parenting fail #342

have i told y'all how much i love (okay, adore) the show parenthood? no?
well, i do.

please forgive me for not mentioning it sooner, and by all means set your dvrs for 9:00 tuesday nights if you're not already because it really is delightful. laughter. tears. dreams. reality. kids. parents. messy. hope. life. family. it's all there, and they get it right, mostly, without cheese or a laugh-track.

and yes, i talked about tv again. shoot me.

this morning i got up early(ish) and had some quiet time with my bible, a notebook, coffee and prayer before the house woke up and the morning scramble started. i prayed specifically for me to choose my words today carefully, to speak gently, with love, to hold my tongue when i should and not allow sarcasm or irritation win. you know the drill, right? my emotions tend to bubble up to the surface, sometimes surprisingly fast, and often erupt with a raised voice or harsh word or frustrated tone directed at the people who live here (and sometimes the pets).

right after amen i carried a basket of annelise's laundry upstairs and woke up my still slumbering daughter.  as she was stretching and starting to get up i started to put her socks and undies away in her drawer and hopefully find the missing partners to 4 freshly laundered socks in the process. i opened her top drawer, and it was as i expected, a jumbled mess. we've been down this road before. too many times i've straightened her creatively folded (read: mess) shirts, shorts, jeans, pjs, etc. before putting the neatly folded fresh laundry away, all the while my blood is boiling and i'm pontificating about the need for her to keep her drawers tidy. i've also had the not so proud moment of dumping her drawers out on the floor and having her refold everything. lately though i've tried telling myself that it doesn't matter what the insides of her dresser drawers look like as long as they're shut, because really, the whole drama only stresses me out (read: boiling blood and raised voices) and ends in hurt feelings (read: both of us).

are responsibility and respect directly tied to tidy dresser drawers? maybe. are messy dresser drawers at eight-years old a prediction of her future or a reflection on her parenting? maybe. should i be a drill sergeant about this (and the state of her room in general) or be more relaxed? maybe.

as i rummaged in her drawer and looked around her room at various piles of toys in mid or forgotten play, books needing to be reshelved, scraps and do-dads from crafts and spontaneous art, i felt those frustrated emotions start to bubble up. uh-oh.

she was getting dressed and her wednesday was just beginning. at that moment i had a choice to either nag and pontificate and complain about the state of her room or i could wait until after school. i could give either guilt or grace, which would it be?

i'd like to say it was grace.

but it wasn't.

i could have sent up a quick prayer or two for control of my tongue and emotions, but i didn't.
i resorted to nagging and complaining and frustration and expressing disappointment.

all before cereal.


before we left for school i talked more gently to her and apologized for getting so upset. we hugged. she told me she forgave me.

she extended grace.
just like that.

why can't i do that?

p. s. we're tackling her room, together, after school
p. p. s. even though she was quick to forgive,  i know my outburst put a damper on her morning just the same. i hate that.
p. p. p. s. i guess this post didn't have a hill of beans to do with the tv show parenthood after all, except that is seems easier on tv.

*do you often feel challenged by a weakness soon after you pray about it?*
*do messy drawers bother you much?*
*what are your expectations for your child's room (neatness wise)?*
*do i need to take a big ol' chill pill?*

edited to add: i think i knew all along that getting upset about her drawers or her room was ridiculous, because 1.) they weren't really as terrible as i was making them out to be, b.) in the grand scheme of things, and at the expense of her feelings, this wasn't worth it and xyz.) there was a better way to address the issue. but i let my feelings take over anyway and spent the rest of the day feeling guilty and small. after school we did tackle her room and her drawers and things are much better. (!!) having fewer things in each drawer will help a ton (i hope). there was even a goofy moment near the end where i burst into her room and sang like jasmine from aladdin "a whole new world", but i sang room and dressers instead.


  1. Yes,they bother me but in the grand scale of this house it's the least of my worries.(or one of them at least)

  2. I'm really bothered by Max's drawers too because it's totally a "in one ear-out the other kind of thing" but I know that if I really wanted to make it an issue, I'd have to make it part of his everyday routine. In other words, he couldn't watch TV or play Wii or something before his room was inspected. He needs short-term deadlines (like put your laundry away and you have 5 minutes before I come and check). I don't think he would succeed with longer-range expectations, but that is definitely the goal at some point! It's like the whole parenting with scaffolding idea. Give them the support and training when necessary but pull it away a little bit at a time so they can do it on their own. Anyway, this realization helps me when my blood starts to boil and reminds me that it's all a training process. But yeah - I fail a lot in this particular area!

  3. Praying to improve in an area is an invitation to exercise that virtue. Right?

    My kids rooms are a disaster, especially the girls. We are constantly working on solutions and failing. Some days I can let it go, some days I can't. Right now I am in denial about the mess. Can't handle it.

  4. Neat drawers and rooms are "small stuff" to me....now, when company is coming over G doesn't want to be "embarassed" and cleans her things up.
    As long as all the tee shirts are in the same drawer, pj's in their drawer, etc, I don't sweat it.
    There are bigger fish to fry....;)

  5. I'm right there too..Some days I can't handle it and other days I just shove the stuff on top of the mess they've made. Plus I figure if only 1 out of 3 of my boys has messy drawers thats not bad?? just kidding! :) I try to pick my battles, and sometimes thats one I let slide..haha
    I LOVE Parenthood, darn show makes me cry every week! haha

  6. Oh thanks for being human. HOW many times have I done that!? Too many to count.

  7. parenting mistakes-ALL THE TIME!! I have thought about watching that show. I never have though. anyway, don't know if it helps knowing you are not alone in these situations. or if our kids will all end up whack. :) the added humor (singing) afterwards probably helped. wish that was still true for a 15 year old!

  8. If it makes you feel any better, she will get better! my room was probably a lot like annelise's sounds like. Can't tell you how many fights my mom and I had over cleaning my closet, drawers and under the bed! I know she felt like she was a bad mother because my definition of clean didn't meet many people's :) Now that I'm older, married and have my own house, my level of cleanliness has definitely increased! And while I still struggle some, I'm definitely learning from my mother's ways and trying my best to keep a clean house!


I'd love to hear what you have to say. I try to reply to comments and answer questions within each post so be sure to check back from time to time. Thanks for visiting!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...