A Holy Parenting Pinnacle.

by Lori Dwyer on April 9, 2013 · 30 comments

My children grow older in great jumping stretches, strides of development and intellect that take me by shocked and awe-struck surprise. They learn things while I’m not looking, not watching, not quite paying attention; some days they seem to eat the world whole and regurgitate it, piecemeal and filtered down to it’s most keenly observed and amusingly purified status.

They make decisions. They form their own likes and dislikes, opinions and quirks. Desires and preferences and aches and soft spots. They become little people, a formation of their own selves. Without ever needing my- nor anyone else’s- permission.

My son leaves for school each day buoyant, blessed, the sunshine of scabbed knees and school awards all over his happy smile and lightly freckled nose. He adores Big School and he’s well behaved and popular, smart and polite.

I’m so proud of him I could pop, burst apart at the seams with a sunshine of my own. I worry so much for him it aches at my heart. He rarely mentions his father, hardy ever; and when he does its with the sunny side-up– spotting a star and saying goodnight, sharing a wistful  memory of ‘when we lived in the Purple House‘ with me (some days, it seems he keeps more memories from there than I do, and I don’t know if that’s happy or sad, awful or heartening).


My daughter is now older than my son was when his father died. Sometimes I look at other children, younger children, unsteady on their feet and still with a baby-fluff of hair on their heads and I think to myself, in a tone that carries a desperate guttural sort of sobbing sadness- she was so little. She was so young- just a baby, really. And again, I don’t know if that’s good or bad, a happy occurrence or a sad one.

I still keep tabs and measurements on my kids- maybe I always will. I track growths and accomplishments- toilet training, learning to count, my son writing his name, whole nights of (blessed) unbroken sleep, wobbly teeth and birthday parties. I pay extra attention to them, record and file them in the recesses of my mind. Accomplishments made. Things done. Less out of a fear of forgetting all of them, with no one to remind me; more because these are things I have witnessed, alone. My children’s accomplishments are mine as well.

My children have been mine now for much longer than they were ever Tony’s. The majority of their growing, their formative years- that’s been done by me. And I look at them sometimes, myheart beating with a pride I never thought possible, because I’ve never felt it before; my head rings with ‘mine, mine, mine’. Because I have done this. I’ve created two beautiful, smart, funny, caring and empathetic people. As a solo unit. And the three of us, we are a team.

Conversing with The Most Amazing Man In The Universe just a few days ago, we happened to touch on the subject of (in my own ill-thought-out wording, with no criticism from either of us, as negative as the phrase may sound) mothers ‘like me’. Mothers- single mums and partnered mums- who seem to struggle just that little bit. Mothers who allow washing to pile up, who feed their kids hot chips for dinner. Whose houses are always slightly chaotic, with pets and toys and half-done projects interrupting the flow of organisation. Mums that are hopeless at cooking and planning weekend outings, and let their kids watch too much TV.

The mothers that seem unable to contain the chaos of small children. The ones who wouldn’t know a housework roster if it bit them on the butt while they were vacuuming around and not under the lounge (again).

The chaotic, disorganised parent whose children turn out all kinds of awesome anyway- polite and pleasurable, earnest and enlightening company. Flowers of unmitigated perfection, grown of a garden unkempt and tended with the very best of intentions.


I’m that mum who’s always running just that little bit late, the one who forgets permission notes and homework (but hasn’t missed a library day yet). This morning, I’m attending a (godforsaken) school assembly, to watch my little man receive a special award. I’m feeling all the satisfaction that comes from years of bitching hard work and rampant parental insecurity finally manifest itself into one of those allusive “I’m doing OK at this parenting thing” moments.

It’s like some kind of holy parenting pinnacle. A rest stop on a long road that’s not marked with signs and where I have no GPS. An un-navigated journey I began naively that sometimes seems endless and I’m always worried about running out of fuel before I can stop and replenish again, getting lost and finding no one to ask for directions. 

This pit-stop feels like a victory. One that belongs to me and my kids. It’s ours, and ours alone.

I did this, raised these gorgeous little people.

And I did it all by myself.


Updated: The award itself turned out to be specifically for the Chop’s “caring and responsible personality”.

For today, I will answer tosuper-mum’ and ‘best mum ever’. In my own mind, at the very least.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea G. April 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I’m that mum who’s always running just that little bit late, the one who forgets permission notes and homework . . I’m feeling all the satisfaction that comes from years of bitching hard work and rampant parental insecurity finally manifest itself into one of those allusive “I’m doing OK at this parenting thing” moments.

Mothers who allow washing to pile up, who feed their kids hot chips for dinner. Whose houses are always slightly chaotic, with pets and toys and half-done projects interrupting the flow of organisation. Mums that are hopeless at cooking and planning weekend outings, and let their kids watch too much TV.

Lori – I am a Texan/American and you live in Australia and that paragraph alone makes us the same person living in 2 different places. Keep up the faith and the very good work.


Danielle April 11, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Go Chop! He sounds like an amazing kid, they both do. You have done a great job. Don’t forget that xx


Miss Cinders April 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm

This post makes my heart sing :)

Congrats Chop for getting one majorly awesome award! And you Mumma for raising such an awesome little person!

MC x


Trish April 10, 2013 at 8:40 am

I hope the good times and great feelings keep rolling for you Lori. You write so well and you don’t judge other parents who are doing their best to raise their kids into gorgeous people too. Well done to Chops.


Marianne April 10, 2013 at 6:41 am

Cannot believe the audacity of your anon troll, Lori. Huge difference between parenting and being a part of someone’s support group…no matter how helpful the support group is. Geez!

That being said…the feeling of “wow. I must be doing something right.” is indeed one of the most awesome feelings in the world. I only wish that I didn’t have AS MANY moments of “Oh my God! I am completely screwing this up! Why did I ever think I could DO this?” (I have a teenager)
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FunMumX3 April 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm

You’re supposed to vacuum UNDER the lounge? For reals? WTF? When all else fails, lower your standards, I say. Love you.


Denyse April 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Congratulations Mr Chop – that is such a great reason for a Merit Award! Go you.

Lori you know you can be proud & you are proud of your kids. Done good, mama done good xxx


Miss Pink April 9, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Hold your head high, you’re doing this, raising those kids brilliantly.
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Salz April 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm

It’s a great feeling isn’t it. I get whiffs of it too every now and then. And then on days like last night when I quit parenting it sux. But then something like a parent teacher interview where the teacher says “i wish to clone your daughter and make millions just like her” makes me cry happily.


Anon E Mouse April 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Lori –
In my book, you get full and absolute credit. I remember when they were sick, and you had to drag your sleepless self around to tend to their fevered little bodies, nobody else did it. And surely, the biggest load you bear, in parenting them, is an emotional one, not just a physical one….knowing that you alone are wholly responsible for them, until they are independent adults. That alone, deserves recognition and credit, and for that I stand in admiration of what you do for them.

My single little contribution to their path through early life, is a most wonderful website, that I hope you take the time to visit, if you don’t know it already.
Start at the free site, it has so much. Listen to the stories of Boowa and Kwala. Marvel at the animations. Let them sing the songs, and do the activities. They’ll absolutely love it, I know.

Good on you, for doing all you do for them, you gutsy girl.


Carol April 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm

There is this saying, I’m sure you’re aware of it… “Life happens while you weren’t watching”. Or words to that effect. Theses little peeps of yours are growing up, like the garden in “The Secret Garden”. A lot of it happens by osmosis, you blink andd they’ve taken in a whole heap of stuff. You are giving them their wings and they are learning to fly. <3


Mel G April 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Go Lori! You deserve to feel proud of yourself, raising little people is a tough job at the best of times, without factoring in the complete turnaround your life took after having them. You, like all of us, do the best you can with what you have and you’ve earned the right to feel proud of your accomplishment.

Enjoy it while you can, puberty is up next…. ;)


Jen April 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Take pride in what you’re doing and know that you’re doing an amazing job. And is there any parent in the world who is really the so called perfect parent? I don’t think so.


Tegan April 9, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Asking for help doesn’t mean you aren’t doing it alone. It means that you recognise when things are getting a little bit too much on the chaotic side. Through that, you are teaching your kids that it’s ok to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. All of the people who are in your and your kids lives, they all contribute in their own ways but none of them are your kids parent. You have the main influence at the end of the day and I think you’re doing alright. xx
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Angela East April 9, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Those moments are the best. The ones where you can just feel good about what you’re doing. They don’t come around often. So when they do, just take it, feel good about it and screw anyone else who thinks otherwise!
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Anonymous April 9, 2013 at 12:43 pm

This is a bit of a kick in the teeth to your mother and the others who have supported you along the way. Sole parent, yes. Doing it all by yourself? Hardly.


Lori Dwyer April 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Oh get f*cked, Anon. I get chewed out for taking time out. I get chewed out for taking credit. How about you bite me?
Seriously… if you can’t say anything nice, please, f*ck off and go back to your own life.
Lori Dwyer recently posted…A Holy Parenting Pinnacle.My Profile


Name April 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Couldn’t have said it better myself! Part time support and emotional scaffolding doesn’t take away from the sense of having achieved something all by yourself. Fuck off indeed


neebdellort April 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Totally agree with anonymous. The amount of times you have run away from your children is ridiculous. your mother is a big contributor to the way your children have turned out and tony played a big part in starting their lives off teaching and nurturing them. You’ve even admitted on your blog you can’t handle your children. Yes you’ve had a tough time but you should have embraced your children, tony is a part of them, you made them with him. Instead of running from them you should have embraced them and their love. Your mental state may have improved but now you’ve found a new reason to run away from them – your new boyfriend. Do you kick them out of the house when he comes over? Your children should be your life, not a burden which is how you treat them. Snap out of your self pitying and selfishness and embrace motherhood and their love before you psychologically damage your children more that what you already have.


Name April 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm

You’re awful.shush.

boodie April 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm

You really are a nasty piece of work, so from this I’m guessing that your children are perfect, have never annoyed or upset you in way, and that you float through life on The rainbow unicorn farting glitter sprinkles and clouds of perfume wherever you go.
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Belinda April 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm

neebdellort (been trolled – very good dickhead!), you are just as vulgar and cowardly as Anonymous. I think you two are the psychologically damaged ones, standing on your soapboxes and judging Lori for trying to be the best mum she can and admitting she doesn’t always get it right. You two must be soooo perfect, why not write us a blog about your perfect, flawless lives?

Sapphyre April 9, 2013 at 1:07 pm

The tone of this response is unpleasant.

Yes, people have helped Lori, including her mother. But they don’t live with Lori. They help out occasionally. Lori is the pilot of the ship of her family… which only has 3 members.

Lori means she did it without a partner, or having a friend or relative move in; she does not mean she did it all by herself. In my world, asking for help is a sign of strength, not a lack of independence.


Queensland Girl April 9, 2013 at 1:55 pm

It is rare for any parents, single or otherwise to do everything by themselves. But people often say a couple have raised a great kid. No one questions that. Lori clearly loves her children fiercely and is doing the best she can with what life has dealt her. At the end of the day Lori is the one putting the kids to bed at night, getting them ready in the morning, wiping bums and noses, yes others help, but these children are a product of HER parenting. Lori, being proud of the job you have done and the people your children are becoming is natural and feeling that you are doing a good job just shows that you are giving it your all. Of course you need help at times, who doesn’t?


Marie April 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Oh look at you, clever little bully hiding behind Anonymous. Why don’t you log in? Show your name and email address? Nah, you won’t because you’re a pitiful little person who probably goes from blog to blog leaving nasty snide little comments because you don’t have anything positive in your life, like friends or family. What a sad little monkey you are.*

*even though I’ve used the word little several times, I am quite certain you are obese, munching on a box of Krispy Kremes on your lunchbreak while visiting as many blogs as you can to leave your trollish comments.


Marie April 10, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Yep. Defend the bully. Good for you Stinkbomb. You must be so proud.


Kira April 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Really Rach? Instead of defending Lori you quibble over the way someone does defend her? I thought Marie’s comment was hysterical. Anonymous chose to leave a cowardly comment and got owned. Stop being so precious, I’m a big girl myself and I’m not offended. Ugh.


Lori Dwyer April 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

OK lovelies- let’s all take a breath and chill. Peace and love and that good stuff ;) x
Lori Dwyer recently posted…A Holy Parenting Pinnacle.My Profile


Lori Dwyer April 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

Some comments from this part of the thread have been removed at the commenter’s request.

Everybody. Chill. Anon is definitely not worth arguing over.
Lori Dwyer recently posted…A Holy Parenting Pinnacle.My Profile


Whoa, Molly! April 9, 2013 at 11:49 am

I hope my mum, who raised me on her own, is proud of herself like you are and proud of me too.

You did it, you are doing it and you will do it. Be proud that you are shaping such awesome little people.


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