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Confessions From the Back Row

That’s me.  I am the one in the back row sitting on a real chair looking at a book ….. or possibly texting at the back of story time (or any number of kids activities).  I watch the mothers sitting on the floor, bright-eyed, trying to get their kids to participate, following funny actions, and making baby talk with jealousy, guilt and amusement. 

The truth is I am just not a kid person.  I don’t like children.  If reading this makes you think of evil witches, or serial killers you obviously ARE a kid person.  Not everyone was made to be a kindergarten teacher.

I have been thinking on this for the past few days and am processing it.  A few years ago I read a statistic that 1/3 of parents wouldn’t have had their kids if they could get a do over.  I was, and still am, appalled by this.  It is sad.  I wanted kids and would still have my kids if given the choice again…. but now that I have them, I still don’t quite know what to do with them.

What I know for sure is that I want the best for them, and I want to be the best parent I can to them.  In looking at my parenting style I probably parent with a business perspective (which is my degree… so it would make sense).   I want to output the best product in the time given.  I read books on the subject, stress over processes and schedules, second guess decisions and make changes at the last-minute.   To be healthy human beings I work very hard at helping them be healthy and learn healthy habits.  I want them to contribute to society and try to teach compassion and teamwork.  I want them to learn as much as they can, learn how to teach them selves, and fall in love with a life time of learning.  I want them to be self-controlled so that they can make the best decisions and not fall for fast, cheap substitutes.   It isn’t that I want them to be good so I look good.  I feel it is my responsibility as a parent and to God to raise them as ‘right’ as I am able. 

This works great if I was going to do a math problem or program a computer.  It might even work to train a dog.  Kids are a whole other level of unexpected.  They have no manual.  I struggle because at the same ‘well of personality’ that I didn’t get my love for children or my special child-ready ‘sing-song’ voice, I also somehow missed out on the patience.   …. this would make me a special ed kindergarten teacher from……

I am aware that this makes me a poor choice for staying at home and homeschooling, but I really feel that it is best for my kids to be home growing up, and now to be homeschooled also.    I feel it is best for all of us and that it offers us all a growing opportunity (though, sometimes I feel like I am breaking instead of growing)

 I believe that I am made the way I am and am given my kids for a reason.  I find and create all kinds of pressure with parenting.  I stress over what makes a good parent?

  • being a kids best friend?
  • having a kid that obeys?
  • having a kid go to Harvard (or equivalent)?
  • having a healthy kid?
  • having a socially adjusted kid?
  • having a kid that makes the football team (or goes on to play music professionally)?
  • having a kid that ‘realizes their true dream’ (whatever that might be, how can that be measured?)?
  • having a kid that Loves the Lord?
  • other

The problem with the ‘business parenting model’ is that it is very unattached.  I have always struggled with attachment.  Sure, I love my kids, but I wish I really felt connected to them.  I am scared that if I can’t connect with them as kids, then the teenage years will be impossible. 

I have never been good with connecting.  I don’t think many people are.  Something to do with society and past hurts makes it easier.  My wonderful husband has taught me how to connect in our marriage.  We love spending time together and would rather be with each other than pretty much anything.  I want the same thing with my kids now as well as after they grow up.  I want our family to be tight and experience joy and loss as a unit.   This is my ideal, but, I haven’t figured it out yet. 

So, there is my confession.  I am not a great parent, but I don’t think a love for children has to be a prerequisite.  Don’t look down on me because I hate sitting on hard floors or doing silly actions, I am trying my best just like you are.  Sometimes I wish I was as good as you interacting with my kids…. and sometimes I vow never to look that ridiculous. 

This is a blog on simplicity, and it is my goal in life… but if you have read a few of my posts you know that I am far from figuring the concept out.  With parenting also, I want to take the stress out and just enjoy it.  But it isn’t like making a cake… if it falls or burns I can just start again, parenting is serious business.  

Re-reading this post I think it sounds like a downer.  I don’t mean it like that.  I had a bad day last week with parenting and it was really stressing me out, but for the most part we really do have fun together learning.  There is just those moments that smack me behind the head and leave me frantically searching for a book with answers… and there isn’t one 🙂

18 Comments

  1. Kari Kari

    Lorilee–let me just say you are a great parent! I struggle with some of the same things that you mention. I am more introverted. Constant interaction all day with my kids can drive me crazy! Talk, talk, talk!! But I am learning to accept who God made me to be and teaching my kids boundaries in relationships, learning to truly be present when I can, and don’t over think everything. It’s giving me more freedom to be me and more freedom to the girls as well. You really need to read “Simplicity Parenting”!! Really… Maybe we should start a book club… 😎

    • Sounds good. I will order it from the library. The book club is a good idea… we will have to talk more on this.

  2. Hi Lorilee, I followed you over to your blog from your recent comment on passionate homemaking. I have to say that it’s so good to hear someone else say they’re not a kid person, even though they have kids! I’m not really a kid person either, even though I have two kids. I love *my* kids, but I too have a hard time being goofy with them, like I see other moms doing. I’m not one of those people who delights in talking with small children, and I have to really make myself enjoy talking with my own.

    I also wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading about your journey to a simple life, and moving into an apartment. My family lives in a big house on 1.5 acres of property, and my husband and I have often fantasized about moving into a smaller house on a much smaller plot of land. Our current living situation is complicated, so we’re not able to make this move right, but someday!

    • So glad you liked it! I was kinda scared to write it 🙂 I don’t want people to think I am a terrible parent or anything, lots of it was just needing to write it out so I could be honest with myself and move on from there.

  3. diane diane

    Just happened to run across your site and had to laugh. I’m 53, a new grandma (and finding it easy to be silly with the new grandbaby, ironically). How I DO relate to this post, though! I, too, found it–can I say it–so boorrring being at kids events. I remember my sister saying when her kids got older how she so missed the school programs, the Christmas concerts, parents shows, going to the birthday parties, etc.—I was incredulous–you actually LIKED those things?? I detested them! You’re not a bad mom, and there are far more of ‘us’ out there than you might think!!

    • Thanks! So glad you liked it 🙂

  4. Anne Anne

    I truly appreciate the honesty of this post. I understand completely where you’re coming from. My four children, whom I love completely, want me to watch their favorite shows and videos, read their favorite manga stories, and listen to them talk about previously mentioned items. It bores me to tears, but I do my best to nod and respond appropriately. They call me to play with them at the park to play their Tremors games, which I reluctantly do. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do my best. We all have different talents…

    • thanks so much for your comment. It has helped me a bunch to think it through and write it out. I really do love my kids. Loving kid things is different. For a long time I felt guilty and felt like I must not like them, but that isn’t the case.

  5. […] the adult world that kid were being exposed too.  I had never thought of that.  Neither of us are kid people so we have never been great with kid things.  We have been functioning in an adult world and bring […]

  6. […] week I was reminded several times that I am not a kid person.  My children don’t show the love and eagerness that I would like when it comes to school. […]

  7. Lauren Lauren

    OH how I hear you. I business model parent my daughter as well, and I have decided not to have any more kids, specifically because I LOVE my daughter to pieces, but I am a very unattached single mother. I don’t emotionally parent, I do it more in a…you explained it better than I ever could. I have the same kind of relationship with my partner that you do your husband, and I will admit, I feel a lot of guilt for not being goofy, and more enthusiastic about childrens things…

    But my daughter is 10 now, and shes AMAZING 🙂 Happy, healthy, well adjusted for an only child… and we’re hitting preteen with a healthy mutual respect for one another.

    Way to go <3

    • awesome 🙂 Thanks for your comment! Hitting pre-teen years with respect is huge.

  8. I just stumbled upon your blog today and have been reading through your posts – great stuff by the way! I really appreciate your authenticity, especially in this post. My husband and I are also oldest children (with much younger siblings) and neither one of us are kid people. Somehow, we ended up with three children (well, I know how it happened…but I never really anticipated this!). I work part time and just started homeschooling my children (5, 3, and 7 months) and I have found it incredibly challenging to really engage with them at their level(s). It is a constant struggle for me to be more playful (Playful Parenting is an excellent book, by the way) and to really enjoy doing those “kid” things that they love to do. I also got a lot out of Simplicity Parenting (and many of the other minimalism and simplicity books that you have mentioned) as well as Playful Parenting and Unconditional Parenting. My problem is that I read and understand the books but it is very difficult for me to actually apply what I have learned. I am guilty of telling the kids that I can’t play with them because i’m trying to finish a book on how to be a better parent…pathetic i know.

    Anyway, I really wanted to thank you again for your honesty. It means something to be able to see that there are others out there who are wonderful parents that aren’t kid people 🙂

    • thanks so much for your comment 🙂 Good to meet you! I will look up Playful Parenting and Unconditional Parenting they sound good.

  9. Jennifer G Jennifer G

    My husband and I are not kid people either. In fact, we almost chose not to have children because of that. But we have one amazing boy and a 2nd on the way. As much as I love my son and am super excited about another one, I find myself at a loss for things to do with him/them, though it is easier now than it was in the beginning. And I still find that I don’t like other peoples’ kids. After reading some of your other posts before replying to this one, I think I might have to see if our local library has or can get a copy of Simplicity Parenting.

    • Jennifer, for sure see if you can get a copy of that book. It was good! Congrats on #2 on the way. Now that my kids are older and are able to do more I find myself enjoying them much more than I did when they were younger. I always loved and took care of them, but the older they get the more fun they get 🙂

  10. thanks so much Penny 🙂

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