No matter what

By Mir
May 17, 2010

Dear Child of Mine,

I love you no matter what. No matter what you do, no matter what you say. No matter how obnoxious you are. No matter how many times you take out the injustices of the world on me because I am a handy scapegoat.

I love you even though you treat me like something slimy you found on your shoe. I love you enough to spend the better part of a day on the phone with the school, because when my baby calls me in tears to report that all of her stuff was stolen (AGAIN) and the teacher said “Oh well,” that’s not gonna fly. I love you enough to continue sending emails and making phone calls, even as I can practically HEAR the administration rolling their eyes, because as it turns out, no one pushes my kid around and gets away with it. I love you enough to send your stepfather down there to sort it all out, because the person whose head I dearly would love to see on a platter kept treating me with the “get back in the kitchen and bake a pie” vibe, and I knew Otto would get better results.

I love you even though you never say thank you for those things, either to me or to him. I love you even though it’s a constant stream of “I want” and “I need” and “You have to” out of your ungrateful mouth.

I love you even though you torment your brother to tears and rage because you are a target at school and need a target at home. I love you even though you beg for specific things you HAVE TO HAVE and when you finally get them, you crumple them up and/or leave them on the floor like garbage. I love you even though you never do your chores without being nagged, and then you complain the entire time because OH THE INHUMANITY of having to take dishes out of the dishwasher!

I love you even though you scream at me on a regular basis, whenever I say something you don’t like, even if the thing I’m saying has nothing to do with me. If I say “that tape is double-sided” then you scream at me because you want it to be single-sided. And clearly that’s my fault.

I love you even though you ask me to fix your hair and then scream at me and cry after I do. I love you even though you begged for earrings and then never wear them. I love you even though you ignore lights-out and keep reading and are tired and surly in the morning.

I love you even though hormones have addled your brain. I love you even though you are mean. I try not to take it personally. I fail.

I love you because you need to be loved, and because you are lovable underneath it all, and because I can’t help it.

I love you even though I sit down at my desk and cry after you storm out, because it’s hard. I wish love could fix it. I wish you loved yourself a little more. I wish you would just let me love you.

I love you even though this sucks. And no, I WILL NOT USE A NICER WORD. In fact, let me be more specific: This sucks hairy donkey balls.

I know this is how it’s supposed to be. And so I will love you no matter what.

So there.



  1. Diahn Ott

    Oh, my. Those raging hormones are the beast, aren’t they? I find myself often wanting to call my own mother and apologize…

    hang in there…one day she’ll appreciate all your love.

  2. Mom24@4evermom

    I’m glad you love her, but I have to say having two children cross adolescence and whispering because I have two to go, I disagree with the “it’s how this is supposed to be”. I don’t think the yelling or ungratefulness is how it’s supposed to be. I’ve never experienced either with my kids and I encourage you to keep reaching for more because I really think you both deserve better.

    I promise I’m not trying to criticize you or her, just saying.

  3. Paula

    And what if you said this to her? or print it out and lay the letter on her bed? although she might not want to hear it? My grandmother once caught me and said after I had blocked the family phone for three hours laughing and chatting with a girlfriend of mine: “So, with your girfriends you laugh all the time and with us you only share your bad moods and habits!”

    I was totally offended, but she was right and I knew!

  4. elz

    Yup, this is (unfortunately) the way it is. The good thing is that tweenage girls eventually grow out of it. I called my parents and apologized once I was old enough to realize how much I tested them. I know that doesn’t help much now. I have two girls; I am dreading years 10-18. AUGH.

  5. Megan

    It’s tough – hang in there.

    I did (and do) always tell my children that they need to treat us BETTER than their friends because they love us more and spend more time with us. It works. Mostly. Sometimes.

  6. Katherine

    Hearing this I’m glad I have boys. The 14 yo boy has his moods, but they are not nearly so bad and the 11 yo boy is still happy and cheerful mostly. I wish you luck and I don’t think it should have to be *this* bad.

  7. ramblin red

    Oh dear….So if my 9 y/o is already acting in these manners, does that mean I’m pretty much screwed?

    Ah parenting….it is the worst and best of jobs all at the same time, huh?

  8. Suzie

    My daughter will be 14 in late September. For several months right around the time she turned 13, she was very mean, and difficult, and “hormonal.” Her rudeness and eye-rolling was peppered throughout with her own tears and plaintive cries that she didn’t know why! she was so angry, or so sad, or so irritable. And a couple of times she snapped at my husband or I so viciously, she scared & horrified her own self.

    And I did have tears of my own. And I sent her from the dinner table enough times that I worried at one point that we’d never get to eat as a family again.

    But … then it stopped. There are small outbursts here and there, but it’s rare. She’s easy to be with again.

    Light at the end of the tunnel? Or between tunnels, at least.

    p.s. My younger daughter will be 12 in a minute, and she’s starting up with her own “hormonal” attitude. Only with her, it comes out in sullen & silent form. I actually prefer the yelling.

  9. Jean

    Mine just turned 13, Mir. We have our own set of problems and I am often sobbing after the door has closed,too. Communication, it is not easy with these younguns.

  10. Half Assed Kitchen

    Thank you for emotionally preparing me. Scared.

    The new redesign is minty fresh, by the way. Love it.

  11. Aimee

    Ew… hormones. Yeah, they’re bitches. I so remember being 13 or 14 and being SO. DAMN. INSUFFERABLE. It did end, though, and I did eventually realize what a brat I was. And the truth is that, when I was in the middle of it, I truly *didn’t* know why. That didn’t make it any easier on my family, though.

  12. MomCat

    Hugs for you, Mir. (With, maybe, a margarita thrown in as needed.)

  13. Headless Mom

    Blech. Those hormone-filled days of teen-y angst are awful. It’s a good thing that we’re genetically programmed to love them anyway.

  14. s

    good grief – we are so on the edge of this, and I just have to wonder how can this be minimized? Because I too love my daughter but I find myself saying some not so nice stuff back (and sounding JUST LIKE MY MOTHER when I do). I find it hard to bite my tongue and handle it with grace. Because being ungrateful and always needy, is that really acceptable? I want home to be a soft spot to land, yet I’m sorry, the attitude and taking it out at home doesn’t sit well with me and I find myself then blowing up and saying hurtful things and that’s just not right. And the other siblings – they did nothing yet get caught in the crossfire at times.

    So, how do we navigate that middle ground where SOME bad mood and tween angst is ok, but they know that its not acceptable and need to apologize and strive harder?

    I don’t know! (and that really stinks that she is so tormented at school) All I can say is after a morning of a lot of “stupid this and stupid that”, I am ready to find a good boarding school…just kidding.

  15. Billie

    Oh my! I keep telling my husband to wait. He can’t stand the way my 10 year old son treats us. Wait until the 2 year old and 4 month old are that age. I think he is refusing to believe it at this point…lol.

  16. feefifoto

    Sigh. Wold it be okay with you if I printed this out, changed the gender references, and gave it to my son?

  17. Krista W

    When my son says, “I want”, I say “get a job.”
    When he says, “I NEED”, I ask of him “What does need mean?” He sighs and answers, “I’ll die if I don’t get it.”
    And when he says, “You have to!” I ask how much he’s been working out because I’m fairly certain I can take him.”

    Don’t take any crap from her, it doesn’t do her any favors.

    Good luck!!

  18. Jamie

    Minus the school issue, this sounds like my 9yo boy, and he hasn’t even hit puberty yet! Can’t wait for that…

  19. Heather G

    My daughter turned 12 the end of last month and I swear this letter could be written from me to her.

  20. Becky

    Mine is 25 now with a positive attitude and happy face but omg those teen years! She too didn’t know why she did it. I cried the most when I said something and I was “horrible” but if Dad said it she said “OK”. It does end but we all wish it could be sooner rather than later!

  21. Aly

    Mine turns ten tomorrow and it is as if a switch has flipped in her brain and my sweet baby has gotten all sullen and moody. It’s good to know that if it can’t be fixed at least I’m not suffering alone – I have all of you for company and mutual banging of heads into walls.

  22. elaine

    i absolutely love this. i’ve got a nearly 9 year old daughter and i’m already seeing twinges of the looking teenaged attitude in some of the things she does and the things she says. i’m going to save this for when the appropriate time comes. and oh yes, i know it’s coming, no doubt about that.

  23. elaine

    oops…i meant ‘looming’, not ‘looking’. heh.

  24. Chris M.

    I have to second what mom24 said.

    “I disagree with the “it’s how this is supposed to be”. I don’t think the yelling or ungratefulness is how it’s supposed to be. I’ve never experienced either with my kids and I encourage you to keep reaching for more because I really think you both deserve better.”

    Yes, pre-adolescence and adolescence are difficult times, and each child is different, but besides my immediate family, I have 2 brothers will kids with all sorts of problems (hyperactivity, Aspergers, etc.). None of us has problem with yelling or screaming on a regular basis.

    Perhaps this is one area that you would benefit from getting some external help with — love is extremely important, but discipline is also crucial for the development of children, and if your techniques for when they misbehave are not working, the perspective of a third-party might be able to help.

  25. Wendy 2

    Minus the school issues, I could have written this myself also. Although like a previous poster, my 14 year old daughter has gotten tons better than when she was 9. Ages 9-10 were a nightmare. I am hoping that was the worst of it, but honestly, I think this is just the calm before the storm, because she is starting high school next year, which means boys and formal dances, and all that goes with high school. I’m scared.

  26. Heidi

    Ahh… If there was ever a post that made me thankful to be kidless, this is it.

  27. Mare Martell

    I am so immature. I was impassioned as you about how you love them anyway until, “This sucks hairy donkey balls.” Where I burst into laughter scaring the daylights out of my furry children. I love YOU anyway. Bright giggles in your household I’m sure.

  28. Dawn

    And THIS is why nature starts them out so cute and helpless. If they were born as teens, we’d drown ’em all at birth. Heck, WE’D have been drowned at birth.

    In my new-found wisdom as one who has just (barely) survived the teen years, I think all this serves a purpose and that is to prepare both parent and child for the child to leave home. They’re glad to be rid of us (such morons!) and we’re glad to be rid of them (such horrid, ungrateful creatures!).

    Could you imagine if they left home while they were still as sweet and adorable as they were as babies? Aauugghh! The pain!

    Also, it’s a miracle how intelligent we suddenly become when they’re in their twenties. You’ll love it. In the meantime, grit your teeth because donkey balls will be the order of the day for the foreseeable future. Job’s Comforter, that’s me.

  29. Heather

    You definitely make having kids sound so glamorous and fun heh. Big hugs to both of you!

  30. Neil

    Sounds like a letter my mother could have written to me at that age.

  31. Anna Marie

    Love and hugs to you Mir – and to Chickie. It’s a tough, tough age.

    Also, I LOVE the new look so much I want to smooch it!

  32. Katie in MA

    Sigh. She sounds so much like how I acted at that age. Annnnnnd, now I have to call my mom and apologize. Just keep doing what you’re doing and hope and trust that all will be okay, even if you have to squeeze your eyes shut and cross your fingers and drink a glass of wine. You and Otto are doing everything you can and doing everything right. And in a few years, Chickie will realize that she’s a better person because of it.

  33. Lucinda

    Ok, my kid is 8 and we get that behavior too. It comes in spurts, usually when she is growing a lot. We don’t tolerate it (like you I’m quite sure based on years of reading your blog) but she still does it. Sometimes we react well. Sometimes we don’t. Hormones are so much fun!

    I’m sure that by the time my daughter actually hits puberty, she’s going to be a monster. Why? Because I know how out of control I feel when my hormones fluctuate. It’s chemical. I’ve learned better to control my reaction to that feeling but she still has to learn and it’s a bumpy road. She screams, she cries, she feels remorseful. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    I’m so glad some feel like it “doesn’t have to be that way”. Truly. Good for you. But in our world, that’s how it rolls. My daughter may get incredibly angry, but she also has amazing empathy. You don’t get some of the intense emotions without all of them. Good luck and prayers to your entire family. This is a beautiful letter written to a child who is facing some really shitty stuff right now. (In addition to hormones). I may borrow it in a few years.

  34. el-e-e

    This made me feel sad for the way I was as a teen sometimes. Pouty, grouchy, generally a brat. I’m sorry, Mom!!

    And I’m sorry for you, Mir. ((hugs)) Hope.

    (I had a longer sentence there… “Hope she evens out..” backspacebackspacebackspace… Hope it all finds a conclusion…” backspacebackspace… but.. Just hope.)

  35. Kelly

    I am de-lurking to ask you if you are sure you haven’t visited my house?! I truly feel your pain!

  36. Sheila

    I hope it’s helping somewhat to know you are not alone. Oh, you are SO not alone…

  37. Tootsie Farklepants

    This reminds me a bit of my 10 year old son. And if it continues into the teen years I predict he and my husband will be out on the front lawn beating the tar out of each other.

    **Hugs Mir***

  38. Lori N

    …Excuse me, something in my eye here.

    It reminds me of something I say to my kids every night (especially after those hormone-filled days): “I will love you always and forever, no matter what.”

  39. Binkytowne

    Mir I have no advice to offer so I will just say you are doing a fine job and your hair is pretty :)

  40. Linda

    Everyday I read your posts and for all the ones that involve Chickadee I swear we are living in parallel universes.

  41. joaaanna

    I cannot believe how emotional this just made me. I was Chickie. I was rotten. And I had a mom like you. And now we have the best kind of relationship than I could ever imagine. I hope you don’t mind – I am printing this post to give my mom (she doesn’t have a computer) and then I’m going to tell her how much I appreciate her. For loving me no matter what.

    And then I’m going to forward this to my SIL who is struggling with her own Chickadee right now.

  42. Leandra

    My daughter’s only four and already I’m getting “I’m not going to be your best friend.” My husband gets mad that she says that to me, but it doesn’t really bother me right now (though it may later when the language gets more vehement). Right now I just say “That’s okay, because I still love you.”

    Hang in there. You are a great mom and you are doing a great job. And she will grow out of it. *We* all did. :)

  43. Kris H.

    Yes. Just yes.

  44. Massiel

    I acted almost exactly that way from age 12 to 16, when I finally begged to go to therapy and not only did it help my anger issues but I also started getting along a lot better with my mom. So.

  45. Kristie

    Wow. This just makes me feel even more grateful that I have been blessed with two ridiculously easy daughters. They’re 14 and 11 and we only have a miniscule amount of tantruming. Good luck to you.

  46. mary Anne

    I have have 4 kids .. 3 of them girls ( 22.26.28).. 1 of them the ultimate drama queen,
    I’ve been reading along time now and honey its time to lay down the law! You and Otto do your best for both children and neither of you deserves to be treated disrespectfully…. and yes this is disrespectful behaviour. Whenever daughter #1 would start the histrionics I would put myself in front of her and say flat out I in no way deserve to be treated this way and you will stop this behaviour now. K is 28 and very occasionally I still use my tough mom arsenal. You deserve better Mir. Believe me she’ll stop and down the road respect you more for it.

  47. Chuck

    Hang in, Mir, and stay strong. I think my worst years were later in my teens, but I still don’t know how my parents put up with me. :) But we made it through in the end, and I turned out (relatively) normal.

  48. Nelson's Mama

    This is my oldest daughter too – at 18 she’s just now walking out of the darkness and the human that I knew was inside is being to appear.

    Sadly, her 13 year old sister is just now in the throes of this…

    We hear you and feel your pain…

  49. Sandee


  50. carolyn

    There is light at the end of that particular tunnel, Mir. My 17.5 year old daughter virtually disappeared when she was 12 and some creature took her place. Said creature was mouthy and emotionally volatile and definitely NOT the child she had been a mere month before. And we suffered through it, and there was some screaming and much stomping around and slamming of doors. But thankfully, she has started to come back to us. First it was little glimmers ot the child she used to be. Now, she is probably 90% delightful and easy to be around. I agree with Dawn – this kind of behavior is preparation for them leaving us. If they were nice, we wouldn;t ever want them to grow up and move on.

  51. Nicole

    I’m so feeling this entry. I was mulling my own situation when I read this. My lil guy is having the TOUGHEST time at school. His sensory issues and hyperactivity really prevent him from making friends. His solution is to ‘entertain’ by being the class clown or worse, lash out aggressively. He’s lonely and sad and frustrated and lost and making me miserable. I, too, have gone to the school, met with the teacher, the counselor, the principal. I’ve tried rewards and punishments. I’ve been supportive and critical. I’ve ‘experimented’ with his meds both up and down. I keep praying for something to work. It doesn’t, or hasn’t…yet. I love him and make sure to tell him as regularly and sincerely as possible. But the stress is wearing me down. Your story put words to my thoughts (it is universal – teenage girl/ADHD, asperger 6 year old). Thanks.

  52. Jane

    I was just about in tears, remembering myself at that age – and how cruel I could be. Thinking ahead a few years to my Peaches, who will surely torment my house in the same manner. Then I saw it: “This sucks hairy donkey balls.”
    And I giggled. A lot. Thanks, and I am soooo sorry for the crabby Chickadee.

  53. mamaspeak

    ((hugs)) & maybe ((cocktails))

    I have nothing more to offer than what has already been said. You scare the bejesus out of me bc I have two girls. But I remember, just as you do, how hard it is to be that age. That’s part of why you cry, you understand, but you also know there is NOTHING in this world you can say or do to fix it. You just have to wait it out.

  54. Brigitte

    Now I’m wondering if this sounds like a letter your dad might have written. ;-)
    ((((HUGS)))), Mir.

  55. Karen

    Mir, it’s true that the moments you describe are typical on occasion with a tween/teen…my daughter is now 20 and we have very few of those moments, things have definitely improved over the years. I’de be concerned only if it’s more the norm than the occasional. This post gives me the impression that it is more than just occasional. Sometimes family counseling, so the preaching is not always coming from “MOM” or “DAD”, is really helpful. And it gives you reassurance of your own decisions.

    And…pardon the french, but… What the @$#%! is wrong with that school system… things Stolen, AGAIN??? and.. OH WELL???? I feel for you, and I understand the whole Home Schooling decision now. Jeez. I can honestly say of all the things I’ve worried about, this is not one of them, thankfully it seems to be in check in our school system. I hope.

  56. Amy-Go

    The best gift God gave Chickie was you. And someday she’ll know it.

    Meanwhile, we move June 14th…4th of july Mojitos on my new front porch? ;)

  57. Natascha

    I am new to parenting (my son is only starting to find the words to tell me to take a hike) but I was moved by your letter because I am starting to understand that soon I will stop being the “center” of his universe and his best buddy. I am hoping that the patience and understanding we have when they are drawing on the walls is still there when things get personal and, well, ugly. Bon courage!

  58. Sue @ Laundry for Six

    I will say it for her. Thank you. Thank for your being a mom who inspires me – to love my daughter even when her head is spinning 360 degrees – to keep after the school when it is very much IS their responsibility how kids treat each other when they are there – to fight the fight on her behalf – and to keep loving her and yet keep after her so that someday she will be a nice enough person to get married and move out. ;-)

    You’re doing a great job.

  59. Pepper

    did you talk to my mom? lol this letter sounds almost exaclty like the one she gave me the day I graduated from highschool, and I still have it 10 years later.

    first do not for one second think she doesn’t know how much you love her, secondly try and breath between the anger, and hostility — they get better, but it might take a LONG time to get there.

    My mom is and has been my best friend for a very long time, even growing up she was one of my best friends, and for this reason I think I projected my anger out on her like she was my friend and not my mother ( i sometimes still do this when I have had a really bad day), maybe this is what is happening between you two.

    I can say this though having a mother who stuck by me in times when I was really awful (there were more of those than good times when I was between the age of 13 – 17) and was able to forgive me made me learn what true love was, and one day your daughter will be able to look at you and say “thanks for not selling me to the rouge band of gypsies on ebay mom”.

    In due time I would print this letter out and let her read it, things like this put everything into perspective.

  60. Erin

    Keeping in mind that my kids are 4 and 2, and I know precisely NOTHING about raising a teen or a tween, I have to wonder what would happen if she saw you cry from frustration or hurt at her words. I remember saying something particularly cutting to my mom and when she cried in response, I utterly horrified.

    Obviously, you don’t want to manipulate her with your emotions, but at the same time, do you think letting her see that her words have an effect on you might help?

    Beyond that idle wondering, I have nothing to add other than that I am sending you a big hug and hopes that it gets better soonly.

  61. becky

    Oh boy. Do I ever remember those hormone-laced pre-teen & teen years with a girl. Awful. Horrible. Yet you get through it. And I do still love her. She’s turning into an amazing young adult. We can have actual conversations now. I know it’s tough and I so wish I’d had someone who understood when I was going through it. I wasn’t close to any other women w/teenage daughters. We came out the other side, and you will, too. Mostly intact. Big hugs & good thoughts to you.

  62. Kathy

    love this.

  63. Jennifer

    My Mom wrote me a letter like that when I was about your daughter’s age. I still have it, tucked in a photo album.

    Great words. Keep this and give it to her.

  64. Megs

    My daughter is 2.5 going on 13 and I am due with another little girl in 4 weeks…ahh the things to look forward to. I certainly know the hell I put my mother through, although some how we all made it out the other side and we are better off because of the grief, tears, screaming and probably other ugly things I blocked out…

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