Santa is a stalker

It’s that’s time of year again —

Middle School Carpool


Kid 1: Sometimes when I fart my mom says it sounds wet — but it really ISN’T — it just SOUNDS that way.

Kid 2: That song, “Let It Go” is really about someone who has to go to the bathroom really bad!

(three kids break out in song and laughter)

Kid 1: I think Santa is a stalker.  I mean think about it “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good….” I mean really … that’s CREEPY!

ROARING laughter over Santa being a stalker. R-O-A-R-I-N-G, I tell you.

But the good news for me is that it was only a 1-window afternoon.  Just a tiny bit of stink.  That’s miracle territory considering it was 97 degrees when I picked them up. Thank you Jesus that we didn’t have to experience a “wet fart.”  God help me.

Disclaimer: Contrary to popular belief, the wet fart kid was not mine.


the cool mom

image (11)
yes – that’s a cat poster in the background of my middle school son’s room — don’t judge, we love cats!

I always wanted to be the cool mom, but let’s face it — it’s HARD WORK to be the cool mom.  You have to endure loud kids, who are almost always smelly.  You have to endure conversations that make you want to scream “NEITHER OF YOU ARE RIGHT, SO QUIT ARGUING!”  You might even have to endure the occassional projectile sneeze… just keeping it real, folks.

When chronic pain decided to set up camp in my body, being the cool mom was the least of my worries.  I could’ve cared less what my kid’s friends thought of me, but I did still secretly want to be the mom that MY kid adored and cherished because I had “cool” qualities.  So this school year I decided to do things a little differently.

I decided to be the carpool mom.
With 4 middle school boys in the car.
Every single school day.
Yes, I have reevaluated this decision multiple times.

Some days I lock out the window buttons so I can control how much longer we keep them all down on the highway.  Some days I hum to myself to block out the high-pitched-not-yet-matured-screeching-voices.  Sometimes I think the Vice Principal thinks I’m high or drunk because I just smile while the 4 boys stand outside of the minivan and fight over who is going to sit where. (Yesterday I lost my cool and SHOUTED at them while I was trying to move up and they were all trying to get in!  One of the teachers laughed hysterically.  It’s ok lady, I know you think I’m one shoelace away from the nuthouse.) 

But guess what else happens sometimes?

Sometimes I have tears in my eyes (not from the smell… well, maybe from that too) because they are hysterical and tell the funniest jokes!  Sometimes I am so incredibly touched by the way they console each other after a bad grade or losing something precious to them at school.  Sometimes I “go there” with them and entertain fart jokes and even fart apps.  On Fridays we have “Fun Drink Friday” and I treat them to a Slurpee or fountain drink at 7-11.

Over time, without even knowing it — I started to become the cool mom in the eyes of my son.  He offers other kids a ride home because he knows there’s some fun to be had in our minivan.  I hear the boys telling their friends “It’s FRIDAY — do you know what that means in OUR carpool?!?!?”  I’ve gotten to hear about the ins and outs of what’s happening in Middle School without having to BE there to endure 700 middle schoolers… just 4.  And for the record, God bless Middle School teachers — can we all take a knee for a moment and lift them in prayer?

My son and I started reading Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder together and I “get” the majority of the humor after hanging with “my boys” each day for 30+ minutes.  Last night we had dinner with my parents and when I saw the look on my son’s face when he shared (at the dinner table no less) what we have been reading together — it wasn’t a look of “look what I’m getting away with!” — it was a look of “my mom is SO cool because she reads this with me!”  … and I think part of me is still at Scotty P’s in a puddle on the floor because I melted when I saw that look on his face.

  • Be a hero in your kid’s life.
  • “Go there” with their humor sometimes so you can understand where they are in their lives.
  • Set boundaries (we have already had to pull over twice this year in carpool!) because kids then know where the safe zone is and they RELISH it!

And if you sign up to be the carpool mom just have your phone handy to record some amazingly hysterical audio.  One of my favorite conversations revolved around college savings accounts.  Apparently every kid has one, and college is already paid for!  — My husband and I just laughed and rolled our eyes (yes, I have an audio recording of that conversation).  Sorry son, yes – you have a college savings account but dear child, only ONE SEMESTER is paid for!  HAHAHAHA!  What kind of degree do you think he can get after one semester?  Hmmmm, maybe that’s conversation for Fun Drink Friday today!

Go forth and be cool.
If you’re already cool, tell us about it!  What do you do that makes you the cool mom? (or dad)

give the gift of grace today

give the gift of grace today

In the Dallas area, it’s the first day of school for the majority of public schools.  So not only do we have hundreds of thousands of nervous, anxious, and excited kids who poured out of our homes and cars this morning — we also have hundreds of thousands of nervous, anxious, and excited parents who are doing their best to function “normally” today.

Even if you don’t have kids who went back to school,
give the gift of grace today.  

Here are real life examples of why you should give your coworkers (and strangers at the grocery store) some grace today:

  1. A family just moved from New Mexico 5 weeks ago and her kids know ZERO kids at school today, so mom is a bit nervous and anxious for her kids.
  2. A middle school girl was bullied to the point of wanting to take her life last year, and today she had to go back to school — needless to say, mom and dad are doing all they can to focus on their jobs today.
  3. A 5th grade boy with ADHD is going back to school, but this time with medication that will help him “not feel like a goof ball on the playground” (his words).  Mom and dad are anxious to hear how he fared socially today.
  4. Moms and dads took their “babies” to school for the very first time this morning and peeled their nervous children off their legs before they walked out of the school.
  5. A mom who gave a teacher the benefit of the doubt last year only to find out she truly had been singling out her kiddo is trying her best to give grace to the teacher this year and not hover over her son.
  6. A teacher fresh out of college welcomed kids into his classroom for the very first time this morning – I bet even HIS parents are nervous and anxious for him!

I have a feeling that many many moms and dads will be watching the clock today, waiting for that hour when they get to reunite with their kids to talk about what was awesome, and what needs improvement.  I bet many of these families could use our prayers.

While anxiety may be weighing down the hearts of many parents around you, cheer them up with an unexpected kind word.  Or when your coworker doesn’t follow through with the thing she said she would take care of, or the lady in Wal-Mart seems to be aimlessly walking down the middle of the aisle, do your very best to give them the gift of grace.


can your kids do tricks?

Cowboy takes a bow
Cowboy takes a bow

Anyone can teach a dog to do tricks, and often times in parenting that’s what we teach our kids to do … tricks.

I firmly believe that when we teach people to do something just for the sake of doing it, or to make them look good or fit in society, we aren’t giving them life skills.  We are teaching them tricks.  Now I fully admit that teaching them tricks is easier and can be done from behind the wheel while racing to school and everyone is still eating breakfast in the car.  I know, I get it.  But what I’m saying here is that I’ve seen some results of my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-parenting, and I’m not impressed with the results.

I don’t want to teach my kid tricks anymore. I want to do heart-work with him, not behavior-work.  Behavior modification is exhausting and he still misses the toilet anyway.  And YES, I know this will take time and I will have to put my phone down to do it.  In fact it might even take prayer and seeking wise advice from those who have already been through this parenting stage.

So …how do we do it?
That’s always our next question. (Other than, how long will this take?)

As school ramps up, don’t teach your elementary aged kids the trick of keeping their mouths closed while the teacher is talking. Instead talk to them about what it feels like when someone talks over us.  Because I am an awesome parent and I read “all the books”, I’ve been known to turn the table on my child every now and then.  When he gets in trouble for being disrespectful at school, I’ll shake things up at dinner and talk over him for about 3-5 minutes.  When I can see he is getting the picture, we talk about how it FELT to be talked over and interrupted.  Prize winning parenting?  Probably not.  A new found understanding of empathy?  Score one for mom. 

I stink at praising my son for HIS work – he loves to draw, I love to draw… perhaps you can see the problem already.  I tend to judge his work based on how I would draw something and I question his placement of weaponry (for more reasons than simply artistic).  I’m sending the message that I think his drawing stinks (high five to those of you who said “drawering” in an SNL sort of way) but that’s not my intent at all!  Instead I should say, “WOW, that’s a creative way to make the blood drip from his nose!”

Please tell me my son is not the only one.

Actually, don’t.
Don’t tell me my son is the only one.Because then I will have to take action and I’m only capable of one step at a time here, people.

Kids are verbally brutal to one another in this generation (aw snap, when did I turn into my mother?!?!). They pick on each other for their clothes or how they speak or because of their lack of athletic abilities. Sure, being kind to another’s face is important, but teaching your kids that what they say about others after they have left the room is what shows true character.  The bible says, “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  So every time we speak, people see more and more of our heart-nature.  Talk about x-ray glasses!  If I had a post it note stuck to me from all the things I said recently which revealed pieces of my heart, I would desire a shredder and sunglasses.

A grown-up “trick” in this scenario would be putting a smiley face after a rude comment on Facebook or saying “you know I’m just kidding” when really you did mean that those pants were hideous and you wouldn’t be caught dead in them.

Yuck.  I don’t like how it feels when I do things like that.  I don’t like saving face, I don’t like the way gossip makes me feel, and I really don’t like that heavy feeling of “dang it, I yelled at my son AGAIN!”   I would love to spare my son this adult grief and just teach him about heart-nature from the get-go.

The bottom line here is that if we keep putting band-aids on our kids’ behavior, we won’t ever encourage their heart-growth.  I’ll be the first to admit that I have been known (a few minutes ago) to say things like “DUDE!  Just … SHUSH!” or other uplifting mothering comments such as “If you aren’t ready in 3 minutes I’m leaving without you.”

I, Ann, vow to make an effort to quit parenting on the fly, to speak from my heart instead of from my pool of witty and sarcastic come-backs, and to stop nitpicking the choice of sub-machine guns sketched in 2B pencil,  I didn’t say I was going to change overnight, I said I was going to make an effort.

Who’s with me?