10 Things I Don’t Wish I’d Done Differently As a Mom (the last 5) by Elizabeth Spencer

 

Last week, Elizabeth shared her first 5 in this list of 10 Things she doesn’t wish she had done differently as a mom.  This week, she’s sharing the rest of her list with us.  As you read her list, think about what you wouldn’t do differently…

The other day, I Googled “what I wish I’d done differently as a mom” and got 10 million results.

 

Apparently, a lot of moms have a lot they regret about their mothering.

Apparently, as a parent with some mom mileage on me, I should be writing about my own regrets and done-differently wishes.

 

And, mercy, do I ever have them to write about. I’ve messed up and made bad decisions and taken wrong turns more times than I can count.

 

But with 29 total years of motherhood racked up, I’m so thankful to be able to say there are a few things I don’t wish I could undo, by the grace of God.

 

These things I have done and things I haven’t done have worked for me and for my girls and for our family.

 

Some of them may be deal-breakers for you. Some of these may be non-negotiables at your house.

 

You may read this list and think, “Good grief, woman! Have you no shame? How can you possibly not regret this?!” Which is okay, actually.

 

Because you see, sweet mama, this is not a list of how I think other moms should do motherhood. This is only a collection of what, with the benefit of some hindsight and two older, happy, healthy, thriving children as evidence, I can leave off my personal do-over wish list, by the grace…

 

 

As a mom, I’m thankful I don’t regret that I…

6. Set the bar of expectations low. From family vacations to the house we live in to back-to-school wardrobes to Christmas gifts to birthday parties, our secret to family contentment is pretty simple: promote low expectations.

Our thinking was—and continues to be—that if we set a low bar for what is good and satisfying and acceptable and worth looking forward to, contentment would probably follow. If my family expects M&Ms, and they get triple chocolate layer cake, they’re thrilled and pleasantly surprised and think I am the greatest mom ever. But if they expect the cake and all I deliver is the candy, they’re disappointed. I’d rather exceed low expectations than fall short of high ones.

7. Was “lax” about reading to my babies and toddlers. I knew I was supposed to read to my children…poetry in utero and then classics with discussion in their teen years. But my girls didn’t particularly care about being read to. They reacted to my dramatic interpretations of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with approximately the same level of enthusiasm they reserved for having their runny noses wiped. So I gave up.

I listened to kid-safe books on CD in the van and around the house, made plenty of actual books available, read in front of them, and left it at that. Today, they’re voracious, enthusiastic, and skilled readers. They’ve both usually got about three books going at once in various formats. Also, they wipe their own runny noses now. It’s all good.

8. Have learned to be okay with my daughters growing up. I well understand the melancholy tug moms feel at seeing their babies mature. I know that tug myself.

But whenever I feel sad that my girls are moving from one age or stage to another, I remind myself of something: if I asked any parent who has lost a baby or a toddler or a young adult or a middle-aged child what they would give to “have” to watch that child go off to preschool or middle school or college or a job or their first colonoscopy, I know what they’d say. Anything. They would give anything.

Watching my girls grow is a blessing and a gift I try not to take for granted.  I also believe this to be true: “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind” (C.S. Lewis).

9. Took—and enjoyed—mom “alone time.” I loved and love being with my girls. But I am a better mom when my batteries are recharged so I have fresh energy to pour into their lives. For me, that recharging happens when I am alone and have a break from some of my maternal duties. And I’m not the only one who has benefited from this occasional separation. 

10. Picked my battles. My younger daughter told me one day, “I’m just not gonna get in a big hassle.” I don’t remember what the issue was, but that was how she decided she was going to approach it.

As a mom, I could choose to “get in a big hassle” about every bite of food my girls eat, every minute of TV they watch, every book they read, every outfit they put on, every everything. But I haven’t. And not because I am some laid-back, relaxed personality, either. Please. I drove four college roommates to the brink of insanity with my uptightness. (I’m so sorry, girls.)

That I’ve let so much go as a mom is quite possibly pure laziness on my part, but I like to think I’ve tried to fight the battles that needed fighting. The battles that had eternal significance.

I want my girls to pursue faith in God and purity and compassion and self-control and kindness. I really don’t care if they eat an Oreo while they’re doing it.

Maybe someday I’ll put together a list of what I wish I’d done differently. (And let me say it again: I have plenty of fodder for that collection. Mercy.) But right now, I’m just incredibly grateful I’ve got a few things to put on this list…a few things I’ve done that I wouldn’t undo.

By the grace.

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Elizabeth Spencer is mom to one tween and one teen daughter. She’s been married for 20 years to a very patient husband who copes nicely as the lone male in a house full of girls. She avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by blogging about life as an imperfect mother at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and spending time on Facebook

10 Things I Don’t Wish I’d Done Differently As a Mom (the first 5) by Elizabeth Spencer

The other day, I Googled “what I wish I’d done differently as a mom” and got 10 million results.

Apparently, a lot of moms have a lot they regret about their mothering.

Apparently, as a parent with some mom mileage on me, I should be writing about my own regrets and done-differently wishes.

And, mercy, do I ever have them to write about. I’ve messed up and made bad decisions and taken wrong turns more times than I can count.

But with 29 total years of motherhood racked up, I’m so thankful to be able to say there are a few things I don’t wish I could undo, by the grace of God.

These things I have done and things I haven’t done have worked for me and for my girls and for our family.

Some of them may be deal-breakers for you. Some of these may be non-negotiables at your house. 

You may read this list and think, “Good grief, woman! Have you no shame? How can you possibly not regret this?!” Which is okay, actually.

Because you see, sweet mama, this is not a list of how I think other moms should do motherhood. This is only a collection of what, with the benefit of some hindsight and two older, happy, healthy, thriving children as evidence, I can leave off my personal do-over wish list, by the grace…

 

 

As a mom, I’m thankful I don’t regret that I…

1. Let my girls be cared for by other people. My husband is an only child, and I am the oldest, so you’d better believe the birth of our firstborn was met with no small amount of enthusiasm from both sets of new grandparents. We were blessed to live near my husband’s parents and mine, and from their very earliest days, both my babies spent time with their doting fan club. (We were also blessed to be able to absolutely trust all four of our parents not only with our girls’ physical safety, but with their mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, too.)

Early on, I would race off to Target for the 86.5 minutes I had between nursing sessions. Later, my husband and I left our girls longer and went farther—to Hawaii, in one memorable instance. I loved being home with my babies, just as I have loved being with them into their tween and teen years. But I wanted my girls to know they could depend on people other than their father and me to love and care for them.

I wanted them to have the security and reassurance of a wide net of love and affection and familiarity. Too, those very early days when I lugged the car seat in and out of my parents’ and my in-laws’ houses laid a foundation for closeness that continues to this day.

2. Fought the church battle every Sunday. When my girls were newborns, I could not imagine EVER being able to make it to church again. The number of things that had to happen for us to go was so crazy-impossible, I couldn’t even think about it. But I got used to sneaking in one last feeding session while I practically had one foot out the door, and eventually, we started making it every week. (And years later, on the first Sunday my daughter stood at the top of the stairs wearing tights she had PUT ON HERSELF, I had a flash of what Moses must have felt like when he watched God part the Red Sea.)

We established this routine from the get-go so that going to church every week was not a decision we had to make every week. It’s just what we did. And it’s what we do.

Still, now that my girls are older, I’m not sure there’s any time my family members like each other less than we do on Sunday mornings at about 8:15. My husband is trying to get two minutes of bathroom time to brush his teeth before he backs the van out of the garage because we DO NOT HAVE TIME PEOPLE to wait for that to happen once we’re all in the van, by the grace of God. Meanwhile, I’m running around yelling that we have to leave in two minutes and my girls are being unhappy with their hair and everyone just wants to be back in bed, for crying out loud. In this mood, we set off for church. Because we will not offer sacrifices to the Lord our God that cost us nothing (see 2 Samuel 24:24).

My point (and I do have one) is that all this has been worth it. Because it has laid a foundation for faith that I witness growing stronger every day. I see my girls reading their devotions at the breakfast table and leading worship with me and praying and posting inspirational quotes online. And the point of all this is not all this, but that all this is pointing them toward God. They are filling the God-shaped hole inside their hearts with the God Who put it there. Which makes all that Sunday-morning angst so worth it, I can’t even talk about it.

3. Waited an extra year before sending my youngest to preschool. When my second (and last) baby was three, I agonized over where to send her to preschool. I thought every three-year-old needed to be in preschool. I searched all over our area for a program that was a good fit, but most of them started at 8 a.m.—right when I was getting my would-be preschooler’s big sister on the bus.

Finally, after endless phone calls, I had a moment of clarity: I did not have to send her that year. I was at home with her. She was learning and growing and developing. We could just hang out for awhile longer. We could do library time, and she could come with me to Bible study and play in the nursery, and we could take naps together on the couch. She could go to preschool the next year, followed by kindergarten.

So this is what we did. And thank God for it, because when, two years later, I sent my baby to kindergarten and everyone asked if I was sad, I was able to honestly tell them I wasn’t (much). We had done that “bonus” year together. We had hung out. We had taken the time. And it had been a wonderful gift.

Now, as I watch her navigate middle school, I know I wouldn’t trade that year for anything. (I also sure wouldn’t mind another nap on the couch.)

4. Sent my girls to public school. I have so many friends who are amazing home schoolers, and I am in awe of what they do every day…usually before 11 a.m. But my husband and I felt very clearly called to be Christian public school parents—a full-time job in and of itself.

For one thing, I believe teaching is a gift not everyone possesses to the same degree. And the degree to which I possess that gift would not have gotten my daughters past preschool nametag day. I so greatly admire the talent and training of professional educators and understand that I cannot do what they do. So we intentionally bought a house in a school district we knew and respected and trusted and sent our girls there from the beginning.

We have been aware of what our children are doing and learning. We have been involved. The staff knows us by sight and by our first names. I have been PTA mom and room mom and “attendance hotline” mom and band mom and popcorn mom. While I’ve been around, I’ve seen what my girls’ teachers do every day and have been awed and grateful.

My daughters have not just had good teachers all along—they have had amazing educators, and many of them have been Christians who have nurtured my children not only educationally but spiritually and morally. My daughters are growing daily in their knowledge of and love for God, and they exercise their faith muscle every day when they are around their public school teachers and peers.

5. Limited my children’s activities. The formula for the way our girls spend their time pretty much looks like this: school + family/home + church + dance + friends  =  life. Band is the other big component of their existence, but because it is a school activity, the extracurricular time they spend on it is limited.

We like being home together as a family, and this requires us to semi-regularly be: 1)home and 2)together. We’ve never done teams or groups that have Sunday practices or games. We’ve never done multiple sports at the same time. We’ve never done anything year-round. This doesn’t mean any of this is wrong. It just isn’t the plan we went with for our little family.

I know the pressure to allow kids to try everything and not “limit their potential” is huge in our culture today. And we have created opportunities for our girls to explore various interests in case they became passions. But having afterschool and evening and weekend activities every day of every week of every month was never an option for us.

I call this “selective scheduling,” and it has worked for us. For. Us.

Stay tuned for 6-10 next week!
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Elizabeth Spencer is mom to one tween and one teen daughter. She’s been married for 20 years to a very patient husband who copes nicely as the lone male in a house full of girls. She avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by blogging about life as an imperfect mother at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and spending time on Facebook

You Are Not a Victim, You’re a Mom By Wendy Speake

She was exasperated, worn out. Her frustrations bordered anger, and she felt great shame over her emotions – still they flooded.

Picking up a damp towel nearby, she wiped her face then said, “I think that I’m most upset that my children ruin my plans each day. And not just my plans for the day, but my plans of being a good mom. They ruin it no matter what I do. They ruin all of the meals I serve by hating what I’ve made and crying at the table. They ruin our trips to the park and our playdates with friends by throwing fits when it’s time to go. I plan so much fun, and they ruin it all by demanding more or different. And I guess, if I’m honest, they ruin my dreams of what my family would be like. I had such good dreams. I’ve dreamt of being a mom for so long, now here I am and there aren’t any peaceful, happy tuck-ins, no Bible reading at the breakfast table – not without more fits! Everyday I’m disappointed, frustrated, and angry. I feel abused! Some days I just want to throw in the towel.” And she did throw down the tattered towel in her hands, with a pathetic little moan.

I smiled, leaned in, and hugged her. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but as she shared I believed she spoke the unspoken emotions of many moms in many homes today.

We feel like victims.

 

You are not a victim, you're a mom!

 

In the quite morning hours, when God’s mercies are new, I know that I am not a victim, I’m simply a mom.

The same is true for my young friend, and the same is true for you.

Still, we find ourselves forgetting by mid-afternoon, hiding in the pantry with a handful of chocolate chips.

So, here’s a question for you: Do you take everything personally? Maybe you don’t mean too, but do you REACT as though you’re the victim… all the time? And do you retreat behind your phone, in your pantry, in your anger, in this victim mentality each day?

Your husband comes home from work late… and you’re the victim. Your children don’t like what you cooked for dinner… and you’re the victim. The kids can’t find their shoes, their socks, their backpacks… and you’re the victim. Your gifts weren’t well received this Christmas… and you’re the victim. You planned a cookie making afternoon with friends, and it’s just a mess and the kids would rather tear up the toy room… and you’re the victim.

It seems ridiculous when typed out like a confessional. But does this resonate at all?

Ladies, here in the stillness of this simple blog post, let me remind us both that we aren’t victims… we’re moms. Thwarted expectations are part and parcel when taking care of a family full of real live little people. It’s hard, yes, but the majority of us are not abused.

Your children don’t wake up in the middle of the night and gather round the baby’s crib to plot ways to dash your dreams and destroy your day. They aren’t contriving fevers, or purposing fits -though it does sometimes feel that way. They are simply being children, and they need you to simply keep on being mom. 

Still, you’re overwhelmed because you’re feeling all the feelings. I know. So let me encourage you as I did this sweet mama with three kiddos under four, “Roll with the punches and go with the flow today, in the midst of the messy mundane. And on the big days too, when you’ve planned a trip to Disneyland and everyone’s crying, keep putting one faithful foot in front of the other. Whatever your lot, choose to believe today what is noble and true, what is lovely and worthy of praise… and I’ll be doing the same from my home with my children, as I whisper these words to myself, “You are not a victim, you’re a mom.”

The goal each day is faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love. And victims have a miserable time loving gently and lavishly.

We’re not victims, we’re moms.

Blessings upon us, every one,

Wen

For more about this victim mentality, continue the series “You are not a victim, you’re mom” here.
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If you struggle with anger in your home from the sheer effort of it all, if you find yourself yelling at your little ones, feeling like a victim, and weighed down by shame, I encourage you to order a copy of TRIGGERS: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions For Gentle Biblical Responses, today. Triggers was co-authored by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake. CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW!

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Wendy Speake is a trained actress and heartfelt Bible teacher. She tells stories both on page and stage that allow her to point women toward Jesus on their hardest mothering days. You can follow along at WendySpeake.com or find her regularly as a guest at The MOB Society. Wendy resides in sunny San Diego with her handsome husband and their three ruddy boys.

I Am Too Much and Not Enough–A Guest Post by Sarah Schiro

Why My Scale Does Not Determine My Value

As a new mom of two, I feel too much and not enough.

There is not enough of me to go around. Not enough hands to hold the nursing baby and pull down my toddler’s pants so he can go potty. Not enough time to clean and play. Not enough mind space to handle the concerns of parenting and school work. Not enough patience. Not enough energy. Not enough sleep.

I am spread thin.

And yet I am also in my own assessment too much. Too needy. Too emotional. Too hungry…

And sometimes, though I try to drown out the accusations and whispers in my head, my mind tells me I am too heavy. Not too too heavy… but needing to lose say 10 lbs.

Which is ridiculous because sure I am 10 lbs heavier than I was prior to pregnancy, but I am healthy, and look healthy, and fit into most of my old clothes. Nobody besides me and my scale could probably even tell that I am indeed any heavier at all.

But I keep thinking, “I will be happier if once I lose these last ten pounds.”

As a woman whose life was controlled for years by an eating disorder, these are scary thoughts to me.  Losing weight never makes me happy… it just makes me want to lose more. I know this about myself. I know that focusing on a number on a scale is at best a worthless distraction, and quite possibly dangerous thinking.

And the real question is one of motive.

Why does it matter to me that I return to my pre-baby weight?

The answer is that for some crazy reason I feel safer ten pounds lighter. I feel more acceptable, more worthy of love and that losing weight will somehow make me enough.

When I feel so inadequate, it helps to focus in on the detail of weight loss. In my mind I begin to believe that losing weight will suddenly make me better to the world at large. Which is so dumb— as if all I have to offer to the group is me, small and smiling. Sometimes I do feel that way, like I can’t string two words together, and I am not beautiful, and I don’t have the right clothes… but at least I am small”ish” and seemingly happy.  And based on the images that pour into our homes through the media, being thinner makes me more okay despite my feelings of being a failure.

Of course admitting these thoughts on paper shows how false they are. The process of writing them down is just to show myself how crazy I would have to be to believe them. When look at this compulsion for what it is, the promise of thin is empty. Just like I have literally NEVER cared one iota what anyone else weighs; nobody cares about those ten pounds, but me.

Still it matters that I care. It matters because I can hurt everyone who watches my life if I allow the pursuit of weight loss to be the thing I cling to for safety.

No matter how much weight you lose, it will not increase your value as a person.

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Sarah Schiro Quote
No matter how much weight you lose it will not keep you safe from rejection. If my life, if my language, reflects that I am only secure and acceptable if I am a certain size or weight— then I am promoting the lie.

I believe we all were made in the image of God. His Image makes us invaluable. His acceptance makes us beyond rejection. He is the Security we need in a world that makes us feel insecure. He is the Love that we need to overflow in our homes, to cover over our human efforts to be the perfect moms, to love perfectly. He is Enough. He will always be enough. We really can stop striving after the empty things of this world and rest in Him.  In Him, I am enough.  And dear mom, in Him, you are enough too!

Sarah Schiro

Sarah Schiro enjoys writing when she can squeeze in the time— which between being mom to a toddler and an infant and studying to become a nurse is not as often as she would like. Being a busy-“worrier,”writing is one tool she has found which allows her to frame her thoughts in the context of the truth of the gospel.

Two of the Most Encouraging Words Another Mom Ever Said To Me by guest blogger Elizabeth Spencer

A few weeks ago, I told a mom friend I was hosting a sleepover. I confessed to her that I rarely let my daughters have them because I always get all worked up about what the girls will do and where they’ll sleep and if, heaven help me, EVERYONE IS HAVING A GOOD TIME.


“I don’t do them, either,” she told me.


Later that same day, I told another mom my daughters were making dinner that night–something they’d never done before in spite of being a tween and teen because I’m a control-freak, neat-freak mom who never cooked with her kids.


“I don’t cook with mine, either,” she told me.


I. Don’t.


Who knew two little words could be so freeing and uplifting? 


Sometimes I feel like I’m surrounded by moms who do. They do spectacular birthday parties and they do homemade hummus in Bento Boxes for school lunches and they do craft projects every day of the week and they do…everything. With their kids and for their kids. Which is great for them if they love it and if it charges up their mom spirits. I don’t begrudge them their doing.


But I just…don’t.


I don’t do and haven’t done and won’t do so many things. And the other day, my friends showed me that I’m not the only mom who doesn’t. Which felt like a gift. 

In case it feels like a gift to someone else, here are a few other things I don’t.


I don’t have it
all together.

I don’t always get motherhood right.

I don’t make my girls make their own lunches.

I don’t make my girls make their beds before school.

I don’t do Pinterest-inspired parties.

I don’t like everything that goes with being a mom. 

I don’t know what I’m doing a lot of the time even though I’ve been at this a long time.
I don’t make my kids do enough chores.

I don’t limit desserts to “special occasions.”

I don’t switch my daughters’ schedules to “school time” while it’s still August just so they’ll be used to getting up early when September rolls around.

I don’t have this all figured out.

I don’t…

But, here’s what I do. 


I do love, love, love my children. 

I do enjoy them.

I do delight in them. 

I do cherish them.

I do encourage and support their passions.

I do long for them to continue to walk with God and to grow in their love and passion for Him.

I do love spending time with them.

I do pray for them and with them.

I do talk to them.

I do listen to them.

I do treasure them.

I do want joy, peace, and hope for them.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is this one from Jill Briscoe: “There is an art of leaving things undone so that the greater thing can be done.”

What I don’t do–what I leave undone–frees up my time and energy and passion and enthusiasm for what I do do–the greater thing. 


And the value of that is something I don’t have any doubts about.

 

If you are a mom who sometimes doesn’t do, know this: you are not alone. I don’t, either.

Elizabeth Spencer is mom to one tween and one teen daughter. She’s been married for 20 years to a very patient husband who copes nicely as the lone male in a house full of girls. She avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by blogging about life as an imperfect mother at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and spending time on Facebook

 

One Bad Tree Doesn’t Ruin the Whole Forest by Guest Blogger Jennifer Copass

It was a busy day at the grocery store. It was our weekly family outing, and we were ready to be home.  While my youngest daughter sat in the cart and helped bag the groceries with Dad, my oldest and I sat and rested nearby on a bench. I could tell she was feeling bothered by something. I pressed her for a reason.

She frustratingly brushed her hair out of her face, and said, “I just feel like I’m a bad sister.”

I withheld a smile. What a sweet heart. My oldest daughter cares a lot about her relationships and getting along well with everybody. Sometimes, though, this means she feels too guilty too much.

I still do not know what happened between the two girls to make her feel this way. I didn’t need to know, because there was a more significant problem going on here.

My mind worked quickly through compassion and empathy. Oh, child, how I can relate to this. One bad move, one bad decision, and I’m a bad person. A bad employee. A bad mother. A bad friend. A bad minister. A bad teacher. Oh, how I can relate.

It’s one of the funny things about having kids. The confidence and love I can show them as I help them navigate their problems seems to elude me in my own struggles. Does God talk to me…through my own words?

“Honey, you are not a bad sister at all. Look, maybe you feel bad about something, but that doesn’t make you bad. It just means you had one bad moment. Think about a forest, like the beautiful forests we saw on the Tennessee mountains. They were so big and beautiful, weren’t they? Huge trees, growing so tall, stretching to the sky.

“Then you walk into that forest, surrounded by beautiful nature, and you find an old, gnarled, bent tree. It’s hollow and dead and ugly. Does this bad tree make the whole forest bad?”

My daughter shook her head no.

“So it’s the same with us. We have parts of us that are bad-getting angry too easily or being too selfish at times-and we have bad moments. We make bad choices. But just like the forest with that one bad tree, your one bad moment does not make you a bad sister. We are still altogether beautiful and growing, even through our bad moments.”

Most of us need this little reminder. A gentle touch to the soul that we are doing alright, even when we don’t feel alright. A gentle reminder to let the guilt or the bitterness go, and enjoy the beauty of the life of the forest. A reminder to give grace when it is the hardest: to ourselves.

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Jennifer is a homeschool mom to two young girls with a baby on the way. She lives in the country with her high school sweet heart, a duck, a chicken, and a handful of beehives. But she prefers to stay in-doors with chocolate, her Bible, and a blank canvas. You can read more of her stuff at www.jennifercopassblog.wordpress.com.

We are THAT Family…and We are OK with It!

You know the family that drives into the school parking lot 2 minutes before the bell rings while the child finishes their oatmeal in the backseat and puts his shoes on? Uh, we are that family. We are the ones that get the warning email about tardiness from the school principal. Never had the TALK but every semester we get the warning.

This morning as I drove my son to school I thought “why is that?” Oh, on the surface it is easy enough to figure out. We stay up late. Last night after work, my son wants to do something fun as a family (a regular request) and we ended up doing pizza and putt-putt.  Although, he became a moving obstacle on every hole as we moved through the course, and my husband shot the ball up his shorts as an added bonus.  Then, because we are not total schmucks we did spelling review, baths, reading and all the bedtime comfort rituals. We know the definition of being good parents includes all this stuff.

But, this morning my mind went to a different time….many years ago, when I was the child.

I was the kid always on time. Early. Pressed, hairs all in place, color coordinated. Appropriately dressed….whatever that means.

NEVER ate oatmeal in the car. Are you kidding? Mom drove the kind of car that looked better on the inside AFTER you bought it. She once put small bud vases in the drink holders and would have faithfully kept flowers there if I didn’t laugh my butt off about it. Sorry, couldn’t help it. Who does that?

My mom would not know what to do with my parenting skills (or lack of them). Pizza for dinner. No, pizza was for birthdays and weekends. Putt Putt on a school night? Only if it was a scout event with a signed permission slip. Monopoly? Do you know how involved that is? (Uh, yes, it’s why I will find your weakness.  I will buy Park Place and I will completely bankrupt you…until you cry for mercy. Note to those reading this: don’t play with an entrepreneur, they are NUT CASES with this game.) Wedgie Uno? (Our family ritual in which the loser gets a wedgie)….a thousand times no….and you’re weird for even thinking of this.

She’s been gone 6 months and do you know what I miss most? Why I pulled into the parking lot at work this morning and cried for 5 minutes before going in? Although Mom was a better woman in a thousand ways than I will ever be, I miss that we were never late…and whatever wonderful things we could have done together to make us late.

All this to say, we will probably always get the warning email and eat oatmeal in the car. I know there are families who can balance it all and God bless them. I’m not bright enough or quick enough or (let’s be truly transparent) disciplined enough to be that. But, that’s okay….not great, just okay.

I’d rather have my son grieve for missing me than for missing all he wished he had with me.

Sometimes in grief you miss what was, but sometimes you miss most what never was…what never will be.

Beth Wendling guest blogger

Beth Wendling is a wife and mother who has a passion for orphans and vulnerable kids. She founded Orphans Treasure Box, a unique bookstore that sells donated books online and in their outlet so that the net profits can be given to orphans globally and locally. In her former careers, she was a Dean of Students,a Communications professor and a licensed therapist.