This week I am working “on location” and will have limited blog access, so I am featuring a couple vintage posts and two wonderful guest posts from my God-sized dream buddies. Today the beautiful Barefoot Mel is kicking us off – an amazing God-sized dreamer who blogs over at Barefoot Mel about dreams, travels (she lived five years in Indonesia) and being a momma. I can’t wait to hug her in person at Allume in October. I know you’ll enjoy her words today as much as I did:
As the mama of a sweet, but spunky, three year-old, I know what it’s like to have what I like to call playground-mama moments.
Oh, and they come in all different shapes and sizes…and levels of embarrassment, too.
For instance, there might be the kind when I unleash my words at whoever-or-whatever may-or-may-not-be harming my child.
My first memorable one was around the time Mae was 18 months old.
A later walker, she was finally steady on her feet and running everywhere. She couldn’t get enough exploring, climbing, sliding, and jumping.
One day near Christmas that year, I took her to the playplace at the mall near our house. She was running around, squealing in all of her cuteness (and there’s a lot of it!), loving every second, when…Bam.
Like, physically, bam.
Some too-big-for-the-playplace boy came barreling around a corner, running right over her.
I ran to her, made sure she wasn’t hurt, and then I unleashed…
My Playground-Mama Fury.
That poor kid…I’m sure he felt so bad as I raised my voice loudly enough for the entire place to hear.
“You’ve GOT to look where you’re going…she’s little, and you could really hurt her!!! And you’re too big to play here!”
Then just imagine me shaking my finger at him like a teacher might because I’m pretty sure I did and because I used to be a teacher, too. 😉
No apology…instead, I watched as he sheepishly walked back to his mom, and the two of them left a few minutes later.
It’s not a moment I’m necessarily proud of…my mama bear instinct definitely reared its less-than-beautiful head that day. However, I reminded myself of something over and over…that while my reaction may have been a little over-the-top, there’s this thing called accountability.
That boy needed to know that his actions had consequences, regardless of whether Mae was actually hurt.
Let’s face it…any of us who are parents have most likely been there.
Our kids do something unkind or make a mistake or hurt someone…it happens. They’re kids, and they’re not perfect. My own girl has had those days when the time out spot by our closet door seems more like her permanent place to play than the actual play room. She’s cried big tears over bad choices and needing to apologize for hurting a friend. We’ve had to leave parks because she’s been disobedient.
And those tears of hers can break my mommy heart to shards, making me want to change my mind, give her ice cream, a new toy, and the moon…but then she’s not learning anything.
I still need to hold her accountable.
It can be embarrassing to make her apologize to other children in front of my friends and it’s certainly not fun to drag a screaming child to the van after a fun day at the park…because I often view her bad behavior as a reflection of my parenting.
No matter what, though, she needs to be taught that bad choices don’t just affect her…they can affect others, too.
It’s not an easy lesson to learn OR to teach…but then there are those moments that remind me that the decision to teach her to do the right thing does have its rewards.
A few weeks ago my husband took Mae to a playground down our street to give me a little break one afternoon. While they were there, a little girl fell off her scooter in the nearby parking lot and was crying.
Mae immediately tried to run over to help her, but my husband held her back because she had plenty of people around her.
Realizing that she couldn’t do anything, Mae stopped and did something that still brings tears to my eyes.
She bowed her head, folded her hands, and prayed for this little girl.
Friends, it’s not for the faint-hearted, this mommy thing.
It brings with it tears and pain, mama bear-ness, and so much more…but the joy it brings outweighs all of those and reminds us that it’s worth it every single second.
Even if we embarrass ourselves occasionally at the playground. 😉
Mel is a follower of her Father, wife to Tobin, mommy to Mae, a friend, a writer, and a dreamer. She loves a good morning run, music, and some amazing coffee and chocolate, both of which are better when shared with a friend over a heart-spilling chat. She writes about the real of her heart and life at A Barefoot Life as she dances through her days with one hand holding her daughter’s and the other holding a cup of coffee.
Kristin Smith says
Such a beautiful post Mel!! You are right this parenting thing isn’t for the faint of heart!! 🙂
You’re so sweet…thanks, Kristin! 🙂
Mel–it is so refreshing to see parents who require accountability and take the time to demonstrate and teach the principles to their children. Sometimes parents realize how challenging parenting is and default to an easier, hands off, mode. You know you have done a good job when you see a three year old stop and pray for a stranger 🙂
I think it was the reminder my heart needed…so often I feel like I’ve failed with parenting. (Read: she’s three and an active, but sweet, handful!) It was nice to have that precious reminder that we’re doing something right! Thank you for your words…blessings, Kathy! 🙂
Christine Wright says
Oh, I can just see Mae now, with her little head bowed…so sweet!! Keep it up, mama, you’re doing a great job!!
Thank you for your sweet encouragement, friend…you are a blessing! 🙂
Love it Mel. And being the mom to a spirited boy, we have more off days of hard discipline and accountability lessons than I’d like to admit. I’m still wondering when he will ever learn what I’m tirelessly trying to instill in him. He’d rather go kill zombies than pray for anyone at this age 🙁 But, trust in God who speaks to their hearts, right? Love to you today, sweet friend!
Oh Vanessa, that’s hysterical. I have one like that. They’re three and all they do is talk about shooting bears. You just pray it all soaks in 🙂
🙂 Trust me, friend…we have plenty of those days, too! But instead of zombies, she’s putting her princesses in timeout all day long or punishing one for hitting another…hmmmm. Something is soaking in! 😉 But God does speak to their hearts, like you said…there are just days when we don’t see it as much. Gotta remember that they’re as much in progress as we are. Love back to you! 🙂