To the Uptight Mom at Mom’s Day

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I watched you sit with your five year old working on the gift for his dad. Our kids were the last ones at the table still working. It was no shock it was talking us a while – my daughter was continually grabbing more and more things and I was struggling to feed my upset three month old and also trying to help/ interact with my daughter. “Sure, that looks great!” “Let’s put some more glue,” “ooh, that’s a neat piece, where do you think that should go?” As my daughter jumped up and down to get more things to add to her creation, I caught snippets of your conversation with your son: “that’s a bit much Jason.” “Why don’t you try and line those up in a straight line Jason?” “Let’s make these into a pattern… That doesn’t match the pattern Jason.” I inwardly rolled my eyes. Man, let the kid choose for himself! It’s supposed to be his project and his gift to his dad! It doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s a craft for a five year old. Mellow out.

At that point my daughter finished and we moved over to the card making table, leaving you and Jason. I helped my daughter arrange the cut-outs on the cover and glue them, then she turned to the inside try draw a picture. As she drew, I looked around the room at the other moms. Most of the moms were in jeans and sweaters. A few had t-shirts or nicer slacks. Most had minimal makeup, if any – we’re talking either eye make up or lipstick, but not much more. Most of the hair was in pony tails or buns – pulled out of the face to make playing easier. They all wore sandals, flats or sneakers. I personally had a maxi skirt and T-shirt with my moby wrap and a pair of toms, with hastily pulled back hair and lipstick quickly applied. This was what the moms looked like. But not you. You were wearing a casual black business work suit.  Hair down, but cut short, continually falling in your face, somehow not a single stand out of place. Makeup immaculate – foundation, concealer, lined lips, not just color. You were even wearing heels.

Soon we were called to circle time on the carpet. The teacher told I’d about a song the kids had been listening to that they absolutely loved. It was a freeze sing. You dance and you dance and you FREEZE! So the teachers put it on for all of us to dance to. It was a ton of fun – the kids were hysterical to watch and it really was a silly song. It was funny to see the kids who love dancing and the kids who are just a little self conscious. The moms fell into two categories – those who had fun because it was fun and those who had fun because they were there for their kids tried to get over their embarrassment for the sake of their kids. (For the record, two years ago, I was the second type of mom, barely doing anything, but I’m now the first type because darn it, that was a fun song!) And then there was you – who just stood there, looking at everyone else, way too embarrassed to do anything at all. Okay, I thought, that’s it, you can’t even pretend to care? You can’t get over yourself for one little song? Wow.

Then I watched your son turn around and look at you. He hadn’t been dancing like the other kids. I assumed he was just shy. He turned and looked at you, and you started awkwardly dancing. You smiled big at him and said, “Dance Jason!” Then you kept dancing for him, looking mortified, but caring more that your son had fun than about your feelings.

Then I remembered your son from the day I had a classroom observation. He was the slightly awkward kid – you know, the one who might have ADD or autism or one of those other “isms” or something (no judgement, I promise!). He was a sweet boy, but just needed a little extra help. Suddenly I saw you in a whole new light.

Your outfit, hair, makeup? You were probably headed into work and took the time off to come spend the morning with her son. Not everyone is a stay-at-home mom like most of the moms at this school. The control over the craft? Your son might need extra help with focus and concentration and giving him patterns or ideas might be a way to help him focus. And the lack of dancing? Well, if I worked full time and had a kid with special needs, I’d be pretty stressed out too – I might even feel a bit judged. Just like I had been judging you. I felt awful. You were doing her absolute best for your son and just because you didn’t fit the mold of the other moms that morning I had been a Judgy McJudgerson.

Basically I want to say: Uptight Mom – you rock! You know what your kid needs, and you are awesome for leaving work to spend some time with him. You demonstrated love when you felt judged for your dancing, and if I could only offer one piece of advice, I’d say to dance a bit more; you deserve to let loose every now and then!

A Disappointing Church Visit

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Interestingly, after visiting this church, which I had checked out on Yelp, I was so upset I wrote a Yelp review. I then realized I had not written a review of our own church! Our church, with around 300 folks, had two reviews – one 5 years old, and one 2 years old, both only about 4 sentences. There were also two reviews that were not recommended. I then found out that unless you have several reviews, your Yelp review means nothing. That said, if you haven’t get on Yelp, write a review of your church (as well as a couple other reviews of restaurants or something) and let people know your place of worship exists and what it is like! Anyway, to make my life a bit easier, here’s my review of the church we visited, with a couple changes. I wanted to love this church. I really did. My husband and I visited Vegas for the weekend, and we enjoy visiting different churches when we’re out of town so we can experience other worship. I am sad to say that while the music was engaging, the gospel, scripture, and message were sorely lacking. First impressions: the people were friendly, there was parking for guests in the front, there were a lot of programs/events for the entire family, and a great recovery program for teenagers as well as adults. (This and the engaging music is what earned the church 2 stars instead of 1, which I am inclined to give.) Regarding the band: yes, they were great. I saw other reviews comparing church to a concert, and it really was. The lights went down, and it was hard to find a seat. The music lasted about 30 minutes (which was great – except that left a minuscule amount of time for the message after the other announcements). People connected with the music and hands were in the air worshiping. Awesome. However, the sermon: Granted, we attended on a day when Senior Pastor Judd was gone, so maybe this was an off week. However, that’s no excuse for spending a total of less than 5 minutes in the actual Bible – especially when the verses referenced had little to nothing to do with the message. They were more like a jumping point for a story or a “yeah, it’s kinda like this verse where…” but the connection was never explained. At one point, the translation on the screen wasn’t given (a translation I’ve never heard) – I  looked it up later to find the pastor had used the NLT just to make a point about men and women (without referencing that it was the NLT). The next translations were NIV – no consistency in Bible translations, which makes it difficult for a congregation to follow. However, that didn’t seem to be much of an issue with this congregation, as I saw fewer than 10 people actually bringing their Bible to church. It was like Where’s Waldo, but with a Bible – in a church – and that’s not a good sign. I was sorely disappointed that the message was interesting, clever, and completely lacking the true word of God. Showmanship, colorful lights and staging have won out over the simple message of God’s grace and redemption, and that’s an absolute shame.

Exciting things have been happening…

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Okay, well, mostly one.

I had a baby. I’ve been exhausted and recovering. But baby is now nearly 3 months old and I’m hoping to get back on track (and fill in some gaps here and there). Hey, no one is perfect. I’m human, flawed and my real life is WAY more important to me than my blog. But I will backdate a few things to clear up some of the where I was when I was stuff. But for now I’m back. (And my shop should be up and running in the next day or so.)

First Trip to major supply store

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11263102_10104465685327626_3625651144698604592_nI did it. I actually survived a trip to a big box store (Sams/costco/etc) with two children, one of which is a baby, without any one of us having a total meltdown. It was touch-and-go for a bit towards the end, but we made it out alive. I am happy to celebrate the major milestones of being a parent.

School Observation

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Last week I was asked to observe my daughter in her classroom for about an hour. This is standard at the school she attends, and this is the third year I’ve watched her interact with her classmates and teachers. This year I had the added layer of caring for my twoish month old, but he’s an awesome baby, especially when I wear him in my Moby, so it wasn’t a problem at all.

Watching my daughter in class was hilarious. She is by far one of the bossiest kids. She went to the home corner where three other kids were quietly playing and announced loudly, “Who wants to go on an adventure?! Grab your seat, we’re getting in the car!” She then took a chair from the kitchen table and set it up as the driver seat in an imaginary car. The other three kids quickly fell into place setting up the rest of the car. My daughter then decided to pack – throwing all sorts of stuff into the ‘trunk’ (floor) and giving her passengers ‘food’ for the ride. When the teacher called her over to work on her art, my daughter cheerfully skipped away, abandoning the mess she’d made. A few minutes later, the teacher went to check on the kids in the home corner and chastized them for making such a mess and throwing things on the floor. She told them they needed to clean it up and that since they couldn’t respect these things, they couldn’t play with them. NOT ONE kid threw my daughter under the bus! I was sure they’d all blame her, since it was totally her fault. Nope – they all just cleaned it up.

I watched my daughter play with nearly every kid in the classroom. When pushed to do something else, she responded, “No, I don’t want to do that. I’m doing this.” During music time, I watched her yell clarifications to the whole class (including the teachers, “You guys! The song said touch your nose – it didn’t say stop touching your nose, so you should still be touching your nose with that hand.” The teachers ignored her.

But the best part of my day was when I watched my daughter listen quietly during story time as the teacher related the story of the Ethiopian meeting Philip (in Acts). At the end of the story, my daughter raised her hand and waited patiently to be called. The teacher did her very best to ignore my daughter until it was clear she wasn’t going to give up. Once called on, my daughter stated, “And then he was baptized.” … The teacher had forgotten the end of the story. My daughter made sure that wasn’t going to happen, and I was so proud of her for knowing her Bible story.

But wow, is she strong-headed. She’ll make a fantastic leader, provided my husband and I help her learn how to soften her pushiness a bit. She knows what is right and is absolutely confident in who she is. I was very impressed with the time I spent at her school.

This being a Christian school, at the end of the teacher chat, the teachers offer to pray with you over your child. Each year I’ve appreciated their prayers and asked to pray for the teacher as well. I so enjoy being able to bless the teacher with an in-person prayer and have realized that this is something I might be ableto use in coming years at conferences as well. Next year my daughter will attend public school for kindergarten, and I anticipate parent/teacher conferences for many years. I hope that some of those teachers will allow me to pray over them as well, even if they do not share my beliefs. (Would that even be allowed at a conference? I guess I’ll be finding out!).