November 22, 2009

The Imperfectionist

We left my in-laws' house after an early holiday celebration.

My wonderful Mother-in-law cooked a perfect meal and my children would only eat bread and large knifings of butter. And then cried for ice cream and popsicles.

Every single time we go over there, they do not eat.

They just whine and beg to get down and when's dessert? and whine whine whine.

Do they ever eat?

Yes- at home! at restaurants! at school! at my parents' house! THEY EAT! I PROMISE YOU.

But here, where we would like to appear somewhat like good parents? As they scuffle and hit each other at the nice dining table? With cloth napkins and gold napkin rings.

They turn into little people I do not know and my heart goes into a panic that OH MY GOSH WHAT IF THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE REALLY LIKE?

What if these ARE the children I've created. What if this IS the behavior that I've instilled in them with my awesome parenting skillz? What if this is IT?

What if there are no take-backs?


We get home, arms full of leftovers, and at dinner time the kids eat. They eat the very things they refused to eat at Grandma and Grandpa's.

They sit and talk respectfully to each other. There is no whining here. They are happy! And I almost grab my Flip video as proof to show the in-laws.

Well, Gray still stomps and pouts and demands A FORK! for his ice cream instead of a spoon.

(Of course I rewarded their awful actions today with ice cream- what kind of Mother do you think I am?)

*Nervous laugh*

Please don't answer that.


I wrote the above and then shuffled the kids off to get ready for bed.

They washed their faces and brushed their teeth after only one asking.

I beat the world 8 castle of Super Mario Bros. on the DS for them and earned the title of Bestest Mommy and Mario Player Ever. They made Ivy laugh. We talked about Easter and what it means...

In their own words:

Like how I wasn't good at Grandma's today? And wanted that chocolate popsicle?

Like how I cried? And we were a little bad?

God gave his only son for us, because we aren't good sometimes. He's the only perfect one. We aren't.

My heart beats fast and I am so proud of these children. They aren't perfect. And neither am I.

Originally posted 4/12/09.

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  1. Firstly I can totally relate to that feeling when at other houses. My kids always refuse to eat and whine. Then I always feel like I have to say over and over that they eat at home, really well....


    And secondly, I just love the perspective of this post. We're all just people, fumbling along and needing Easter.


  2. They have at least a very basic understanding of the most important thing they could ever learn. That is awesome!

  3. You're a fine mother. :) I totally get it.

    When Zane was little, he go to my mom's and she'd ask what he had to eat. Without fail, he'd say, "Cracker and water." or "bread and water." Yes mother, I run a prison and he doesn't get ANYthing else to eat. EVER.

    But then my dad tried to take him in the car and told him he didn't need his booster seat and he stood up to my dad and refused to get in the car.

  4. I'm sorry I'm such a bad commenter. I usually just read it in my google reader, and then never comment. Bad, I know! :) Anyway, I had to comment on this one. The same thing happens to me and my kids - you are not alone! ;) I hate it though, cause you feel like you are such an awful mother, but in reality, we are not. We are doing the best we can! And I'll tell you what, after hearing what your kids were talking about at bed time, that is all that matters. That they love Jesus - not how they behave at the dinner table. They will outgrow that - hopefully! :) Hang in there! :)

  5. I remembered this from the last time you posted it, but it was a great reminder of what really matters...even if public misbehavior is rather embarrassing. :)

  6. I remember this from when you last posted it, but it's so much more poignant now that Luke is at THAT AGE where he frequently acts different when we're out than when we're at home, and I find myself thinking that I must be the worst mom and everyone must know. Thank you so much for this.

  7. My kids do the same thing too ... they will choose a place where I was hoping all would be perfect and they go wild! I have come to learn that maybe sometimes there is a lesson for me to learn ... maybe I am not being true to myself and they sense it!

    Your a great mom and your children are perfect children!!!

  8. This post was even sweeter this time around. :-)

    Beautiful writing.

  9. Wonder what would happen if next time you eat at your in-laws you tell the kids that you want them to argue with each, don't eat anything served, whine for ice cream, etc. MMM you could ask your mother-in-law how Jeff and his sister behaved while eating at her in-laws. You might find that she completely understands.

  10. This spoke to me so deeply the first time it was posted, I remember reading it :)
    And it still hits me, because kids will be kids. But they always surprise us, and give what is unexpected and deeply needed.

  11. I remember this post, and I still love it.

  12. I think as mothers, we can all identify with this. And without a doubt, my children pull this every time I am somewhere that I am just praying that they can display their fine manners and respectful table etiquette. And of course, it never happens and I always feel like a total dork. Along with the crowned dork status, my imagination takes off and I envision the worst case scenario that those individuals must perceive me and my children. In reality though, in most cases, they have all been there before and watch in silent humor, counting their blessings that they aren't the ones living in that moment. :)

    You are a fabulous mom Steph. It is so very evident in all that you do with your children and share with us.

  13. WOW! How neat are those precious bedtime conversations - Isn't that when everything comes out... I love the conversations about Christ - I love how pure and simple kids thoughts and words are. Very nice post.

    Sorry to have been a poor commenter... I have recently picked my blog back up, but have kept up with reading yours - Have always loved it!


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