Fourth P: Parents

Panic Attacks & Perspective…

Dear Holly,I’ve been having panic attacks regularly, though I’m trying to keep things in perspective. I think that a schedule would really help things. I really long for a proper schedule for myself and my kids. I have thought about this, and prayed about this, and kept records and made lists… but nothing is coming together. I was wondering if you have any ideas. My children are both transitioning… my 2 year old son out of naps, and just won’t do quiet time in his bed without screaming or just being very disruptive – (I’m just not doing tv for him because he just isn’t old enough) and my 9 month old son out of morning naps. He also wakes very easily when there is any noise in the house, so some days he doesn’t sleep longer than an hour all day. If my 2 year old does take a nap, he is not tired until 9pm, or both kids will not nap at the same time. They both wake up at 6am, waking each other up usually. Every day is just completely different. My husband makes fun of me because it seems like I’m constantly trying to map out a schedule for us and then the next day everything falls apart when people nap or don’t nap or something else goes wrong.Also, I’m having what seems to be an impossible time keeping the house clean. Even something as simple as cleaning up the kitchen seems virtually impossible sometimes. The children must both be constantly monitored it seems. We do have a very small house. Usually I have a... read more

Appropriate Punishment?

Dear Holly,I am writing because I need advice on an appropriate punishment for my homeschooled teen son. I just discovered, by going through my internet history, that instead of researching hot springs and geysers for a paper, he got side-tracked and visited many sights pertaining to nudity, nudism, by following the links his sources provided along with the other information). It was in the middle of the day and I was within sight reading aloud to my younger child. My son is, of course, very upset. I believe this is the first time he has done something like this. Obviously we made a mistake – we had just loosened up our restrictions to the internet by allowing research for papers. I am really angry and afraid for him (his soul) because I see this as a part of his weak self-mastery. I am afraid he will be plagued as an adult by an inability to avoid temptation or follow his curiosity. My dilemma is: Do I come down very hard on him for this first infraction and hope it will be a deterrent? Or do I do more of a daily heavy chore type of punishment so it’s daily reminder and save my full wrath for something really heinous? I looked at everything he saw and it was mostly topless girls, nudists, and one site on human anatomy with totally nude detailed drawings of both genders with labels. I’m sorry to ramble but this just happened and I thought of you and all your good... read more

Trouble with an Older Teen…

Dear Holly,We are having some serious issues with our oldest son who is a senior in High School and I am tempted to blame myself totally and feel like a failure. This leads me to believe that I will never be able to be a good mother and “Why am I trying?” and “How did God think I would be able to handle these children?” etc, etc…. I have to fight hard against that and I do, most of the time! Any words of... read more

Catholic School Not So Catholic?

Dear Holly,I am writing to ask your thoughts on the Catholic identity at our local Catholic school. My two children are in early primary grades. I have had to pull them out of the sex ed and safe environment classes. Additionally, there are many little non-Catholicnesses going on, although there is some great stuff going on too. I try to avoid complaining about the little stuff because I am rather outspoken regarding the sex ed programs. But, it is so tough to send the kids to a Catholic school and spend so much money, and to have to pull them out of classes. I just wonder what you might assume would be the appropriate balance between protesting the inappropriate of the programs so that they may eventually be withdrawn, or just pulling the children out and leaving it at that. I really battle with this. I talk with my husband, but we have trouble coming up with an answer we are comfortable with. Homeschooling is not an option as my husband does not wish this for us. Public school these days seems even scarier though than what is presented in the Catholic... read more

Church & Community Service

Dear Holly,Where would you place service to parish or community? Is that just not one of the “Ps” at all? I am directing my church’s Vacation Bible School this summer, and realize it is taking up a lot more of my time than I thought it would. I’m not sure that means I should never sign up for something like this again…or I am just not prioritizing it correctly. By way of background, I have 3 children under the age of 7 and I... read more

Children’s Sleep Schedules and Mummy’s Personal Time

Dear Holly,I have been *trying* to implement my own rule for the past few months. I have a soon to be 3 year old and a 6 month old. I think I have two stumbling blocks – my melancholic temperament (if things don’t go as planned I feel like a complete failure/indecisveness about everything/procrastination for perfection) and my inability to work out a sleep schedule for my children. In the evenings my toddler does not fall asleep until 9:30/10 and then my baby is up at 5am. I constantly feel like the day never ends. When I hear or read that many mothers are free after 8pm, I wonder what I am doing wrong. If I want any time to myself for solitude, I have to have it after 10pm which doesn’t give me enough sleep to get up at 5 (My son nurses about every 2 hours during the night). I end up feeling resentful and exhausted. Is it unreasonable to desire some evening down time after the kids are asleep? I keep telling myself that maybe my state in life right now will not allow for this. I try to keep from 1-3 for “quiet time” in our home, but there is no guarantee of nap time for either child. If I can get my baby down then I can read some books and lay down with my toddler who almost always falls asleep w’/ this routine. My toddler needs this uninterrupted time w/ Mom to fall asleep. The baby on the other hand is a different story. He no longer falls asleep nursing or rocking. I... read more

Worn Out & Discouraged

Dear HollyI have an inablity to create a working rule (or any kind of peace and order) for myself and our family. We have five kids, from infant to teens. My husband and I both work full-time ~ this is a necessity where we live because we just couldn’t get our bills paid. We’re up to our necks in debt. We’ve been on the brink of divorce several times and I can’t recall a time when the atmosphere at our home has been calm and peaceful except when the oldest two kids were small. Since then there’s always been some strain. There’s no problems of violence or substance abuse or anything like that, ‘just’ selfishness on both sides, mutual disrespect. When I started working, all of a sudden my husband expected me to pay all the bills and use the money he earned only for his own needs. Another area where I have been building up resentment is contraception. I’ve had difficulty learning NFP and my husband has counseled me to have abortions, and has seemed glad when I’ve had my many miscarriages. About parenting, we’ve never had any kind of discussion with my husband about principles, I feel so alone there too. All we are capable to do is blame each other when something goes wrong. I was given a free upbringing myself and somehow I just subconciously feel I’m restraining the children or something when I try to get them to do their chores or just to obey. I guess I just don’t know better, even though I’ve read tons of books on parenting. I’m happy that... read more

Co-Ed Sleepovers?

Dear Holly,I have a question for you regarding Co-ed sleepovers for children. Our youngest daughter has had several sleepovers with two young boys at our good friend’s house, who are very good Catholics. However it as never felt ‘right’ to me. Our other children rarely had sleepovers, let alone co-ed. After much discussion, my husband agreed that we would stop the co-ed sleepovers.This has caused my friend to be upset and confused by my action.And I’m questioning if my judgment is sound in this regard. What is your opinion on co-ed sleepovers for younger... read more

Toddler Play Dates Lead to Ill Health…

Dear Holly, Thank you so much for your website….it has been a huge help to me. However, I’m having one problem that I hope you can help with regarding the 2nd P. I have two young children under 2 years old. Over the past few months, we have had many more play dates and my oldest has been around more children. The problem is that she and I are constantly getting sick. She seems to get over her illnesses quite quickly, but they stay with me for at least a week or two. I have not had more than a two week stint of being well since January. Needless to say, this is very taxing on me and our family and I find I can never get on top of my rule as I am constantly getting sick. Everything gets behind and it takes me a week or two just to get back on track. I’m wondering if you have any advice or tips for staying healthy, especially during winter. I know I will get sick some, but the amount of times I have been sick seems unusually high. I am getting decent sleep at night, but I’m wondering if my diet isn’t right or something like that? My pediatrician said this is just to be expected when you have little ones, but I can’t imagine spending every winter like this. I have been to the doctor also and I know I don’t have any auto-immune disorder or anything like that. Any advice would be... read more

New Baby Chaos?

Dear Holly,I have read your book and used your workbook and love them! I had implemented it very well into our family with my daughter until we went away on holidays and then I didn’t get the routine back when we returned, plus I was at end of my pregnancy with our second and it didn’t happen. Now I’m going a little crazy with the chaos that is going on in my home with a 2 year old and a 2 month old. I’m rereading A Mother’s Rule of Life and looking for other moms to read it with me to help us all implement it and stay accountable to each other. Do you have any tips on how implement a Mother’s Rule of Life with a newborn and 2 year old when the newborn is nursing very frequently during the day and the 2 year old is constantly making messes around the... read more
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