Dragon Mothers and Parenting Mistakes

In my last post, The Trouble With Being a Perfectionist, I wrote:

Oh my, you should see my file of ‘failed’ podcasts. Yesterday, I added another one to the pile. “How did your podcast go, Mum?” my daughter Imogen asked me, and I replied, “It wasn’t quite right. It didn’t flow.” And with a sigh, I added, “I’ll have to record it again.”

Well, today, I had another go. I recorded a new version of episode 118 (on a different topic). Is it better than the first one? Is it a perfect podcast?  Probably not, but I hope you enjoy it anyway!

This week, I’m talking about the times when we don’t like who we are and the way we’re parenting our kids. I answer the following questions:

  • How did I get the nickname The Dragon Mother?
  • How did I get on top of my quick-temper and become a more calm and patient mother?
  • Am I now a perfect mother or do I still make mistakes?
  • How did my first child cope with her inexperienced dragon mother? Was she irreversibly affected by my far-from-perfect parenting?
  • Do we actually need to be perfect parents?
  • Is the unschooling life perfect?

I also tell a lot of stories.

Episode 118 begins in this way:

Today’s episode was inspired by a recent comment on my blog. Somebody stopped by and remarked on how I appear to be a calm and patient mother. And I was thinking about how, years ago, I could never have imagined that anybody would describe me ‘in that way. No, I was a real dragon mother. (You might have heard some of my dragon mother stories.) So to be associated with the words calm and patient seems like rather a miracle.

Not that I’m perfect because what I also want to talk about today is those times when life gets very overwhelming and we don’t react in a way that we would like. Yes, sometimes we just ‘lose it’. And even though I’m a lot better than I used to be, there are times when I do have wobbly moments, when I go backwards, when I say and do things that I regret later. I say to myself, “How could I have said that? How could I have done that?”

Sometimes we aren’t always the people we would like to be. We wonder if we’re going to scar our kids for life, if they are going to have horrible memories of their childhoods and the way we parented them.

If you can relate to any of this, I hope to encourage you to keep on going. Of course, I’m going to tie it all into unschooling.

Show Notes

Blog posts

Confessions of a Former Quick-Tempered Mother

Memories of an Inexperienced Mother

An Unschooling Imposter


Youtube channel, Imogen Elvis.

Facebook: Imogen Elvis

Instagram: Imogen Elvis

Imogen’s Mad World music video

The Mad World behind-the-scenes video

Podcast music

Twombly by Podington Bear(CC BY-NC 3.0)


Thank you for listening. If you enjoy my podcast, please consider writing a review or rating this episode on Apple Podcasts. Or maybe you could share this post link so we can spread the word about unschooling!

Please feel welcome to leave a comment on today’s episode. Or just stop by to say hello!

Image: I took this photo of Sophie, Gemma-Rose and Imogen during the filming of the Mad World music video.

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  1. Reply

    I think this is my favorite so far! Because, many times, it’s as if you’re describing ME 🙂 I also use to have a temper as short as a temper could possibly be, and everyone around me knew it. Especially my children. For me, it was the love, mercy and grace of God that caused all this to change. Once I realized how merciful He has been to me, I began to realize that’s how I am suppose to be as well. I can’t look back at any one specific moment that everything changed. I think it changed gradually, in fact. Little pieces at a time. Looking back, the chasm between me and who I used to be seems massive. Which only proves the power of little steps! There is no truer statement than the one that says, the journey of a thousand miles begins by one step. Funny that that’s how our children learn as well.

    Thank you for sharing! I know this post will fall into the place where it needs to be heard, because it’s a real, true story! God bless you!

    1. Reply


      The power of little steps… I used to get discouraged because I didn’t seem to change very quickly. I wanted to become patient and calm overnight!

      “Funny that that’s how our children learn as well.” Perhaps we forget this at times. We try to push our kids long at our pace rather than theirs. Yes, they (like us) will get there in the end.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my podcast. Thank you for listening. God bless you too!

  2. Reply

    Great podcast Sue! Loved how you were so open about your shortcomings…funny too! I can see how this was a difficult topic to podcast about and have the podcast turn out with the feel that you had imagined. But I am so glad you completed the podcast.

    1. Reply


      I omitted to say that when I recorded episode 118 for the second time, I changed the topic. I was going to talk about trust. Maybe I’ll try and say something about that another time.

      Thank you for listening and for your kind feedback!

  3. Reply

    I wish I had been a calmer mom 21 years ago. I think I was unsure of myself, although I had worked in a daycare and preschool for 3 years. I took it personally when my colicky baby cried all the time. I assumed it must be all my fault. Guilt is such a life-draining emotion. My eldest and youngest are 12 years apart, and I really changed a lot during that time. I know that I did my best with all of my children, but my younger kids definitely got a better “best.”

    1. Reply


      It sounds like you were more prepared than me for motherhood, but maybe looking after someone else’s children is totally different to parenting our own?

      I know that I did my best with all of my children, but my younger kids definitely got a better “best.”

      That is such a good point. I sometimes think about the position of each child in the family. Sometimes we think someone else has it better than us because they are younger or older… I wonder if the position we occupy is the perfect one for us. There must be pros and cons of each place. Perhaps we all learn different things. Yes, our eldest children got the inexperienced parents, but I wonder if they gained something else. Perhaps we’ll bond extra closely with our eldest children when they become parents and face the same challenges as us with their first born children.

      Thank you for listening to my podcast and taking the time to comment!

    • Erica
    • January 31, 2018

    This podcast blended so nicely with what I read in my morning devotional about not trying to be the perfect mother because only God is perfect, and, really, if we think we could be enough for our children on our own, then we are trusting in our own strength and not God’s.

    Glad to hear you are still working on your book, because you are a gifted story teller.

    1. Reply


      Oh yes, I agree: We can indeed be tempted to trust in our own strength rather than God’s. I’ve been thinking about how trusting is such hard work at times. It can seem easier to take control and do things our own way rather than trusting. But what a relief it is when we finally let go and allow God to take charge!

      I’ve been struggling with my book’s structure. The other day, after trying other approaches, I decided to make it a book of stories. Maybe turn the best of my blog and podcast stories into a book (with lots of editing and a few additions to fill the gaps). I don’t know if readers will be disappointed but story telling is the type of writing that I feel most comfortable doing. Your kind words are encouraging. Thank you!

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