Parenting is Hard {Recipe: Creamy Chicken & Corn Chowder}

Creamy Chicken and Corn Chowder from

I leaned over her bed, late at night, placing a gentle kiss on her cheek. As I did, one of my tears fell onto her face, falling down into her wild and curly hair.

I love this girl so, so much I feel my heart physically swelling at the sight of her, but I don’t get her and I don’t know how to get her.

She could easily be described as sweet and kind… but that sweet demeanor can turn on a dime. One moment happy, cuddly and cheerful… the next in a fit of emotion about something small, like the taste of her toothpaste. Even if it the culprit of the fit seems trivial, her pain over it is obvious. She feels so deeply, so loudly, every emotion she has. Whether happy or sad, she feels in extremes.

She’s the one who has challenged me for at least four of her six years now. She’s creative, kind, loving, hilarious, talented and more… but we are slowly understanding that she needs more help than what we can give her. Parenting is hard. And honestly, it’s not going as I imagined it would so many years ago when my husband and I shared dreams about our future family. Never in a million years would I have thought we’d have a child who not only tries so hard but despite that is well below the average benchmark in school. Throw in extreme emotional issues (although that doesn’t present itself at school, ever) and you’ve got a picture perfect family shattered by reality. There is no picture perfect…it doesn’t exist.

And I can’t help but look at myself and wonder… what did I do wrong? I feel as if I’ve failed her in some way… and that’s a horrible feeling.

At the prompt of a friend, I made an appointment for my daughter with a child psychologist. Plus, she’ll be getting additional help at school.

I need answers. I need to know how I can help her. I need to make sure this path she’s spiraling down changes directions. I need help as much as she does… I need to know how to parent a child who doesn’t fit the mold. I’m hopeful yet feel so very helpless. Our appointment is not until May… what do I do until then?

I had been meaning to write about chowder today. About how on a cold day like today, a bowl of this hearty and flavorful chowder can wrap you in temporary comfort. When my mind is wild and my thoughts are far from being able to wax poetically about a pot of chowder, I know I can at least find some comfort in knowing that things will get better. And a bowl of comfort is a great way to start.

A bowl of creamy chicken and corn chowder from Dine & Dish

Creamy Chicken & Corn Chowder
A hearty chowder of corn and chicken...a bowl full of comfort on a cold winter day.
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 5 bacon strips, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 cup cooked chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Basil (I use and recommend Gourmet Garden
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (I use and recommend Gourmet Garden
  1. In a large Dutch Oven, fry bacon over medium heat for 5 minutes. Next add bell pepper and onion. Cook until onion is translucent and the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add flour; cook and stir until smooth. Slowly stir in milk, Tabasco sauce and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; then cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add chicken, corn, seasonings and herbs. Stir until well incorporated and cook for 10 minutes or until heated through.


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  1. says

    While I can’t imagine how you feel right now, I know this much based on your words: you love your daughter. That is the best place to start – wherever the journey leads – the best place to start is with love.

    I’ll be praying for you and your beautiful girl hon!

  2. Terri says

    Kristen, I remember those types of feelings very clearly. While the behaviors we were dealing with were different than yours, I know how scary and confusing it all is. The waiting and not knowing is awful, but hopefully you will get some answers and even though the answers may bring a whole new set of questions, I hope you will find peace in having those answers. Prayer and faith were the main things that helped me during the waiting. My prayers are with your family. Above all, let yourself off the hook; you did nothing wrong and I know you have and will continue to do everything you can to help her. You are so brave to share this with all your readers!

  3. says

    Yes, parenting is hard and we’ve had our own struggles in trying to figure out what one of our kids needs. One has such an easy time of everything in school and the other needs extra help and understanding when working with him.
    I wish you luck in getting the answers you need and making a plan to help your daughter get through this rough time. You will all get there, and you are already working toward that. In the meantime, perhaps the school counselor can offer some guidance?

  4. says

    Kristen, so brave of you to share your parenting struggles like that. I know this is such a hard phase but sometimes your most challenging child is also your most rewarding. I sure hope things get easier soon, though.

  5. Kim Foster says

    Hey girl, just popped over from Facebook.

    I wanted to tell you how brave and beautiful this post is. It’s easy for all of us to post adorable, properly filtered pics of our kids and never discuss the real work of the family.

    You are doing that. And that’s why you’re girl is so lucky. Not because she has a mother who gets her completely, but because she has a mother who is willing to do anything to meet her daughter, right where she is.

    That is beautiful. I’ve said this before about your photos, but Im saying it again. Your family is beautiful.

    Will be thinking of you.

    Kim xoxo

  6. says

    Hugs! Parenting is hard but its good you are seeking help and thank you for being honest about it! All too many times moms think they need to hide stuff like this because we don’t view ourselves as perfect moms. Keep us posted on what you find out!

  7. says

    I have a wonderful six year old girl and we are struggling with some of the same issues. She has been seeing someone for a few months and it has really help. Stay strong!!! And I can’t wait to try the chowder.

  8. says

    I am not a parent, and probably should not voice my thoughts, but I am going too. I, agree with you parenting is hard – it is the one profession that I feel is over looked. I cannot imagine being a parent, though if I could, I would embrace the job with open arms. You are managing little people, who are just learning how to be “big” people. The only thing they really know how to do right is to love their parents, unconditionally. I can only imagine the frustration you feel, not being able to help her, but you have to know in your heart that despite the quirks and the ups and downs, you have a family and that is perfect! You just need to be there for her, hold her hand and guide her. The rest will eventually work out.

  9. says

    Kristen, your post brought tears to my eyes. I know what you are going through in some ways. Out of our five children, we had one child that needed so much more from us. He was a lot to handle and we weren’t used to his behavior since our other kids didn’t act that way. I felt responsible for his behavior and wondered what I did differently with him.

    Know that you aren’t alone. You’re a good parent and you’re doing all the right things. Making an appointment to see someone is a great step and we did the same. Know that it gets better. I speak from experience and know this to be true.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  10. says

    I have one of those children too… and now as a teen he is the brightest, most level headed, industrious, compassionate and understanding people you’d ever meet. Finding that therapist, doctor or whomever to help you understand her and the way she sees the world will make a world of difference. You will move past this and she will become everything you’ve ever hoped for her and more. And one day, when she is older and can grasp the amazing Mother she has in you… she will be so thankful. Know that anything she’s dealing with isn’t about anything you did wrong or could have done differently… she’s just herself… the key now is to learn to communicate in her language. You haven’t failed her at all… you are, have been and will continue to be her champion. I know it’s a challenge and some days you will wonder if you are up for it… but you are one of the strongest women I know and you can do this.

    I am so proud of you for bringing this out in the open and in a way speaking for all of us parents who face these kinds of challenges. I hope that you know that you have a lot of us standing quietly behind you, cheering you on.

    And… that soup looks amazing. Go for the comfort. Be kind to yourself through all of this. Take time for yourself, if you aren’t there for yourself now and then… you can’t fully be there for them.

    *hugs* <3

  11. says

    Parenting IS hard.

    Big hugs. You will figure this one out. I admire you for seeking out help & a different perspective, I think it will definitely help – and hopefully relieve some of that mom anxiety that’s hard to shake.

    Chowder? Looks awesome. Like seriously awesome.

  12. Judy says

    Awwwwww. My heart hurts for you all. I have one of those. I love her with every bit of my being but…
    We have had a behaviorist work with her and it did wonders for all of us. I can promise you that with age it does improve.
    Good luck, prayers and keep us posted! Just remember you didn’t do this. You’re an incredible Mom.

  13. says

    Looks so good, Kristen!

    I cannot imagine how hard this for you and your family. I know you’ll find the answer, it’s good you’re asking for help. Thinking about you!

  14. says

    Parenting is so hard, I often feel totally unprepared and and challenged especially with the teenagers. One of my boys has never fit in the box and it has been a struggle. You are an amazing, loving and caring parent, and that will get you and your family through until you are able to get a little more understanding. Praying for your family and wishing you all the best.

  15. says

    Thank you for sharing with us, I’m so sorry your family is dealing with this. I hope you’ll get some answers soon for your sweet little girl. We’re all here for you! Sending a virtual hug. :)


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