The day a picture broke my heart

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I’ve heard more times then I’d like to count how “I don’t know how you do it!” when people find out what my everyday schedule is usually like. Somehow, this makes me some sort of a superhero or something. To me, it makes me a mom. It was up until recently that I was doing a pretty good job of it, I mean I must be if people are applauding me right?

Nope. Not even a little bit. I failed, and I failed big time. It’s been a quiet week around here as I tried to come to terms with how to even share this story without feeling even more embarrassed, but I realized this is my chance to learn from my child, and learn I shall.

I’m raising a pretty strong willed child, I’m not surprised by it either. We used to joke that we were in trouble. You see, Ry & I are both quite stubborn, opinionated and we can put up one hell of a fight if we need too. Why would it be any surprise that we would raise a child that would mirror not one, but both of us?

My mom raised me strong, unfortunately that meant that growing up I had a healthy fear instilled in me. I was never once hit, but when my mom raised her voice, boy did I ever jump. I don’t look back on it as being afraid of my mom, or being sad or anything. It was out of respect. You feared your parents, you knew they loved you, but you knew not to step out of line. It was just how it was.

Alivia has been putting up a fight most mornings lately. We wake up quite early to start our long days and lately it’s been a battle to even get her out of bed. Never mind feeding her breakfast, getting her dressed and backpack and shoes on. Admittedly, I get frustrated easy. I raise my voice out of habit and I get even more frustrated when it feels like I’m pretty much yelling at a wall.

I realized that I was putting my own deadlines onto my child. And she doesn’t even know how to manage time.

The battles have grown over the past few weeks we sat down as a family to ask Alivia why she was so “grumpy” in the mornings.

She drew that picture up top.

She drew a sad Livvy.

When daddy asked her why she drew a sad Livvy, she said:

“Mommy yells, she never wants to play with me.”

My heart literally shattered. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling that welled up inside me. Shame, horror, heartbreak, and even more shame.

In my frustrated state in the mornings, I had made HER hate mornings alongside. She wanted to play, I wanted her to get her shoes on. She wanted to find her ponies, I wanted her to eat her breakfast. She wanted to be a kid, and I was trying to make her be an adult.

In that moment I realized I had started a routine in the morning that wasn’t fun, that from the moment we both woke up it was a rush to get out the door. We didn’t take time to snuggle, to brush each others hair or to just make breakfast together. I was missing out.

So I vow now, and moving forward to make time, even where there isn’t time. If it means I am a few minutes later, or don’t have time to stop for that morning coffee, I am going to find the time to cherish these mornings. I am going to hug the ever living stuffing out of her every morning, share laughs and tickles and turn that sad Livvy into..

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It took some apologies. Some sad momma moments of feeling like I was ruining this kid and she wasn’t even in kindergarten yet. It took lots of hugs, lots of open heart talks about loving each other, being frustrated and using good listening skills (from all of us!) to move forward. I’m grateful that my child feels unconditional love, and forgives with a full heart. I truly aspire to be more like her everyday!

It’s not easy to admit a #mamatruths, something that exposes mom life for what it is. It isn’t glamorous, it’s full of challenges and life lessons at every turn. I’m not perfect, I wish every day that I had some sort of a parenting manual that would pat me on the back when I made a good decision, and slap me on the hand when I didn’t – but I don’t. I’m forever grateful for the time I get to spend learning from this tiny human, who clearly understands that stopping to smell the roses, is much more important than living life in a frantic state.

Do you have a #MamaTruth? I’d love for you to share!

21 Comments


  1. My 12 year old has had some really grumpy mornings lately. I was yelling and frustrated and I told her, “Well you can either go to bed earlier or wake up faster!!”
    I was shocked when she actually said she’d prefer to go to bed earlier. We bumped her bedtime by 30 minutes and it’s actually working. I forgot to look at my child as an individual and assumed that since kids in general don’t like to go to bed early, she wouldn’t either.
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  2. Thank you for sharing. You are NOT ALONE! I feel so guilty when I yell at my kids. I don’t yell at anyone else!!! Why would I yell at the two people in my life that I love more than anything else in this universe???? My mornings are always rushed. Time for a change 🙂 Baby steps right? I know I’m not perfect. But I can strive to be better…. 🙂

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  3. I cannot handle this post today, it hits home so much with me as well. We yell a lot in our house as well! You are a good mama, without a doubt! It takes a really strong mama to admit it, acknowledge the changes and welcome it whole-heartedly. Even more so, write about it so honestly! Good for you Tara! You should be proud of Livvy!

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  4. Thanks for sharing Tara, I can completely relate. I have been so wrapped up caring for E that I have spent little time playing with Hazel and more time yelling at her for not listening. I’m sure if she could tell me exactly how she feels she would draw a similar picture. Thank you for the reminder to slow down and enjoy the little moments 🙂

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  5. Great post Tara, I can definitely relate to your sentiments. This is exactly what I went through with my spirited child last year. She has calmed down a lot and we’re finally finding our groove as a family. Thank you for reminding us we’re not alone during the stressful times. You’re a very talented writer and clearly a dedicated mother.

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  6. I have felt like this. Recently my daughter said she didn’t want to go to dance class one morning. I asked her why. She told me she didn’t want to be in a hurry all the time. I realize I’ve been rushing her because of my poor time management. For me, mornings with two kids are hard. But it shouldn’t be hard on them!

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  7. Oh Tara, thanks for sharing that. We’ve all been there, those moments when you aren’t at your best. Be gentle with yourself though. And take solace in the fact that you are trying to make it right by your daughter. This parenting gig is hard.
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  8. Awe. Don’t feel so bad, Momma. I feel like I’m constantly yelling at my boys, and I feel terrible about it too. I think we’ve all been there. This really made me think about our morning routine too. Thank you for reminding me that I should make some extra time for snuggles and fun too.
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  9. HUGS Mama, I have been there, done that, and sometimes catch myself getting so caught up in the busy day to day routine that I realize I am just a “mean old boss” and not “Mom”. HUGE HUGS!! The fact that you realize it is HUGE and you will improve because of that.

    Thanks for being so real and raw.
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  10. Oh dear 🙁 While you feel terrible – I am pretty certain you are normal in that occuring!

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  11. This post resonated to me. I forget to enjoy the moments with my little girl. I rush and clean and forget that she is growing and I am missing it. Thank you for the reminder.

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  12. I’ve got a couple drawings like this from when my boy was younger…..definitely pulls on the heart. You are not alone.

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  13. We make mistakes, our patience and time is stretched thin. I am guilty of this and yelling. It breaks my heart when my boys are upset because of my actions, but I have also learned to express and speak with them (within their capacity of understanding) why…

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  14. It breaks my heart but its so hard to keep a balance…

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  15. We Mom’s are human after all and we do yell get upset but we must know to say we are sorry for our behavior to our children

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  16. Give yourself a pat on the back these days happen,it’s not you.

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