This parenting gig is TOUGH.

Tightwad and I have been spending quite a bit of time of late examining our lives.

After a lot of yelling, crying, fighting, listening, talking, thinking, hurting and healing, we have come to several very important conclusions.

One, anything that you value in your life is worth fighting for. And nothing, NOTHING is ever easy. Anyone who says that is a liar.

Two, before you start accusing one person of things, you might want to examine yourself, and your own behaviors. (Glass houses and stones, people; glass houses and stones...)

And three, you and your spouse are just as important as the children that surprisingly arrive during this 20-year, tempestuous union. (None were planned, people. NONE. ALL are loved, and we rejoice in them- but that doesn 't mean they were planned.)

We have also committed ourselves to the decision that we will strive to be better companions, better spouses, and better parents. (Crap, I might have to start behaving myself.)

To that end, I want to share a little story from last night.

The Golden Boy (11) and I were cuddling in his bed discussing the day. It's a ritual that he insists we continue, and one that keeps me connected to what's happening in his world. (I like to call it confession time, but that's another post altogether.)

He was facing the side of the room with t.v., and I was looking at the ceiling as he talked.

"Mom, why is dad being so nice to me?" He whispered.

"What? What do you mean?"

"Why is he being so nice? He took me to that OSU basketball game last weekend when you were gone, and he's been cuddling with me at night. Why? Is something wrong?"

"No. I think he just wants to be a better father. "

There was some silence, and then I saw him wiping his eye.

"Are you crying?"


"Why? Are you okay????"

"Don't worry, mom. It's, it's a happy cry......"


Deb said...

-->Good God, I didn't expect to look like the picture.
It's hard to be nice to your family day in and day out but it IS worth it.


Grace's Mom said...

Wow...very moving! And so great that you are committing to your family NOW! So many people wish they would have been more committed after it's too late...very cool that you're living and learning and not having to do it the "hard way" - even though, as you said, there isn't really an easy way!


Anonymous said...

Awright. That made ME get all teary-eyed. And stuff.

This parenting thing is the hardest thing I've ever done.

Anonymous said...

Well that did it. I've been on the verge of tears all damned day.

I'm really glad that it was a happy cry. My son has said things that hit me like that before and it's like a truck slamming into your heart, isn't it?

Momma Fargo said...

Great post...a reminder to us all!

Southern Belle Mama said...

That is just beautiful...a sweet reminder that our kids do know (even if they don't always acknowledge it) when we are kind and loving towards them.

Anonymous said...

dont worry vodka its a happy cry....jeepers, I didnt expect to cry:)

great reminder my friend

David J. M. Samson said...

That is beautiful.

You are right, nothing is easy, but if there is love in the mix, things are always a little easier...

SkylersDad said...

Thanks for the reminder that we all need to work harder at being better parents and spouses.

Ash said...

Oh how that touched my heart!

And thank goodness - I have at least three more years of sweet, cuddling, sensitive boy left.


Jules AF said...


Gigi said...

That so made me cry. Kids are wonderful, amazing and aware creatures. Yeah, we all need that reminder - to be better spouses, parents and people.

Gayle said...

I want that damn magic wand to. If I had it maybe three of our children would still be with us. I think you have that marriage manuel; you just don't realize it.

Anonymous said...

I think it is wonderful you have such a tight relationship with your son! There are too many children ignored and just shunted to the side with all the crazy day to day drudgery we try and get done.

Unknown said...

God love him :)
The happy tears!
No one can resist the happy tears!

Golden Boy, you are awesome

Peace ~ Rene

smsrls24 said...

Wait, ur gonna start behaving???

Just Words On A Page said...

That broke my heart and made me smile and cry all at the same time.

Homemaker Man said...

That was a cheap shot to my eyes and now they're all watery.

Brian Miller said...

dang, now you are making me happy cry...stop it!

Rick Daley said...

Reminds me of Jack Nicholson in AS GOOD AS IT GETS when he tells Helen Hunt, "You make me want to be a better man."

me in the pink said...

Wow. Just wow.

TMCPhoto said...

No Fair! I was so not expecting a tear fest.

I really think that an examination of how things are going in a relationship should be done on a regular basis, when your bogged down in the day to day it's easy to forget to consider each other.

ChiTown Girl said...

Awww...thanks for that. I was starting to wonder if I was gonna get my cry in for the day! Too sweet.

CaneWife said...

I'm in tears. That is absolutely beautiful.

Zip n Tizzy said...

I hear ya.
We're having similar talks, but boy they beat being beat, cuz parenting IS tough.
We're good at spending time with the kids, because well, they're still kids, but worse about doing things all together. We went to T's ice-cream social as a family last week and the smile on his face could have lit up the world.
We're also trying to make more time just to check in together. Important to remember because they grow up so fast, and then you have EACHOTHER.

Liss said...

Holy doooly woman you got me all choked up! Beautiful!!

Char said...

Well, I hope you're happy now, VM. I'm standing in here knee deep in water with all the tears that are being shed. Awsome post.

Lori P said...

oh my gosh. oh my gosh. wow. I would have cried. heck, I DID cry - sheesh did I cry.

x said...

I would have cried too. After reading that, I miss my 10 year old like crazy tonight (he is with his Dad). Double sheesh.

Michele said...

I think we were better parents because we were committed to our marriage first the kids second.

My youngest was also the cuddle bug. Still is for that matter. He's 24 now.

Ashley King said...

now i don't normally leave comments on people who are already like oober famous with bazillions of comments and followers, because i really don't like to make more work for you, but i absolutely LOVED this post.... the husband and i ALWAYS talk about ways to improve our parenting and to SUPPORT and encourage each other in doing so.... it's NOT easy.... we both agree on that, and after all the tears (on my end).... and all the yelling (again, my end).... he just laughs and says "ain't nothin easy mama." it's good your son notices the efforts.... he'll appreciate them.... he'll appreciate HIM, as i'm certain, he already appreciates you.... To many more happy tears, my friend! =)

cheatymoon said...

Lovely post, VM xo.
This parenting thing is sometimes just too much. A happy too much, but too much.
Off to go cuddle my child.

Unknown said...

Ok...just sending you a cyber hug. One for you, one for tightwade (for making an effort) and one for the boy....


Suzy said...

Like many parents my own made mistakes that were never rectified along the way. No apologies offered, no responsibilty taken.

Sadly, it's now too late.

Ann On and On... said...

Oh my goodness.... goodness does amazing things. Thanks for sharing that amazing story.

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Wow. This is so, so dear.

I want to be a better wife and mom, too.

Maggie May said...

Oh my God woman. For me, it's very, very rare that blog posts on parenting pages give me a real throb. But this absolutely did. Yo, mad props. xo

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That's how the rest of your life starts.

You do know how to move your audience!

Anne said...

Ebb and flow that is how it always is. Without the pain we couldn't truly know the joy.

You rock, your husband rocks, and in the end ~ your kids are going to rock it too.

The yelling, the ups and downs, the hugs, keep it all real.

*We don't have your manual, but we've paid good money to a counselor who gets us back to the right chapter when we lose our place.

Donna said...

That is really sweet. Sometimes it's hard but we have to revel in the moment with our children. The laundry and chores will always be there tomorrow but the kids won't. And if they see we love them, they'll overlook our many mistakes. No regrets.

anymommy said...

They are so perceptive. It always astonishes me.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Big sigh. Well said.

Dawn said...

Thank God for happy cries... we all need them out of our kiddos every once in a while.

Formerly known as Frau said...

It's hard work but totally worth it for end result of happy tears.

WeaselMomma said...

Sounds like you are off to a good fresh start.
That little story at the end is very touching.

Anonymous said...

Well, that certainly tugged at my heartstrings.


As Cape Cod Turns said...

Better that he be a better father while you are together than after you have split. (Just speaking from experience...) Good for you to be working things out and good (and sad) for Golden Boy to be noticing.

Now if you could just get Bitchy and Sassy to be so sweet.... :)

Amy W said...

Been there. Been in therapy for that....

unmitigated me said...

Totally awesome to hear. Bet those cuddles mean more than the game.

DeeMarie said...

Wow. That's awesome. He's obviously being an awesome father. And you're a super mom!! :)

The Mayor said...

Damn you Vodka mom, I have to get to a meeting and now you've got me....well, swallowing and fighting back the tears. Because The Mayor is not a crier.

Definitely struck a nerve here.

Susan Higgins said...

I haven't been married 2 years yet and we have both mom's living with us. It doesn't matter if you have kids or parents, neither is really planned most of the time, it just happens. The addition of other souls in our lives sure does make marriage interesting.

I too have realized that marriage takes a lot of work... but it's the best work I've ever had to do. I've learned that communicating my expectations avoids a lot of hurt feelings and arguments. Hell, we are 50... I don't want to waste time fighting... just loving!

@MrMomWorld said...

Wonderful post. Not at all what I expected after seeing the picture. It's so helpful when we get feedback from our kids; especially so when it's so positive.

Carolyn...Online said...

Oh man. He cuddled. That kills me - in a really good way.

Jeanne Estridge said...

Wow. Tightwad must really like your kids....

On an unrelated topic, someone told me a joke the other day that started, "A kindergarten teacher draws a picture of a penis on the blackboard and asks the kids...."

'Cos I'm thinking, this is an instant trip to joblesness, and possibly jail.

Rachel said...

Kinda choked me up. You glass house comment really hit home..my teenage daughter and I had a little tif last night....Glass house for sure.

LadyFi said...

Everything you say is so true of life in general and families in particular.

The Green Family said...

It is SOOOOOOO easy to forget about US, the marriage, the friendship that starts the whole process of this thing called family.

Sounds like you've had a lot of revelations in the last little while, good for you and tightwad!

Cajoh said...

Love the happy cry. Makes you realize that it IS worth all the struggles. We never know if what shots in the dark hit their mark, but moments like those validate it all.

Thank you, (Now I'm all verclempt)

Roshni said...

eeps! Not sure how your husband will take that! :D

Melissa aka Equidae said...

nothing than an innocent way of a child to show us the prepective

Christy said...

Awww that post brought a tear to my eye. So sweet.

justmakingourway said...

That made me a little weepy too. In a happy way.

Keep working, VM. You're doing fine.

Ann Imig said...

AND now I'm crying.

You have a comment section full of sobbing.

Happy sobbing. You do that so well.


Kate Coveny Hood said...

I completely understand. For some reason - sharing your life with someone (of your choosing no less) is so incredibly complicated. Being married has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. And the kids really do magnify that.

Your boy is an old soul. So sweet.

Magpie said...

damn, it is hard. good on you for doing the hard work. and for sharing something other than the kindergarten funny, and the sassy-bitchy sitcom. not that we don't love that, but the other side of you is good too.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Aw, that is the best thing I've read all day! Thank you for sharing it. You guys must be great parents, and he is a great kid!

Sparkless said...

It is a surprizing thing but boys do go through a pretty rough time in puberty too. My 14 year old son is prone to tears too and I cherish every one of those tears because behind them is an honest emotion. Something we want our young men to have.

Scary Mommy said...

So very sweet. It's so, so hard... I get it. xox

Kim Dettmer said...

Wow...Bravo! I love this post! Being a parent IS so {beeping} hard. And examining lives does take a lot of yelling, crying, taling, listening, and all that! Oh, I know that tooooo well, of recent.

I agree with the glass house and stone - and I know, at times, I am the glass house owner and stone thrower... but I finding if I am more forgiving of myself, nicer to myself, and do less beating-up on me that I don't don't even look for the stones to throw at others. In theory this is oh so true! In practice...SO HARD!

Karen at French Skinny said...

That made my heart hurt.
So beautiful.

Joanie said...

AW! That touched my heart!

Jen said...

Speaking to my heart here. I'm working on it.

Alexandra said...

Oh, boy, is the universe ever speaking to me loud and clear, or what.

Last night, I finally saw Ya-Ya sisterhood. I fear that I may be Sidda's mom. (only kidding, a bit, minus the alcohol and cigarette consumption part of her.)

Yeah, I know I can do WAY better than the half assed job I'm doing. I'm still consumed by my needs, gotta let that one go.

Thank you for the gentle slap in the face.

Great post. Fantastic.

I need to call a conference with the other guy in command, too.

Robin said...

Awww..now there a tear in my eye..Thanks for the reminder..!

SheilaC said...

And it's the little moments like these that make it ALL worth it...

thank you for sharing....


Margo said...

good heavens it's so hard. We're all big hot bi-polar messes in our house of teens. I guess it's good it is so extreme, because it makes us slow down and notice, dammit all, how fast the time is going.

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