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How to Make Your Children Completely Miserable: 7 Easy Steps

How to Make Your Children Miserable in 7 Fabulously Easy and Enjoyable Steps.

I mean really, who doesn’t want to make their children completely miserable? Follow these simple guidelines and you too will be in the running for Worst Mom Ever

How to make your children completely miserable.

Step 1: Pick a Sunny Day

The kind of warm sunny day that was made for lemonade stands and long, leisurely bike rides to the corner store for Big Red and Fun Dip.  The kind of day that makes you nostalgic for the ’80s when kids could play outside without having their neighbors call the police for child neglect. Yeah, pick a day like that. 

How to make you children completely miserable.
How to make your children completely miserable.
How to make your children completely miserable.

Step 2: Tell your children you are going to take them to the river to swim and play with friends (this helps build anticipation)

Make sure they pack their swimsuits*, water bottles, sandals and towels. Once you arrive, let them frolic in the water, washing all of their worries (and sunscreen) away. 

*If you are looking for modest, full-coverage swimsuits check out these sewn by a local mom. Avi and Jubilee’s suits came from Land’s End on clearance. $10 apiece!  

How to make your children completely miserable.

Step 3: Feed your children before you leave

Whatever you do, don’t skip this step. If you do, you will have to pack snacks for your kids. Instead, feed them a good lunch so you don’t need to pack a snack. That’s called being efficient. This is important because it will give them something to whine about later. 


Step 4: Spend hours outdoors in God’s beautiful creation

Let the kids swim and play, frolic and tube down the lazy river.

With friends.

How to make your children completely miserable.
How to make your children completely miserable.
How to make your children completely miserable.

Step 5: Supply plenty of cute toddlers and babies*

Because life is just better with adorable babies, don’t you think?

* As I edited these photos I realized I photographed the births of FIVE of the kids at the river with us. How fun is that?

Wyatt, Lydia, Mary, Abigail and Odin.

Step 6: Let your kids throw endless sticks and rocks into the river. It’s hard to find a more wholesome, timeless source of fun than that.


Step 7: Bring them home and serve them a hot, delicious, homemade dinner

No take-out, fast or processed food for your kids! Plan ahead by putting drumsticks in the crockpot. When you arrive home, grill these to make them crispy, roast red potatoes and supply a huge salad full of fresh veggies. Eat together as a family and tell dad about all the fun you had that day.

Step 8: For Moms Only

Spend the rest of the evening hearing about how “You never take us anywhere fun. Only dad takes us fun places. Why don’t you ever take us anywhere?” 

Because spending 20 hours a day together is never enough

*** Warning: this perfect afternoon at the river only made one of my children completely miserable. The rest seemed to enjoy themselves, likely making the kind of memories that happy childhoods are made of. Attempt this at your own risk.***


  1. thissquirrelsnest

    I made my son miserable today when I took his shoes away from him at Target. He was taking them off and throwing them. Possibly at me. Or possibly at the person he hit (who was scolding her own kids, no dout ma king them miserable too) Either way, he was pretty miserable about being confined to the shopping cart and denied his throwing activity. Given that we’d dropped by Target to get fish food because he’d dumped the whole container on the floor yesterday evening my patience wasn’t spectacular.

    I made his sister miserable by refusing to buy her the exact shirt we’d ordered and was arriving in the mail today.

    • Renee

      What?! You wouldn’t let him throw his shoes at people throughout the store?! The shirt thing is hilarious. Totally Apollo.

  2. Melpub

    I figure their sense of security with us is what allows outrageous behavior . . . on the other hand, when they are appreciative, it’s wonderful. Many Christmasses ago, our then three-year-old had begged for months for a Thomas Train roundhouse. Daily. Hourly. Obsessively. Finally I broke down and ordered it. The dang thing was REALLY expensive and I dreaded him losing interest in two minutes.
    When he opened the package, his face was beatific with joy. And what did he say? Not “Thanks.” He said, over and over, “I did it! I did it! I did it! I did . . . .!!!”
    He did play with that thing for years.

    • Renee

      Yes, one is better than all…thankfully I have this blog so I can write about it instead of stewing. I’m glad you enjoyed my photos.

  3. Life Breath Present

    Haha! Even though we only have two so far and one of them is only 9 months old, I’m constantly making Monkey Boy miserable. Why today, after telling him we were going to the post office and then to get water *before* the park, he had a real fit when we drove by the park on the way to get water! Then, when I asked what the issue was (while holding back laughter, mind you), he told me that he didn’t want to go to the park and he didn’t want water. I responded by letting him know that we would go to the park *after* water. To which he replied, “No, I don’t want to behave in the store.” Oh well :shrugs: P.S. We, of course, went to the park anyway and he, of course, behaved in the store. 🙂

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