How My Daughter Became a Delight to Me - Sarah Mae
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How My Daughter Became a Delight to Me

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You may remember me writing about my sweet Caroline in this post, Loving a Wild One.

She was the one who humbled me as a mom. She was also the one who I thought was going to cause me to

Lose.

My.

Mind.

For real.

Here is a little excerpt from Desperate about her:

After approximately one thousand and one times of Caroline getting out of bed, I was ready to head to the mad house. I would have happily packed my bags and gone to bounce off the white walls. It was that bad. Spanking didn’t work, sternness didn’t work, ignoring her didn’t work, begging and tears didn’t work; she laughed in the face of my formula-wielding ways. The only reason she finally fell asleep was because tiredness overcame her. She won. I was defeated. I cried again and again.

The reality sunk in: Caroline was not going to fit in any box. There would be no pat answer for how to raise and discipline her. I was not prepared to raise an out-of-the-box (as Sally calls her) child.

But you know, that precious girl is now such a delight to me. Truly! I mean, not in mom speak, in for real, she’s a joy to be around, truth. She is sweet and kind and {mostly} obedient and fun and just lovely all-around.

She delights my soul. But it didn’t just happen. I’d like to share with you some things I think made a difference in how she has changed.

How My Daughter Became a Delight to Me

I Quit

I had too much going on, and the fact is, I was neglecting my daughter. I felt like I was losing her heart, and at such a young age! At two and three years old, I had already offended her to where she would push me away. I finally just started quitting things, including the Allume conference. Jesus said that He left the 99 for the 1. I took a cue from Him and decided that I needed to walk away from most of what I was doing and go after my one, my Caroline. And after her I went. I was determined to win her heart, and you know what? I have.

No regrets.

Also, by slowly taking outside work off my plate, I became much less stressed, which was helpful all around.

I Gave Her My Time

In going after her and her heart, I had to give her my time. She needed me, and isn’t that exactly what little ones need, their mamas? I really began offering myself to her, loving her, nurturing her, working with her, encouraging her, and really being for her. In practical terms, I began spending more time with her, being patient when she messed up and teaching her instead of yelling at her, smiling more at her, rubbing her arms and legs and head, reading to  her, cuddling, snuggling in bed with her, talking with her, and doing fun things with her. I don’t get it all right (I still get impatient, yell sometimes, etc.), but I’m present with my family, and that has made a huge difference.

I Got Wise

It finally sunk in that without time and intention and hard work, I wasn’t going to raise my children well. And by “well” I mean intentionally teaching and training them in how to do life.

Recently Sally turned 60, and for her birthday all her children came home and spent a week with her. One of her children said, “You took the time to teach me, and you poured into me, and wherever I go I have the wisdom to make decisions, use manners, rely on scripture to guide me, and I realize how much time it took for you to accomplish all that. I realize you gave everything in your life to raise us to be great people.”

That’s what I want, but it’s not going to come easy, and it’s not going to come if I don’t pay attention and work for it.

She Matured

For the love, my sweet girl was only two years old when I started to feel like I was going to go under with her! I thought being two was a forever sentence, and life would never change. I also thought all two-year olds would obey the same. Laugh now. She had her own gig, and she was not going to go along with my plans (and I wasn’t going to beat her to make her). But here’s the thing, we both matured.

For one, Sally told reminded me that, “She is only two, and I really think if she could obey you she would.” Sally encouraged me to spend more time with her, and to be patient with her, and to fill her needs. As I shared above, I gave myself to that good work. The other thing though, and the really big thing to keep in mind, is that little ones grow up! This is the nature of a child. We need to be patient as they mature, and in the meantime, give them what they need: our time and love. Discipline is in there, but sometimes we discipline for immaturity, which I think will do more harm than good.

All this to say, if you have a little one that is making you feel crazy, cut yourself some slack, cut them some slack, and remember: they mature (if you help them).

Keep on

Motherhood is hard work if we give ourselves to it, but it’s good work. We will mess up so many times, but we will also get so many things right.

Don’t give up. I know some days you feel like throwing in the towel, but listen to me: hang in there. What you do, it matters. Keep loving and snuggling your babes; you’ve got this. For real.

CS_ParentingAd_FINAL_WildOnenew

Keep on!

Love, SM

Print this!


  • Ginger R

    Thank you for posting – so encouraging & a great reminder!

  • mamahen

    Please enter me, I would love to read this book.
    clarksrfun at gmail com

  • Marya Mesa

    Would love to win!

  • Kristi

    What a great reminder! I needed that!

  • Kim@onerebelheart

    I have one of those out-of-the-box kids and she is now 9. Some days I still think she’s going to be the one to send me to the crazy house! She’s one of those kids parents talk about when they say, “If she’d been my first one, she’d have been the ONLY one.” One of the things I have to do to keep my sanity is remind myself of the positive aspects of what seems like only negative qualities – like, when she won’t stop asking for the one thing she cannot have, I have to turn that persistence on its head and remember that her tenacity is going to serve her well one day. Just not with me, when she’s asking for things that are not in her best interests. 🙂 This girl is going to go far, I just know it, but my prayer for her right now is that she would have a teachable heart. So often she thinks she already knows it all and that I have nothing worth listening to.

  • Sarah

    I needed this post today. Thank you!

  • Jennifer

    Where you were is where I am at with my 3 year old. Lost…but not hopeless. I’m taking your lead and pursuing her relentlessly starting today. Thank you!

  • bj10

    I’m certain that I could use your book. This article touched my heart. But I’d really love a copy to give to a friend of mine who is raising a beautiful wild child four year old little girl and twin micropreemies who are now 8 months old. She is such a precious, strong mom, but she is feeling the strain so badly. I pray that I win so that I can bless her!

  • tanya

    I want to read this book!

  • Carole

    I’d love to win this book!

  • Jessica Gilliam

    Thank you for this post! I have a daughter who is just like me and we butt heads quite often. It’s been a challenge to love her through her defiance, which is sometimes blatant. However, even harder still is loving my younger son whom I have a hard time relating to…he’s just so different than me and, of course, that’s a good thing but it’s difficult!! You are so right. Motherhood, done right, is such hard work but GOOD work. I don’t know how mom’s do it without Jesus!!

  • Chandler

    I have three beautiful daughters who I would love to ‘become a delight to me’. They are 18, 12 and 8. I have not been very wise or giving with them and I’m feeling the pressure, now more than ever, to do so.

  • Julie Quinn

    This post is so perfect for me. I have also quit my life this year to be more present for my girls. We are homeschooling this year and I am already noticing a difference. I am so thankful I listened to the call God placed on my heart. Thank you for your honest and open post that resonates so closely with my own thoughts and life.

  • BeautifulCalling

    Would love to win. Gave my copy away to someone more desperate than me 😉 Now have to replace it.
    I have a little girl – 6 – and since turning 6, and spending time playing with older girls in the neighborhood, the past 6 months have been a challenge. This mama needs to rein her in, decrease outside influence and woo her heart back home again!!

  • Kelly

    Such a beautiful post! I would love to win a copy of your book!

  • Danielle Espenshade

    My little girl is much the same. She will be 4 in a few weeks… we have come a long way together! Would love to win the book:-)

  • Emily

    Thank you for Sharing your struggles – I struggle with similar challenges with my daughter. I would love to win the book 🙂

  • Patti-Ann

    I have three children, my son had a great many challenges when he was a baby and very little now he has grown to be a wonderful teenager. There are still challenges but the solutions seems to come easier. My oldest daughter was a very easy baby and toddler and then it changed and she seems to be more of a challenge each day. My youngest daughter and child has always been a challenge since birth. Desperate does describe me a lot of the time. I like where you say in your article to “give yourself some slack” I truly think that is something that we as mothers forget to do and certainly need to do, for our sakes as well as our children’s.

  • Bonnie

    I have been right there with you. My ‘out-of-the-box’ daughter is now a happy, thriving 9-yo. I have been amazed at what I have been honored to see God do with her and through her even though I made so many mistakes in dealing with her. I praise Him for His grace and mercy every time I look at her, and for showing me that I can’t take ONE STEP as a parent w/o relying on Him 100%. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  • Michelle

    I often say, “If my children succeed, it will not be because of me. It will be because God has shown them grace and mercy.” I would love to finally get a copy of your book. You have great insight and a fun writing style. I’m sure I could glean much from it.

  • TraciMLittle

    so awesome! God is good friend! <3

  • Danielle

    Thanks for stepping on my toes… 🙂
    “Discipline is in there, but sometimes we discipline for immaturity, which I think will do more harm than good.” – See more at: http://sarahmae.com/2013/08/how-my-daughter-became-a-delight-to-me/#sthash.bGfdvCQI.3Fd6xXmf.dpuf

  • Jana

    Thanks so much for this. Felt like a breath of fresh air.

  • Jenn

    That is so eye opening, thanks for writing and sharing. I would love to do this with a small group!

  • Paigeyniels

    Wow- I so needed to read this today! Thank you for your encouraging and admonishing words. They were such a tremendous blessing and encouragement to me this morning. I have a “wild one” also- she turned 4 yesterday. I would love to read your book!

  • Alia S.

    I’m so glad I found this today. I cried as I read this because I have a daughter that is the world to me but sometimes seems determined to break me. She is so wonderful & loving yet so head strong & defiant. I think you hit the nail on the head today & I will follow your example of trying to get her heart. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Rachel Harvel

    Convicting….thank you! I have 2 little boys that seem to know just which buttons to push on what day….giving them me, instead of telling them to wait, always works…I just have to remember that.

  • Julie T

    This was a perfectly timed reminder, thank you.

  • Christa

    I really needed to read this post! I need these reminders constantly, it seems. I can feel my heart softening towards my kids (it was needed, sadly!) and I want to parent from a place of love, grace, and tenderness. I want to be present and meet their needs, not focus on what I need to get done. Thank you for sharing part of your journey!

  • Becky Teegarden Runyan

    So true and so convicting. I have this same daughter and she is now 8. We go through seasons where I feel close and then I feel lost again! I have felt in my spirit to take more one on one time with her and this post just confirms to me that it’s the right thing to do. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Melody

    I have a wild one, and I get criticized so badly for his behaviors, thanks for the reminder to try to ride out the storm! He’s 3 and a half and I do see glimpses of a better kid in there, but I also see the more stressed and upset I get, he feeds off of that 🙂 Thank you!

  • Audrey

    My youngest daughter is a wild child, and while I believe in my heart that one day she will be a delight most of the time, there are MANY days I despair. I would love to win a copy of your book. I had an e-version, but somehow lost it. I had read most of it, and it was one of the most encouraging mom books I’ve ever read.

  • Tim-Stephanie McCreight

    I truly appreciate your article…..needed to be reminded of this today! Thank you!

  • Lis

    Thank you for this. My 4yo son is definitely an ‘out-of-the-box’ kid and I have noticed that spending time alone with him makes him flourish. He’s a very sociable clown but one-on-one he is a loving, sweet little boy who wants nothing more than for me to read him the same book ad nauseum. I would love to read more in your book!

  • Kirsten

    So encouraging! We are their mommies and they need us.

  • http://www.hesetsyoufree.blgospot.com.au/ mummytj

    I.needed.this <3 Thank you Sarah. I feel like I can breathe. Tara.

  • michelle

    I came across your posts and Sally’s because I am “desperate” – I found myself with postpartum anxiety and depression, so badly that I had to be put in the hospital when my second child was 4.5 months old. At the same time my son then 2 could not speak and is totally an “out of the box child”, we’ve come to learn that he has a speech disorder. Though I am well on the road to recovery – I still have days where it feels as though I can not breath, and everything is a struggle. I feel most days as though I am failing my children and the Lord who gave them to me( my husband or I could create life and had to pray and be prayed over for healing so they are a true gift from the Lord in every way) Your blog encourages me and helps me as does Sally’s, I would love to win a copy of you book.

  • Vicky

    Oh, wow!!! You don’t know how wonderful it is to read this!!! I have 3, and my youngest requires so much more patience from me than my older two ever did; this post is so encouraging. Thank you for sharing!!

  • Shannon Pastore

    Thank you for sharing this! I have been struggling a lot lately because I am the full-time worker in our home and my girls have been saying stuff like “You’re never here” and “I miss spending time with you.” Not only do these things upset me, but they do bring on the “Mommy guilt” and I don’t know how to change things because right now I must work because I am the one paying the bills. I have been trying to spend more time with them at bedtime by reading to them and snuggling, but I feel sometimes like it just isn’t enough. Thank you for the encouragement to keep on going!

  • http://theheartofashley.blogspot.com/ Ashley Ditto

    Love your heart for motherhood!

  • Barbara Bender

    So true! I have two ” out- of-the-box” children…..13 months apart. I can’t tell you how often I used to question God’s wisdom in giving them to me. But, I am seeing now that if I had never been in such a place of dependence on Him and not being able to rely on my own methods of discipline, I would have never learned to listen to them, to know them, and to love them.

  • Elisabeth Giegerich

    Wow, I would love to have this book, I desperately need this. What you wrote sounds like my oldest daughter and I have more then once wanted to quit ESP being mom of three young girls. Elisabeth g

  • Jenn R

    Thank you for obeying God and sharing your Desperate story! It’s amazing how we can feel so all alone but as soon as we start sharing our stories, we realize we’re not and that a lot of women really feel the same way. Sharing and encouraging each other is one of the things that make it easier to go through motherhood, it shouldn’t be a competition or comparison trap but a journey together. Thank you for sharing your journey!

  • Tiffany

    I am a mom of four boys. I have two out of the box kids, and did I mention all my children are 6 and under. Everyday I have to know that today will be a day I get nothing done but entertain children and nurture them! IF by some miracle more than that gets done, great. But I had to learn the hard way as well that sometimes slowing down is necessary to get through those first crucial years of life. I now babysit others babies during the week and its a new level of balance. God loves the little children and I will do my best to do the same!

  • A. Hawthorne

    If you only knew how much I needed this today. My daughter is 5 and just last night had me in tears. Sometimes, I swear she hates being at our house. Everyone else says what a joy she is. It is frustrating and upsetting to me. It’s been this way for a long time. I must get this book!

  • Tammie

    I needed this encouragement today. Thank you.

  • Erica B

    Love this book and would love to share with a friends.

  • Jess

    So encouraging! We are working through the issue of keeping our 2 year old in bed and some days it feels like we are losing. He’s definitely a busy boy trying to test us but we are pouring into him like you suggest. He truly is a joy and we are all learning together! Thank you!!

  • Brooke

    This was such an encouraging post! Thank you – I needed that! 🙂

  • Hands Free Mama

    This was really honest and encouraging. I could relate to so much of it. Letting go of all the other “stuff” and focusing on loving my family was also life-changing for me. Thank for your sharing your story and affirming my choices to invest in my family when they are so many pressures to invest elsewhere.

  • Sadie B

    What a wonderful message for any Mom! Thanks for sharing!

  • Cindy Arthur

    What a timely article, I often feel like I’m at a loss with my 5 year old. We’ve been “butting heads” since she was born it seems. I was always the favorite Aunt to all my nieces and couldn’t wait to be a mom – I feel so depressed sometimes because my relationship with my daughter is nothing like I imagined it would be. But in reading the steps you took, I realize how much more she needs from me, and how I have not been present with her. I would love to have a copy of your book, thanks for the opportunity!

  • Anna

    Thank you for your encouraging words and for the chance to win!

  • Meredith Cooper Adkisson

    Reminds me of my little girl who just craves any of my time and attention. Such a simple request but so hard for me to fulfill sometimes. What struck me was when you said, ” it’s not going to come easy, and it’s not going to come if I don’t pay attention and work for it.” Thank you for the reminder to suck it up and win my baby’s heart.

  • Chauncey Cianci

    I feel like I have been so desperate lately. Desperate to be a good wife, a good mom to my three sometimes-crazy-put-me-over-the-edge kids. Your insight is honest, real and so inspiring since you’ve been there. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • alison_1

    I read this book from the library and it was such a breath of fresh air. It just made me feel hopeful. I would love to win my very own copy.

  • Deana Pfeiffer

    I need this book! Thank you for your encouraging words and chance to win.

  • Sheena Powell

    This hits home more than you know! Thank you for sharing this, it’s just what I needed to hear today!

  • Anne

    I really appreciate your authenticity and vulnerability – we all need this!

  • AliBrown12

    I have two little girls, a two and a three year old. My oldest fits this description to a T! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  • Tabatha Walker

    my son was my lesson in patients 🙂 took 11 years but he finally getting easier

  • Carla

    As an older mother to an adopted child, sometimes it seems more difficult. I sometimes see her biological mother in her (not good!). I need help to love her as my own, learn to be patient with her, and have the wisdom to raise her.. When she came to my home it was unexpected, and didn’t know she would stay. I want her to become MY daughter in my heart. I think your book would be wonderful and such a great encouragement to me.

  • Sarah Myers

    Thank you. I am in this season with my oldest son and I needed this today , we just moved and it has made things harder then normal . I know that in time I will look back at this time and know it made us stronger ! Thank you again .

  • allthingsbeautiful4

    I have three and they are all different. I have found that not one is easier than the other. Where one may “act” out more the other is more internal and I believe that to be the more dangerous because you have to be alert and ever watching to barely notice. Prayer has been my staple.

  • Kimberly

    I would love to win one of these. I am so “desperate” right now it’s just sad. I don’t have the desire to even try to be a good mom; I’m pretty much already given up. I have almost no support, including my husband whose definition of coming alongside me is to point out all the things I’m doing wrong and could do better. I’m done!!

    • MelissaM

      Kim, your post broke my heart. I have been there!! I got to the point that I didn’t even desire to be a good parent to my oldest son. I am ashamed to admit I got to the point where I couldn’t stand him. BUT, there is hope!! My only support was God. But he brought me through!! My relationship with my son is wonderful now!! Don’t give up…give it to God. He is the only one that can restore it. And he is desperate to! For you. For your child. I’m praying for you!! Look up Duane Sheriff. He has some fabulous teachings that help me reach out to God, and let God into my heart to do his restoration work. {{hugs}}

      • Kimberly

        Thanks, Melissa, that is so sweet. 🙂

  • Jessie Keith

    I really need this book! Thank you so much for the chance to win this and for your encouraging words!

  • sheyennew

    I can’t wait to read this book!

  • alissa

    I would love to read this book!

  • Haley

    I have one of those “strong willed” daughters and at 4 years old she definitely makes me want to bang my head against the wall sometimes! So happy to read your posts and know that I am not alone. Your advice is an inspiration to me!

  • Erin

    Thank you this was very encouraging to me. One if my three little ones is definitely “outside of the box” strong willed.

  • Deanna Michaels

    Oh my goodness. My 2 1/2 year old daughters sounds about like yours was. This post really spoke to me and encouraged me today. I needed to hear your words. I should focus on loving and encouraging her more than trying to make her “good”. Would love your book and DVD.

  • delicatefade

    I would love to be able to pass this on to a friend.

  • Adrienne Falkena

    I have four girls – one of which is my opposite. She’s eight now, and while we’re working on it, we don’t “get” each other at all. Your statement “If she could obey, she would” is applicable at age eight as well. Grace. I need grace. I’d love a copy of your book!

  • Jessica S

    Wow! would love to have!

  • Jessica

    Good words for this mother today, as I am starting to get this, too. I have a strong-willed 5-yr-old, autistic 2 yr-old, and chubby happy 10 month-old. Keeping them first, especially my #1 and #2, is what they need. I am a working mom, but before it all I am a mom. Awesome post, Sarah!

  • Rachel Boese

    I keep getting this book from the library–I’m halfway through, but I keep needing to return it before I can finish! I love this reminder—I need to keep it fresh in my mind.

  • Katherine

    So awesome! Thank you. I need this book so bad!

  • Jennifer Waycaster Jernigan

    Wow! This post came at a time when I needed it most. I have been diligently working on my relationship with my 8 year old little boy. Life with him is an adventure to say the least! With the Lord’s help we will get it figured out. I would love your book!

  • Johanna

    Thanks for this greatly encouraging post, I have an out of the box child too 🙂

  • Dalenna

    Being intentional in parenting is our goal too!

  • Missy

    Loved your message. It is a great reminder to us all. I hope I win your book!

  • Laney LaRussa Gagnon

    Love you Sarah and your posts! In my morning prayer time today I was struggling and discerning if I was doing too much service outside my home. You just got me back on track. I need to be here, for the moment, in this season, pouring love into my family and serving them! Thank you.

  • Debbie Brown

    Such encouragement to read this.

  • Melanie

    Thank you. What a timely message! I sincerely appreciate your words of wisdom, and they were exactly what I needed to hear this morning. My son is now 14, but in his toddler years, he was exactly as you described your daughter. I love him desperately, but I still struggle on a daily basis with figuring out how to truly delight in him. I pray that I am not too late.

  • Caitlin

    Thanks for this… i needed it. I have a wild one as well 🙂 I would love a copy of the book.

  • snelson924

    There must be a theme that I need to grasp! You saying what we do as mothers MATTER! I just read “The Invisible Woman” last night and was nearly in tears through it all!!! I needed to hear this this morning. My 5 year old is my challenge. And the reminder that she is JUST 5 was what I needed to remember!!! Thank you!

  • Vita

    Thank you. I will make a point of cuddling, holding, giggling, spending time with my child today.

  • Melissa Calo-oy

    Some days I’m not sure I’m going to survive my son being three! But I have to because I have another son who is 8 months old. Thank you for some hope!

  • Brandi

    Thanks for the wonderful advice. I look forward to my daughter becoming a delight. (We’re getting there!!)

  • Navy Doc

    I won’t just leave a comment, I will repost on my Facebook page! Wish I had this advise as a young mom……but I can still use it with my older kids too-even my 18 yr old!

  • Lainie

    Good thoughts!

  • Marissa Morin

    Love this Message. I truly cried reading it as last night my husband and i were discussing this EXACT thing. My daughter is a “firecracker” and i completely related to this post. Thank you so much! This was definitely sent from God! Have a great day!

  • Kristy Boyle Hartsook

    Thank you for sharing- Seems very familiar to me…I am trying to cut things out to give more to my daughter that matters…time

  • Toni

    Thank you so much for sharing–just what I needed to hear! Would love to win the book set!

  • Sarah Peloquin

    Oh my goodness! I read this and tears came to my eyes. My four year old is what your two year old was–and my insanity would definitely put me in the madhouse. I think the hardest thing has been my third pregnancy. I decided if we wanted more children, that we would adopt because the zombie mom status for nine months is not something I want any of us to go through again. Some moms have beautiful pregnancies–mine turn me into the walking dead. I’ve exercised, eaten healthy, done everything right and it doesn’t make a difference. To be absent in my children’s lives for this nine month period of time would damage me AND them. I get God’s grace in our circumstances and I’ve had to cling to that and appreciate the help I’ve received from others–including my amazing husband.

    However, it’s taken a toll on my relationship with my daughter. She needs me and my attention and I have nothing–literally nothing–to give. I wake up and feel the instant need to return to slumber. And believe me, as an early morning person this grates on my nerves more than anything.

    I feel like I spend all my waking hours policing my children–especially my daughter–when all I want to do is cuddle her and read books to her and pray with her and more.

    I want to get to that place where I just enjoy her. I know the discipline still happens, but I want to enjoy her even through those times. And this pregnancy has forced me to treat her as my “little momma” instead of as the daughter who fills my days with love and laughter. I want her to help me because she wants to help me, not because I can’t get up off the couch…

    And I want her to be my little girl for as long as possible.

  • Christine

    Your post was sent to me by a co-worker. Unbeknownst to her, I had a really rough day with my first daugther yesterday and prayed all the way to work for guidance, assistance and patience. Your message was so timely…thank you. God works in mysterious ways.

  • http://anitadavissullivan.com/ Anita Davis Sullivan

    I can’t say how much I love hearing from other moms who have “been there, done that” and survived- and THRIVE. You do give hope. Thank you.

  • Amy Murray

    Last night I cried myself to sleep thinking that I just can’t be a mother like I am supposed to be! My kids have been pushing every limit lately. On that note I am going to get off my phone, turn the tv off and spend some time with them.

  • Maria Kjosness

    My wild one is 6 1/2. I can tell she is maturing and that is hopeful for me but I think she also needs more of my time than I give her. Honestly, it’s hard to want to draw close when she needs it the most which she shows by acting out. I would love a copy of this book.

  • Ren Mikesh

    This is so close to my heart! I have three children and one of my little girls is definitely a wild one sent to humble me as a parent. God has been working on my heart to do just what you are describing. Sometimes it’s awkward, sometimes it’s wonderful, and sometimes it’s painful. It can be painful to feel your flesh and natural desire to be busy die as you try to pour your heart into your wild child. But I take heart reading your blog and Sally Clarkson’s books, and chatting with some close sister friends. Makes me feel like I’m not alone in this parenting thing! Thanks for being so raw and sharing your journey with us fellow sojourner mamas!

  • Diana

    This is so encouraging. I’ve often wondered what the result would be of a parent who took just the kind of time you’ve described with a difficult child–what a success story! My little guy is not even two yet and is relatively easygoing so far, but I will definitely be remembering this as he gets older and more children (with different personalities!) join our family. Thank you for sharing!

  • Lisa

    Oh I really needed this today. And thanks for the chance to win your book. I’ve heard it is FANTASTIC! So I’m looking forward to reading it 🙂

  • Desiree

    Love it!! I love to read your humor in life’s lessons! Hugs!

  • Alix St.Amant

    What a helpful article!! I needed it. I would really, REALLY love to win this!

  • Jessica G.

    So inspiring. Really needed this at this very moment. I have a 7 year old daughter and lately I feel so far from being a good mama to her. It breaks my heart when she is deliberately disobedient and disrespectful to me but the way I’m handling it at the moment is not working, and I need to find another way fast…

  • Jennifer

    This is a beautiful post! The other night, my oldest son who is 20, came into my room to talk to me while I was furiously typing a blog post. He said, “Mom I need to talk to you right now.” I should have put my computer aside before he even said it.

    I also have twin 4 year old twins. They need us at every age and it is a balancing act to keep it all in perspective. Motherhood is living, learning, and praying on our knees until they are bruised.

    I loved your book Desperate!

  • Jan

    My third child was an ‘out-of-the-box’ baby, also defined as a high-needs baby. My husband often remarked if she would have been our first child, she might have been the only one! Spending time with her helps so much. She is four now and a joy to all who know her, even though the difficult moments still come. I look back to that dark PPD filled winter when she was an infant, and wonder how I survived. Because she did make me lose my mind several times.

  • Rachel S.

    What a beautiful post! I love what Sally’s kid told her! That is so awesome! I want that too. I’d love to read this book!

  • Erin

    Thank you, dear Sarah, for sharing. It gives me hope that ultimately, these frustrating / rewarding toddler times will blossom. Our Father can use everything for His glory, and He’s working it all together for good.

  • Audra D

    Needed this today!! Great stuff!

  • Angela

    Thank you so much for writing on this topic. I know that a lot of the problems I see with my little ones are related to my being online or otherwise distracted. Time to change.

  • http://www.sonyamacdesigns.com/ Sonya McCllough

    Oh, I so want to win to give to a friend!

  • Kelli

    We are doing your Desperate study with our Mom’s Connection group this year! This would be an awesome giveaway for that!

  • Brooke Ellen Pole

    I agree in this logic, but emotionally its very difficult for me to accept. I have 6 kids, and one (second eldest) is the ‘out of the box’ kind, pushing every button that i and his siblings have. The story of the prodigal son always made me cry, because I relate so much to the older son – I was always trying to be dutiful and low-maintanence for my mom, I was little-mama to my much younger brother, I never rebelled or got into trouble, and yet that story (just as your article) seem to suggest that all the respect and love-pouring and appreciation should go to the ‘wild’ child instead of the ‘good’ child. How am I to explain to my other children, who try so hard to actually follow the rules, that their brother deserves MORE of the mommy-time because he’s misbehaving? Doesn’t that send the message that only the kids that screw up get sympathy and attention and help? It hurts to see the wild child favored over the responsible ones, especially when there are so many kids, and attention is a precious commodity in their minds.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Brooke, I am so sorry you didn’t get the attention your heart needed when you were young. It’s not fair, and it hurts, and I wish I could somehow fix that pain for you. You deserved just as much love and respect and appreciation as your brother.

      When I was writing this article I actually thought about someone wondering if I neglected the others in order to win Caroline. I don’t. I try hard with all my children to love them and meet their needs, but they all require different methods. For example, my oldest, doesn’t like tons of affection, but she loves to sit and talk with me. My son gets his love tank filled by cuddling; he’s always the first one up and comes to me every morning needing cuddles, and if I don’t give them to him, he will go to his room and cry (for example, if another child wakes up before he has had mommy alone time.) I try to really pay attention to what each child needs, and fill that in the best way I can. Caroline was just harder, but that’s mainly because I got super busy once I had her, I mean, I actually stopped nursing her so I could go to a blogging conference! She was the one who got the short end of the stick, and the reality is, I needed to do some recon.

      But all in all, I try very hard to keep close to each of my children’s hearts. I love them all the same, and pursue them each passionately.

  • Sarah Morrow

    I can completely relate to this with me 4 year old daughter. I actually went and slept on her floor last night just to be closer to her for a moment. My relationship with her is lacking. She doesn’t fit into the box. I love her dearly, but I don’t know how to love her well.

  • KWoodsMK

    THANK YOU so much for this! We have been struggling with our daughter, and I have felt like we were losing her heart several times over the last few days and weeks. This is EXACTLY what I needed to read this morning. Now…time to go be WITH my daughter instead of just sitting in the same room as her. 🙂

  • Sara

    Thank you! I’ve had this feeling that I’ve lost my kids and honestly I’ve been feeling very apathetic about it all. They’re 7, 5 & 3. Well, the 3 year old is really a delight I struggle with the older two more and mostly it’s the 7 year old who just makes me want to cry or throw her out with the bath water, that is, if I can get her to take a bath. But this is just another providential reminder that what she needs most is my time.

  • http://lmbartelt.wordpress.com/ Lisa Bartelt

    Such wisdom and encouragement. I’ve been there with our 5-year-old. She’s a first born with two first-born parents, so to say there are power struggles is an understatement. She goes to kindergarten on Monday and I realize how short the time has been and how her unique personality is some of what drives me crazy and also endears her to me. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Mary

    What a great message. I was just talking to some older women today about how my little girl doesn’t listen and doesn’t have the curiosity that I had growing up. As I read your story though, I realize that although I’m free to snuggle with her and kiss her almost to death, I don’t always invest all of my attention when I’m with her. Thanks for the message and the insight.

  • Sarah

    This is exactly how I’ve been feeling with my two year old, especially this week. I’m at a loss for what to try next with him and I feel like I’m going crazy! Thank you for sharing this.

  • Jessica

    I REALLY needed this! Thank you for sharing your heart – I have 3 girls (4, 16 months, and 4 weeks) and my 4 year old gives me a run for it. Such a timely read 🙂

  • Jessica

    Yes, yes, and yes. I would love to read your book. I went through this with my 6 year old with Aspergers. Out of the box is a way of life around here.

  • Dawn Richter

    Awesome stuff. I would love to win it for a group study at church.

  • Kali Shanti Park

    This is my daughter!!!! We have an older son, who is the opposite of her so it’s been quite a challenge! Thank you!

  • LISA WITTLIFF

    I would love to win this and share with the moms in my small group. My oldest is my “out of the box” child and I just recently quit working to be able to spend more time with them. He starts Kinder on Monday and I hope I am not too late. And to learn more to help with my younger two boys too… Thanks for the chance to win!

  • amanda jones

    Love this post! I have 5 kids, two daughters and three sons. I have felt this way with both of my daughters at times (they’re 11 and 4). Thanks for sharing this!

  • Michelle

    I needed this today! Currently I am bed training and soon to be potty training my 2yr old. I have 2 daughters (6yrs old, and 2yr in Oct) and 1 son (3 months). Add to that my husband is deployed for 6 months (been gone 1 month)….I am tired, and feel desperate A LOT!!!! Thanks for your encouragement in these posts. They are just the spark I need to do the next thing and not give up on my precious little ones 🙂

  • Kristen

    Very encouraging, thank you!!

  • Jen S

    Thank you for this post! I felt like I was reading about my daughter and myself in the past year!

  • Dawn

    Love it!

  • Emily Simmons

    This is great. I’ve often felt at my wit’s end with my daughter. This beautiful, practical advice is just what I need. And thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book!

  • Lisa

    Beautifully written, I to have a daughter like this and thanks for the reminder on the important things I should do with her!

  • Sarah H.

    I struggle with this. I have three young kids and am just at the end of my rope that I do not even have the desire to connect intimately with my kids. I know it sounds bad and I need to change the desire but I just do not feel like I have anything left to give.

  • Joelle

    Lovely article. Being a full-time student, employee, and mom has made me more aware of how I spend time with my son. We have special date nights now because I could sense I was losing him.

  • Ashley

    I think your Caroline and my Parker would be bestest friends, very destructive-drive their momma crazy- bestest friends. Such a timely article, funny how God does that. Thank you!

  • http://graceundone.blogspot.com/ Grace Manning

    Love this – thank you so much for sharing! I have gone through times like these with each of our girls!!

  • Joanna Adams

    I remember feeling like motherhood was a piece of cake with my firstborn…then after a 3yr+ adoption I was blessed with my second. My world was turned upside down, and for the better with a 6yr old and newborn (and only a short summer full of paperwork to prepare). I’m so thankful for all this little one has taught me in her 10 months of life, and I’m pretty sure she’s going to keep teaching me! I’d love to win a copy of desperate!

  • Bethany

    Your blog has really helped me be a better mother. One thing you’ve said before that goes along with this post is that when our kids are misbehaving and acting out of control, to give them attention and read them a story. I do that a lot and it really WORKS. That is just what they needed! I am so thankful for you.

  • KellyDier

    Loved this article- though my daughter is still quite young, the principals you wrote out really resonated with me (especially as a working mom). We’ll never regret the time we invested in our kids.

  • Jennifer Sandvos

    Well said!

  • MomsBandB

    Thanks for sharing this! Would love to win.

  • Nicole

    I can so so so relate to this!!! My daughter is just like yours–out of the box! When she was 2 and I had a newborn and an older child, I thought my life was OVER. Thank you for your stories! I have finally learned to love her, accept her, and delight in her. 🙂

  • Alison

    Love this post! Great reminder to adjust our expectations of our little ones and give them grace 🙂 I have felt that I “lost” my oldest when she turned three and was constantly fighting with her from that time. I just have to invest in that little girl, even when I don’t feel like it!

    I’d love to win a copy of Desperate! I love Sally’s books and your blog so I’m sure it would be perfect for me.

  • Kristie

    Oh, Sarah Mae…I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this today. I was crying in frustration by 8:30 this morning, after a go-around with my own out-of-the-box daughter. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Heather Stocking

    I need this now more than ever. I just sobbed the other day thinking I am not enjoying my daughter as much as I know I should be.

  • Tatum

    A wonderful reminder! I too am often challenged with my out of the box 2 year old daughter and all too often find myself yelling and disciplining. I can never be reminded enough that she is 2!! Thank you!

  • Krista

    I love your thoughts! I strive to do all of those things in my family life, but I find it difficult. I feel so often that I am failing as a mother, when I yell or am quick to punish my child. I think your article helps me to again realize that I am just giving too much of myself to thing/people that are not nearly as important as my beautiful babies! Thank you! I sure hope I get a copy of your book so I can see what else I need to adjust in my life to make it better and easier for me and my children!

  • Rebekah F

    This was a great article for me to read. I have 3 boys, and it’s the oldest (almost 5 yrs) who I struggle with the most. He has such a mind of his own and so much energy, it’s easy for me to get stressed and frustrated. I have often thought about how I wish I could enjoy him more. Great tips for a struggling mama.

  • Kathleen

    Thank You for your Blog, it is an encouragement to me so often!!!! 🙂

  • Autumn’s momma

    Wow. I think I have her twin:) My sweet Autumn is a third child and boy has she thrown us for a loop. My first two were EASY! Both are laid back and never bucked the system. They went to bed by seven every night and were always very well behaved. Autumn, on the other hand is total opposite. She has been her own person from birth! She is strong willed, independent, and determined. I have fought many battles with her. Some I win and many more I lose. I’ve had to learn to slow down so that she could “do it myself!”. On the other hand she is an absolute joy! She is verbally and intellectually way beyond her short 4yrs. She was talking in full sentences at 10 months old and demanding what she wanted. She has more personality in her pinky than our whole family combined! I sometimes forget she is only 4. Her siblings are 12 and 9. She thinks shes 15:) I have to remind myself daily that she is so young and her tantrums, outbursts AND meltdowns are NORMAL (whatever that means). Although she makes me wanna pull my hair out sometimes she also makes me laugh nonstop:)

  • Melissa

    I loved your book! It was so helpful to me, to know that I am not alone and that I am not a bad mom, as I have been thinking since my oldest turned 18 mos old. I thought I was going to lose my mind with her, and some days I still do but as she matures it’s getting better. This article is great too! I need to do just as you said above. Thank you for writing this book!

  • Amy

    first time on your blog.. very good perspective. I look forward to reading several past articles. My Mom did an awesome job, but now that I have my own 2 and 4 year old I wish she lived a little closer to help mentor me through the rough days. This will help though 🙂

  • Carrie

    I’ve just recently realized the same thing with my middle son! He needs me; snuggling, tickling, playing, anything with me. It makes such a difference. Thank you for the chance to win!

  • Emily Allison

    Sounds great! I’d love to read it.

  • Christina

    I have two adult daughters. It’s never too late to realize this and change. I changed when my 19 year old became pregnant. Her younger years were so difficult, and it was my doing. When I changed she responded in such a loving way. Nothing was an argument anymore. Slowly I sensed from her words and actions that my views, thoughts and advice meant something to her. I have always worked outside the home while raising kids. It was hard to give my time at first but when I seen what I was getting in return, made me give my time freely. My daughter is a wonderful young mother that now gives her time freely to her baby. This has also helped with my 18 year old. And these young ladies come spend lots of their time with me. Time means love!

  • Beth

    I love what you’ve written here. I am a very traditional “right smack dab in the middle of the box” kind of person, and my 9 year old daughter is very much outside of the box. I was stabbed by the reference to leaving the 99 for the 1. It is the crux of the problem in our home. I will be prayerfully pondering this, and discussing some possible “next steps” with my husband.

  • Carey Hargis

    This would be such an encouragement for me to share with my sister. She, too, has a 2 year old that doesn’t sleep! I know it is especially wearing on her as she cannot be a stay at home mom. Thank you for your honesty and tranparency.

  • Stacey

    This is very encouraging – thanks for a great post! I have one that I love but sometimes I find it hard to like all of this child’s choices 🙂 They sure keep us on our toes, don’t they?

    • stacey

      well, I have 3 (plus one coming soon) that I love 🙂

  • Catherine Gracie Vos

    i-have-one-of-those.except-mine-is-a-boy.thanks-for-your-encouragement.

  • Amy

    I have a 5 yrs old and a 2 yrs old….and this seems to be the theme in the comment section, but…. I’m so lost with my 5 yrs old son. and i mean: LOST. I’ve tried whispering instead of yelling, spankings, time-outs, taking away rewards.I’ve actually called my sister (who has 4 AMAZING boys), crying that I just could not give him one more spanking! I feel like I am his advosary, not his advocate. As a mom, I want to be his CHAMPION! He is so sweet in his heart though, but all I can see right now is all the disobedience. the constant, consistent disobeying. My heart cries for him and for myself. I acutally put him in Kindergarten at a public school (however, its the best school in the state) instead of attempting to homeschool becuase it actually frightens me that I may destroy what relationship we have left if we are stuck in the same room together all day. I do not volunteer much outside the home, so I don’t really have any activities to quit. I just wonder if my expectations for an active 5 year old are too high. If maybe I’m comparing how my son acts to the way my sister’s boys act. So, if you post any more disciplining articles, I’ll covet them!

  • Jason

    I am a father and we as a family are experiencing some of the same things! Just this article alone has sparked a lot of interest in me. I have a beautiful and kind hearted little girl that will melt your heart in one moment and then make you turn 3 shades of red in anger in the next moment. We have seen this since 2 and now she is 5. Thank you for your stories and extreme honesty!

  • Alison Cheyenne Kroeker

    Oh how I needed this today!!! Thank you!!!

  • Hannah Fourtner

    Thank you for your wisdom. I have a particular 3 year old that I’m trying to pour into at the moment. It’s hard when all he wants to do is push away. Breaks my heart, really. I would so appreciate the DVD study on this!!!

  • Stephanie Warnock

    I so needed to read this today. Thank you.

  • Kelli

    What great reminders!

  • katie

    great post! Thank you for sharing. And for making the decision to pursue her. What a long term blessing that effort will be!

  • michellelove

    I so needed this article RIGHT NOW. Just came out of the room sobbing from trying to get my three year old to nap (which she desperately still needs), at my wits end not knowing how to reach her heart. And frankly, sometimes I don’t want to reach her heart. I’m angry and all I want her to do is obey. Praying that the Lord will give me the grace to start fresh again and that she will have the heart to forgive this broken mama.

  • Nicole M.

    Thank you for the encouragement. It is life changing to hear from someone who is walking in the trenches with us as mothers of difficult children. I will continue to read this article and put into practice with my 8 year old who I don’t want to lose! Thank you!

  • Chelsea Kamps

    You are a breath of fresh air… this came at a perfect time as my 3 yr old daughter is one of those out of the box girls 🙂

  • Lyna

    Thank you for being real. It’s really tough when you realize that you don’t just automatically click/connect with everyone of your children. It really is hard work. And sometimes it needs to be said.

  • Heather

    your words just brought up so much for me, including some tears. thank you for reminding me i’m not alone and pointing me in the direction i need to head…

  • rjb

    Oh my, yes. Some days, I have the sweetest child ever… and others, well, let’s just say, I hear ya, loud and clear! We also realized that sometimes our outgoing, excitable little one just really needs some time to do what she wants, the way she wants at her own house without having to go somewhere… and that learning helped all of us!

  • Sherri Noles Fitzpatrick

    I am a single mom with 2 daughters, ages 7 & 10. I often feel desperate and like a mom who needs to breathe. And even though I love them both dearly, I sometimes feel tested by them. Maybe the answer is to cut back on other outside things and just be more involved with them. I would love to read your book to get more insight.

  • Jill Waggoner

    I’m not sure what makes us feel like we must be so busy all the time. Thank you for this blog. My son turns 2 today and I want to make similar changes to my life that will take us through the rest of his childhood.

  • Jenny Bishop

    Oh how I desperately needed to read this today!!! With a colicky newborn and spirited 2 year old I’m definitely at my wits ends! Thank you for the reminder to be present and love on our kids. I forget that 2 is just a phase and that some of her disobedience is most likely because she’s seeking attention during this time of transition. Bookmarking this article to come back to any time I’m feeling discouraged!!

  • Megan

    Wow. So my soon to be 3 yr old son is just like this. Yep…

  • Candi Jones Meadows

    Thank you for the encouragement! When we are in those seasons when you feel like your are completely worn out and you spend all your time correcting and teaching, you forget that someday they will be grown up and probably will turn out to be amazing adults. We also forget that when these stages are over, we will miss them. Every season is a blessing, we just have to look outside of ourselves to see it. Enduring the race with patience and love is what we are called to do. My children are such blessings, but I have a first born who is a rule follower and boss, and middle child who is very onery and wild, and a baby girl who is highly opinionated. Yet each of my children have amazing Godly characters as well: the oldest has the most tender heart, my middle child has a great sense of humor and timing, and my little girl is compassionate and kind and helpful. As Mustafa says in the Lion King, sometimes we have “to look beyond what you see”! Thanks, hope I get a chance to read your book, I’m certain its amazing!

  • Mia L Braddock

    Loved this!! thank you so much for sharing

  • Jessica Lynn Nelson

    So, so good. Thank you for honestly, openly sharing your heart!

  • Anna Radchenko

    I’m not even a mother yet, but I’ve been working with kids of all ages for the past 12 years. The past few years I’ve noticed myself becoming more and more impatient. It scares me. I want to have my own children, and my husband and I are hoping to start a family next year, but I’m scared that I’m just going to be mad, impatient, and yell all the time! I’d love to win this book and get a “head start” on right thinking before the children come! 🙂

  • Carley

    Oh, how I needed to read this today! Thank you so much! I had an “ugly mom” day yesterday (that’s what I call it). I yelled at my little two year old in a way I told myself I NEVER would. Motherhood sure brings you closer to the Lord and HUMBLES you! I think motherhood = sanctification! Thank you for sharing.

  • Sarah Sweetman

    I have a two year old and often am prone to forget that they do grow and mature. Thanks for the reminders and truth filled words.

  • Elizabeth Vanman

    Thank you for sharing this – it has been an encouragement to me for sure. You could have been a fly on the wall in my home these past two weeks with the exact same circumstances, emotions, tears, etc – and my little one is an almost three year old named Caroline. 🙂

  • Nicole Levy

    I would love to win a copy of this book and the DVD study guide. I have a book club and your book is on my list to read with my sweet friends….

  • Katie Callaway

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom! I needed this today.. and will likely need to read and re-read it as I pursue my own little guy!

  • Kirsten Alexander

    so encouraging!

  • Whitney S

    Such wise words. I have a pistol of a 2-year old girl, and I needed these reminders.

  • MJ

    Such a truly helpful article! Always appreciate your honest sharing & learn from you! And I would really, really, really love a copy of Desperate!!!

  • Janelle

    My girls are VERY different from their older brothers in that they are more “strong-willed”. Thank you for making me do some thinking with this post!

  • veronica

    loved this. thank you!

  • LorettaJ

    Thanks for this article! I have a boy who seems to be in the middle of every argument right now, and you reminded me that he may just need a little more mom time. Thank you!

  • CBW

    Very timely, for me. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Jamie G

    Thank you so much for this. Need it right now. My oldest daughter is 4 and I worked full time her first 2 years and still feel like I’m trying to catch up on lost time! Thanks for all the encouraging words! Makes me feel like a “normal” mom! 🙂

  • Cindy Jusino

    Great Article!

  • Carrie Conrad Harter

    Love this article it reminds me of when my daughter was so little. Thanks for sharing so eloquently the importance of the pursuit of our little ones.

  • Darlene Melcher

    Thank you. From one desperate woman to another.

  • Janelle

    I love this and you and your heart and little family. I know this couldn’t have been an easy decision to let go of Allume, among other things, but you did it because you knew you were being led in that direction. God bless your beautiful heart, Sara Mae. You’re an incredible woman of God. Your transparency makes me smile and feel at home.

    Janelle
    http://www.hestillheals.com

  • Tabitha K

    How fitting…I am currently fighting my out of the box child, and this just reminds me to remember what’s important.

  • jayeees

    I wish I were at this point now, where I could say it’ll work out. I’m putting my 4 year old daughter in preschool next week, because she needs to be away from us. I knew parenting would be the biggest challenge of my life, but I didn’t expect to be bested by somebody 1/8 my age, one quart my size, my own flesh and blood! I’m desperate! One of us has got to go.

  • Katrina

    I really needed to hear this today.

  • Petra

    Thank you for this 🙂

  • Women Abiding

    What a beautiful post and wonderful opportunity to win the book and DVD! God bless you!

  • Chesca

    Thank you for being real & vulnerable in this post…really helps me remember to be honest with myself on this journey with my daughter, through toddlerhood! Love how the word HOPE appears in the title of the book…some days that’s exactly what I crave. Not always easy to come as a mom of a 2 1/2 year-old!

  • Brooke

    Such a good reminder. I get so caught up in taking care of my family that I neglect to BE with them, LOVE on them, and spend quality time playing in their world.

  • Drew Dotson

    a lovely breathe of fresh air! Thank You 🙂

  • Stacey

    Thank you Sarah for this post! I have two daughters who have moved this summer – one got married and the other one left because I didn’t have her heart. I have two sons who are young and the Lord has been teaching me about what you have posted and so I’m so glad to be following your blog. Just wanted you to know I was blessed by your story today!

  • http://coddledlittlelife.blogspot.com/ Sarah

    My 2-year-old and I are in that season, and I love hearing that, if he could obey me, he would. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

  • Steph

    Ay, 3 times in the last week–during our family vacation no less–I have “lost it” with my 4.5 year old. I keep trying to figure him out, and what you say in this post is so helpful. I have especially been feeling like more time away would make things better (re: he wouldn’t suffer from those times when I get so mad I yell)–I really appreciate the idea that drawing closer would be better. Thanks. I would love the chance to go through this book with some other moms!

  • Malinda

    great post – it’s tough to week through the “opportunities” and focus on what’s really important – raising your little ones. Thanks so much!

  • Brenda Dunn

    Thanks for sharing. A good reminder to me to put my agenda to the side and make time for my little girls because they do grow up so quickly. I just need to remind myself to pray a lot! I appreciate your openness!

  • bbcc’s mama

    My mind is absolutely blown! I had THIS EXACT SAME SITUATION with my darling Caroline (now 9). Letting her cry it out DID NOT WORK…she actually made herself sick! And things finally started getting better when I let go of MY agenda and realized I wouldn’t have that time forever…it was short (oh so short) and precious…and I didn’t want to miss a moment of it because I had things I wanted to do. And my Caroline is the delight of my life (and of many people around us)…my joy…my heart.

  • Sally

    Very encouraging…thank you for this!

  • Joy Stover

    Thank you.

  • Robin

    Thank you what a great post. I feel this way with my 5.5 year old. I would love to read your book. Robin

  • Betsi Hambly

    I have an out of the box two year old also. I love her and she is so kind and loving, but also so defiant. Thanks for the encouragement to keep going and devote more time to her heart.

  • Jo

    Also, by slowly taking outside work off my plate, I became much less stressed, which was helpful all around. – See more at: http://sarahmae.com/2013/08/how-my-daughter-became-a-delight-to-me/#sthash.FleZtv60.dpuf

    I completely identify with this. In fact, I am returning to life as a full time (and fully engaged) mother after two and a half years of part time work. My children need me, and I need them. I need to know them. Since giving my notice a couple fo weeks ago I feel there is a weight off my shoulders, and I look forward to time with my children. I look forward to my children…

    Good for you, Sarah Mae. You have most certainly made the choice that comes with no regrets, and much, much joy.

    Good for you.

  • Jessica @ The Abundant Wife

    Thank you for writing this. My just-turned-4-year-old has been my “wild one” for the last 2 1/2 years since her brother was born. I have 2 younger children, but she always seems to be the one who needs the most attention. It’s such an encouragement to know that others have been there!

  • Kim J

    I needed this post today…I have a two-year-old out-of-the-box little girl and wow…it is hard. I think I NEED this book.

  • heidimhunter

    This would be great! I have been trying to get a Moms group going and want to use Desperate as our book/discussion starter! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  • Ashley Haupt

    yes, please. I have a wild one, number two out of four.

  • http://www.sharpmoments.blogspot.com/ Tracy S

    This is so encouraging! Thank you for sharing!

  • Amber

    Thank you for these encouraging words and for the opportunity to win a copy of your book! I’m a little bit (okay, a lot!) overwhelmed myself these days. Sometimes I feel absolutely certain that my 6 month old, 2.5 year old, 4.5 year old, and 6.5 year old are ALL out-of-the-box children, haha.

  • Loraena Tuttle

    I loved that section in Desperate. Caroline sounds like the spitting image of my daughter Ellie. And I too, learned that what she needed was time and attention. Now that she’s older, things are MUCH better and I’ve realized that obedience is inextricably linked to trust. Thank you so much for your book – it was such a breath of fresh air compared to many other parenting books I’ve read. And I hope I win because I got your book at the library (and I’d love to do a DVD group with my friends – I’m already hoping to organized a study group for the book).

  • Jen

    Thank you for this. I am hosting a positive mom group tonight and will be printing this off and sharing with the women:)

  • Sarae

    I’m about at my wits end with my “wild child”. For some reason, I thought by my 3rd child I would have this parenting thing figured out? But my 3 year old has certainly challenged me in ways I never thought possible. He is funny and energetic but oh so very . . .determined – I guess that’s a good word for it. I would love to read you book. 🙂

  • Angela

    I would love this book!

  • Rachel Brenke

    This couldn’t come at a better time as I sat on bed my bawling my eyes out today. I was ready to give up. Be done. But it’s “good work”. I need help to give good work please!

  • Nikki Shoemaker

    Thank you so much for all you share with us. As a mother of six, I often find myself needing encouragement. Your writing is a blessing.

  • Dawn

    I am always so encouraged by your transparency and encouragement. Thank you for helping me along this never-knew-it-would-be-so-tough yet would never trade it in journey.

  • Carolina

    I myself have a two and three year olds. They’re the sweetest girls and I have felt guilty so so many times because I know I have my own flaws to make right. I have felt frustrated, discouraged and depressed! Not because they are in a “difficult stage” of growth, but because I screw it up so many times. My mother is not precisely a help and yes, you can feel desperate and lonely so many times, trying to make your best every time and feeling bad about yourself when you fail. Thanks for sharing your own experience.

  • Deanna Dungey

    Your book just came out while I was taking care of my 1 year old and a 3 year old while my husband was away on a lengthy deployment. The book made me laugh and cry, but most of all gave me the encouragement I needed to unconditionally love my children when I felt like all my strength was depleted. The book and video messages changed my life in such a significant way, that I had to buy a copy for each of my fellow Mommy friends in my growth group for Easter. Now that we’re all together, we’re eager to dive into the book to find encouragement, fellowship, and spiritual growth. Thank you for your encouragement in our lives!

  • Rebekah

    Wow! You could have just described how I’ve been feeling while dealing with my youngest of four sons. He just turned two in July. I’m finding that patience, kindness, and soft words get through to him SO much better than yelling and harsh tones. Thank you SO much for sharing this. I already have a copy of Desperate, but if I’m chosen, I will gladly pass it on to one of my friends.

  • Cassie Barnhart

    Thank you so.much. My Lillian is an out of the box child. She will be two at the end of this month and I feel like I’m losing every day. For every step forward I fall two steps back. I have a 6 month old son and between taking care of him and my husband working 10 hr shifts every day, I just struggle with giving her enough time. I feel so alone most days, my friends don’t understand what its like to have an out of the box child. Their “advice” stings. Its.hard. This was such an encouragement to read tonight. I am not alone. Thank you so much Sarah. This blessed my heart.

  • notbefore7

    Great reminders. I have 4 kiddos and it does take a lot. Sometimes I feel so weary….but HE can give strength!

  • Jessica white

    I would love to have a copy, it is so helpful to be reminded of this with an almost 2 and 4 year olds!

  • Julie

    I have a 5 year old daughter, 2 year old identical twin boys, and am pregnant with twins again! Could really use this book! Thank for sharing and for this giveaway!

  • http://www.silvykehrli.blogspot.com/ Silvy Kehrli

    great post!!

  • http://graceformymess.com/ Jana | GraceForMyMess.com

    My son is six, and I’m still waiting — but God is good, and His ways are not my ways. I know He’s growing both of us during this time, even if some days feel like I’m destined for the soft, padded room! Thanks for sharing your heart with all of us Desperate Moms!

  • Nicole

    This doesn’t apply to just girls. My little boy and I struggle in the same way.

  • Kellie Rains

    This sounds like me! I have recently decided that I needed to make my 9 year old daughter higher on my priority list. I am now scheduling in specific times for me to be intentional with her. This post is so encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

  • A Rowan

    I needed this tonight. My daughter turns 6 on Monday. My son is 7 months old and nursing him has demanded so much of my energy, after a stressful pregnancy on bedrest. My daughter has caused me so much frustration recently. And the more I feel frustrated, the less nurturing I feel. It’s not a pretty cycle. Thank you for your wise advice.

  • AnneMarie

    Thanks so much for your article! I have a daughter not unlike your Caroline. 🙂

  • Krista

    Oh, your Caroline is my Sophie. My Sophie didn’t become mine until she was 8 though and was so independent on account of it being a survival skill for her. We have worked and worked and cried and prayed and laughed and smiled and joked about this one. She is her own person completely. The more I give my time to her, the more I love her. I appreciate your post in a way many won’t understand.

  • Adella

    I am in this hard place with my first born. She drives me crazy, but I want to love her as best I can! Thank for for this encouragement when I feel like I might be losing it completely.

  • Angela

    Wow, you have NO idea how much I needed to read this tonight!!! Dealing with this EXACT thing with my spirited 2 year old. THANK YOU!!!!

    http://www.angelastrand.com/

  • Rosa

    Loved this post!

  • Amanda ‘Ward’ Chidister

    Thank you for this! Would love to read your book! I can relate to this on so many levels with my oldest daughter!

  • carissainks

    Wow, I really needed to read this tonight. Thank you!

  • Faith

    Sitting here crying my eyes out. Have been in this “place” with my middle daughter for three years now. Thanks for sharing. Know that I haven’t been giving her what she needs and it tears me up inside

  • Lisa K

    Thank you for sharing. I just finished the 2 week mom challenge – and thoroughly enjoyed it. Growing up I was an ultra compliant, staying in the box is safe, kind of girl…So, imagine my surprise to discover that 2 of my 4 children are “out of the box” thinkers with strong personalities. They delight me and take my breath away, challenging me to get on my knees for wisdom! I would love to win a copy of your book..

  • Amber

    This brought tears to my eyes! Everything you have said is how I feel with my two year old Grace! I will forever keep this reading! I pray to God for the patience and love towards her. Reading this I don’t feel alone:)

    Thank you!

    Amber

  • Katelyn Sue

    Such an encouraging post! I sure would love to get my hands on a copy of the book !

  • Sarah E

    This hits so close to home. I was in tears over my daughter today. I have 5 children and I am so lost with her. Thank you.

  • Stephanie Chantrill

    Sometimes I feel like I’m failing. Sometimes I want to quit. And sometimes I relish in the little snuggle, the laugh, the quick little crawl as she speeds towards whatever she’s not supposed to have. Cutting myself some slack and continuing on loving my girl is such good advice! Thanks for all the encouragement and wisdom!

  • Bethann

    Thank you! For the last two days I have been crying a lot! I want to throw the towel in, I feel like I fail my kids and yell and correct so much. I want to love my kids and enjoy them. Thank you!

  • becca

    I would love to win a copy! Thank you for the opportunity!

  • DeeAnn Stichter

    I needed this so much! My Becca and I struggle so often…I feel like an utter failure! I know I have some things to work out and your post has given me the hope that I will do it! I love my kids so much and I want to be the best mommy I can be. I have wanted to read your book ever since you started talking about it…I even voted for the cover you put on it 🙂 I’m just not in a position to purchase it right now, so I would be thrilled if I could win one. Thank you do much for the opportunity to win one and for your timely post!

  • Stacie

    I love this!! I’m a teacher, but this was the first time I really took the summer off, so to speak. We stayed up “late,” we slept in, my only exercise was in bike rides and walks WITH my girls, I didn’t do summer homeschool. We played together, we read together, we cleaned together. It has seriously been my best summer as an adult, and I plan to do it all over again next year. But here’s what happened: this is the first summer as a mom that I haven’t needed a break. I fell in love with my kids all over again and I am sad to leave them. I miss them. And I know that during the school year, I am only about 1/10 of the mom I want to be. That breaks my heart, but now I know that come June I get to make up for it. And I know that through prayer and the Spirit’s hep, I can sacrifice myself and my selfish ways to focus on them when I get home. Thank you Sarah Mae for sharing!

  • Brittany

    Wow! This hit home! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ashita

    This is an inspiring article. Managing my daughter and work
    and home gets so challenging that I did not identify small things that can make
    a difference. Look forward to making a difference.

  • Beth Piper

    What a beautiful and very powerful post! I’m very lucky to have a calm son but sometimes that can be as much of an excuse not to pour my all into him and I want my children to think of me like you spoke of when they they are grown up. I’m pregnant with my second and have a fear this one might not be as calm as my last!

  • Nadia Comaneci Gadson-Moses

    Married, operating single.
    Tears streaming down.
    Desperate.

  • Linda

    I’m with you, Sarah Mae, and would LOVE to read your book.

  • Stacy Howard

    Wow. I needed this reminder that saying no to other things so that I can focus ony kids is the right thing to do.

  • Melanir

    This sounds like a book I should read.

  • Tamara

    This hit me in the heart … Thank you for speaking so truthfully and sharing so deeply. 3 wonderful kids in the midst of many parenting storms, trying to find the right balance … Needed this encouragement. 🙂

  • Darla

    That was just what I needed to hear. I think I know what I need to do with my daughter now.

  • Shanelle

    Thank you for opening your heart and sharing. This was very much needed today as I begin my day with my 3 year old. I think this would be a wonderful book for our moms Bible studay group.

  • Karen L

    Love the article. I have four daughters and three of them are definitely “out-of-the-box” kind of girls – and very different than I had been at their age. In fact, I have thought many times that it is why God did not allow me to become pregnant with our second child until my first was about four years old – my first needed my one-on-one attention day in and day out for the first four years of her life. It was exhausting and I got very little else done – but it was worth it.

  • Jennifer

    I am currently reading Chapter 5 in “Desperate” and have NEVER had a book speak so directly to my heart! Thank you so much for baring your soul to encourage moms like me who feel so alone and overwhelmed in this journey of motherhood. I am learning so much! My husband thanks you, too. 🙂

  • Imelda

    I want the book!!!!!

  • Lorianne Stogsdill

    Would love to have a copy of this! Thank you!

  • Sandy Leighty Diaz

    Oh, how I am going through this with my nine year old. You are so right about being present! So, so right!

  • Rachel Dow

    Thanks for this encouragement!! I have a daughter like that! Sounds like I need to read your book! (would love to win a copy!! ;o) Thanks again ~R

  • Gabby Williams

    My daughter is twenty-two at this time and the Lord has really been working on my heart regarding children and being a mother again. I fall within the demographic that’s starting a little late and there are moments (usually nap infused of course) when I wonder if I really want to do that again? But as I read your words my heart is stirred and I’m humble enough to admit that I know not what’s to come but I’m certain that with God at my side I can weather anything. Thank you for sharing and your generosity. Be blessed.

  • Erin Dickson

    About two years ago I started my own business. Recently both of my girls have made me aware of how much they miss me. I am trying hard to figure out how to slow down and focus on them. I know this time is precious and I don’t want to miss it with them.

  • Liz

    Would love to win this book!

  • Cassie DeLapp

    I’m not in this exact stage right now with my own children but I do babysit a couple kids that have me there, not to mention the future possibility of becoming a foster mom. I do have a couple friends in these trenches right now and would love to add this to our Bible Study.

  • Traci

    Thanks Sarah great post

  • Allison s

    The except from the book describes exactly what we are going through with our 2 year old. I will be getting this book!

  • Judy G Curry

    I would love to share this with some young moms I pray for.

  • Christie

    This is exactly what I ended to hear today, thank you.

  • Leah Tuten Rollins

    Thank you for this encouraging word – and the giveaway!

    I have a two-year-old daughter who is definitely already her own person… and unfortunately, I find myself disconnecting from the challenge of raising her WELL for the same reasons you listed above. This is a timely word for my life – I have recently started praying for the Lord’s help in becoming more purposeful in my parenting of my daughter and my eight-year-old son (who is a challenge in his own right!) and I can already see the Lord answering my prayers. Thank you!

  • Megan P

    loved this. Soooo needed it today. my youngest is 3.5 and such a spitfire. I know I needed this reminder after how bedtime went down last night. Her sister started kindergarten this week so she is extra out of the box to adjust to not having her around all the time.

  • Jessica

    Sarah, I needed to hear this today. Thank you for sharing your heart, your struggles, God’s grace. I must read your book.

  • http://www.awindowintogrief.blogspot.com/ tiggerandbug

    I, too, have an “out of the box” child. As I like to describe her, she
    is the life of the party, but my “we don’t speak the same language”
    child, too! It took me several years to realize, as well, what a gift
    and a blessing she is. I’m thanking God for showing me what HE thinks of
    her, and for showing me how He wants to change ME through her. Through suddenly losing our 16yo. son two years ago, I’ve learned
    you don’t always get second chances with your children. That’s why I am
    determined to strengthen my relationship with his remaining siblings (6). No matter how difficult these “out of the box” children are, I hope to parent with grace and love, the ties that bind.
    Thank you for writing the book! It’s been a blessing that I have already
    passed on to several other moms. Blessings, Angie
    (www.awindowintogrief.blogspot.com)

  • Christine

    Wow! This book would be such an encouragement. I know that I need to slow down and spend more time with my youngest. Life has been hectic with getting my three older children through high school, off to missions or college and trying to run a business. I know that she feels like I’m always busy… because I am. Thanks for the reminder that time and being intentional will help. Would love to read the whole book. I know I have friends who could use this advice too. Thanks for the great giveaway!!

  • Ingrid

    Great reminder. I naively thought that once kids hit a certain age (upper elementary) they wouldn’t need me as much. Not true, at 7, 11 & 13 I still need to pour into them & I find myself getting distracted by so many other things. This was a good reminder.

  • Heidi K

    I love how you talk about winning your daughter’s heart back. What a sweet story.

  • Sharon

    Just as I was near done reading this post, my 3 yr old called from the other room asking me to help her with a puzzle. And I said, “Okay, just a minute.” She came over and asked what I was doing and I said reading a story. She sat in my lap while I finished. This is such a fantastic post, I will send it to my husband.

  • Elise

    Exactly the reminder I needed after getting only 3 hours of sleep with my 14 month old. I got up feeling overwhelmed because of all the “stuff” I have to do today, and my daughter is cranky and clingy. It seems I need to be reminded again and again that the stuff of life (read–laundry, dishes, garden, cooking) will always be there, but my sweet little girl will grow up fast. Today, she needs me to be with her; the laundry won’t cry if I ignore it. Thanks for the post!

  • Paige

    Timely and are you a fly on my wall are the thoughts that go through my mind every time I read your posts! I would love a copy of Desperate to help me right now.

  • sarah

    Thank you for this bit of wisdom. My relationship with my oldest is not where I want it to be. It’s so hard! The Lord really used this to speak to my heart. Thank you for the encouragement. I would love to have a copy of the book and dvd …. would love to start a small group.

  • Megan L

    I am going through the same thing with my *almost* 2-year old. She is so active. I keep trying to remind myself that her behavior won’t last forever.

  • Lori

    My oldest girl is 9 and my youngest is 3- I still go through desperate on a regular basis…. times when what I’ve been doing is just not working. I have to re-evaluate for kid sakes and I’m overwhelmed by the responsibility and desire to capture their heart and rise above mere existing into thriving and loving and delighting.

  • Beverly Mayne

    Thanks! I needed this right now! I have an outside the box 3 1/2 yr old boy who can induce 50 different emotional responses from me in the space of 5 minutes! ( not all of them good!) I taught school for 17 years and was so patient, loving, and kind and then I became a parent a little late in life and 3 years later, I’m wondering where that patient person went. I find myself being frustrated and depressed that I could successfully discipline and patiently teach a classroom of 2nd graders, but I’m struggling with doing the same with one little toddler. I so needed to hear that he needs my time and cuddles and that he will grow up ( and maybe I will too)….and maybe I’ll do better with the next one coming up (nursing a 3 month old girl while writing this comment). Thanks for all the good reminders!

  • Colleen Carpenter Ishee

    I can so relate to this. Thank you for sharing. This post encouraged me.

  • sandra Anker

    Even if I don’t win I’ll be getting this book!

  • Katherine Green

    Thank you so much for this timely article! I have had one of those days with my 3yr old wild one! We are far away from family and in a new town and it can be so lonely at times, but you’re right, she really just needs more of me. Thank you for the timely reminder. And I would dearly love a copy of your book, I’ve been wanting one for ages but can’t afford one. Thanks for the opportunity. Blessings xx

  • Jen

    I have an “out of the box” child who is 5. God is constantly using him to grow and change me. :). Thanks for sharing the article! It was a great encouragement to me.

  • Tammy

    I have a strong willed four year old daughter. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Melissa k

    Thank you for this. I’m so often frustrated and at a loss on how to handle my four year old daughter. Thanks for the reminder. Sandwiched two brothers, she needs me and my time. I read then gave away my copy I your book so would lovw to win one. I think a re-read is in order! Thanks.

  • Lori

    Wow! Blessed by your blog today.

  • Sonja Z

    Just what I needed to read right now. Thank you for the challenge to totally be present with my children.

  • Daisy Wieters

    Thanks so much for writing. Such a good reminder of what my real goals are as a mother. I forget sometimes amid the business of getting life done with seven kids – most of whom are teens. Would love to read this book.

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    I am glad to be honest about this. A lot of moms would be embarrassed to share their child is “out-of-the-box” and they are desperate because of it. I am glad to read this amazing update.

  • Ellie Sanders

    Thank you for this! I recently gave birth to my third child and I know that I’m not doing as much as I should with my oldest. I feel like our relationship is so distant already and he’s 3! I see his heart and it’s so loving, he’s a great kid! But I get caught up in thinking if he’s being disobedient at the moment he needs more work, and I can see the resentment growing in his heart. My second child I think I realized my errors and so my view is more relaxed, I wish I knew that with my son. I really want to change and strengthen the relationship with my son now while he’s still young and forgiving, thank you so much again for this!

  • Amy

    Wow, lots of people left comments! Those 3 winners are gonna be lucky!
    I only have one babe, Alice, who is only turning a year old. And I get to stay home with her all the time. Sometimes it feels like ALL. THE. TIME…but a lot of times it feels like fun. There are so many times that I am glued to the computer when I should be interacting with my girl. I just don’t know what to do with her, to be honest. What does a one year old like? Any suggestions?

  • Bethany Hollander

    Just what I needed to hear. I have several friends who need this message. Thank you!

  • makeroomfor

    This is such a precious testimony. Thank you, Sarah Mae.

  • Michelle Teter

    Love your book! I have shared it with many young moms at my church & would love to share some more! I am past the littles stage & enjoying my new season as a mom. Your book has encouraged me to reach out & mentor other young moms thru their Desperate season. I recently committed to begin a Moms Night Out once a month at our church so they can get a break. I lead a small support group for moms and we have all read Sally’s “Ministry of Motherhood” and your “Having a Martha House the Mary Way”. Through those books & “Desperate”, I have seen this group of Women transformed from being Overwhelmed and Defeated to Intentional mothers & Ministry minded Women! We have even created a ministry to reach out to other mothers & families in our community & provide baby & childrens items free to those who just need a Blessing! Last year over 500 families walked away with the things they needed for themselves & their kids! God has done amazing things through just a few Women who decided to love & support one another! Thanks so much for your books, your courage to be real, and your Inspiration!!

  • Cori LePard

    I *SO* needed this. And I love the analogy of Jesus leaving the 99 to pursue the 1.

  • Tori

    I so needed this. I thought I was going to pull my hair out the other day. I didn’t like who I was. I was stressed out. I ask God to help me this morning and then my friend led me to this post. Thank God he hears my prayers. TEARS!!!!

  • Valerie

    Another needed reminder to keep cutting back and find/make the time to spend more time with my children. I would love to have a copy of Desperate…I got it from the library a few months ago and read it three times before I took it back (with a couple of renewals in there).

  • C Webb

    Thanks for sharing. You encourage me to keep on.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for your encouragement! I have 3 boys that some days drive me crazy!! I would so love to read this book!

  • Holly Vanderkamp Gordon

    Thank you! My six year old son is the “wild one” and my husband and I are trying to regroup to figure out how to reach his heart!

  • leah

    loved this! i saw myself doing the same thing. i recently quit everything that was extra and i have already seen the benefits of placing my family as priority

  • Heidi

    Thank you so much for this encouraging post! It was such a blessing to me as my 3 year old son is in that same stage right now and he’s trying our patience all day long.

  • Lara

    Ok, so I used to feel this way about my daughter who now is almost nine now. I used to say (& this is harsh), that she would be the death of me if she continued to grow into a teen that behaves the way she was behaving at three! It wasn’t until my grandmother,whom I adored, passed away that I realized what a selfish mommy I was being. My husband and I live four and twelve hours away from our parents so having them around to help me with kids was not an option. I began to reflect on my life growing up and how both my grandmothers and my mom raised me. Patience, love, understanding, forgiveness and gentleness were all things that were present in my life. All the things that I’m sure you are speaking of in your post. I still wish that I had my “village” to help me raise my children so that I don’t have to learn EVERYTHING the hard way, but at least I have the memories to reflect upon and my mom is a phone call away. To read this post is a comfort to me to know that someone shared the same experience. As my daughter has matured & I have become wiser we have, & cont. to become closer.

  • Lisa L

    Thank you so much for this message! It can be overwhelming sometimes indeed, and I often feel like I must be the only Mom out there dealing with issues like these! It is so encouraging to read something like this ( and the three hundred plus comments!) and see that it is not just me, that God has chosen these children for me, AND me for them!

  • Summer

    Wow! Thanks! I have a three year old girl (my oldest of three…don’t judge! Not sure WHAT I was thinking!! Haha)…our stories are similar as far as the girls! I’d LOVE to win! I think I saw your book in Family Christian Bookstore, but didn’t have the extra cash to buy that day. Thank you for sharing your heart on your blog-it helps!! Never doubt it!
    Summer

  • Deanna

    Oh, how I would love to win this! My 3 year old daughter sounds just like yours! Thank you for the opportunity to win

  • Christine

    It is nap time in our home and I just came to the computer to check my email…and I read this post (as well as “Loving a Wild One”)! My 4 year old wild one is in her bed, but far from asleep. I just went into her room as I heard her making some “unusual” noises. 🙂 I went into the bedroom, made my angriest you-better-put-your-head-back-on-your-pillow-right-now face, got close and then whispered in her little ear, “You are a delight to me, my love.” I received a huge, unsolicited hug!!!!! Best ever! Thank you for the encouragement to do this, for the encouragement to reach her precious heart.

  • Amy

    Thanks for the opportunity. Certainly can understand the 2-yr-old child part of this post…and that 2-yr-old’s Mommy.

  • Amanda Roach

    Wow, what perfect timing for me personally. I hate that most days I look forward to bedtime so both my kids are asleep and I have peace and quiet for myself. God’s been really convicting me about not giving them more of my time and attentions. I would love to read this book.

  • Katherine

    I think I need this book. It is so easy to fall into screen time and only kind of paying attention. I want my children to know my priorities, but I need to start living them first.

  • Courtney

    My husband has called our six year old my arch nemesis. I laughed at the time but sometimes it feels true. I love her so much and she is always cracking me up but the high-energy, high intensity is hard for a low-key introvert like me to handle! My knees have hit the floor more than once over her. Even now she came running up to me to spank my behind, laugh, and run off. God bless.

  • Rachael Jones

    Wow, I’ve recently been soaking up any and every article I can read on being a godly mom. I would LOVE a copy of Desperate! I’ve heard such good things about it. Thank you for doing what you do!

  • Amanda Chambers

    I’ve got a ten year old and it depends on the day and the mixture of her hormones, my hormones and our busy-ness level as to whether we like each other that day. 🙂 We know we always love each other, but some days are harder than others. It sounds like you might know what I mean! Thanks for the chance to win your book. I would love to read it!

  • Mary Beth

    I’d like to read AND share this book – sounds so helpful.

  • Abdi

    I would like to read this book.

  • Courtney

    so timely and so perfect. thank you.

  • Heather E.

    I have recently been convicted of this. I’m pretty sure i need to cancel my Facebook account and block Hulu on my computer somehow. It is all so distracting and feeds my selfishness instead of my servants heart. This year we begin homeschool and I’m pregnant with our third baby. So, I could really use this good read to set my sites on God’s will for our family and me as the Wife and Mother. Thank you for this post and giveaway.

  • Tammy

    This would be great to share

  • beckyfinn

    I LOVED this book! It was a blessing, encouragement, challenge to me. Thank you for ministering to my heart through your book! I would love to win a second copy to share with a mom friend. I hope to use the book in a study this fall, the dvd companion would be such a blessing!

  • ashley

    Your articles are great encouragement to me, I feel like we are one and the same in many ways haha. I have 3 kids, two boys one girl.

  • christinaburrell

    Your blog and your honesty breathe blessing into my life and my mothering. Thank you!

  • Liz D.

    What a wonderful article.

  • Diana W.

    Keeping on! I loved the book and would love a copy to share with a friend.

  • Dawn Rhodes

    I gave your book to my daughter who was about to have her third child in three years. She was so blessed by it. It helped her in knowing she’s not alone and could relate to so much. Thank you for such an honest and encouraging book!

  • Stephanie @ Housewife Mama

    This was so refreshing to read. I have my own little wild girl. She’s almost 4 but still challenges my sanity everyday. I know she responds best to positive encouragement but that’s the last response my thin patience wants to give.

  • rachelb

    I also have a challenging daughter/daughters . Now life is more difficult because we have a son with special needs who demands almost all our attention. It is so hard to remain sane most days

  • Marcey Combs

    Like many others have commented, what a wonderful blessing this post has been for me! I too have a sweet girl, almost two years old, who is certainly not an in-the-box child. This really encouraged this tired momma’s heart. Thank you!

  • http://wildflowerramblings.wordpress.com/ Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings

    Wow, I love this. Your frustration fits me and my son to a tee. He is his own little person — always stubborn but so joyful. I don’t want to stifle him or his creativity. Would love to read your book <3

  • Erica

    What a wonderful giveaway! Its on my wish list at Amazon. Winning it would be cool though 🙂

  • Jessica

    I would love to do a group study with this book!

  • Kellie

    Ahhhh, my middle baby just turned 3 last week and part of my prayer was, Jesus, please let 3 be better than 2… I know it will pass, I just pray I survive it!

  • becca

    Pick me pick me

  • Shellie Rainey

    Woot! A giveaway! Thanks for using your gifts and talents to encourage us other Mommas in the trenches. Praise the Lord, He redeems and makes all things new!

  • Micmaru0

    My birthday is coming up (9/3). This is on my wish list. 🙂

  • Amy Moller

    This warmed my heart and encouraged me to keep on with my 5 daughters. (and 4 sons) As I watch our married daughter, now a mother of her own baby daughter, and struggle to gain trust with the 3 teenaged daughters, and figure out my 10 yo daughter, I need scripture based messages like this…that other desperate moms are walking out, too! Love your blog and your fb posts!

  • Jolene

    My little book club of moms is trying to figure out what to read together next! We’re finishing Unglued soon. Thinking Desperate could be the follow up.

  • J

    I would enjoy reading this book!

  • Jamie

    yah, I need this book! Thanks for your encouragement!

  • Cynthia

    I cannot wait to read this book. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one in this great big world going through the same situation with my 3yr old. Love her dearly but boy can she push my buttons!!

  • Karen Wiebe Reimer

    Wow! That’s me and my four year old daughter! I needed to read this! Thank you so much. I have been itching to get my hands on a copy of your book!

  • Shannon T.

    I love your honesty. It’s always so encouraging and it spurs me on to live intentionally in this high calling of motherhood. I can’t wait to read Desperate!

  • Sara Jabara

    Your book is on my to buy list right now, looking forward to reading it! 🙂

  • Veronica

    I can relate to this so much! I’ve had those “losing my mind” moments with my son. I feel all your points are spot on. Thanks for all your encouragement for us desperate moms!

  • Casey Springer

    WOW! Just wow. I have a 10 year old daughter who I am certain is going to send me to a padded room. I mean like …REALLY. She was paralyzed 3 years ago. She was never an easy child from birth on up. She is beautiful and so very smart, but OH MY WORD! She wears me out and many days I fall into bed so defeated. hugs!

  • Lora

    Wow! I love a glimpse inside your life and heart. I love your openness in saying…”I haven’t “arrived”, but so desperately want to strive to be a mother who honors God in all things.” We are all on that journey and it is a blessing to be on it with you. I would love to have a copy of your book and hear more!!!

  • Kei

    I would love to read your book!

  • Lisa Miller

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I really heard God speak to me as I read your words.

  • Jen Heemskerk

    I have a child like your Caroline, named Alora. She is sweet minute and sour the next! But she is a clone of me and I love her oh so very much! I can relate so much to this post! Isn’t it funny how God humbles the proud very quickly/!;-)

  • Christi Colvin

    Love this! Can’t wait to read the book!

  • Heather Lei

    I was just discussing this issue with a friend of mine, her daughter is 8 and mine is 4 but we both feel like we are failing them. It’s nice to know that there is hope and we can turn our situations around.

  • Cheli Armstrong Sigler

    Thank you for your words! I completely concure. My youngest has been the most difficult for me to parent, but I too see that she is becoming more delightful.

  • Cindy T

    Thank you for sharing! I can totally relate and need to follow these steps! Can’t wait to read the book. 🙂

  • jeremyandem

    Wow. I really needed this. Thanks

  • Jami

    Timely message for me. Thanks!

  • Ingrid

    Thank you for this. It was a real encouragement. I printed it out so I could re-read and remember.

  • Am

    I love your story. Very inspiring. I am a homeschooling momma of 6 and I have 3 “Caroline’s”. I would love to read your books and share them with the women in my HS group. God Bless!~Am

  • Carla

    Just reading what little you have posted has already been an inspiration to me. I never had children of my own, but had a little girl come to us at 7mos old. I am now a 48yr old mom with a 5yr old adopted daughter. I need all the inspiration and guidance I can get to become the kind of mother GOD would want me to be. It has already been a journey!, and I’m growing as she does….I have so much to learn!! I think this book would be very beneficial to that journey giving more success than failing, and the tears at night when I don’t know if I can do this. Someday I hope to adopt another. She deserves to have a brother or sister too.

  • Tricia

    I do have one of those children…we are so much alike that we clash if that makes sense. He’s always been a daddy’s boy which has often been hurtful. I have seen a change in him over the past few years so I do have hope! Thanks for your encouragement that we won’t get everything right but we will get some right. That it’s hard work but it’s good work. I look forward to reading your book!

  • Heather

    Thank you. I needed this today.

  • iamamommy

    Thank you for these encouraging words…exactly what this mama needed to hear! 🙂

  • Amber Olafsson

    Thanks for sharing this about your daughter, my little girl is 3 and they sound so similar. I too have been very busy, involved in so many “good” things, but not really connecting with her. Thank you for all the great advice, as of now my schedule has just been cleared! I just started your book today and have been tearing up at all the honest truth and thinking ‘I’m not alone!!” I have been texting friends recommending it already! Can’t wait to see how God changes me through it!!!

  • Phoebe T.

    Thanks for your encouragement. And thanks for the giveaway.

  • Katie R

    This brings tears to my eyes! I’m currently struggling with my own “Caroline”. A three year old fiesty, loving, darling youngest child. I could use some bolstering in my mothering of this child! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of Desperate.

  • Kari

    Would love to win a copy of “Desperate”! Thanks for offering this great giveaway.

  • Kadonna

    You have described life with my soon-to-be 3 year old daughter.*sigh* This was very timely. I am encouraged to press into God even more to love, care for, enjoy, and disciple my baby girl. Thank you! – (literally) sleepless.in.seattle.

  • American

    Such a beautiful message for all of us tired and worn out moms! I would love to win a copy!

  • Cassie

    This is such an encouragement to me! God has been asking me to do just as you have stated above. I have released things and while some don’t understand, I know I’m being obedient. Though just beginning the steps to gain my child’s heart back, I can already see little steps in the right direction. Thank you for this article!

  • Sherry

    You nailed it. I have also grown to realize that parenting must be intentional. I’m still trying to figure out all the “how that looks” parts of being a mom, but I’m glad I ran across your post. The encouragement and practical parts are a blessing. Thanks! Your book sounds intriguing….

  • Katy

    I needed this today. This week my nearly 3 year old has been pretty good. But, there are times that I could pull my hair out!! I’m working so hard to be a good mom to the sugar and spice little girl who owns my heart.

  • Megan

    This sounds a lot like my daughter who will be four in October. She and I are both learning as we go along and growing through it all. Thanks for the encouraging words!

  • amy maryon

    What a great article. Every mom needs to be reminded of our high calling in life. We need to have our children’s hearts, if we don’t someone else will take them for us. Excited to maybe win. Blessings.

  • amolynn

    :’-)

  • Winona

    Thank you!!

  • Rhoda

    Wish I had had this book 6 years ago when my DH and I adopted two 3.5 year olds from Vietnam. Though I am grateful for their strong wills (they are alive today because of those strong wills), they are still strong willed and it has been a battle at times for their hearts. We have come a long way, but still have a long way to go. And the key has been spending time with them. Easier for me as a SAHM and homeschooler, but difficult for my DH. But little by little he is seeing the wisdom and connections made as he carves out time for one on one with each of them.

  • estelle

    I have a 7,3,and 2 yr old boys and 3mo. girl. and desperate while drowning would seem to be the truth right now than you for being so hopeful.

  • Valeria

    Sooo good!!! Thank you 🙂

  • Jana Pritchett

    I would love to win this book. What a great read to then pass on to weary mommas. thanks

  • Sybrina Heine-Knorr

    this looks like such a great resource. I would love to consider it for a support group that I facilitate for moms who have children with special needs. xoxo

  • Anna

    I would love to win this and share it with my relatives!

  • Christie

    Thank you for your encouragement!!! I’m a mom of 2 teen girls and the road has really been rough lately. VERY discouraging!!! I would so so love to ready your book and view the DVD. I just started a ladies small group with moms of all ages and this sounds like a book we would all benefit from!

  • Cassie Byrd

    I have the ebook but would love win a physical copy to friend of 3 little boys and another on the way who just left a bad relationship. I know times are tough for her and I hope your book can bless her like it did me.

  • Jill

    This is so helpful. Thank you for sharing your journey. I am inspired to do more of what I already know I should be doing but feel too overwhelmed some days to begin. 🙂

  • Sharon

    I can’t tell you how appropriate it is that I am reading this article tonight. Almost like as if it were divine intervention. Those last words.. Don’t Give Up. .. Just when I thought I was about to do just that. I’ve never felt so desperate in all my life. God bless you for sharing your story with us all.

  • Christine

    thank you for your encouragement. it’s what i needed to hear!

  • Katie Ray

    This is such a beautiful post! Would love a copy. After reading about you delighting in your daughter I started sharing those words with my daughter. It just holds so much more meaning than “your pretty” your beautiful”…and the other day, out of the blue, she cheerily asked, “mama, do you still delight in me?!” I ofcourse said Yes. Thank you!

  • Melodie

    I remember hearing about your caroline at the momheart conference in dallas earlier this year. I have a similar child except he’s 5 now. And im starting homeschooling him for kindergarten tomorrow! It should be an adventure, to say the least. 🙂

  • Lenetta

    Can I still get in? I just bought your unwired… I’ve known for a while that something’s gotta change, and I think I’m ready to do it. This would be an awesome companion!

  • Donita Fischer

    Wow! I bought the UnWired Mom and happened across your blog today. Now that my 3 children are grown, I am glad that they grew up in the UnWired era for the most part but I was also working full-time and didn’t ‘make’ as much time as I wish i would have but definitely did the best I could and am proud of these three amazing adults. Now, as I raise my grandson – your words have given me new inspiration to step back and just do it like I did with the first three – not better and not worse.

  • Heather

    I think I need this. I have a daughter too. As a single mother of a special needs son, there is always so much to do. I have to work, even if it’s from the home, I have no choice there. I have to pay the bills and feed/clothe them. I have to take my son to many doctor appointments. I have to focus on him when he needs me. But my daughter needs me too, and sometimes it feels as if there isn’t any more of me to go around. Sometimes I feel like I’m constantly frustrated with her, and I’m losing her. I need to practice what you mention here. I need to pray for guidance to see what I can cut or streamline. I need to give her more of me.

  • Jessica A

    Thank you! You’ve become such an encouragment to me!

  • Di Adra Rose

    This is what I needed. Thank you for you candor and encouragement.

  • Cindy

    I’m sure you already did the giveaway by now but as I read this I just cried because my daughter is very similar and it made me realize how much I she needs me and I fail a lot to give myself to her because I think it becomes a vicious cycle–she’s disobedient and I just want to “check” out and then she becomes more disobedient and so the cycle continues! Thanks for the article! I can’t wait to read the book when the time comes and I can afford it. Thank you!

    • Carolyn

      Cindy, her book is wonderful! If you have a local library or even a church library, they may order it for you if you recommend it. That’s how I got to read it!

  • paigeb1

    OH SarahMae! I needed this. these words. TODAY! My four year old is breaking my heart. I feel that I am breaking his spirit. He is challenging every. single. boundary. I push, he pushes harder. Thank you for the last paragraph. Don’t give up. That is what I keep telling myself. Bless you, from one tired momma!

  • michellesarabia

    Sarah Mae,

    I love the I Got Wise section. I cheered for you as I was reading this. Trust me you will not regret saying yes to what’s the most important thing in our lives, our children. For such a time as this friend.

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/ Barbie

    Such wisdom Sarah Mae. My youngest daughter is now 14 and I am still working on our relationship. Thank you for sharing!

  • Carolyn

    Fabulous! I too have a wild one who just turned three last week and I couldn’t agree more with what you said. We nearly had to put our family on house arrest, dropped standards, dropped extra commitments, dropped much of a social life, hired a house keeper; we dug our heels in, put our wings around the little ones, and just hung on for dear life. And as much as she is still the strongest in this house by far, she is our darling as well. We’ve gone through the fire to discover the little golden girl and I wouldn’t change a crazy bit of it. Your “tips” are spot on. I wish I could have heard (really heard) them much earlier in her little life.

  • Carrie

    This came from the Lord to me today. I have been so very discouraged with my very own “Caroline” (really, that is my girl’s name), who is now five. As the comment below mine states, “We’ve been butting heads since she was born it seems….” And would you believe, I actually picked up my copy of “Desperate” today to start reading it again after a lengthy season of putting it down??? And, lo and behold, I stumbled across this article tonight, as well! Thank you for sharing….I truly need this reminder.

  • Chandra

    Ah! I was just about to post a desperate plea for hope with my 5 year old when I came across this on FB! He is a wild one with big feelings and big personality, and he can not hear me unless my volume is at a 20 on a 1-10 scale. I am always in awe how God brings hope right when I need it! Thank you!!!

    • http://graceformymess.com/ Jana | GraceForMyMess.com

      Sent from Jana’s iPhone

  • Meredith Bernard

    This is speaking to me loud and clear. And maybe not in a way I want it to, but in a way I need it to. Still trying to figure out how love my littles best, especially now that I gave up my job to be home with them, but still feel a lot of days like I’m not really “here.” Deep breath. Thank you for this. I’m so glad God led me to you just this week…I hadn’t really dug into your words and now I see how much I relate and need them. Thank you! Hope to meet you at Allume in less than 2 months. 😀 xoxo, Meredith

  • Dana

    I am glad to hear things are well! I was going through the same thing with my 2/3 yr old daughter when you and Caroline were. I think age/maturity was the biggest help. Still working on giving more of my time to her and going after her heart. Am rncouraged to hear you won hers.

  • Jodi

    God Bless you for sharing this Sarah Mae ♥.

  • Emily

    This is me and my sweet Claire. That girl has brought me to my knees more than my other two combined. 🙂 Your last post about Caroline spoke to me; Thank you so much for following up with good news- it is an encouragement! My girl just thrives with physical touch and encouraging words. It has been beautiful to see our relationship grow. God does heal!

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