True North.

Our son had colic. The anxiety would creep in every day around 4:45 p.m. – you knew it was coming and everything from 4:45 p.m. on was unbearable. It was happening and there was nothing you could do but wait and pray to the Jesus you saw in the burnt toast on The Today Show that morning that maybe, just maybe, last night’s bout of colic was the end of the colic. I made so many deals with the devil when praying didn’t work. Every night, like clockwork…at 6:00 p.m., it would start.

Two hours in, I would often collapse into the couch while my husband took over what came to be known as “the shit-shift”; he’d walk in circles in the dark dining room for hours.

In the morning, we were hungover from the sound of an inconsolable child. There were a few days that I dreamed of deafness as an escape. I’d shake my head visibly after the thought. “I can’t believe I just thought that.” But I did. More than once.

Parenting my son has started to feel this way again and no amount of inspirational posts about the both of us learning to BE makes any of it less challenging. What my research is telling me is that we both need to try harder and soften, but, it’s hard to do when a new kind of 4:45 p.m. is always looming.

And no one is finding miracles in their toast these days and the devil is done returning my calls.

I’m angry and hungover from an inconsolable child.

He and I are disconnected. I can feel it.

My husband sees my exasperation and tells me, “it’s a phase” and I think that perhaps we’ve both given the word phase a hell of a lot of leeway. He’s almost 7. What if this isn’t a phase? What if this is him and this is me and we are stuck waiting for our phases to turn into beautiful butterflies? Metamorphosis is proving to be a dinner guest who never arrives.

And the thing about finding inspiration is that I’m not inspired. We’re here stuck in the mud; in shit up to our ears and inspiration isn’t throwing me a rope. I want the amazing love notes mothers write to their children to climb in here with me and help us both up. I want inspiration to get muddy too.

My son is hiding under tables and gnashing his teeth, like Max and his Wild Things. He is hurting his sisters and then cocooning himself into a blanket until he tells me he can’t breathe. I can’t breathe either. This is not the metamorphosis I was hoping for.

There aren’t enough “Hang in there” cat posters in the world. And I love him so much it burns.

But…it’s 4:45 p.m. and I can feel my throat tighten.


  1. Sounds like you might want to talk to a psychologist, or the school, or something. He probably has some developmental/emotional regulation issue. There are behavior modificarion plans that can save your sanity! Seek help, it can get better.

    • Yep. Seek help. Today. Start with a child psychologist and if that doesn’t work a behavioral and developmental specialist. Honestly the only thing that worked for us was a nutritionist who does a program called leap. Never would have found her or this uncommon program if it wasn’t through prayer to God, and not the toast God. šŸ˜‰ good luck to you. Your child is suffering as much or more than you are.

  2. I know this feeling. I lived it. Our started at 7 and went on and on and on. I remeber looking at the clock begging for the daylight so i didnt feel so alone. I dont have inspiration to give you but i have a shoulder to cry on. Breastfeeding her helped but you only take so much until you are bleeding and crying from anxiety and pain. She’s five now. We’re close now. The breaks help. She goes to her room and quietly entertains herself. I cook or clean or fold laundry. The quiet is sometimes more deafening than those long tired nights ever were. Its gotten better for us in the past few months. I hope you find your solace.

  3. I don’t know you at all, but I have enjoyed your blog for the past few months. I have been there with my oldest son. Heartbreaking moments where after you get him to bed, you just come downstairs and cry because you don’t know what else to do. Please know that a stranger has you in her thoughts and I am hoping that your path becomes more clear. You can do this!

  4. We’re there too. My son is 8. We are seeing a therapist and he sees the child psychologist at school. I don’t know if it’s anxiety, or something else. But I feel your pain and it’s hard. When he’s good, he’s so good, but when the defiance and anger hits, it’s, well, I don’t know how to describe it. Hang in there. That’s what we’re doing. It’s about all we can do.

  5. I agree. In my state a child can be evaluated and treated if the need is deemed sufficient. My son too has gad some issues, the right dr, OT, PT (physical or occupational tgerapisr) can make a huge difference. And give you direction, peace of mind and an understanding ear. They can tell you the how’s and whys. Stuff you’re fearing might be worse than reality. Find support, you’re not alone.

  6. I have two boys and two girls! 7 year old boys are hard! I also had 3 older brothers!! I dont know if I would be so quick to run to a child therapist, I think your husband might be right it is a phase! My advice would be to not let him when he wraps up in the blanket unwrap him right away! when he hurts his sister talk to him! sometimes it is attention they are looking for good or bad they need it!! My oldest daughter was like that she was/is such a good kid but if she was being left out to much, As the middle child at the time that was a lot! she would be bad to get my attention? just a thought! boys are a handful! and SOOO much different from girls. I find it very easy to parent girls but so hard with the boys! My oldest boy is the biggest drama queen going! he demands the most attention and he gets it! Hand in there momma You are doing a good job! as they say this to shall pass!

  7. gurl, that blows. you are not alone in that lifeboat.

  8. Oh, Bethany, I am so sorry. I hope you keep letting your honesty out wherever and however you need to. That’s something. I love you.

  9. Hugs, mama.

  10. I’m so sorry, I know how you love him. I don’t have any advice but I feel for all of you.

  11. I know this might come as a shock to some but have you tried spanking him? how about some tough love when he is acting out? I have 3 kids and they knew better than to act like that, because I disciplined them. Don’t get me wrong I am in no way a perfect parent, and have my fair share of bad parenting moments, but I don’t think taking him to a psychiatrist or psychologist is the answer. To many people use that as an escape from actual parenting.

  12. I’m sorry you’re living this right now. I can relate to this post so much more than I’d wish to. I don’t have answers for you, but so much empathy. You know you can lean on me if you need to. I have been there. I’ve felt all the stress; I’ve wished things I shouldn’t have; I’ve thought dark thoughts and felt dark feelings; I’ve railed and accepted and started over more times than I can count and I’ve come up empty of answers each time. I wish you didn’t have to travel this twisty road at all, but you don’t have to travel it alone.

  13. Jennifer King says:

    I enjoy your blog for your honesty, wit, and heart. Your anguish in this post called out to me, though I don’t have an answer other than “you are not alone.” Please add my name to the long list of pained parents who have also lived with their children’s difficult behavior and feelings, and had many more questions than answers about what is happening and what to do next. Maybe it’s a phase; maybe your son needs professional help. I trust you and your husband will consider all the possibilities and do your best. That’s all we can do. The bit that gives me hope for “it’s a phase” is that you basically said “it is starting to feel like that again.” This implies that there was some time between the colic phase and now that hasn’t been this way. Anyway, wishing you well and please keep posting so we can be here for you, too. *momma love from me to you*

  14. I love you so much, and I’m am here for you in spirit. I can think of so many cliche things to say, but “I’m here for you” seems the only one that matters. xoxo

  15. It’s apparent reading the comments most of these people haven’t followed you long. As a parent of not one, not two, but three children who are all not neurotypical in some form, my heart goes out to you. It’s hard when you can’t think “it’s just a phase” or “they’ll grow out of it”. Sending good vibes your way, you’re the greatest kind of momma (a real one).

  16. Reading your post, took me back almost 11 years. My second son will be 11 in May. He was a hard baby. Cried and cried, slept thru the night, meaning more than 4 hours at a time around age 4. He was always challenging me. Beating up on his big brother, taking toys and haut doing something to piss me off. He sat in time outs with smiles on his face. He would push me to scream at him. I thought at one point, screaming was the only way he heard me. He couldn’t sit still for the life of him. For some reason, my husband and I decided two boys, one with a temper and non stop energy wasn’t enough for us, so we added a sister and then another boy. I was so relieved and happy when my daughter was born! A girl! I would nurse her and rock her to sleep those first months and think, ‘this is how a baby should be!” I was already comparing my children to each other. I have since learned, there is no comparison and I parent case by case. My sons crying stopped, impulsivity kicked in. He had a chip on his shoulder and yelled at his sister and brothers. He did hit or kick when he was younger. He was missing that internal ‘voice of reason’. He was 9, and I still had to treat him like a 2 yr old…”no, you can’t do that, this is why..” He is almost 11 now, and I’m not his complete voice of reason, but at times I still am. In first grade, I sought out help from the school. He was tested positive for ADHD. (Who isn’t positive, these days?). I threw myself into research, books, online, other parents. I did the whole natural diet, no dyes, gluten, organic only, etc. For a whole year, and saw no change. We went to a pediatric psychiatrist. One who was not a pill pusher. Her spent and hour with my son and a half hour with me at every appointment. I learned that my son is ADHD. We are on medicines. (I say, ‘we’ like I am too! Some days, I wish!!). He is doing so much better, the anger is mostly gone, the energy is still there, and can be unbearable at times. Without his teachers hard work, I’d be lost. His low does medicines help, it’s like my real son, the one seen peeking thru the monster of a son, has a chance to shine. He feels so much more free and happier on the meds. And all I ever want for my children is happiness. It has been and will continue to be a hell of a ride with him, and some may judge but I don’t care. He is my son. I love him.
    Know that you are not alone in your feelings. And do what you feel is necessary for your son. When I thought the colic phase was the worst, looking back 7-8 were the worst years so far.

  17. Just remember there’s no shame in seeking help. We found out our adult son has Aspergers. His Dad still thinks there’s some shame in getting help, as if it will fix itself on its own. It’s hurt our son In the long run. Get help. For both of you. Xo

  18. All I can offer you are hugs and love. Heavy on the love, babe. So sorry you’re dealing with this.

  19. been there. Please, send me an email or add me on Facebook at

    Feeling like you’re all alone in this is the worst. You definitely need to talk to other moms who know what this is like-I’m one of them. Hope to hear from you soon


  20. My 8 year old was hitting and hurting us all. He has Sensory Processing Disorder. We did 4 years of therapy (OT, PT, Speech, Feeding) and he seems completely fine to everyone but he was still acting out in ways that were so emotionally draining. I talked to some therapists. I read “123 Magic” (totally changed things in my house!). And … we started “Special Time”. This combo made a HUGE difference. I have 3 kids and my hubby travels all the time. I have it pretty much together because how else would we survive, right? But (!) my big, smart boy was slapping me in the face and tripping the baby ON PURPOSE. Wtf?!?! I did not have the most basic part of this down right at all. It wasn’t safe at my house. The day came when I realized this wasn’t getting better and I decided to ask every awesome mom and therapist for their unfiltered advice. I took it all. The things that really worked for us were 123 Magic for it’s power to stop me from engaging in a fight with him. No fight. No discussion. Bad behavior gets zero attention. Once we weren’t spending so much time in battle it became easier to see the good parts of him that were getting lost in the war. I started spending time with each kid ALONE every day. Sometimes it is a solo trip bowling while Daddy takes the other 2, sometimes it is just 15 minutes of quiet reading to one kid while not allowing the others to interfere. It’s made a gigantic difference. I wish I knew about this 6 years ago. I was trying things all the while, but he went 6 years without him wanting to hug me. 6 of his baby years without wanting to snuggle next to me for a story. 6 years of his growing up where I had to TRY to like him. Don’t give up! You are not alone. Xoxo

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