Category Archives: Parenting

Throwback Thursday: Mom Fail

Last week I volunteered in my son’s class for the first time this year. I had signed up to lead the class for the afternoon during a teacher planning day, and I was really excited to get in there. That is a lie. I was terrified. You guys, Owen is in third grade. Third graders are so scary. I mean, Kindergarteners? They look at you like you’re a magical fairy and they are just so happy to be at school and you basically just play with them. But third graders? I kept envisioning a total uprising and the teacher returning to find me duct taped to a chair. I actually asked my son to pray for me the night before because I was so nervous.

Annnnyway, the day ended up going so well that I don’t even have any funny stories to tell. Somehow that third grade class is full of little angels, God bless them every one.

As I drove away from school that day, I couldn’t help remembering another time I helped at school. It went a bit differently. I mean, it ended with me straight lying to the teacher, if that tells you anything. Let’s relive it together, shall we?

Originally published November 6, 2014.

Need a self-esteem boost? Allow me to help. I have lots of mom fails. But this time? I lied to my kid’s teacher. And you won’t believe why. (I still can’t.)

Looking for some mom humor? How about a self-esteem boost? Always here to help you feel better about your parenting skillz with a dose of funny and a dollop of fail. This time? YOU GUYS. I lied to my kid's teacher. And you won't believe why. (I still can't.)Every other week or so, I go to Owen’s school to volunteer. Covering lunch duty is one way I help, and my first time ended in certainly one of my most shameful mom fails ever.

But let me start at the beginning.

Mrs. H. arrives at the lunchroom with the class of first graders, and I don’t take even a moment to ask for instructions. I quickly shoo her away to go enjoy her lunch in well-deserved peace.

And guess what I find out?

I AM AWESOME AT LUNCH DUTY. That’s what.

The entire 25 minutes is basically one part “shh,” one part “face forward please,” and approximately seventy-three parts “yes I will open your ketchup/mayo/gogurt/yogurt/pudding.”

The truly impressive part (besides how Heinz seals up ketchup packets like Fort Knox) is how well this school has trained the kids and their “lunchtime voices.” Every few minutes, quiet instrumental music plays. And when the music plays, the talking STOPS.

It’s magic, I tell you.

But when the music is NOT playing, the kids talk in crazy screeching excitable quiet voices. At one point, I’m wrestling a pudding cup when the rumble of a million little voices becomes a theatrical  chorus, hushed but rising in unison: “Baaaaa sowenyaaaa…!”

Um, cue Twilight Zone. I look up from the damn pudding, in utter confusion. What is happening!?

Oh wait. I notice a familiar instrumental score amid the Impromptu Cafeteria Vocal Choir. It’s the Lion King song.

Of course it is.

I regain my composure just as Owen’s teacher returns to pick up the class. Since I’ve been utterly winging it skillfully improvising for the past 25 minutes, I decide to quickly clarify a couple class policies.

It goes like this (me, with big, reassuring smile): “Hi! The kids did great. Quick question – what’s the bathroom policy during lunch?”

Mrs. H’s face says, “The policy is no.” Her words say (with a knowing grin), “How many asked to go?”

Me: “Um. 6.” (quickly waving it off, no big deal) “But only one at a time, of course.”

BUT THAT IS A LIE. THERE WERE 8.

Maybe 9.

And I have NO IDEA if they went together or one at a time and honestly I don’t even know if they all came back because KETCHUP PACKETS, PEOPLE.

(They did.)

(BUT I LIED.)

(Hi, Mrs. H!)

So, not only am I decidedly NOT awesome at lunch duty, I am also not super awesome at. um. TELLING THE TRUTH.

When you can’t find Jesus.

"What if I can't find Jesus, mama?" The answer that came was for both of us. Maybe it's for you, too.“Mama, what happens when we die?”

She snuggled in close, 6-year-old daughter of mine, worried sick that night about tornadoes and the world and big scary things.

“We go to heaven to be with Jesus, baby.”

Her head cradled in the crook of my arm, eyes turned up toward me, wide and worried, “But what if I die and you don’t? What if I can’t find Jesus, Mama?”

Arms enfold in a fierce embrace. The tears now mine. “Oh, honey. Sweet baby girl.

Jesus finds YOU.”

And He does, doesn’t He? And not just then, but here and now.

Where are you? Have you been looking for Him? Are you wondering? Wandering?

He WANTS to be in relationship with you, you know. He WANTS to be found by you.

DO you know this?

Do you ever feel like you’re looking for Jesus and you can’t find Him? Or worse, that He’s intentionally hiding from you?

This is not my Jesus. This is not the Jesus of the Bible.

The Jesus of my Bible wants to be found by you. The Jesus of my Bible is not waiting for you to get yourself figured out or get Him figured out or attain some height of revelation or depth of understanding.

The Jesus of my Bible simply says, “Come.”

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Tell Him you want to know Him, you want to find Him – take that first step, and see that He’s already taken all the other steps.

Seek Him, and discover He has already sought you.

And you are found.

James 4-8

One BIG parenting mistake I KEEP MAKING! (And the simple fix.)

We all make parenting mistakes. But this is a BIG ONE I just. keep. making. Have you made the same one? Find encouragement - and a solution - in this helpful post.Outwardly, I would say I do okay as a mom. But to be painfully honest, I feel like I’m really messing up. Like REALLY messing up. And I don’t even know how to be better.

Oh, I have THEORIES on how to be better. Those are crystal clear when I judge all the OTHER moms. But when shit gets real in my own home, I spin my wheels again.

My daughter whines. I’m talking Champion Whiner. The whiniest kid on the block. And she’s not 2. She’s almost 6. It’s not cute.

My son has developed social anxiety, and I can’t crack the code on why it started or how to fix it.

My exhaustion over my daughter’s whining is compounded by shame. It berates me:

You should’ve nipped this in the bud YEARS ago.

You KNOW your friends must say she’s the whiniest kid they know.

You’re her MOTHER. What’s wrong with you?

My concern about my son’s fear snowballs wildly:

What have you DONE (or not) to hurt his confidence?

Did something HAPPEN?

You’re his MOTHER. Why can’t he TELL YOU what’s wrong?

As I write down my thoughts, I recognize a theme: ME. I’ve made it all about ME.

In an attempt to be a good mom, a better mom, the BEST MOM I CAN BE, I have framed THEIR lives as a barometer of what I’M doing right or wrong. ME. ME. ME.

When did I forget that my children are on THEIR own journey of growth? A journey of learning to walk with Jesus. To depend on Jesus. To recognize – for themselves – their personal need for Jesus.

If my daughter whines every day, it’s not just because I have failed as a mother. IT’S BECAUSE SHE’S A HUMAN ON THIS PLANET AND SHE SINS LIKE THE REST OF US. I’m ALSO not handling my role in it perfectly. But may I not be so consumed with self-loathing that I forget SHE NEEDS JESUS, TOO.

If my son wrestles with anxiety, it’s not just because I haven’t loved him well enough. IT’S BECAUSE HE’S A HUMAN ON THIS PLANET AND HE NEEDS JESUS LIKE THE REST OF US. And, yes I’m still over here, being not perfect. But again, may I not be so consumed with MY anxiety about HIS anxiety that I forget to LET HIM EXPERIENCE HIS NEED FOR JESUS.

My children were not created to simply be agents in MY personal growth. God certainly does use them to refine me. (Understatement of the century.) But to consistently frame THEIR struggles as being all about ME and MY failures (or their victories as being all about ME and MY awesomeness — ouch) is to crowd out the greater reality: they are each on a journey with and toward Jesus. This is their journey of learning to trust Him and to trust His power to help them overcome their struggles.

Whether I’ve cast myself as the hero or the villain, I AM NOT THE STAR PLAYER IN MY KIDS’ STRUGGLES.

Yes, I’ve been given a crucial supporting role.

But the story of my child’s life is NOT. ABOUT. ME.

We MUST STOP making our children’s struggles (and strengths!) all about us. Instead, let’s use that time, effort, and brain space to fix our attention back on Jesus. On what He’s doing in us. On what He’s doing in them. That’s what our kids need anyway, right? More of Jesus. More of seeing their mom need Jesus. And more of seeing Jesus come through for us both.

Have you found this to be true in your parenting? What difference would it make for you to believe your child’s struggle – or strength – isn’t all about you?