Friday, April 13, 2012

when your baby sits on the food court floor

So what do you do when your baby manages to slide out of his stroller and is smiling at people from the floor of the food court at the mall while you are ordering Chick-fil-a (unfortunately unaware of the drama unfolding behind you)?

Oh, no. . . that kind of stuff only happens to me.

I still can't figure out exactly what happened.  I must have forgotten to latch his seat belt. I choose to blame malfunctioning seat belt latches. (I should sue Jeep strollers.) All I do know is that two (kind) strangers were picking my baby up when I turned to peek at him mid-order.

Eli thought the whole thing was funny, because all he did was slide out and into a sitting position, with his swaddle still wrapped around him, happily smiling around at all of the Chick-fil-A customers. 

But I didn't think it was funny.  It was one of those moments when I wanted to shout "Hey, I'm actually a good mom, guys!  I take good care of my kids!  Really!  I don't let them watch TV and they have fresh ground wheat in their pancakes and I'm not a bad mom!"

So did you want the 4 piece or 6 piece chicken?

Right, I'm still mid order.  No time to defend myself.

Why do I need to defend myself?

Because women are their own worst critics.

If I had observed another stroller escaping child, my first thought would not have been grace. My first thought would not have been she's probably a good mom. No, it would have been an almost unconscious self righteous I would never let that happen to my baby.

All of the pressure that we pile on others, isn't that really just a cry to prove our own worth and value?  At the very root, a desire to defend myself?  A desire to be recognized for the often thankless job of caring for all of these little people? 

These words, these phone calls, these opinions, these facebook statements. . .

Oh, so you had a C-section. (*eyebrow raise*) 

Oh I'm cloth diapering.

My children are schooled at ____________________ (insert educational pressure point)

Weekly shopping and menu planning! (so organized). And we have a fresh green salad every night at dinner.

Bedtime is at seven-thirty over here!  (organized parents) Bedtime is at ten after tickle fights and reading! (fun parents)

Because we need (desperately) a method that works for us, often jumping on our whole wheat bandwagon is something that, while beneficial for our kids, is pushed upon other moms in an attempt to . . . what?  Get their kids to eat whole wheat?  Really?  Or is it deeper than that?

What if it's an attempt to prove that I'm a good mom because I'm intimidated by your amazing ability to balance your children and husband and life? And I look for something that you don't do so that I can feel better about my mommy-dom.

Ahh, whole wheat.  That's it.  Ya'll eat white bread over there, I knew there was some chink in your organized armor.

*commence monologue on the benefits of whole grains*

And we live this way when our strength could come from being honest about our own weaknesses and learning from the strengths of others.

I'm guilty.

I'm guilty of covering my own inadequacies up with finger pointing and tsk-ing.

I'm guilty of pleading for grace (I'm a good mom!) while passing judgement (and she's not a good mom!)

I'm guilty of masking my insecurities by pointing out yours.

But no mom has it all together.  No one is perfect.  No one mom ever wins the best mom award - - except from her own kids.

What if I took seriously some of these phrases from God's Word and applied them (in no particular order) to motherhood and other moms?

Love. . . does not seek its own.

Love. . .is kind.

Love. . .rejoices in the truth.

Jesus said. . . Come to Me, all you who are weary. . . and I will give you rest.

Serve one another. . .humbly. . . in love.

If you bite and devour one another, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Finding my security in the knowledge that I am a child of God takes away the competition, the proving, the desire to be esteemed and honored.

Finding my fulfillment in doing His will takes away the pressure to follow the frenzy of current good mommy trends.

And when I'm not trying to prove that I'm a good mom, my vision is clarified and I am given the freedom to see what a good mom you are.

Because you would never let your baby sit on the floor of the food court.

*     *     *

*I typed this with no makeup, wet hair, wearing a City Employee sweatshirt on Jacob's couch in his bedroom while telling Cambria piece by piece what to clean in her room. At 10:30 in the morning.  (just being real)

*Inspiration this week: Your Children Want YOU (read it!!)

*More inspiration:  Almond Joy Coffee Creamer.  (buy some!  I even let my kids pour it on their oatmeal)

Happy Friday. . . you're a good mom.


  1. But can you be a good mom if you let your kids pour coffee creamer in their oatmeal? Totally negates the healthy oatmeal part.
    :) KIDDING!

    I've done one worse. My chubby baby boy (I think about 8 months at the time) was all bundled up in his stroller while we were at a park. Somehow, he slipped out (stupid buckles!) and I started to RUN OVER MY OWN CHILD with the stroller. He sat there happily letting his mom wheel over him while horrified onlookers screeched out to me, the worse mom ever! ;) I was afraid to put that kid in a stroller ever again so I bought a sling thingy and strapped him to my body until he was 2 (slight exaggeration). So you're doing good if your kid is only on the mall floor. :D

  2. Ooooh Im loving your blog lately! You have such a good knack of writing exactly what I cant put into words! I read that article and really wanted to write something inspired by it but just couldnt get the words organized in my head.

    I beat myself up a lot and feel that I need to do more, on the other hand I do judge to make myself feel better about my mothering.

  3. I love how REAL your blog is!! And I chuckled at the end of reading this. I will have you know that I'm typing this comment with no makeup on, haven't yet brushed my hair, wearing yoga pants with paint stains on them. And it's lunch time. And I also read that 'You're Children Want YOU' article earlier this week!

  4. Cheers to this post Hayley! Perfect friday read. You're not the only mom who's child quietly escapes their "buckled" (or course) stroller. --Hey at least yours wasn't sitting in the middle of the floor SCREAMING or YELLING -happily at the top of their lungs! LOL! Love you dear one!

  5. As I read your post, I wondered if you had read that blog post. I read it in Sawdust and Embryos last night.

    Thank goodness I'm not the only one with dishes in the sink, a very unorganized fridge, a mascara stained face (YES, I'm having a rough day) and the list goes on and on.

    I'm glad my children want/need me. Our children make life worth living :)
    Thanks for posting!

  6. He was smiling! You must be a good mom!
    We do grind our own wheat and gather our own eggs, but I have to admit I was relieved when our milk cow died so I didn't have to do chores and that we have a baby due at the beginning of October so I have an "excuse" to raise a smaller garden. We have also been known to have junk food Sunday when we pick up Casey's pizza after church followed by cake, and milkshakes and popcorn for supper.

    As for cloth diapers, having them around works out better for us then using paper towels because I haven't gotten to town when we ran out of sposies. Actually, that is one of the reasons we have bags of wheat berries and chickens. Most days it is far easier than getting the troops loaded up for a trip to town.

    Thanks for keeping it real! God bless you in your journey.

  7. Hey I wanted to let you know I nominated you for a blogging award over on my blog! More people need to read your stuff... it's so good!

  8. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

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