During the time that my first son was an only child, parenting seemed like such an easy job. I didn’t understand why other people seemed to struggle so much. I had read so many parenting books that it all just seemed to flow out of me with such ease. I could see where a situation was headed before it got there. I could literally feel myself step back out of a stressful moment and be able to calmly assess what was really going on. I thrived on reading anything that I could on positive parenting not only because I loved learning new things; but to be honest it was like a big pat on the back. It all spoke directly to what I was doing. At least until I had my second son. After he came along, those books were a reminder of everything that I was now doing wrong. I was sleep deprived and walking him up and down the floor all day long. He could not self sooth. He didn’t like the swing, wouldn’t take a pacifier. He did not sleep well at all. I began to be an impatient mom snapping at my four year old for the most ridiculous things. I remember sitting on the floor with him one day, and he said to me that he was a bad boy. This broke my heart. I knew that I was the one who made him think that. I still to this day feel such regret for that time in our lives. As my youngest began to crawl and walk, things began to get a little easier but not by much. We could not child proof enough for him. He was able to climb the counters lickety split by the time he was fifteen to eighteen months old. A gate ha, he could scale that in the blink of an eye. He would be up at five in the morning rearing to go. The best place to be in the morning was outside where there were more appropriate things to climb. I’d grab a cup of coffee and out we would go. I began to feel like I was losing my mind. I was depressed and riddled with anxiety. I finally went to my doctor to get some help. He prescribed an anti-depressant. I felt like myself again. I had more energy, I was not feeling anxious or depressed anymore. I should have gone for help sooner, but I thought I should be able to cope on my own. I wish I could say that I was able to be that positive parent all over again, but it would be a half truth. I was able to bring a lot of that back in, but as my youngest grew; that style was not always effective for him. This is where I had to battle with myself over the issue of spanking. I knew we couldn’t let him be defiant, but I was at a loss on how to stop it. We only used spanking for when he was defiant, doing things like spitting, kicking, head butting. A spanking was the only thing that seemed to work. Am I an advocate for spanking? Nope I’m not at all. But I believe we have to parent the best way that we can with the tools that we have at the time. I wish I had been able to be a perfect mom, but I was flawed. I still am flawed. This time in my life was very humbling. And in so many ways I am grateful for its change in me. I am a better person, a kinder person, a less judgmental person. May we all remember not to speak poorly of other people. We do not know their internal struggles and how thin that thread they are hanging by is.