‘The wild of his heart makes me tired. It’s a constant tug-of-war. Most of the time, if I’m being honest, he’s winning.’: Mom shares realization for parenting ‘wild-hearted child’

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“Sometimes the wild of his heart makes me tired. I spend all day clashing with his strong will, iron against iron, until the day is over, and I go to bed feeling like a worn down nub.

I can’t figure out how to discipline this kid. When I’m harsh, it backfires. When I give him an inch, he takes it six miles.

He is bruised knees and outside voices, ninety miles an hour, all day every day.

So, much of our interactions are frustration and noise. I establish a boundary, and he crashes through it. It’s like a constant tug-of-war for power. Most of the time, if I’m being honest, he’s winning.

I feel like I’m the frayed rope of a tire swing, and he’s swinging higher and faster and higher and faster and higher and…

It scares me to think I could break.

How can I continue to parent like this, when everything he does feels like a small rebellion?

What happens when my last bit of patience comes sloshing out of the cup I’ve been desperately trying to keep steady?

This morning, I prayed God would give me what I need to love this kid WELL. I pleaded with Him to reconcile the gap between the loud and the quiet, the crazy and the calm.

‘God, please, show me how to do this.’

Later, scrolling through pictures of our recent vacation, I came across this:

My wild hearted child, frolicking in the waves with the energy of a thousand suns. He is King Max. His world — our world — is Where the Wild Things Are.

The day he was born, a royal rumpus began.

And as I sit here, staring at that fiery, little soul captured in thumbnail photo, I feel a whisper in my heart. An answer to my morning prayer.

You see those ocean waves?

They are both beautiful and wild. They dance and crash and roar, and maybe it seems like chaos from the shore.

But there is a quiet force at work.

From a distance, a gentle guide is constantly pulling, fighting, and creating order among the waves.

The moon and the ocean.

The push and the pull.

A mother and her son.

In one picture, God reminded me my job is to simply BE HERE. Calm and consistent.

To oversee the chaos of the wild.

NOT to tame it, but to quietly pull it into order.

Mamas, we will never tame the sea. So, let’s go ahead and cut ourselves some slack.

There is a place in this world for the calm AND the wild. There is a purpose for them both.

Today, take a step back. Let the waves crash and appreciate the incredible beauty that exists within our wild at heart children.”

Courtesy of Mary Katherine Backstrom

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mary Katherine Backstrom. Mary’s book Mom Babble: The Messy Truth about Motherhood is available here. Follow Mary on Instagram here.  Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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