What a Nightmare!

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My Confession: I gave my son nightmares.

Last week my son woke up at least eight times between 8:30 pm and 7:00 am. If he were 7 weeks old or 7 months old, I might understand. But he’s 7 YEARS old. And it was my fault. Here’s the story…

My problem started the summer of ’09 when Mark won a Scooby-Doo DVD. He was so proud of his prize, he came home waving it in the air like it was a million dollar check. Up to this point, my kids had never set eyes Scooby. I’ll admit it…I’ve always been very conservative about TV and movies. Too much research out there about the impact of television on kids. So I was very hesitant to dive into something I’d avoided for so long. But, both boys begged to watch it. Mark had the plastic wrap off that thing before I could say ZOINKS! So, I gave in. And it wasn’t so bad. Before I knew it, a couple weeks had passed and Scooby-Doo had become a regular on the viewing menu. Then the nightmares started. Three nights in a row of being jolted out of bed with blood-curdling screams. If I had been hesitant about Scooby before, now I was convinced. He was banned from our house. That was two years ago.

Fast-forward one year. My son, now 6 years old, begged me to give “the gang” another chance. For some reason, he has a fascination with the fake monsters and those meddling kids. He insisted that he was no longer scared and he wouldn’t have nightmares. So, I let him break down my resistance and I tried again. But 2:00 AM came and again he stood at the side of my bed screaming. A surge of guilt-laced adrenaline flew through my system and kept me awake long after Mark went back to sleep. I made my vow again, “No more Scooby-Doo!”

Fast-forward another year to last week. More begging and pleading for yet another chance. Mark explained that he’s “a big boy” now and things like that no longer bother him. No nightmares in months, maybe even a year. Somehow, I let him convince me (AGAIN) that it would be okay. And it was…at first. Several nights went by without a scream, without being woken up at 2 AM. But then came the infamous sleepless night – every dream punctuated with “Get me out of here, Scoob!”

My Conclusion: When I do things like this, I always pay the price. I guess it’s a dilemma that all moms face. We want to please our kids, to make them happy. So we give in when we shouldn’t. We let them break us down to avoid the fight or to have peace. Sometimes it’s okay. But usually, it just makes for bigger problems. It’s just not worth it in the end.

Besides, a friend reminded me that in this case, there is a greater lesson to remember. Philippians 4:8 –  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

No judgment is being passed on the “Scooby-Doo” movies, television shows or characters. Daphne, Fred, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby are beloved by many a child the world over;-)

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Where’s the Kid?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAConfession: I lost my child!

I know I’m not the only person who’s had this experience. I’ve shared my “lost child” story with more than one mom and they’ve always returned the favor.

My story is set at Legoland on a hot summer day. The boys were three and six years old at the time. Strollers were still my friend back then. We’d left ours at home, so when we got to the park we rented one. It was the first time we’d ever used a rented stroller. It was expensive but nice with a wide, comfy seat for Mark and a big, red canopy. Perfect to keep the sun off a fair-skinned preschooler.

The crowds were fierce that day and I maneuvered the stroller with little Mark inside toward the water-play area. The boys looked forward to squirting a few strangers and getting soaked under the giant bucket. After our ten minute walk, we finally reached the water guns and I pulled back the canopy to point them out to Mark. But he wasn’t there.

Where was he? I had no idea. I didn’t know when he’d gotten out of the stroller or how. I’d never stopped walking. How does a child get out of a moving stroller without the parent noticing? Good question. But he did. And it was that darn canopy that kept me from seeing it. It was so big. Such a good cover. It did its job. Just too well.

Of course, the minute we noticed he was missing we scanned the area. He was nowhere to be found. My husband handed Luke off to me and took off running. We didn’t know how long he’d been gone. The crowd was thick, the noise deafening. I screamed out his name, “MAAARRRK!” But how would he ever hear me? So, I stood there holding Luke’s hand, helpless. My heart throbbed in my throat during those long minutes. But, soon they were back – my husband and Mark
wrapped around him, crying. He hadn’t been far away, just standing in the middle of a crowd, sobbing. He was lost but then he was found.

My Conclusion: For all parents who’ve had this experience, you know the feeling of dread that comes along with it. But you also know the joy at finding that lost child. I am humbled by the truth that our Heavenly Father feels even more when we come to Him, lost in our sins – an indescribable and incomparable joy.

Happy Father’s Day!

Do you have a “Where’s the Kid?” story? Share it with us.

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Should You Bluff?

Royal_flushConfession: I’ve bluffed my kids…more than once.

No, I’m not talking about playing poker with my 6 year old. I’m confessing to making empty threats. The kind you never plan to follow through on. It happened the day I came up with the idea for this blog. My kids and I were getting ready for a birthday party. I didn’t want to be late and was rushing around the house. My boys, on the other hand, were fighting.

“If you touch your brother again, we’re not going to the party,” I yelled down the stairs as I rummaged through the closet for my shoes. The minute the words came out, I threw my hand over my mouth. Empty threat! I moaned about my bad choice. Then I tapped myself on the forehead. That was a dumb thing to say, I thought. I knew I would never follow through. We definitely weren’t staying home. The fall-out alone wouldn’t make it worth it.

I could imagine the scene: we’d be sitting in the mini-van and he’d touch his brother one last time. “You did it again. I saw you,” I’d say. “Go back in the house. We’re not going.”

“Why?” they’d both yell. Then, the sacred “But, you promised!” would fly out of their mouths.

Although it would be irritating to hear their complaints, that wouldn’t be the worst of it. My bigger problems were the $20 birthday present I’d already bought and my promise to help my friend watch the kids in the pool during the party. I had to go. I’m sure that for some of you moms it would have been a perfect “threat”….you’d actually make good on it. But, for me, sad to say I had too much to lose. And I haven’t even confessed my biggest issue: I didn’t want to look bad in front of my friend if I didn’t show up. I know, real mature. But, that’s a confession for another day.

My Conclusion: If you’re going to bluff, don’t get caught. Just admit it before the kids figure it out and call you on it. So, if you’re really not going to take away the TV for a month, apologize for choosing the wrong consequence. Then make a change. Figure out something that will work for you AND teach your kids a lesson.

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Why Confess?

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So, what’s the point of this blog? Why confess at all? It’s not to garner sympathy. And I definitely don’t write it as a way to absolve myself of my sins. The main reason I confess and write this blog is for mothers like me. No, not for psychologist moms, but for all moms. Because we’re all alike. We all have good days and bad days as parents, even those of us who have been trained to work with children. Teachers have a hard time educating their own children, doctors sometimes misdiagnose the illnesses in their households. And the children of child psychologists misbehave. All parents do the right thing for their kids AND all parents make mistakes.

I make mistakes in my mothering all the time. And the same goes for you. My point in confessing is to encourage moms like me – to let you know that you aren’t alone. No matter how much I know, I still struggle with parenting. And so will you. No matter how good a mom you are, you will fail. (I know, it doesn’t sound like an encouraging message, but bear with me!) We fail because we aren’t perfect.

We moms struggle with perfectionism, don’t we? We try to look like we’re  doing it right in front of other moms but behind closed doors we make mistakes. Instead of asking each other for help, we plaster on a fake smile and don’t admit that we let our 3-year-old bully us into buying him two candy bars in the check-out line. Why? We’re embarrassed. We live under the fallacy that we’re the only mom who gives in. Or that we are the only person who is too tired to fight the battle. So, we struggle alone.

But we’re not alone. And we need other moms to come around us; to acknowledge that they have the same issues. Then we need to encourage each other to keep on going, to trust our instincts and to depend upon God to guide us in our parenting. It will help us become the better moms we want to be.

I think we should all be willing to confess our failures. Then we can “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24, NIV).

So, what do you have to confess?

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