The Playful Parents

Love at Play

Notes on Disobedience & Defiance



Time does fly.
When I watch my children or listen to them speak, I sometimes marvel at the sort of grown-up things they do.
But more often than not, I seem to get more exasperated by what seems to be their constant fights.

Di Di provoking the older one by sticking his butt, literally and figuratively, into whatever his brother is doing.
Then the Kor Kor , in spite of being older at 5.4 yo, retaliates instead of showing restraint. Thereafter, the entire household seems to descend into chaos.
The latter, I admit, is purely my fault since I am the only (expected) mature adult and yet, my response to all the tears and screams and whines are anything BUT mature.

I sent my boys to bed in tears last night but not before I gave the eldest a horrible tongue-lashing.

His face crumbling in tears, but more so, I think his heart crumbled. Then, I was really too mad to care about his little heart. I thought or rather felt, my hurt feelings and frustrations were valid and in need of ‘sulking’ healing time.

I was, and still am, fed up of his whines and feet-stomping and flopping-like-a-dying-fish. I was, and still am, mad that he keeps choosing to show the WORST side of himself in public- hitting me, pulling my bag down and causing me to fall backwards and so on.

And his trying to blame-shift? Completely makes me explode.

Other than having my own self-control blow up in my face, I just feel this gloom and doom that we have just ruined the sweet toddler somehow and now he is just quite an impossible 5-going-on-15.

Doesn’t help that I get comments from folks like my own unmarried brother thinks we are not doing enough to discipline him. And it IS frustrating and discouraging and did I mention, plain exhausting?

To realize my own inadequacies ( I am really one of the last persons you would have expected to be mom, let alone a SAHM. Patience and gentleness tips the list of my weaknesses.) while having to grapple with the enormity of my parenting tasks overwhelms.

So I woke up early this morning at 5.30, feeling frustrated, clueless and perplexed.

I need to reframe the situation so that it will not be merely MUMMY vs BAD KID.

I so badly desire to raise wise and mature boys able to regulate their own behaviors and evaluate their own choices.

And surely, screaming and feeling so angry with my own children is just not healthy in the long term. Neither is my feeling like a Mom-failure.

So I mustered up the courage to confront my own weakness and confess my own crimes to God. And I need to ask forgiveness of my boys later for hurting them with my words and actions.

I went to dig up readings about how to deal with wrong behaviors posted by a dear mom friend last year. Ginger Plowman has quite a compact and handy guide to common childhood misbehaviors.

And as I was digging these up, I chanced upon a set of colorful lunch note templates.

So I decided that perhaps I could use my words to restore, reassure and affirm my children by writing little love notes for them.

It was so hard for me to get the first love note started for my firstborn. That was probably because I was still focused on how he hurt me. But then as I tried my darnest to recall his sweet and wonderful moments, the words flowed. I could see his strengths again.

But don’t misunderstand me, his younger brother is definitely not a more well-behaved child. Di Di actually provokes a lot more fights and quarrels at home. He doesn’t, however, whine as much… And whining really gets to me A LOT FASTER! I know it seems
really unfair. I will be working on this issue too.

Anyhow, I think I will spend some more time writing up love notes to each of my children. I hope to give them a little
Note each day or so. Or perhaps when my mood is the blackest or when I am
maddest, I can use them to tell them that I still love them even when my mouth refuses to say those words.


  1. Oh my. I totally feel you and understand because it’s the same in my household.

    I guess I should get started on writing the love notes.

    • Do try writing the love notes! I find that it is so helpful in helping me gain perspective on my children’s characters. They are afterall such young beings, that they do need time to learn how to do what’s right. And I’m reminded that I really ought to relax a whole load more, and to give them more grace and loving support as they struggle to grow.

  2. Wow thank you for sharing this. It’s a great learning experience for me, especially when I have a really short fuse too. It’s definitely difficult to apologise to one’s kids, even though my son is too young probably to understand an apology, I think I have to learn from you, and apologise to him after I lash out at him for testing my patience. All the best with your boys.

    • Hi Adeline! It is very difficult for me to apologise especially if he acts up again just as I am about to apologise. But I am learning.

  3. Thanks for your authenticity, Sarah! Will share this with my mums group. :) I struggle in the same way!

    • Hey Jessie! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, do share it. And together we will be making progress – imperfect progress, but progress nonetheless!

  4. This is SO me right now! I know they are generally a good lot, but I’ve been feeling so maxed out recently my patience is really thin, and I feel exasperated all the time. I feel really bad for them that they have a mother who must be such an UN-fun and grouchy person to be around! I’ve also been thinking of lunch notes and think I should start doing them ASAP :)

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