Riding The Ferris Wheel of Motherhood


The other night, my husband kept texting, “leaving any minute” “be home soon” “just waiting for the bus” and it was almost 7:00 before he got home. I’m not sure if I was tired, the kids were tired or if it was a full moon, but by the time he walked in, I was ready to walk out.

I get to the end of my rope regularly. Life with young children jumps from amazing and awe-inspiring one moment to out-of-control and exasperating the next. I have an up and down personality and my highest highs are followed by crashes of the lowest lows, all within one rotation of the minute hand on the clock.

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The other day my children were playing together on the top bunk in my son’s room. They cuddled on the pillows with their stuffed animals and blankets, both giggling and squirming around like Labrador puppies. My son made his little sister laugh hysterically and she tickled him under his chin and teased him back; a real sibling love fest. I smiled and felt all warm inside and proud of the beautiful healthy kids I was raising. All was well.

Seconds later I turned away to brush my teeth and the whole scenario cratered. Laughs turned to screams. Giggles turned to cries. Snuggles turned to grabs and pushes. Toys flew across the room. My heart raced and blood boiled as I jumped to separate the two before someone fell off the bunk. Both kids were crying. It was the end of the world, in preschooler land. It was one of those moments when I just wanted to quit.

Growing up, if I didn’t like something, I quit. I quit competitive swimming, gymnastics, ringette, art classes and who knows what else after a few years each because I wasn’t a star at them. My world was very black and white. Do the enjoyable and easy things that I could excel at. Avoid the difficult things. That philosophy was fine when there was just me to worry about. It even worked with my husband in the picture, for the most part.

The months (and years) after becoming a mother were the hardest of my life so far. I’m not really sure how I made it through those years of terrible sleep deprivation. My fierce love for my newborn son (and then three years later, my daughter) taught me that just because something is really, really hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. The wondrous little children that were created and carried and loved and rocked and fed, sometimes with my tears blending in with theirs, are mine to keep.

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I’ve learned that wanting to quit is normal; anyone who tells you parenthood is blissful perfection is a liar. Parenting babies and young children is like riding a ferris wheel that never stops. But there’s no smiling man at the bottom to push a button if you want to get off to catch your breath.

All we can do is embrace the high highs and perfect moments, fleeting as they may be. Breathe them in and take lots of pictures. Cuddle up to our son’s snuggly warm cheeks. Trace our daughter’s dimples with our fingers and hold her tiny feet in our hands.

Freeze the perfect moments in our memory so we can bring them back to our mind during the times when everyone is screaming, and we’re trudging through a dreary day and the ferris wheel is scraping the bottom again.

Related post: Being a Good Mom is Making me a Bad Wife

About the writer

A reformed perfectionist and former grade one teacher, Anna admits that raising her own two children is more challenging than teaching twenty-five six year olds how to read. Blogging at Murphy Must Have Had Kids is her way of embracing the perfect and not-so-perfect moments of life with little ones. She wanders around Vancouver Island with her very patient husband, spirited 5-year-old son and joyful 18-month-old daughter.


RT 12 months ago

WOW I needed this today. Thank you x1000000.

nafees ahmad 12 months ago

I’m so so glad I’ve come across this article. Your words empathise with how I feel everyday. I’m so pleased that I’ve seen this and hope to golliwog your blog more regularly.

    nafees ahmad 12 months ago

    Apologies. Darn this auto type. Golliwog meant to read follow :(

carla 1 year ago

Hi. Thanks for posting this… I needed it today

Katie Benway 1 year ago

You summed it up pretty good! Thank you 😉

Baby-Brain.co.uk – Psychology, Babies, Motherhood 1 year ago

great – so normalizing for parents to read!

Sara Olander Jackson 1 year ago

Parenting teenagers is so much harder.

Noreen Muir 1 year ago

It’s nice to relate to this post! Being in an environment where there is consistent crying everyday is extremely physically and mentally draining. And that’s just me haha.

Marissa Jean Brodeur 1 year ago

As always a great and truthful read!

Noemi Castillo 1 year ago

Yep. I thought I was the only one that went threw this. It’s hard to figure out what kind of evening or night we’re going to have when my son gets home. He has a blow out or bad night about every week

Erin Thomson Gerstmeyer 1 year ago

True story.

Bridget Macon 1 year ago

Breathed easier when they were wee lil ones than a house full of teens. Much easier parenting infants and toddlers. Those are the golden years or as I like to say “The calm before the storm” Isnt until they reach their 20’s before the up and down parenting goes to the sidelines.

Sara Sutherland 1 year ago

Freakin A!

Marie Nemec 1 year ago

I agree, and also with the fact that it never ends. It’s very difficult especially with the siblings fighting my two boys fight a lot and it’s difficult there 6 and 4 and I also have a two month old son. There are times when you look at your kids and they smile and you feel so happy and most times you wanna rip your hair out! I think it is hard to be honest about post depression because people can be judgmental like you have a healthy baby what is wrong with you etc and it isn’t handled well. It’s better still has a long way to go but I know it helps when I can relate to other mamas who know what I’m going threw I try to be that for other moms instead of pretending it’s easy because it’s not!

Tanya Pierce 1 year ago

Just the thing I needed to read today. Thank you!

Julia Ibañez 1 year ago

Thank you for this! So true….mine are 13 and almost 17 and this is still true :)

Jessica Morales 1 year ago

Thank u for this!

Kassandra Dawn Sison 1 year ago

Ferris wheels are pretty tame… Hellevator maybe?

Michael Quick 1 year ago

The problem with social media is parents usually only post about the good times with parenting. So it makes it even more difficult when your 3 year old is being an absolute a hole. Makes you think you must be doing something wrong!

Natalie Duncan 1 year ago

I can absolutely relate! Thanks for posting this today. I know I am not alone in this.

Sammiey Olsen 1 year ago

The most accurate description of parenthood I have read. Love this.

    Anna 1 year ago

    Wow. Thanks so much.

Theresa 1 year ago

Thank you for ‘saying’ it out loud! I feel this way all the time and my husband doesn’t understand how hard it is to stay at home with three kids 3 and under. I love my kids, but it can be very overwhelming.

Krista 1 year ago

One of the things I love the most about this community is sometimes I read things that sound like I wrote them. This is one of them. I have 2 boys, 3 years apart, and sometimes I get so frustrated I just snap. My emotions are all over the place, and after everything has calmed down I of course feel that crushing mommy guilt I’m sure we all experience. I’m a bad mom, I yelled at them, I shouldn’t have let it bother me that much … on and on. Then I read things like this and I feel like I’m not alone, and it just seems to make it all a little less scary. Thank you!

    Anna 1 year ago

    You’re welcome! I have come to realize that those times I do make mistakes and snap can lead to the best conversations with my son (who is almost 7 now). If I was perfect and never got upset he wouldn’t learn about giving and getting forgiveness and grace in a safe place. :)

Jessica Kirksey Scheil 1 year ago

Great article! My husband has been deployed overseas for the past 7 months, with 3 more months to go, we have absolutely no family near by and this has been by far the most difficult time with parenting. My son is 2 and and I feel like giving up several times a day. Its nice to know you arent alone;)

Jen McConnell 1 year ago

I really needed to read this today!

Chloe Moore 1 year ago

I’m very proud of you, you are a mother of three, and you still have time taking good care of your husband when he got home everyday from work. But it will be good if both of you are the two taking care of your own children. He does not need to work anymore if he try this one out http://bit.ly/1ueOvQC

Christine Ruis 1 year ago

The worst is when I punish one kid and he runs to a sibling to bitch about me. I’m like “Let me get this straight. I punish you for [insert dangerous or just plain stupid infraction] and you go running to the person who bites, kicks, and teases you???”

tara 1 year ago

as I read I thought….did I write this and forget? This is me! Thank you for sharing, I REALLY needed this :)

Tanya Jt 1 year ago

Parenting is the hardest thing you can try.

Sharon Budworth 1 year ago

I love reading these, with a 3 year old & a 9 month old. Their are days that I feel like this, and it helps to know I am not the only one.

Kimberley Vermeulen 1 year ago

That’s exactly how I feel.

Amber 1 year ago

Thank you for writing this I really needed it this morning. As a new mother of a 7 week old I sometimes wonder how I will survive and it was like you were talking about me with quitting if I didn’t like something or it was too hard. Again thank you!

    Anna 1 year ago

    You are welcome! You will totally survive and will come out stronger than you thought you could be. :)

Nwanne Casey 1 year ago

Perfectly put x

Jessica Catlett 1 year ago

Exactly how I feel….thank you for writing this.

Amie Conner 1 year ago

I always believed myself to have a calm, even keeled personality. But I too have more extreme highs and lows now that I’m a mother. This article was spot on.

RickandKristin Glass 1 year ago

Some evenings, little one’s bedtime cannot come early enough. More often than not, I find myself crying it out. Nothing feels more lonely than thinking how other moms would persecute me for feeling the way I do on those occasions where the tears run freely. I’m so thankful for mommies who are really honest about how they feel.

Karla Burns 1 year ago

My husband was the smiling man at the bottom last night. He let me off so I could get a much needed break! Love that man

Melanie Page-Mena 1 year ago

My kids are older…16, 13 and 10…and unfortunately the wheel hasn’t slowed down. I still have days where I want to hide in my room and not come out. I try to focus on the positives instead of the negatives….but the negatives seems to weigh heavy on my heart.

Tina Conner-Powell 1 year ago

This is me after 4. I have a 13 year old, 11 year old and 4. After school they all act like toddlers. Except they are adult sized and eating everything. Husband doesn’t get home until 7 to past bed time 99 percent of the time. Some days all you can do is lock yourself away for a few minutes.

Julie LaPointe 1 year ago

I only have 1 child my 8 yr old son and also very very single mother this spoke volumes to me… I’m also very open about the ups and downs of motherhood I think that’s what keeps me half assed sane lol its not all peaches and cream being a parent at all… personality clashes attitudes lol at times now I actually have to tell him give me 2 minutes cause I really just need to breathe

MaryAnne Iding 1 year ago

I could have written this one!

Megan Wilson 1 year ago


Chelsea White 1 year ago

I love my baby but sometimes it gets really hard and I do want to quit sometimes and it’s okay to admit that. I’ve reached out and gained a support group and that’s what helps me. Being able to talk about the ups and downs and reality of having a baby.

Carolyn Walske Quimby 1 year ago

I have been obsessively reading these lately to know that I’m not alone…with 3 under 4…loving them unconditionally every second and wanting to move bedtime up to 4pm.

Ali Rust 1 year ago

I am so lucky to have had 3 very easy kids lol.

Gwen McElroy 1 year ago

Ain’t that the truth.

Judy Sheahan 1 year ago

I’m only a nice human until hubby says it will be a late night at work ! Wish my kids had a nicer more patient mama after 4pm.

Shivi Kour 1 year ago

Very well written. ..loved it!

Stephanie Roberto-Carenza 1 year ago


Paola Mendoza-Castañeda 1 year ago

Bittersweet Motherhood ! But the rewarding feeling of hugs and kisses , worth every second ❤️

Anne Fernandez 1 year ago

I enjoyed reading this and can completely relate!

Kristin Unrein Maiorano 1 year ago

Describes my night to a tee last night

Rachel Jolly Bray 1 year ago

I needed to read this right at this moment. Thanks.

Sarah Fritz-Maldonado 1 year ago

More like roller coaster Joel

Lynsey Lotty 1 year ago

tell your husband not to text anymore. For me it would add to the anxiety. LOL That being said, you’re lucky. I’m a single Mom Mondays thru Thursdays, husband flies home Friday mornings. I’m able to survive now because my kids are a little older, but those younger years are a total blur of stress, tears, heartache…wondering how I could love 2 kids so much but also want to walk out at certain times. With the help of my mother-in-law nearby, and thank GOD for her, I was able to take breaths sometimes and catch little breaks. Anyway, hang in there. It does get easier in some ways as they get older. You’re doing a great job.. :)

Andrea Watkins Dickinson 1 year ago

Not enough people talk openly about the hard side of Motherhood, so thank you for sharing this!!!! It’s okay to struggle and have some lows; and we all relish the high points of parenting!

Anna Sorgard 1 year ago

So fun to wake up to see you’d posted this again, Jill. :)

Shelia Burton-Mertes 1 year ago

Well said!

Rikki Navarrete 1 year ago

This spoke to me

Joe Medler 1 year ago

You can’t understand the phrase ‘every minute of every day’ before kids. Both me and my wife have been the one texting and the one crumbling. The wonderful parts are amazing, but the rest! I too was the kid who quit things when they got hard. Til now.. http://developingdad.com/2014/08/13/my-punchable-face/

Leandra D. Turner 1 year ago

I agree with it but I get off whenever I want my husband sends me out at least three times a week for a few hours for a massage or nails done or something

    Amber Beermann Wagner 1 year ago

    That’s sweet. Your a lucky mama!

Amber Beermann Wagner 1 year ago

No parenting babies and young children is like referring! Haha!

Lauren Komenda Phillips 1 year ago

So very true! Great read.

Sarah Martin 1 year ago

Felt like this for the last two days. Got to take a deep breath at bedtime. My bedtime.

Shannon 1 year ago

I love this page because it gives me that reassurance each day that the overwhelming feeling that I suck at motherhood is shared by so many others! Then I can take a deep breath and keep trudging through the nonperfect world of parenting two toddlers and a third grader basically alone while my husband and I both work full-time on different shifts to offset the need for outside childcare. These have been the hardest years of my life and the stories shared here help keep me sane while waiting for that day when I can get off the Ferris Wheel to catch my breath!

Kristii Myers 1 year ago

I so relate to this. Great article

Kimberli Sullivan 1 year ago

Sierra Skye Wallace the quote at the top sounds all too familiar. #neveragain

Cynthia C McGrail 1 year ago

So so true!

Deana DiCindio Haikes 1 year ago

so true

Kate Du Toit 1 year ago

My husband and I are 3 weeks into fostering (to adopt) an 18 month old and I am SO grateful for honest moms. I’ve never felt more insecure or emotional in my life! The corporate world and work feels like the easiest thing now. Motherhood- now that is tough! And yet amazing!

Amy 1 year ago

You’ve perfectly nailed it on the head. You’ve summed it up, exactly how I feel on a daily basis.

Cathy Fuller 1 year ago

It’s like these words came out of me. Thank you! Sometimes I feel like to worst Mom in the world to my 2 yo twins, reading articles like this makes me feel normal.

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Kristina 1 year ago

Thanks for this. Nice to know im not the only one who thinks in this perspective. I needed to read this.

Shab Tay 1 year ago

Being a parent makes you feel like you’re bipolar. One minute, you’re feeling blissful over the cutest sentence you just heard and the next, you turn around to see a mess after asking 500 times for them to clean up their toys or something. I wouldn’t trade motherhood however, I do believe children should be on a timeshare situation. Two sets of parents can take turns parenting kids. It’s a win win.

Jasmine 1 year ago

I needed to read this to learn that I too am this way. Thank you so much for being honest. I completely relate to you.

Missa Worthington 1 year ago

I love this <3

Liz Greving 1 year ago

I needed this one today!!

Jen Ryker 1 year ago

am i the only one skeptical of why the husband kept texting excuses for extra reasons for being late? she should have a gps linked tracker turned on his phone and check his phone history. Something tells me he gets a few calls/texts that arent what he says they are.

Megan Bankard Sullivan 1 year ago

This is the story of my life!

Emily Roffwarg Moore 1 year ago

Well said! Honest and perfect.

Jess McLoughlin 1 year ago

Thank god for articles like these. I love my kids more than anything but some days they drive me nuts

Maia Pappas Newton 1 year ago

I was a difficult child and a horrid teenager. Why do we not recall what shits we were now as parents? I LOVE my kids, but I don’t always like them. If I knew how totally immersed I would be in endless crisis of temper tantrum, tickle fights gone bad between brothers, the endless thankless hours of work- I don’t know that I’d choose to be a mother again.

But here I am with two boys whom I love limitlessly- and usually I’d not have it any other way, sans a maid. I’d kill for a maid.

Vicky ‘eeby’ Dimmock 1 year ago

Seriously I feel like there is no one like u guys where I am. Ie honest parents/ladies. .. everyone is just trying to be perfect… I’d rather be honest and ppl don’t like that


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