life Parenting Reading

Parenting Is Still Hard, Meetings, and Library Pressure

April 20, 2021

Our weekend contained multitudes. Okay, not really. But we had moments like this:

this may become part of our 2021 holiday card

. . . as well as our first successful family bike ride to/from the complex pool! (Don’t be too impressed. It is 0.9 miles from our house. But still.)

We also had a moment where G remembered that she is 3 and vehemently refused to participate in soccer. She and I arrived at the field and she looked sooo cute in uniform but then she looked up at the hot sun, noted there was no shade, and declared she wanted to leave.

Honestly in some ways, I couldn’t blame her.

BUT I also really didn’t want to teach her that immediately bailing when things are a bit challenging is the right thing to do, so I told her calmly that she could play or sit and watch the other kids play, but we would stay for the session. (Annabel was playing in the next game anyway and the others were meeting us at the field).

She intermittently watched + cried / thrashed around and finally bit me on the shoulder. #*@$(*@&#. However, when it was time to leave, as we walked out together she said she was going to “surprise the coach” and participate the next time. Sigh. It was one of those moments when — despite being on my 3rd kid — I had NO REAL IDEA what the right thing to do was. I guess I could have left, but it felt like a bad precedent to set (note: G expressed previously that she wanted to do soccer, though I get that a 3 year old’s desires are going to be inherently mercurial).

I was careful NOT to yell at her for not playing but I also did not give in to her wanting to leave. Honestly, the whole scenario felt like torture TO ME in the end so who knows.

(ALSO, this was sort of . . . deja vu because Annabel as a younger child was very prone to similar behavior. C not so much, especially if the activity is an active one.)

SO! This post is for those of you who have come to believe that G is a magical unicorn 3 year old with maturity well beyond her years. She sometimes sounds like an older kid, but definitely knows how to act 3.

I would insert the tantrum picture of her that I have saved for posterity on my phone, but I do not share those publicly as a matter of personal policy so you will have to wait until next week to see her hot pink shin guard covers.

TODAY is a full WFH day.

Webex meetings at:

7:15 (30 min)

7:45 (1 hr)

12:00 (1 hr)

1:00 – 4:00 (3 hrs – a teaching session for the 1st year residents)

4:30 (probably 1 hour)

I am not kidding, I may try to sneak in a 30 minute power nap at 11:30 and take a walk outside during the noon meeting (which is less participatory and more listening). That is just a lot of meetings.


My reading life has been stagnating a bit so I decided I will read The Four Winds over the next week (due @ library 4/26 and cannot renew since others have holds on it!), which means averaging 70 pages a day. I started yesterday and got up to 100 (it moves fast) so this seems doable.

Sometimes a little pressure can be helpful.

I will go back to Greenwood after that since I can keep it out until June!


  • Reply Gillian April 20, 2021 at 7:09 am

    I decided to let me then 5 yo daughter quit soccer after standing outside in the cold New York in May rain with my 4-5 month old in the ergo carrier with said 5 year old clinging to my leg and flatly refusing to participate. We typically make kids finish the season (so to speak) once they have committed. But I decided then and there that it wasn’t worth it. We got in the car, went home and all took a hot bath. Some hills aren’t worth dying on.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns April 20, 2021 at 7:31 am

    Threenager behavior is the worst! Their wants and interests are so fickle! I hope next week goes better!

    Ugh that is a lot of meetings and a super early start! I am excited to go back to work but not excited about all the zoom meetings. I get so burned out on them!!

  • Reply Sam April 20, 2021 at 8:10 am

    Ugh that webex schedule is tough. Hope you manage to sneak a walk in there and give your eyes a break. I really like “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah. I should check out “The Four Winds.”

  • Reply Krista April 20, 2021 at 8:11 am

    This is why my four year old has yet to participate in an activity beyond swim lessons. The fact that he is the youngest of six and we have plenty of commitments is huge too, but sports at that age just don’t feel worth it to me. Now, I am putting him on our swim team this summer because it seems he’ll be capable of swimming a whole lap freestyle (the very low bar), and they improve so much over a season, but am well aware behavior might be an issue 😂

  • Reply Amy April 20, 2021 at 8:31 am

    Sounds like you did the right thing. 3’s are gonna 3!

  • Reply Irene April 20, 2021 at 10:27 am

    Sounds like you handled it great. I will admit we let my oldest quit soccer after just a couple sessions last summer because the county was still requiring kids to remain 6 feet apart at all times (despite masks and being outside). So they each had a cone and basically did dribbling drills for an hour. I felt this was not soccer and not what she had agreed to so we quit it (I should have seen how boring it was going to be, so kind of on me). It’s a tough balance because I want her to be willing to try new things which is hard for her and requiring a major commitment (like a year or something) if she doesn’t like it feels too intimidating. Luckily so far she has liked gymnastics and swimming so we have not really had that problem yet but I’m wondering how I will handle it. Definitely not quit after a single session but maybe after giving it a reasonable try…?

    Sorry though about getting bitten especially out in public. I have definitely been there and. It sucks. So child dependent in my experience – I have one who bit adults only and one that really has never bitten anyone. Thank goodness never had to deal with a lot of bitting the other kids at school, that seems so hard.

  • Reply CBS April 20, 2021 at 10:44 am

    My 3.5 year old has been a bit of a bear lately. I think it’s harder with verbally precocious kids, their age appropriate mischief comes as a bit of a surprise. My son is super agreeable, chatty, can be reasoned with but lately, I think he’s been overtired and is just pushing buttons. I made threats I could not back up the other night “No stories, and no audiobooks…(he listens before sleep)” and had to walk it back as I realised I was just making life more difficult for myself and we were all tired and cranky and needed to rest.

  • Reply lawandcreative April 20, 2021 at 11:08 am

    That meeting schedule is rough. I try to limit myself to 3 a day but it isn’t always possible

  • Reply Shelly April 20, 2021 at 11:46 am

    I just finished Four Winds – it was good but a little darker than I anticipated. I remember that 3 year old phase. My older one was such a battle on activities if he didn’t feel like doing them. Sometimes we did reward good participation efforts with a treat (ice cream). Also, sometimes after trying 3-4 times, if he really hated it we would let him quit. That said he is now 16 and has finally found his sport of choice – swimming. I took him to try out for a year round team 4 times (all different years) before he decided he wanted to commit to doing it. But now he loves it and works hard to improve.

  • Reply Kersti April 20, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    It’s funny but I do exactly what G does. I was in Junior League for two meetings before deciding it was not my thing. I try and quit workout classes. I quit a work committee because I didn’t like the other people on it. I get that kids are different but being a quitter is not always a bad thing. I wish I had not spent third grade dragging myself to Girl Scouts when I hated it, lol. The things I really enjoy I usually like right away and they tend to stick with me for life.

    • Reply Jenny April 21, 2021 at 3:37 pm

      Love this so much! My parents never let me quit anything even when I actively hated it and had already been doing it for years so it wasn’t like my commitment was in doubt at that point. It took a LOOOOOOOOOONG time to shake off this habit (like I was in my late 30s, ugh) before I realized I could actually just up and quit something purely because I wasn’t enjoying it and that was more than enough of a reason. Like you said, sticking with something for awhile doesn’t exactly cause it to grow on me, either I like it from the outset or I don’t! That’s the kind of “know thyself” gut instinct I’m currently trying to instill in my older kid instead of letting the well-meaning adults in her life override her (you know, within reason). 🙂

    • Reply xykademiqz April 23, 2021 at 12:26 am

      “The things I really enjoy I usually like right away and they tend to stick with me for life.”

      This. No need to be miserable.

  • Reply Lesley April 20, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    – I would have done the same thing and stuck it out. It’s so hard to remain steadfast on those tricky decisions, but you have to ultimately listen to your gut.
    – Wishing you tons of iced coffee your way with that meeting schedule!
    – I’m digging essays by Kimberly Harrington (Amateur Hour) and Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist) – my brain can only handle short and sweet chunks of text right now and these hit the spot.

  • Reply Kristen April 20, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    I loved The Four Winds! Captivating. Enjoy!

    My 4 year old has only participated in swim lessons outside of Montessori … and then a STEM preschool program. She has shown zero interest in other organized activities and when asked “would you like to try …xyz” she answers with a clear and emphatic “no.” So I trust her on that. 😂

    Thanks for all you share!

  • Reply Omdg April 20, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    I let my daughter quit swimming and lacrosse. I remember well being forced to play sports in the hot sun abs feeling like I was going to pass out the whole time, and would never want to inflict that kind of discomfort over something that literally does not matter at all. I am totally over forcing organized sports for little kids.

  • Reply RH April 20, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    At 3, the behavior is understandable and honestly there’s no “correct” way to handle it. I would have stuck it out also but if she acts the same for another practice or two, I’d probably put an end to it.

    My 8 yo son plays baseball and DH helps with coaching. Every season there is at least one kid who doesn’t want to be there but parents are making him–its annoying and distracting for everyone else. I understand wanting kids to not quit right away but at some point, recognize that this is not worth the anguish. And people like my DH who is volunteering as coach after a long day at the hospital do not want to spend 90 min trying to make sure uninterested kid is safe/engaged/included, etc.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 20, 2021 at 3:33 pm

      yeah, soccer is 7 sessions. i definitely don’t have it in me to do that 5 more times. yet immediately leaving didn’t feel right, either.

  • Reply Jamie Weitl April 20, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    The Four Winds was good but overall a bit depressing. I still found it worth reading though!

  • Reply Natasha April 21, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    I am super impressed with how you handled the soccer situation. I’m a mom of three as well, although mine are 20, 17, and 10 now. In our family, I felt like the kids were always wanting to quit what they started with sport and music lessons etc. So my rule was sure, but you must finish the semester/session/lessons prepaid for etc. along with a discussion about commitment.

    My 10 year old plays travel soccer now (a year long commitment) and we go all over the gulf south, I’m glad she finally committed to something for the long haul. My older daughter did competitive gymnastics, and my son played basketball through high school. I also like that my three tried many (MANY) activities and then each found out what they do well.

    Anyway, I applaud the way you handled it. And being bitten on top of that!

  • Reply xykademiqz April 23, 2021 at 12:20 am

    Our youngest has never shown interest in any sports, so we aren’t forcing it. We tried soccer when he was 5, and it was already too late as other kids have played before; he couldn’t figure out what to do and goofed around. He was very stressed out on the field and didn’t want to go back. I said screw it. He also didn’t enjoy swim lessons. The performative aspects of sports and having to be with other kids that he doesn’t know really stress him out. So screw organized sports. We might get him started on track and field later as he’s a good runner, fast and can go for long just naturally. He’s also somehow great at roller-blading. Plus, he’s very much into music and math and spends time practicing without grudging. Not everyone

    My middle son played flag football for years (we said no to touch football) and played basketball for years, both with interest. He also swam, but it was a battle. He did karate, and that was a battle, too. He’s in 8th grade now and 6′ 3″, but I think his zeal for basketball (which is super competitive) has abated. As far as I am concerned, he doesn’t have to play anymore. I certainly sat in my fair share of smelly gyms on his account, and ran the score board many times, so if I don’t ever do it again, I am OK. He’s doing great academically and is very social, so doing OK in my book.

    Eldest wasn’t too sporty until high school, just consistently swam. Then swam in high school pretty actively (whereby I sat by my fair share of pools, and also learned to score and time and got wet feet many times), but he didn’t continue afterwards. These days he walks, runs, and lifts weights for health and fitness (he’s 21). He was a competitive musician, so him I drove all over the state for various comps and camps.

    I am pretty high-strung, and I played volleyball when I was young, so my personal inclination has always been to push and push, but my husband is mellow and has taught me the importance of just letting kids be (also, he thinks sports are stupid LOL). The kids do pursue the activities they are interested in without much prodding, so I think live and let live is a good policy. I think the lessons of not quitting when things are hard can be imparted when the kids aren’t super young and on activities that they aren’t ambivalent about. No need for kids or parents to be miserable.

    • Reply Jenny April 23, 2021 at 3:20 pm

      “I think the lessons of not quitting when things are hard can be imparted when the kids aren’t super young and on activities that they aren’t ambivalent about. No need for kids or parents to be miserable.”

      I like this a lot. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Reply Sarah April 23, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Great discussion. In general with my kids, my focus is on how they ask, not what they ask. Using your words calmly is one of the best emotional regulation and social skills there is*. If they can ask calmly, and depending on age, provide some rationale, I am 99% of the time happy to go with it. A few additional thoughts – it helps me to remember what my value prioritization is (effective interpersonal communication over persistence in something undesirable) and other parents’/families’ will have different priorities. Also, typically when you can calm down enough to talk, you can also calm enough to negotiate. So I am often feeding scripts to my kids (similar ages) – “What about telling me, ‘I want a third dessert’?”** “I want a third dessert.” “Oh wow, thanks for asking me so calmly. Three desserts is a lot – you asked me so nicely that you could have half a dessert (or whatever). What do you think?”
    Alternately – “What about telling me, ‘I want to go home now’?” “I want to go home now.” “Thanks for telling me so calmly. I can see you’re not having fun. Since you told me so calmly, let’s go home. What should we do when we come next time to make it more fun?” Etc.

    *I am a child psychologist, but my parenting is not always completely in line with what I would recommend in practice. 😉
    **Just an illustration of how many of these requests are entirely unreasonable and so it really does take remembering my value prioritization.

  • Reply Taryn April 23, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    This is why we didn’t really do planned activities or sports when they were little. They both did cub scouts starting in 1st grade. My 2nd grader still doesn’t really have interest in doing organized activities. She did gymnastics for awhile and stopped. My 4th grader plays flag football, do cub scouts, and takes piano lessons. Other than that our weekends are wide open for family activities. Backpacking, hiking, mountain biking.

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