Writer’s Workshop: Big Problems To Have

1.) A lesson you learned.

I was putting my daughter to bed the other night and she was all “why do bad things always have to happen to me?”

She was referring to the fact that I told her she likely would have to get braces when she’s older. And also have a mole removed. And also that she couldn’t stay up to watch Full House reruns.

I mean she’s right in the sense that when a child gets sick in this house, it is most often her. She’s got a sensitive little body and it takes her longer to get well, but something about her statement got to me.

It was like I had heard one too many “my life is so hard” complaints from her and I said, “You know, when I was your age I was crying myself to sleep every night because I missed my Dad and I knew I was never going to get to see him again…I would have much preferred worrying about braces instead of not having a Dad anymore. You’re actually very lucky.”

She blinked twice and was all, “I’m hungry” and I realized I had just overloaded her brain with too much to process.

I sometimes wonder how my kids can still find things to be sad about when they’ve suffered no real trauma in their lives. Part of me wants to shake the perspective into them. You’re fed well, you have your own room, you’re safe and nurtured, your family is whole and healthy and you live in a country that grants you every freedom you could desire!

I remember staying up all night on the floor of a hospital lobby when I was 19, waiting for word of my little brothers condition in the ICU. Would he survive his brain injury? Would that 6’9″ giant now have the brain capacity of a five year old? We wouldn’t know for hours. Days? It’s a blur now and thank God he was okay, but I remember thinking about how I would trade anything to have a million of the “bad” days I was accustomed to complaining about in exchange for what we were going through with him.

Now THAT was a bad day!

And it’s true, It was a terrible lesson I learned about how to appreciate regular bad days but I think the bigger lesson I’ve learned is that just because things could be much worse, does not make the thought of getting braces suck any less. It’s okay to be concerned about braces and mole removals and missing Full House reruns at ANY age, but especially when you’re nine. Those are big problems to have when you’re nine.

I’ll appreciate that those are the biggest problems she has for the both of us.

big problems2


Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) A lesson you learned.
2.) The first concert you ever attended.
3.) Write a post inspired by the word: brave.
4.) 10 Things Will and Kate will need to survive baby’s first year.
5.) First crush.


  1. says

    I worry all the time – ALL. THE. TIME. that my boys are growing up so sheltered from the bad stuff that they would be incapable of dealing with it if something bad really did happen to them. Now it hasn’t made me wish bad stuff on them (exactly) but when the worst thing you’ve ever experienced at age seven is to not get the DS game you want, what kind of character is that going to build? Ugh. Raising little humans is so, so hard. I probably get it right about 30% of the time, and that’s being generous.

    • says

      Exactly! I want them to be carefree and happy, but I also want them to appreciate that they GET to be carefree and happy. Or does that even matter? They’ll learn eventually I suppose…

  2. says

    Tough one. Because you really don’t want them to have those experiences. It sounds philosophical to be all what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but how many times do you want your kid to experience something that NEARLY kills him? I speak from experience on this one when I say once is one time too many. And, even as adults we spend as much time as possible making sure we don’t have to experience that type of stuff. Kids learn fortitude in other ways I think. Probably. I mean, I don’t remember being super tormented by life as a child, but here I am living it like a boss and having weathered my fair share of suckiness. The Dudes’ main gripe this week was that I made them eat lunch at home every day because I didn’t want to buy them lunch out when we were shopping. I make a mean ham sandwich so I don’t know what their deal is.

    • says

      You know I actually despise the phrase “what kills you makes you stronger” and thought about writing a blog post about that awhile ago, but then I figured…you know if people find strength in that quote then just let them be. No need for me to go on a rant and trash it, but I don’t believe it at all. I think it’s just an easy sentence to lean on in an attempt to make sense of, or take control of something completely out of your control.

      I think you’re right though, kids don’t need to relate on a major scale…those lessons will come eventually. Unfortunately. I’ll be feeding my kids ham sandwiches all week to help them build fortitude on a much smaller scale.

  3. says

    I struggle with this sometimes, too. I want to show my kiddo videos of starving kids living in huts, but it just doesn’t cross over. And somehow, I just want him to keep the innocence as long as he can.

    And your daughter will deal with the braces. My 9-yr-old just got his OFF yesterday!

    • says

      You’re right it doesn’t cross over. The kids just can’t relate to that reality.

      And yay for braces OFF! I bet that pretty smile was well with the trouble!

  4. says

    That is very true. I hate when someone complains about something then someone else comments, well other people have it worse. Yes, people have it worse, but that doesn’t make what you are going through any less of a worry for you. I have depression and some people dont understand that because my life is generally pretty good. I guess thats a different situation though. I am glad that your daughters biggest worry is braces :)

    • says

      I feel the same way when I feel guilty about yelling at my kids…other people are suffering fertility issues or have lost a child and here I am walking around all pissy because I haven’t had my coffee yet. But I’m human…I appreciate the fact that my life is so uneventful I can bitch about legos all over the play room. I feel terrible for people experiencing real loss, but my personal reality today is those damn legos and it’s normal for me to react to what’s happening now.

      I think depression is tough in and of itself because a lot of people don’t’ understand it and feel like you could just fix it. Depressed? Want some ice cream? That will cheer you up!! Ummm…wrong.

  5. says

    Gorgeous picture.

    I completely agree–it is not helpful when we dismiss one difficult situation or even moment as not as difficult as somebody else’s. Perspective is a good thing, and learning how not to dwell there is important, but I think comparing can just make it worse, and keep it from being acknowledged and dealt with.

    • says

      Thank you!

      And yes, “thanks Mom…I didn’t think about how terrible it would be to live without Dad…let me add that to my list of worries…” Comparing is not such a good idea.

      This kid is a dweller. Big time. It will be interesting to see how she is able to cope with that as she gets older.

  6. says

    Such a hard lesson to have to have learned. It’s a hard spot as a parent because we don’t want our children to suffer, but I think many of us know that without true difficulty, you don’t realize how small some of the thing we consider “bad” are. I like the part where you say you will appreciate it for the both of you. Beautiful.

    • says

      Thank you! I think her age has a lot to do with it too. It’s one thing when they’re 4 and throwing a temper tantrum about cookies, but when a 9 year old about how hard she has it…I feel compelled to argue otherwise. There’s probably a better way to acknowledge her fears and then maybe say a nice little thank you prayer for everything she’s blessed with.

  7. says

    Sometimes I tell the kids, “What a great problem to have!” when they are complaining about something relatively minor or first-worldy. We are so lucky to have the problems we do.

    • says

      I love that! Although I’m sure I’ll get plenty of eye rolls from teenagers when I start touting it to them. ;) We are lucky!!

  8. says

    I can relate especially when my own “problems” vary in seriousness. I hate when people say it’s nothing compared to xyz because it’s just dismissing my feelings completely. There’s always better and worse out there but it doesn’t mean my feelings are any less. Though it is frustrating when my daughter’s biggest issue is that we are out of cookies…

    • says

      Yep, you summed it up perfectly! Which is why we roll our eyes at the cookie tantrums and then eat them behind their back when they’re napping. That’ll teach’em!!

  9. Sam says

    My husband makes me mad when he is flippant about death, but he’s never really experienced a deep loss that he can remember. So, he’s naive and very lucky. I hope your (and my) children can think that braces and bedtime are disasters for a long time. :-)

    • says

      Seriously! I got raging mad at my husband when we were dating because he told me that if he were dying he would just explain to our kids what was happening and they would be okay. Like it was just so black and white. I was like, “you really don’t have a clue do you??”

      It reminded me of Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams has that talk with Matt Damon and says, “You don’t know about real loss, ’cause that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.”

      I think he has a different perspective now that he’s married with kids and experienced a close call with me when I gave birth to Laina. But it was definitely frustrating at the time.

      • says

        Yeah, definitely not that easy! I don’t think we completely understand a lose until we experience the hole it leaves in us. Although I must say, since Aly was born, I’m not so much afraid of dying as I am afraid of leaving her without a mother. But I guess that occurs when you love someone more than yourself :-)

  10. says

    It’s funny. I was just thinking the same thing about the writing prompt: Brave. The things that come to mind for me and the word bravery pale in comparison with someone who is facing a serious illness, major financial crisis or standing up for an unpopular issue in their community where they or their children could suffer retribution. We all process the world as it revolves around us. And my kids are hooked on Full House too.

    • says

      That’s so true! Those two topics totally cross over. And I think when we’re blogging we feel like we need to be a lot more careful about what we choose to write about where bravery is concerned. Which is silly of us. I bravely faced down a very wild moth the other night and no it’s not a hospital stay but it’s still REALLY FREAKING SCARY! ;)

  11. says


    This post really resonated with me. This is a lesson I’m still trying to teach my 13 year old daughter, who will often complain that her 15 year old cousin “gets everything she wants” (not true) and is spoiled by their grandmother (maybe). And I tell her every time (and sometimes not very nicely when I am especially frustrated with her complaining), that her cousin cannot have the one thing she wants more than anything which is for her mother to still be alive. (My brother’s wife died 4 years ago when their girls were 11, 15, &19.) Because my daughter likes to complain about the many 1st world problems in her life. While not having a mother to guide you through adolescence (and beyond) is a real problem – a tragedy- no matter where you live. (As it sounds like you know. I am very sorry about the loss of your father. Truly.)

    And I try to remind myself of this too when I am feeling whiny about the problems that my family is going through (which are pretty freaking serious). BUT everyone is healthy. We have a lovely home. We have food on the table. We have love. (And most days I even still like my husband!) :)

    But it can be hard. Especially for a 13 year old. And even a 48 year old. And then I remember – that’s why God made wine! :)

  12. says

    We are so blessed and teaching my son that is a top priority!

    Thank you for the reminder.

    I love that picture, by the way!

  13. says

    I love this. I feel the same about my kiddos – I want them to know that they are blessed beyond words. Many have it worse. But, their world problems are much different than ours , Thank God! <3 Great post and reminder. So glad to have participated again with this. :)

  14. says

    It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? And everybody’s “bad” is different. I sometimes find myself worried out of my mind about some bad thing my daughter has had to go through and then my husband – always the logical one – points out that if that’s the worst problem in her little life, she’s doing pretty well. Loved your post. :)

  15. says

    I think the same things all the time when it comes to my own kids. In general, most kids don’t know what a truly bad day is like. And that’s a good thing! They have plenty of time for life to rain on their parade.

  16. says

    Kat – I remember my mom saying similar things to me. I never broke any bones or really suffered any “trauma” in my life so the second I cried over a stubbed toe, she was in shock that I could be hurt by something so ‘little.’ As a young one, I didn’t understand why she wasn’t letting me be sad! haha. I think it’s good that you recognize how ‘traumatized’ your daughter could be to the things in her life, but also not losing sight to the realities of the world. Part of me is glad my mom reminded me that these are all really just little things. I’m sure one day your daughter will understand too. xoxo

  17. says

    I so agree. There is a lot to worry about. I want my kids to have as little to worry about as possible. I enjoyed reading your post. You definitely put some things in perspective.

  18. says

    And can I get a big Amen?!

    You have the wisdom borne of pain and experience. Isn’t it a struggle that we want our kids to have that same kind of wisdom and appreciation for how really blessed they are. Yet as their mothers we can barely stand to think of them struggling through the kind of pain and experience it takes to get there?!

  19. says

    Some things seem very big at nine that shrink in size once we get older. My daughter would tell her kids they were going to camp out in the living room and watch movies all night! They thought that was the greatest thing, though all but one was sound asleep by bedtime.

  20. says

    Seriously. Their problems are not really problems at all, and it can be frustrating, but to them they are real problems. It’s our job to to validate that and reinforce all the things that are going well. You’re a great mom.