If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you'd be sure to hear your share of fussing, complaining and whining. Maybe even a slammed door or two.

But enough about me.

In the pressure cooker that's parenting, I have exploded more than once. And it's harder to clean up than spaghetti night with a toddler.

So after years spent indulging in fruitless self-flogging, I finally let go of my obsession with getting it all 'just right.' I confess...I'm not a perfect parent.

Whew. That felt good.

Now, when my son saunters in with his 42nd tardy of the school year, I let it go. When I hear myself hollering "Whatever!" at my teenage daughter, I move on.

Having it all together is overrated anyway.

And I've determined not to waste God's grace. I'll never get it just right. You won't, either. So read on, sister. If you see a little of yourself in me, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. Nope. If you're a mom, face it. You're never, ever alone.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

5 Things To Know Before They Start Middle School

It’s been a wild ride.

Yes, middle school has been all that and more – hormonal ups and downs, angry tirades and impatient ranting. Poor Molly.

It’s true. Adolescence has sometimes brought out the best and worst in me -- bringing me to my knees (literally) in ways I never thought possible. It has ruthlessly challenged my rigid, perfectionistic tendencies. It has relentlessly stretched my capacity for love, humility, courage and forgiveness.

I feel pity for the mom of a 5th grader that I was three years ago. She was so naïve and woefully unprepared. So, as an act of service for other mothers who may soon be entering the middle school years, I offer my Top Five Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Molly Started Middle School:

Your child is now too cool for you. Think you got it goin’ on, mama? Well, think again. You see, it’s embarrassing to be seen with your parents, because, well, no one else has parents. Your child is the only one. So you can see how your existence is a tad bit humiliating – at least until they need money.

2. All your brain cells suddenly evaporate. Your decades of wisdom and life experience just can’t compete with their friends’ 12 years of knowledge and expertise. (Actually, in hindsight, I think they’re listening to us more than we give them credit for.)

3. Every promise you make is written in stone. Pre-teens and teens tend to see things in black and white. Circumstances don’t change. YOU are the one who changed things. Which makes you a big, fat liar.

4. You suddenly become a candidate for “What Not to Wear.” I have gotten enough fashion critiques in the last three years to last me a lifetime. (The plus side? I must admit, I’m no Heidi Klum, but she’s made me more hip.)

And best of all...

5. You’ll learn to love your child in a whole new way. The really valuable things in life are worth fighting for. Don’t believe everything they tell you – good or bad. And keep loving them and praying for them no matter what. After all, you’ll need all the prayers you can get, mama. They’ll be driving soon.


  1. This is such a sweet list, especially after listening to your voice "in person" a few weeks ago to hear more about this season! Loved the last part. A little jab there... "they'll be driving soon." lol! Love you, girl. Praying for your new adventure!

  2. This is not that far in my past, and I was shaking my head in agreement to your every point. The good news is that they come back to you and eventually think you're not so bad after all. :)

  3. Ha that is such an awesome list! I remember all too well one of my sons, who played the violin for five years, all of a sudden he was too cool for it and was rather embarrassed to carry it from the car into the school where the concert took place.

    He had me carry it for him!

    It wasn't long before he gave it up all together.

    Hang in there, I'm here to tell you after they graduate and go to college the alien leaves their bodies they return to you the same lovely child you remember.

    Had I known this bit of information a head of time I would have sent my children to college at the sweet age of 14!

  4. I'm really not looking forward to the middle school years! I did love teaching it, though. B/c the kids were fun...but I got to send them home at the end of the day.

  5. Well, if Molly's driving ability is a good as her fashion expertise, you won't have anything to worry about.


    Hope to talk to you soon!

    Sweet dreams.

  6. Okay friend...now y'all are entering high school - please FEEL FREE TO USE ME IF YOU NEED TO! I am sending one to college so there is a whole new set of rules in HS.

    Thanks for the middle school reminder. I am sending a boy there next year so I am wondering how it will change. :) Will keep you posted!

  7. This made me laugh and almost cry as it brought back memories for me.


    You are right on track for learning and growing right along with her.

    It is all part of God's plan for our continual progress. (I did wonder sometimes....)

    Keep doing what you are doing.
    You are a wonderful, conscientious, loving (and humorous) mother!

  8. My three year old thinks everything is in stone too.

  9. So true -- you'll learn to love your child in a whole new way. And it's awesome.

    I loved this post, friend!

  10. OH NO!!! I'm not ready for this yet. Can I make my 6 year old repeat Kindergarten so that I can delay the process???

  11. Although all this is great, but there is no cookie cutter way bringing up your child. Anyone that has more than one child for sure knows that. My oldest was extremely smart, but did nothing to get the best grades and we tried everything. She didn't study or do homeworks, but was able to get a high 80 average through school plus got pregnant in 12th grade and had her second 13months after that (with the same guy). My youngest we can't get her to bed before 11pm because she has homework and studying to do and projects and has to have the best grade average she can get. Will not even let us help. She doesn't even want to think about guys right now. We do hardly any parenting except guidance. We sometimes have to threaten her to get her to put down the books not pick them up. It's all in the person and if they want to hear you. Thankfully my oldest is listening now. Better late than never.


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