We recently returned from a fabulous trip to Hawaii…no kids…did I mention it was fabulous? Unfortunately, we received some bad reports on the kids when we would call to say hello. They were really pushing things at bed time and nap time and were waking up early or in the middle of the night. Bed time is definitely something we are working on, but the middle of the night waking never happens. They were wiping themselves out and then couldn’t handle themselves in the day. We try and not make excuses in our family. “Oh, they’re tired, so give them some leniency.” We’re trying to instill in our kids, “You’re tired right now, so it is going to take a lot of extra work to have self control.” While we were away, it sounds like they were making things difficult and not exhibiting much of that self control. On the fourth day in I was talking to my sister about it (who was watching them at the time) and suddenly I was in tears. I was a mess because we’re working so hard – all the time. You feel like you are making progress. You see improvements. However, you also see moments like this where it feels like everything you are working toward is collapsing in on you. I was crying because in a way I felt like I am failing even though I am working so hard. I was upset because there wasn’t anything I could do to make things easier for my sister in the situation. I didn’t know how to talk to them on the phone. Should it be a “I’m really disappointed in your behavior!” moment or “I love you and miss you?” Quite frankly, hearing their behavior, I wasn’t missing them much at all at that point. I questioned what kind of person I was to be writing a parenting blog and giving advice when my children were behaving that way. I felt all around bad about the whole situation. I did what anyone would do in that situation, I called my mom. She was supportive, loving and said all the good things a mother should. I also called one of my mentors, and she said something that hit home too. She said, “Jodi, they’re just kids.” They haven’t arrived. I have tools to make things better, but things aren’t going to always be perfect. They’re kids…3 & 4 at that…they’re growing, testing, developing, sinning, adapting to their parents being away and a whole new structure for them…they’re just kids. It’s not that I’m failing miserably at this tough job. It’s that no matter how hard I work, I’m not perfect and neither are my kids. It was such a good and humbling reminder for me. So, next time you are seeing everything collapse in front of you, remind yourself, “They are just kids.” Don’t use it as an excuse to just let the behavior slide. Say it to yourself as a reminder of how much training is required now and give yourself a break from your own expectations.