I am really trying, but… (when intentional living is met with resistance)

I am really trying but (when intentional living is met with resistance) - One mom's story of trying to make the most of the day, but struggling to embrace it.

I’ve been struggling to feel connected to my life. Perhaps that sounds silly, but I bet that you know what I mean. At times it feels like my entire goal is to make it through the day. Then I turn around and do it all again the next day.

It is like I am waiting for that moment when my real life starts, but this IS my real life. Do I feel this way because I’m still waiting to feel like a real grown up? Is it because there seems to be a lack of deep purpose behind preparing meals, doing laundry, and picking up toys? It is because my spiritual life needs a tune up? Or is it simply the constant level of stress that comes from having little ones?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not depressed. I’m not sadden with my state of life. I just feel like I’ve lost my focus somewhat. I’m living day-to-day without fully embracing it.

I want to embrace each day and cling on to these moments with my little ones. I know that in a flash they will be grown and I will desperately long for a do-over.

I don’t want to live with regrets. I want to live intentionally.

So today I tried.

Our day was wide open and I decided we would make today all about enjoying the fall season. The first stop was a pumpkin patch to pick up pumpkins we will carve later today.

Noah and the wagon

It was adorable. Noah was determined to pull the wagon.

Grace spent a lot of time looking closely to be sure the pumpkin she picked was perfect.

pumpkin patch

They smiled and let me take the classic we-are-at-a-pumpkin-patch-look-how-cute-we-are pictures. It was fun.

But it was also not fun.

There were too many choices and they struggled to pick a pumpkin. They cried and fussed when I pulled out my camera. They whined. They fought over who got to pull the wagon. Someone wanted two pumpkins when I said they could only pick out one.

Eventually we picked out the perfect pumpkins, bought some apple cider, and headed out to get doughnuts. Drinking apple cider and eating doughnuts was the next autumn activity to do today.

pumpkin patch - Grace

Once home we had a lunch of apple cider, doughnuts, and cheese sticks. It wasn’t healthy and I was proud of myself for allowing them to eat doughnuts for lunch.

Then the whining started. Someone was mad that they weren’t eating a chocolate doughnut even though they had picked out blueberry. I explained that we would all split the chocolate doughnut later when we carved the pumpkins.


Later wasn’t a good enough answer. There was a lot of complaining until I put my foot down and said to knock it off.

pumpkin patch - noah

Next up was a game of Candy Land. Look at how intentional I was being! Playing an organized game with my little ones that will teach them about colors, taking turns, and playing by the rules. I am such an awesome mom.

Until I won.

Then there were tears. Lots of tears.

Little feet storming up the stairs.

Gasping sobs and the awful words, “You don’t even love me!”


I am trying. I am really, really trying. I want to be a good mom. I want to be an intentional mom. I want to embrace the days with my little ones and cling on for dear life, but…

It is so hard.

It is hard to live with a constant level of chaos. Constantly teaching life lessons. Constantly feeling like what you offer isn’t good enough.

pumpkin patch - grace's pumpkin

One pumpkin per person wasn’t enough.

Doughnuts at lunch weren’t enough.

Playing a game wasn’t enough.

And I bet that later tonight when we carve the pumpkins, somehow it won’t be enough.

Can you relate? Are my words connecting with you? I’m not unhappy with my life. I don’t regret my children for an instant. I don’t want to wish away any of this, but it is still hard.

Parenthood is hard. Intentionally living in each moment is hard. Not taking this stage of life for granted is hard. Focusing on what is right in front of us instead of the dreams that are ahead of us is hard.

But I’m willing to keep trying. Are you?


  1. Oh mama. I remember these days SO SO WELL. It is so hard to have a beautiful plan for a memorable day … only to have it end in memorably, but not in a good way! Oh yes.

    I think a big, big part of this is just the reality of little ones. I have to say that as they get older, it maybe isn’t perfect, but it’s more rewarding for moms. There is less bickering and more “this is fun!” “let’s do this again soon!” and those kinds of things.

    I love your heart and I know exactly what you mean about just making it through day-to-day. I also know you well enough to know your children are deeply, deeply loved and you are doing a GREAT JOB.

  2. I get this so much. Sometimes the overall parenting picture is full of hearts and rainbows, but the nitty gritty day-to-day really sucks. Bleh. Soldier on, mama. xoxo

  3. We had lunch at the mall yesterday because that’s what they wanted (they being the 4 and 2 year old). It went fine, they ate well, but as we were walking out, they were running around, not by me and almost knocked down one of those elderly mall walkers. Made me not want to take them back to the mall for a long time. While our intentions were good and some of it was fun, some of it was DEFINATLY not. Oh well, we still do the best we can, and I cheer for the little victories that show me they are growing.

  4. Thank yo for expressing what often weighs heavy on my heart. Motherhood is so bittersweet. Keep calm and Mommy on!

  5. I hear you on this, Rebekah!

    It really is so hard. Especially when we are trying, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough.

    This story reminds me of a time when I had a horrible day, but we happened to get one nice picture while out and about and a friend posted it on Facebook. If I didn’t know the true story, I may have even been a little envious or wondered why I couldn’t have such an nice time when I go pout with my kids. It reminds me that the pictures we see online are only part of the story. That there is so much struggle that we don’t see.

    Hugs to you. I love your heart and your efforts to be a good mom. You ARE a good mom. Your kids are blessed to have you.

    I love that you ended by saying you were willing to keep trying. I’ll keep trying right along with you.


    1. Amen. The bright and shiney pictures we are online are only a glimpse of the story.

      It feels a little uncomfortable to pull back the curtain and reveal some of the real dirt behind the scenes, but overall I think it is best for us to share some of the dirt from time to time. It lets us all know that we aren’t alone with the struggle.

  6. Oh how I relate to this friend! Seems like this happens more often than not. Sometimes I think it’s my own expectations for having a “perfect” day getting in the way. Thanks for sharing and for the encouragment to keep trying to be intentional even when it doesn’t go as planned. And I think you’re an awesome mom for planning such a fun day for your kids!

  7. I laughed as I read this… not because it was funny but because it’s so liberating to read that I’m not alone in the joyful chaos of parenthood. I do feel there are days when all I do is get through it to get to the next day.

    This entire week has felt that way. Then tonight we’ll all go trick or treating. A break from the monotony. But I’m sure there will be fights and melt downs along the way. I just keep telling myself that I’m doing the best I can and that I’m a good mom and you are, too!

      1. Oh, there were meltdowns! My 12 year-old started it off and it ended with the 2 year-old. And the 12 year-old and the 6 year-old got into a fight in the middle of trick or treating. But most of the time it was a fun Halloween.

  8. Oh heavens…this spoke loudly to me this morning. I appreciate you sharing your tough moments. I’m trying to advocate for more honesty from moms. The hormones took over my body after having Caroline. It was the worst time of my life…you know, the fight or flight response feeling. Well, maybe not. I hope it’s not just me, but either way I was totally blindsided by the feelings and overall change of day-to-day life. I struggle frequently when Caroline’s strong will makes my head start to spin…and then there goes the day.

    It’s always good to hear that other moms don’t have it all together, especially when you see all the perfect happy pictures on facebook. Maybe we should all post a picture documenting the rough moment/temper tantrum/sleepless night/screaming match. A quote I found awhile ago says “Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel”. Sigh.

    Thanks for posting!

    1. I LOVE that quote, Jen!!! So true. So, so true.

      Do you think you were experiencing postpartum depression? I didn’t struggle with that, but I know many women do and it is no joke.

      I’m glad you saw the value in me sharing my bad day. I always strive to be relatable and sometimes that means sharing my dirt. We all have it, right?

  9. Thanks for sharing this, I seem to have those days more often than not…and my girls are now 8 and 12! Sometimes I wonder why I even try sometimes, but then those “Thanks, Mom” or “Love you, Mommy” comments seem to make it totally worth it again. 😉

      1. Sorry to say, they just get more stubborn and don’t always listen to what I’m telling them…it’s very stressful when it seems the only way to get them to do what they’re told is by yelling (not good, and I’m not proud of it). I’m surprised I don’t have high blood pressure the way my blood seems to boil some mornings when I’ve told them we are leaving in xyz minutes, and to have ____ done by then…only to find them still messing around or sitting watching tv and ___ is still not done! UGH!

        1. That DOES sound frustrating. I have heard that parenting doesn’t get easier as kids get bigger. The problems just change.

          And sadly the problems get bigger. No longer can you cuddle away tears. 🙁

          1. My eldest is a 7th grader, in that middle ground between being a little girl and a young lady. Thankfully, she’s becoming more responsible nowadays, but she still has her moments of scatterbrained-ness, and sometimes I have still gotten to hug away the tears. I realize these days are not going to be with us for too long, so I enjoy every time she still calls me “Mommy” and looks to me to make something better! My “baby” is now a 3rd grader, and it’s hard to believe!

  10. So very, very true! I wish moms could talk about this more. I think every childhood is like this. The great thing is when your kids look back at those pictures as adults, they’ll just see the good stuff (the doughnut squabbling will be completely forgotten). The magic of time 🙂

    1. Alison, I hear moms talk a lot about specific parenting troubles. Potty training, sleepless nights, picky eaters, etc. What I don’t hear that much are moms talking about how hard some days are just because they are hard in general. I think we talk about things we think we can fix or that other people can give us advice about. We don’t share about the constant level of stress and chaos.

      I wish we would.

    1. Oh Julie, one kid is hard. It is really hard. They are your first so everything is a learning experience for you. Plus you are their number one playmate. It is extremely exhausting to be a mother of one. Don’t feel bad about that for one second!

  11. I know this is an older post but I was just poking around your blog. “yes, exactly! “To this. I have a four and one year old and it often seems like the harder I try, the worse it is. I’m known for saying to random strangers or muttering to myself, while walking through a store with one whining and one screeching, “this is why we don’t go anywhere! When we try, I remember why…” They do remember the memories though. Someday, they’ll remember the fun and forget the hard parts, and the fact that they tried to do you in making the memory 🙂

    1. I love comments on my older posts! Thank you!

      I am sorry that you are in a discouraging stage right now. It will get better. It has to!

      Tonight, I hope that you get an extra cuddle from your little ones and they say something sweet to their mama. We all need a bit of encouragement from time to time.

  12. Wow! It’s like you read my mind! I work full time outside my home and try so hard to make the most of our time together. But I would swear my girls are teaming up on me to ruin my efforts! I just started following your blog and I love what you do. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one that feels this way. I have a notebook of jumbled thoughts along these lines, that one day I hope to turn into my own blog. Just remember at the end of the day you’re perfect through the eyes of your children 🙂
    Keep up the good work mommy!

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement, April. It always feels good to know that we aren’t alone in our struggles, doesn’t it? I hope you are able to have a great time with your girls this upcoming weekend!

  13. YES! I have almost reached the point of avoidance with outings and “memory-making” ventures because the reality so rarely lives up to my expectation. It’s that “never enough” thing. I don’t want to make it seem like I never have fun with my kids, because of course I do. My daughters (ages 3 and 8) are among the greatest joys of my life, but I’ve decided I’m just not up working so hard to create memorable opportunities for them. At least for this season. This post makes me not feel like such a bad mom for feeling that way. Thanks for that!

    1. You’re welcome! You are NOT alone. Sometimes those little ones just don’t understand how good they have it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.