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

    Oh Kristen! For the subject of this post, it is one of the most beautifully written posts I might have ever read. It has touched my heart so deeply. I firmly believe everything happens for a reason and I think there is a reason she is your daughter. You will be able to guide her through this life and give her whatever help she may need. She is in my prayers for a happy and wonderful life!

  2. says

    I’m sorry that you are going through this with your daughter and I’m sorry that you have to wait until May for the appointment. Whatever comes of the appointment I know that you and your family will go to the ends of the earth to help and support your precious little girl and I also know that you will find that you are doing nothing wrong and have done nothing wrong in the way that you are raising her.
    You are so right. There is no picture picture family. Everyone one of us has issues, big and small that we are dealing with. You were open and honest enough to share yours.
    I hope the professionals are able to provide you with answers to your questions and resources to help you all cope. Best wishes.

  3. says

    Oh Kristen! I am so sorry to hear this. My heart aches to know that you are going through this challenge with. It’s not always your parenting. I always find it amazing how a family with multiple kids can have them all be so very different. I think it’s great that you recognize that there is something that needs to be addressed. She is lucky to have a mother that cares & wants to help. How many kids out there have parents that don’t even know they need something more? Hug her tight, give her support, listen intently & May will be here before you know it.

  4. says

    I think your daughter is very lucky to have you as her mom. I know so many people who struggle in silence, and your willingness to seek out and find help to make things easier for her proves how much you love her.

    p.s. I love those bowls, and would like a chowder-filled one to appear on my desk right about now.

  5. says

    I don’t know you on person, but I’ve been following for a while your posts, and I enjoy reading them. I know you’re a great mom, and the best thing of good mom’s is that they don’t stand back but on the contrary, they will do whatever in their power to help their children, even when their children are adults like myself. So I know everything is going to work out fine, with the challenges the Lord give us, as he knows we can handle them, learn from them and will make us grow as person and as family. I’m sure love is the answer, and your family seems to be full of it, so don’t be afraid, write to us as we listen/read, and your husband and you, as acouple, trust and support in each other on this journey. Keep your minds open in adaptation mode, as we always have to be adapting on new things in our lives, and enjoy your newest family member, the dog you adopted. I have two schnauzers and whenever I feel sad or I fear about the future, they notice and they make me feel better. Pets fullfill a big part of my heart, and they are family members too, so support on him too and you’ll see everything is going to be just fine. My best wishes on the psychologist appointment, I’m sure they will have some answers, if not all.

  6. says

    So I have to share this – recently I read a great book that pretty much described my son (who is active and his emotions can also change on a dime – or so it seemed) so well – it’s called, Raising Your Spirited Child (by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka). It discusses that while still ‘normal’ some children just have a bit more (more energy, feeling, etc.) It also helps with strategy to help without breaking their spirit (because we admire the qualities of spirited adults, it can just be hard to deal with them in children!) The one point that resonated with me the most is the tantrums – my son can throw a tantrum for an hour – the author says that with some children it’s the emotions that they can’t control and ignoring them doesn’t help (and sure didn’t for us. And these tantrums can be caused by cutting the sandwich in half wrong, or the way I open a banana.)

    Seriously reading that book was like a revelation about my son to me and I highly suggest reading it! I checked one out from my local library and then bought it because I needed it as a reference book!

    And you’re right, parenting is hard!

  7. midwestmom3 says

    Our middle daughter’s story sounds a lot like yours. She is thirteen now and we also made the decision to look for help. She was eight at the time. She never ever acts out at school. Not many friends and only a few family members have seen her in the throes of her emotions. I wouldn’t change her for the world, but some days I would love to change my response to her. I fail her often, but am blessed to know that God has been merciful enough to me for my daughter to have a forgiving heart. We always try to begin again. My goal is to teach her to focus her energy and emotions into a positive and successful life. I am sure it will be wonderful. Just not sure what it will look like. We will hold you in our thoughts and prayers for your journey.

  8. says

    Hi there. Food on Friday: Corn on Carole’s Chatter is now open for entries. This looks like a good one! I do hope you link it in. This is the link . Please do pop back to check out some of the other links. Have a great week.

  9. says

    Kristen, your story touched my heart. I am not a parent yet, but I feel like the issues you are facing with your daughter are so relatable and every family faces some kind of struggle. As you stated, there is no picture perfect. I don’t know what to say to reassure you that you are doing your best. Some days are just better than others, so hold on.

  10. says

    Thank you for being so open, honest and vulnerable in this post, Kristen. You are brave, inspirational and amazing. I know this post will help so many others who probably feel alone. I know for a fact of others dealing with practically identical issues. You are definitely not alone my friend. xoxo

  11. says

    Oh Kristen, my heart hurts for you because I know how awful it feels to be worried about your little one. It’s a helpless feeling… what have we done… or what could we have done better… or why is this happening at home but not at school? It’s such a tough job raising our kids and trying to make sure they turn out to be the best kids possible. I think you did the right thing by reaching out for help (May?!) Thanks for trusting your readers to support you and give you advice. Much love and patience while you work through it. ALL of your kids are amazing, and you are an equally amazing mother.

  12. says

    First of all, i doubt you did anything wrong! Parenting is a strange job to be fair. One day you can be the star and the next day your kid wants to kill you (actually been said) Our house today is not much fun after a major meltdown last night but it’ll turn nice again when my daughter will come home from school having forgotten about the whole fiasco. My problem is that I store the ugly times to long in my brain but kids can wipe them away in a second. Trying not to make this sound patronizing, some kids do need some extra help and that’s okay but I always cling to the fact that secretly they do know where the solid foundations are which are the mom and dad. Hang in there :)

  13. Missy says

    Like you, I have a “difficult” child. She’s now 13 and we’ve been struggling since she was 18 months old. Like you, I don’t feel like I parent her “right.” I think the most important thing is to just keep trying. Keep studying to find the things that DO work and just…keep trying. And hope to God they grow into their BIG personalities. If you ever want to talk, give me a call or e-mail :)


  14. says

    Hi Kristen, You have touched my heart today. I hope you find some answers and am so sorry you have to wait until May! Waiting is can be so hard. I wish I had some words of wisdom to send your way but I don’t. I can send you lots of good thoughts and prayers. to you and your family.

  15. says

    Thanks for sharing with us Kristen. My son was also very emotionally charged since birth (he had colic) and never seemed to grow out of it until about age 5-6 years old. He also didn’t show any signs at school (which made us really think we were going nuts!). Now, he’s pretty calm most days and we’ve given him strategies on how to deal with his emotions and outbursts. I would cry everyday wondering what we did wrong. In the end,, you realize it’s not your fault, and you just have to learn ways in which to cope. Eventually, our kids will have the skills and coping mechanisms to deal with it appropriately. At least that what I keep telling myself! 😉


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