Gotta Love Those Challenges

I was going back through my blog posts, as I do sometimes, to see what “mood” I’m reflecting on my blog. I’ve been struggling with my family lately and it’s been getting me down. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t bumming all of you out. πŸ˜‰

I’m so grateful for this blog because it’s more of a “grateful journal” for me and highlights the good things in my life. I have a terrible memory and SOO much on my mind, so it’s nice to go back and focus on the positive moments.

I wrote the “How you know when you’re done having kids” post as part of my ongoing grieving process of not having the family I had imagined all my life. I’m not feeling sorry for myself, but there are little moments that ping my heart and I can’t help but feel the loss of not raising a daughter and wonder if I really have what it takes to raise these energetic boys. I’ve decided that it’s best to let those feelings come and not push them back or pretend they’re not there.

The holiday season is harder on me than any other time of year. We have all experienced these feelings in one form or another. I am truly grateful for my 3 boys and I realize that they’re so strong-willed, busy, and LOUD because they’re mine. (I’ve been known to be a little strong-willed myself, but I’m never loud. ha ha!) I also realize that I should just be grateful that I have 3 children at all. However, my logical brain and my emotional heart are always in conflict over this issue.

I know that I’m just tired from hosting Thanksgiving guests for a week. I’ve been wanting to share my feelings for quite a while now. I’ve hesitated because I know so many of you are struggling with real trials and mine compared to those seem insignificant. But it doesn’t help that I get questions daily on when I’m going to have a girl (like I choose only boys). I wish people thought more about the things that come out of their mouths. I politely tell people that, “I tried 3 times, thank you.”

Thanks for listening. I’ll post some grandparent and great-grandparent gift ideas tomorrow. As well as pictures of my house ready for Christmas!

Can any of you relate to not having the family you dreamed of since you were a little girl?

30 thoughts on “Gotta Love Those Challenges

  1. I can relate to you, obviously not about having girls since I have 3, but just the fact that my family is not what I envisioned. Having a child (my 1 boy) that is challenging makes me really wonder what his life is going to be like and I pray that we can help him have the best opportunities possible. I want that spiritual good-mannered missionary to send off to serve the Lord someday. I have just known too many kids like him who didn’t turn out like I want him to. It scares me.

    So there’s my struggle for now. Hang in there. You are awesome and I’m grateful to know you.

  2. I appreciate your honesty in both your posts so much. I don’t think they are “downers” at all, just your feelings, and I think we can all relate in some way. I still have “why” questions and “what’s next” thoughts regarding our family and the possiblity of a sibling for A. I certainly have strong “pings” at times too, usually the bitter pings (over fertility, etc.)

    I have to believe that God’s plan is always unfolding and I try to trust in that–it still can be a struggle.

  3. Laurie

    I understand where you’re coming from because my sister feels the way you do. I understand because my family wasn’t exactly the way I planned either. I ended up with two surprise pregnancies and now a house full of little kids. I know that you’re thankful for your family just like I am and can’t imagine one of them being different…but we all have these times! I think it’s great that you open up about how you really feel…it’s how we all get to know each other better! Thank you for being open…it shows us all we’re normal! πŸ™‚

  4. Laurie- I think everyone feels that way- but just for different reasons. Some struggle with kids, spouse, parents- there is always something that sould be better or different in each of our lives. I look at the challenges of my life and I realize it’s because of those times that I learn to depend more on the Lord for strength!

    Hang in there- you have been through a lot in recent years! You’ve come out fighting through it all! Just think- some day you will have 3 daughters (in-law) and I am sure you will love them like your sons!

  5. I know things are a struggle right now. You will make it cause you’re a fighter and an amazing person. It’s good not to repress your feelings and pretend they aren’t there. Work through it and on the other side, as I said this morning, you probably won’t even remember this phase. πŸ˜‰

    Love ya!!!

  6. You are so sweet to share your private feelings about motherhood- I think they are the hardest. I struggle with a picture in my head of my husband and I with 5 kids. We have 4 and think we are done. Actually there is no way we could add another to our family right now. But I still feel like someone is missing and sometimes that is very hard. When I read your post the other day about you knowing that you are done I was jealous that I don’t feel that, yet don’t feel the answer of “yes” to have #5. Still I am very grateful for the 4 children I do have (and I know most people would think me crazy for wanting more!)They make life worth living!

  7. love your honesty.. sorry it is hard.. emotions and feelings are important to work thru and experience.. you can’t really skip over them! (bummer though!)

    like you said, everyone struggles in different ways.. doesn’t mean that your struggle isn’t real or unimportant.. just different!

    it is amazing what people think is okay to say! sorry that you keep getting those questions..

    it is funny how our kids turn out so much like us! you sound like an amazing mom, doing amazing things.. take care.. and I look forward to seeing your house decorated up!

  8. Laurie,
    I have 3 boys myself and I do get comments all the time about “so when are you going to have a girl”. For me I alway felt I was going to have all boys so I have never been disappointed. I feel that I have a huge responsibility to raise these wonderful little guys to be the best husbands to the sweet daughter in-law that I will have in the future. {I have a great relationship with my mom-in-law} I was probably in line with you up in heaven under the all boy mom line. We need to start a club! I have several friends with 4,5,6, even 7 all boy families. I truly admire all of those ladies. You seem like a wonderful mom, never think otherwise. Also, if I ever see something down the “pink” isle I have 5 nieces that I can buy for. πŸ™‚
    I love reading your blog!

  9. It’s your blog and your right to voice your opinions, trials, and tribulations- so go right ahead, plus look at all this support and advice you get in the end. I always like to say- one day at a time, to get me through things. You are awesome!
    I too am excited to see your house all decked out for the holidays! Maybe I should take photos of mine too! Good idea!

  10. I appreciate your honesty in sharing how you feel. I have two boys and they are all I’m going to get! I’m sorry that people are rude to you by asking when you’re having a girl. Hello? I feel pretty fortunate that I’ve never gotten that response, nor the question of why I only have two (which makes me a Mormon minority!).

    I don’t look forward to them growing up necessarily, but I do look forward to gaining two daughters in law and, hopefully, granddaughters.

  11. Laurie-
    I think everyone has their own challenges that we need to learn to work through. Don’t feel like yours aren’t as big as other peoples cause they are all just different!
    I think back to when I was pregnant with my 3rd (a real surprise) and I was actually upset about it. I wanted to have the family I wanted at the time I wanted it. SO selfish- I know. I felt even more awful because one of my good friends isn’t able to have kids and she had been trying to adopt for so long and here I was having kids with out even trying. It’s not that I didn’t want the baby, it’s just that I didn’t feel like I was ready for her.
    I guess the Lord really does know best because I couldn’t image life without her. Even though it sure is crazy around here a lot. I wouldn’t change it.
    We need to learn to submit to whatever the Lord has in store for us and just trust that there is a reason for it.
    I know that for me patience is a huge thing that I constantly need to work on. “Lucky me”- I get lots of chances to work on it. Sometimes I get it right, but more often than not I don’t. So I know that I’ll keep getting those chances until it’s mastered. Maybe not in this life.
    I don’t know if you get what I’m trying to say. I’m not the best as expressing myself, but I want you to know that you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers that you’ll be able to be at peace in your heart.

  12. ok! 1st off it is your blog and your life you can blog about the real you all you want, no worries about bumming anyone out. we can relate to now having what we might have planned for ourselves. and girls are fun to dress but they are hormonal , and whiny, and sometimes have their own idea about what they want to wear. and boys love their moms extra lots .
    plus think of all the sweet daughters in law you’ll get to have. and as far as people making lame comments you handled it fabulously. and next time burst into tears and yell if it makes you feel better and you feel like it. seriously maybe they need to realize you have wanted a baby girl and it isn’t always up to you. we all struggle with not getting things they way we planned. and blogging can be a way to feel better about it. feel free. you are obviously loved. and everyone has down days,weeks, months. and it is OK to say so! i have a friend with 7 boys. she kept trying for a girl, and still wants a baby girl, so she is now looking into foreign adoption. you need to do whats best for you and whatever makes you feel better. ((hugs))

  13. Absolutely I can relate!

    I always dreamed of having a big family – 4 or 5 kids. Heck, I even went into El. Ed. because I love kids…..

    We have 2 boys and my husband says we are done. I would love to have more (isn’t that what I’d dreamt of??). I would love to have a girl. A few years ago, just before I had my boys I thought I’d have 2 boys then a girl. So now I have the 2 boys but no girl. I often wonder whether I did have another it would be my girl?!? But I will never know……. (unless an accident happens!).

    Even though my husband says we are done, I can’t face the fact that I’m done having kids. It’s so hard to accept that this ‘chapter’ of my life is over. That the only babies I will hold in the future will not be mine. {sigh}.

    So I can totally relate.

    Although my friend who has 5 children (4 boys then a girl!) said she found it hard to accept her family was complete, even though she knew it had to be.

    Why is it this frustrating being a woman at times? And I’ve had the ‘the more kids you have, the more righteous you are, attitude from friends. Very sad.

    Oh, just to let you know I LOVE reading your blog! You girls are totally the type of girls I’d have as friends if I still lived in the US!! So anytime you take a trip to England…….

  14. I love this post! Not that I love that you are feeling these feelings….anyway….I can totally relate. Even though I do have a girl (and let me tell you- girls are NOT all pretty pink skirts and Mommy/daughter lunches…they are a ton of work in a different way), I have my own challenges. And my life is SO not what I envisioned. I wanted 6 kiddos (HA) and they would be boy/girl, 2 years apart with all the same first letter for their name. I think this is my biggest challenge in life- learning to not only be ok with what I have but really enjoying it. I struggle majorly with this. But I think it’s really important to work through it like you said and not just push it aside… I could write a novel as always. But know that I’m thinking of you and that we can all relate in own ways to you. You are amazing and those three boys are SUPER lucky to have the SuperMom they do. πŸ™‚

  15. Hey Laurie-
    I jumped on your blog this morning b/c someone mentioned to me you had some great Christmas gift ideas, but then I came across this post and just had to send you a quick note!
    I love your sincere honesty in this post. I think that expectations we set can sometimes bring us the greatest heartache. I too have found great disappointments in the difference between how I thought my family would be and how it actually is. We recently completed our second adoption homestudy and profile. NEVER in a million years did I think I wouldn’t be able to have my own children. When I finally had to leave the path of infertility treatments and pursue the path of adoption, I had so much grief and heartache. Of course adopting Tyler eased much of that pain and replaced it with tremendous joy. But I do sometimes think that I’ve completed my grieving process, and other times I still feel the pain. Every pregnancy announced and every baby shower remind me of experiences I will never know. I enjoyed your post because it reminded me that we all struggle with challenges and we all have disappointments. I frequently forget that just because someone doesn’t struggle with my same trial, doesn’t mean that they don’t have a set of challenges all their own.
    You are strong and those boys need a great mom like you! Count your many blessings (all three of them… even if they are lively and loud and run you right into the ground!), but continue to grieve beause in your grief, you will develop a great deal of empathy for others struggling with the same challenge.
    You’re great!

    -Carrie Carson

    ps…I decided on the nativity puppets. Great gift idea! I’ll have to peek in on your blog and website more often!!!

  16. I really appreciate you sharing your real feelings, even when they are not all nice and happy. Honestly we all need to be real from time to time. Knowing others are not always happy makes it easier to admit when you are struggling too. I can only imagine that not having a daughter is a big challenge. Just because there are other harder challenges does not change that fact. My mother in law had four boys (lost one at 6 months old) and ached for a girl. She now has 6 grandchildren and almost all of them are girls! I had an aunt who adopted a girl after four boys, so it was serious for her too! Just keep praying you will be o.k. with it all and allow yourself to feel bad because its totally normal! Life has a way of coming together on its own. My children and my planning was totally taken out of my hands and at the time it rocked my world and I was very upset. I have come to see it is o.k. It’s okay to have trouble adjusting to it when its not your plan or your dream.

  17. Thanks for sharing your feelings with us.
    You are such a great mother. Your children are so blessed to have you as their mother.
    Enjoy your sweet family.
    Big Hugs

  18. I absolutely can relate. My head and my heart are involved in the same struggle day in and day out. Some days are better than others.

    I appreciate your feelings about this. It’s not trivial either. These are YOUR struggles, and even though they might seem small to someone else, to you they are unique.

  19. It is hurtful what people say. I was married for 4 years before I had a baby. I had 2 tubal pregnancies before I had my daughter. Lost 4 more and a tube. Then 16 years later had another daughter at the age of 42 and I still get people ask me how come I waited so long in between. It didn’t turn out the way I had planned it but I tell people I take them when I could get them. That usually shuts them up. I was bitter and sad for along time but realized that I need to be grateful and I thank the Lord everyday for the 2 I have.Last September I put one in college and one in pre-school and at 45 I’m done!

  20. I can somewhat relate. I was actually raised in a house that did not have that “warm and cuddly” feel to it, so my expectation was to have that feeling within the walls of my home when I became a mom. I have managed to do that and am very proud of that accomplishment. I am a much more active participant in my children’s life than my mother EVER was.
    BUT…I had envisioned sitting on the sidelines as my son played baseball and basketball, but unfortunately our one son has no interest in atheletics and the times that he has played any sports has been so stressful his father and I. That is sometimes a little disappointing. My daughters are not “ultra” girlie, girlie. I had thought I would have these girls that would wear ribbons in their hair and hate to get dirty and they would wear cute outfits with coordinating tights. No such luck. My girls are throughly tomboys. They love looking for bugs and making mudpies. I have used way more than my fair share of SHOUT to get stains out of the cute clothes I have bought for them.

    I am grateful for all the blessings we have had in our life and try not to think about what my expectations had been, but rather focus on how wonderful reality is. It truly is sweet and and if I stop and really think I have the things that are truly important.

    Thanks so much for bringing this up and giving me a chance to think about.


  21. I hear ya! I think you are totally justified in your feelings and I love hearing about it. We are all in the same boat dealing with the same issues and insecurities in one way or another. I always thought I would have kids by now but that’s not the plan right now. It’s frustrating when people ask when I’m going to have kids, my husband likes to respond with “we’re going to try when we get home, we’ll call you if it takes” or “LeeElle’s uterus has tumble weeds rolling around in it” or “we can’t have children” or “do have a position you reccamend” or something that will make them feel bad (but not always) or put them in there place. Hello! it’s none of your business. Everyone thinks they are the expert on you and your life, but their not. I just have to take comfort in knowing what I know and trusting in the Lords will and timing.

  22. I can’t relate, but my sister has 5 boys! I know she would love a girl, but she’s done having kids, and so she has just accepted that God wanted her to raise 5 boys! And it’s like she was born to be a mother to boys! She is awesome, as I’m sure you are. I hate when people talk before they think! But just know that you are blessed!

  23. I love that you are talking about this.
    I have a big gap in my kids– 8 years– and the comments during that time were amazingly dense and hurtful.
    We struggled with ‘secondary infertility’ – no problems at first and then all systems shut down. Most people said, ‘at least you have 2’ — which is true, and I wouldn’t trade them… but the point is when you feel a void, or when it isn’t what you planned on, the grief and disappointment is very real.
    The problem with this life is that we are never privy to the Big Picture and we don’t know why things are the way that they are– but it really is okay to be sad and to be frustrated and to vent out feelings.
    Thanks for letting us into your world. Hope that you feel our love and that it helps, even if just a little.

  24. WOW!! Thank you guys so much for all your comments. I’m teary with appreciation. I’ve felt so alone and selfish for having these feelings, which then makes me feel guilty. I want so badly to be the mom my boys need me to be but with my 3rd child, I have felt like I’m falling very short of those goals.

    Your affirmations and points of view have given me the lift I really needed. Thank you for not judging me and letting me express what’s been on my mind. You all get the Rockin’ Blogger Award in my book!

  25. It is what it is. Never compare your problems or struggles to someone else. What you are dealing with is very real for you. Everyone is dealing with some trial in their life, some test, and it is their test for a reason.

    When I first married my hubby 13 years ago, I was going to have 5 kids. After my first was born, it became 4. Then after my second was born, it became – maybe 3 kids. Then two years ago, after much thought and some major things that happened after my second daughter was born I decided I was done having kids. I felt a peace that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

    I have 2 girls – no boys at this house.
    But I am grateful for the two kids I have and the constant challenges that they throw at me.

    Sorry you live in an area where people are asking you all the time if you are going to have another one or try for a girl. People aren’t quite as straight forward here, and I never get asked if I am going to have more.

    And one more thing. QUIT BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF! Put the beat up stick away. You probably have a tendency to feel like you are falling short because you are such a detail-oriented, organized person. But after lurking on your blog for awhile, you have it all together and are doing A LOT for your boys. Take a deep breath! There – better?

    Next time someone asks you that stupid question of “When are you going to have a girl?” Just stare at them stupidly and don’t say anything. Pretend you didn’t hear them, or get distracted. LOL I think they will get the point. he he…

  26. girl, i just love ya! i remember crying on the phone after we hung up when you called from your ultrasound with drake. i really knew how much you wanted a girl! i think the 3rd child is the hardest and most energetic! (speaking from experience) I wish I were there to give you a big hug and just let you know what a great example you are to me of motherhood, as a friend and as a great spouse to Jason. Your family is dang lucky to have you! And I am dang lucky to have you as my dearest friend. my prayers are with you! It is okay to have downer days, I just had one less than 24 hours ago… Trust in God’s plan, He will bless you and He entrusts you to raise these special boys of His. What an amazing blessing.
    i love ya, di

  27. I think no one experiences the life they thought they would have/should have.

    I love your post because it is a great reminder of living Heavenly Father’s plan for us…not our own plan.

    You’ll be one awesome fun Grandma one day to those girls & boys your kids will have one day…you’ll go hog wild spoiling those girls!

    P.S. And I think people ask those questions not to hurt you but as a compliment…they obviously think you’re a great Mom. After all, you wouldn’t ask loser Moms if they were gonna have more…right?!

  28. Laurie,

    I can relate to your feelings all to well. I also have three boys and have broken down in tears in Macy’s over a pink dress. The silliest of things can set me off. Its part dissapointment in myself for my lack to gratitude and part anger at this “unfair” world. Yet, the thought of a daughter scares me too.

    I can honestly say I do love having all boys. There is nothing like a son’s hug and the way they love their momma! What I fear most? DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW! Afterall, lets face it, most of us want our moms there or call them first for the BIG events. Not our mother-in-law.

    Here’s to us! ::Cheers::


    BTW, I cracked up at you saying you are getting more girly with each boy comment, I’ve been told the same thing so many times that I have almost the same exact wording on my page. How funny is that? LOL

  29. I can totally relate. Having three boys of my own, I get this question a lot, too. Of course I would love to have a girl, and maybe someday I will, but for now I just have to remind myself of what an awesome responsibility I have to raise 3 righteous sons! That’s a lot of trust Heavenly Father has placed in us! And in the meantime…I’m kinda enjoying being the Queen of the House! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your thoughts and know that you are not alone! And by the way, I think your boys are soooo lucky to have you as their mom! You do such special things for them!

  30. Funny you should post about this… hubby and I were discussing this the other day. Every dream I ever had for family or life in general is gone. Not one dream has come true. And the one that I am grasping onto right now is about to slip away (always wanted to live in a city with lots to do… MIGHT be moving to a smaller more country area). Hang in there… if you will, I will πŸ™‚

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