton with the words “Skeleton Crew”. I told my daughter I liked her shirt, and she looked at me deadpan and said, “And yet you didn’t like the skeleton look on me a few years ago.” And then we both started laughing!
My purpose in telling this story is to illustrate that as terrifying, heart breaking and sorrowful experience those 3 1/2 years of hospitalizations were, my daughters and I are able to reframe, joke and laugh about those experiences, which I find very healing. It’s not all the time, and there are some times when what is said strikes a nerve and what was meant as lighthearted gets interpreted as callous, crass and invalidating. It’s a mine field on some days.
I wanted to let you know that you were heard, and I agree, and I also find what Glennon really funny! As one of the therapists said during one of the stays, “It’s not either or. It’s both and.”
Loving-kindness to you and your family Dyane.
Amy – thank you for this post.
Amy, I have a similar story with my now 10 yo daughter. You have given me hope that we can one day find some humor in the tragedy and crisis of mental illness and psychiatric hospital stays. I have a very sarcastic and self deprecating sense of humor that has gotten me through these 41 years of life. Thank you for your story.
You saved me in more ways in which I could begin to express. One example…I, as you, have three beautiful little nuggets (all girls ages 4-10.). I thought, (seriously) that when school had begun after this torturous, FL summer in which I referred to as, “God Help Me -Summer ’15”, that all would be well, all would be, well…great!
Nope. No way. I mean, it’s MUCH better from the summer-out-of-school thing. But, NOW we are neck up in homework, new teachers, horrible new friends and new “routines.” Don’t get me wrong here, these spawn of mine HAVE to be somewhere for at LEAST 6 hours every day. It is way overdue, and I’m glad they spend it with people that can see them in just little, cute spurts.
I love how you validated for me that, indeed, “It’s THEM.” My house contains these creatures whom shout out “MOM!” at least once a day (so kidding), that theses actions are “crazy making” and my “vitamins” are absolutely necessary in order to tend to their “emergencies” professionally & parentally (is that a word?) as well as the ever so RARE, “Really….mom, mom, mom, MOMMA, I need you NOW!”, emergencies because they forgot to tell you something earlier. This may happen several times during a 24/hr period without proper notice and I need to keep my junk ready and not freak out. And by that, I mean the, “Oh, shoot, Mama gonna freak out now!” stuff that their sweet little beings are witnessed to if necessary.
God bless you, your family and your followers. God bless my crazy, healthy family and God Bless my Dr. whom helps my very smart brain be stabilized with such miraculous intervention, in order for me be to act as a “rational” mom (person) because it’s NOT ME!
Please note: I love every little piece of each of my nuggets. I could not imagine how I could breathe without them. Sometimes it’s a tough decision as to which sauce I dunk them in, as I think of eating them, but nonetheless I love them more than I can endure.
Glendon, I love all you do and all God has gifted & guided you to do and speak for, yes, the “normal” people (moms), who just sometimes feel just plain crazy and invalidated. Normal isn’t perfect or necessarily popular to some, but I’ve come to accept that if I just keep on, keeping on, don’t hurt anyone intentionally, always intend to do the right thing, take responsibility for the wrong I’ve done, apologize, learn from it, then in the thick of this crazy, loving home & world with the babies God has entrusted me to care for (for Him), then He will show me favor and grace twice over:)
I still need you Glennon, God says so.:)
Laura, so we’ll said, I applaud your humor, grace, and transparency. God bless xox
I have ten kids. Believe me, I hear you. It is most definitely not ME. It’s THEM. I’ve known this for a long time now. That is how I have survived this long. And that is the reason I have so many kids. Because I already know that any “crazy” that happens is THEM. Not ME. I’m perfectly sane. Well, some might argue that because I’ve chosen to have ten kids (with one more growing in the belly right now, I might add) But I am not crazy. THEY are. The HOUSE is. But not me 🙂
Mother of 10.5 kids…..you are my hero!
There are days that I honestly believe you are spying on me. This is so my life. Pay for breathing — exactly. It’s a democracy right? Um, no. It is only a democracy for adults and you are not an adult. That’s right, not fair. If only the discussion/tirade ended there…
Keep posting until I believe it’s not me. Or if it is me — then it is all of us. Such comfort!
My kids are 8, 3 and 2. No they are not a year apart, no they are not 15 months apart. They are 5 days less than 9 months apart. Yeah, you read that right. Everywhere we go people ask us, are they twins? No they aren’t. They are “Irish twins”. And if you don’t know what that is, it where the second you get the older one off one bad habit, they find another while the other one starts doing the thing it took you so months to break the older one from doing. It also means you will never sleep again. My younglings like to wake up in the middle of the night but only one at a time and stay up for hours. Crazy? Yes. Me? No. Them? Yes. I am just waiting for them to be older, bidding my time and when they are of age, I am going to start waking them up randomly in the middle of the night. When they ask me why I will tell them, they started it, not me.
I will be using your genius line about them having started it…brilliant!
Good god. Less than 9 months apart!! Will they share the same school year?
I went to school with a brother and sister who were 9 months apart. They called themselves twins. In our current school district the birthday cut-off date for school is August 31. If the first one was born September – November they would be in the same grade. But many schools allow the parents to hold the child out another year.
Oops. I meant to say children with summer birthdays. It depends on their maturity and readiness. My boys were born the end of May but we felt they were ready for school. I’m glad we didn’t hold them back. Even though they are some of the youngest kids in the class they are also the tallest. They are in fourth and are bigger than 90% of all the other 4th and 5th graders! They would be Giants in the third grade!
Ruby (5 years old) was having a hard time falling asleep last night. When I asked her if something was on her mind. She said, ” I can’t decide if I should have a home birth or have my baby in the hospital.”
Yep, this is what was keeping my 5 year old up and preventing me from finishing the dishes and making sure the backpacks are ready for school and taking the dog for a walk and putting a load of laundry in and trying to pick up the five thousand shoes blocking the door to my escape.
And she told me she I hurt her feelings when I couldn’t stop laughing.
I’m sorry, my sweet baby, but you have tons of time to make this important decision but for now JUST GO TO SLEEP.
Yes, it’s them, not us. Thanks for the reminder.
This is perfect. I actually laughed out loud, causing my 4.5 year old to ask what was so funny. I told her, ” Just mamas and kids, sweetie.” Carry on, Warrior. 🙂
I have (had) one of those. My son’s been fretting about growing up to be the man of the family since he was five. It weighs heavily on him. Poor kid. I just hug him and remind him that we’ve got his back. He’s still at it, years later.
“five thousand shoes blocking the door “. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in this. I dream of the day when I can walk to the door without stepping on a shoe that should have been put away days ago…
I love this! I love your writing and blog. I am sick in bed after three days of needing to get here. I have three kids also 9,7,4. So rest is not always an option. I mean mostly never! However I took the kids out of house to sleep. One in my bed last night…..one who refuses to wear anything the moment I have to leave (4)…….and one who has attitude and demands things daily! lol! I often do feel crazy and I agree its them….I am the rational one who is not buying your baby doll a whole wardrobe and real food and formula….why you ask?!?!?! Its NOT REAL!!! Real people are starving and without clothes…..SERIOUSLY!
Spent last Sunday with our 4 year old grandson. It was exactly like spending the day with a drunk person. Strange rambling conversations, crying jags, seeing spiders where none exist, falling down randomly, passing out on the floor…I tell you these little people are precious, but Holy Cats I have forgotten how trying they can be. Wait them out, indeed!
Bwahahaha!! So true! I have two boys, 4 and 6 years old, and it’s like a frat house ALL THE TIME!!!
Had ALL THREE grandsons for 24 hours last weekend and everyone survived…just! 🙂 They are 8 1/2, 6, and 4. This normally “gaga, fun Nana” had a major meltdown about 2/3 of the way through our time together. 🙁 I agree with you. Suzie! Didn’t realize how preciously trying they could be! their dad was an exceedingly easy (and only) child so this a brand-new experience for me and, obviously, I am a LOT older now! 🙂 Don’t know how my friends who are actually RAISING their grandchildren do it! At least this article helped me feel better about my “momentary” lapse of sanity!
Oh my gosh, I’m dying laughing at this! Grammas are the BEST!!!!
This is so what I needed, I am going to post this around the whole house. As well, thank you for the laugh, the bird its my family had me rolling.
Haha! Thank you for affirming that I’m not the only one with lovable devil-children who continually test my sanity….
At exactly 11:47 pm (after a long and arduous day/ summer of battles), child number three (in a long line of difficult older siblings) proceeded to lecture me about the powers of parenting as related to Eastern philosophy of Taoism, and egalitarianism… And how I’m doing it wrong, but Taoism is the better option because, according to her 13 year old soul, “learning from my own mistakes is better than just getting handed a consequence and therefore, you have no right to take away my cell phone”.
Hello, insane asylum? I believe you have a pick awaiting your arrival. I just need to grab my purse. And my favorite pillow. I believe I’ll need to stay awhile.
Wow, as exasperating as that sounds, your 13 year old sounds pretty awesome ! Way to go!
No doubt I would have been rocking and moaning myself, but I have to hand it to your 13-year-old–that was a pretty awesome, if ill-timed argument! I survived twins (both happily grown and embarked upon their own brand of insanity now). One of my most memorable parenting moments occurred when my three-year-old son had a total melt-down on the long drive home from grandma’s house after way, way too much Christmas. We were all exhausted and on edge and my husband simply could not take any more. He jerked the car off to the side of the road, threw it in park, and declared that we were not rolling another inch until the screaming stopped. I am in a fluster, trying to figure out how to fix this for everyone (because that’s what mom’s do?) when his sister (yes, also three years old) pipes up “But, Papa, he has a right to his feelings!” Not a sound to be heard other than the ticking of the cooling engine and the grinding of my husband’s teeth for a full 30 seconds. Then he silently puts the car back into drive and off we go, in stunned silence. I am happy to report all made it home alive.
This. Right now. Is what I needed. “I need you to stop talking right now” – I wonder if I can use this at work too? Love you,Glennon!!
Because you are going through what you are going through right now, one day that very same insane child will open their mouth as an adult and your sanity will come pouring out and (after you get over the shock and the automatic question of “Who are you and what have you done with my kid?”) you will be so proud and humbled you won’t know what to do with yourself.
Because it worked – IT ALL WORKED!!!!
I, too, have spent time inpatient, and you are absolutely correct. Those people were WAY less crazy than kids.
Thank you, Glennan. THANK YOU. I think I need to try out your line where you say, “I need you to stop talking.” It would probably work better than what I ‘ve been doing, which usually involves getting cross.
Like morning coffee, this mantra sparks my soul. “It’s not me, it’s them!” Hallelujah!
Thank you! I needed this! All the parents needed this! You are the best!
Happy to say, I waited them out! But here’s a warning. Every so often one of them (and it can be a different one every time) calls or stops in to remind me that it’s them, not me! =)
Oh. My. Word. Thank you! I am ROFL because… the bird! The talking! The panic! Thank you, again, for sharing how we are in it together! Thank you for helping us rise above. We HAVE fought too hard for our sanity! <3
I just said this mantra to myself. I feel much better now. “It’s not you, it’s them” This will be on repeat all day while I am forced to take them on all the grueling tasks that lay before me.
I frigging love you❤️
You described my endless morning(s) lately….
And although I’m not a mom (I’ll rewrite your blog title ‘Dadastery’ in my head…), I’m living this same life.
I always enjoy your posts. Thanks for using your talents for the world.
My 4 year old son at some too early time this morning, “I want to go to the inside out store!”
Did I mention I have a 6 week old and a five year old?
So tired. I breathe crazy.
My 10 year old son is starting to get it. Last week he said to me “Mom when I’m talking to you and you let out that heavy sigh I know it’s time to stop talking and walk away. “
Can your 10 year old please, please, please, please come an teach my 16 year old that fact??? He has ALWAYS (not a teen thing) thought that my sighing meant he just has to keep it up a bit longer and I’ll give in.
Alas, my 13-year-old son has not yet learned that lesson.
That is a one smart kid!
I thank my sweet Lord Jesus for you Glennon. This is just exactly what I needed to hear today.