Parental Torture-The Struggle Is Real



My facebook page exploded yesterday when I revealed my 5th grader had brought home her first recorder from school. The discussion about this and other parental tortures led me to write this:


I remember reading TONS of parenting books when we were going through our adoption six years ago. Hubs and I had never been parents before, despite giving the process our best efforts. Adoption and immaculate conception were our only hopes for being called “Mom” and “Dad”. In the Spring of 2010, we brought home a sibling set from Ethiopia, a boy and his big sister, ages two and five.

While there have had many fantastical adventures, missteps, laughs, cries and moments I wish we could live on rewind, there are also a few things about parenting I’ve come to define as torturous for me. And I surely never remember reading anything about such things in all those parenting books.

Sleeping Through The Night. While both of my kids were old enough to have been sleeping through the night when we became a family, the trauma of adoption caused extreme night terrors for almost a year after we were home. Waking up to the middle of the night screaming, with a soiled bed, sweating profusely was my first introduction into parental torture. That’s not mentioning the kids’ behavior either. :)

Potty Training. I’m sorry. I just cannot even go here. We’re passed it and like a breakup with a bad boyfriend, writing anything about it will only remind me of the previous torture and I’ve made such good progress in my recovery. For those of you who are currently in this hell, I salute you.

Required Reading. I love school and teachers and all things education. My grandmother was a kindergarten teacher and I taught college English for years after graduation from law school. Sitting down and reading for thirty minutes together reminds me as to why I could never teach elementary or home school. Every time I sit with my second grader for our required nightly reading assignment, the only reading I want to do afterwards is on a wine bottle label.

Homework. There is just no way around it, this is a direct shot at parents’ ability to multitask our lives and the lives of our children. Projects, shoebox book reports, science modules and signatures on nightly and an additional weekly folder; these are all designed to insure we parents lose our minds. I have to keep two calendars just to keep track of all the things. One for work and one for soccer, school projects and play dates. Poster boards, glitter and markers incite joy and artistic creativity in some moms. For this mom, when that note goes home announcing the next “at home” project, I curl into the fetal position.

Musical Instruments. My 5th grader brought home a right of elementary school passage yesterday. I didn’t even want her to pull it out of the bag, despite the fact I knew it was coming. It was not a surprise. I had paid the $12.00 to the school for it a few weeks ago. I executed the note of her permission to participate with it in music class, but seeing it in real life meant it actually existed. And it was currently existing in my house. It was the damned dreaded recorder. It just sat there, screaming at me from her backpack like a maniacal demon “Death to your ears mama. Death to your sanity.” It was also evil laughing. While she is “encouraged” to practice at home, we had a heart to heart talk only mothers and daughters can have about the

Flow chart of friends. I engage my children every day about their activities. School, soccer, church, I love know what is going on in their young lives. But it is traumatic when I have to endure the litany of school/friend/church/soccer testing of names and instances of their friends. And then be required to take a test on it.

Such as conversations such as these:

“Mom, you remember Susan? She’s the one who kissed a boy on the playground in second grade.”

Me: “Uh, was she in your class?”

“No, Mom, she was in the class older than me.”

Me: “No. I don’t remember a girl who you’ve mentioned once in our history together who was a year above you. What’s up with Susan?”

“I can’t believe you don’t remember her. Her mom was the one with the short hair.”

Insert me sweating. I’m getting ready to fail this test and we both know it. She’s destined to be in counseling because her mother never listened to her.

“No honey. I’m sorry; I don’t remember her.”

“Well, she wore the CUTEST skirt last week.”

Me: “Oh. To school?”

“Grr. No MOM. To CHURCH!!” Insert said child storming off.

In my defense, I cannot tell you on most days what I wore to the office today, let alone anyone of the people I work with. These details are paramount as a child. By the time you are 35, no one much cares.

Remember precious parents, we are all in this together. If you are currently struggling through spelling words, reading list or have paper mached your fingers to your computer from recreating the solar system, know you are not alone. I’ll even toast you tonight. Once, of course, I have signed the homework folders, packed the lunches and sat for thirty torturous minutes of required reading while plugging my ears as the recorder sounds coming from upstairs. Cheers!

Tell me. What are the ways parenting is torturing you?



Lindsey Andrews
About me

Attorney & Author. Always in search for daily joy.


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