(Inside: Funny mom story ahead. Moms, why do we stress about being perfect? The imperfections make life fun and often turn out to be the best parenting wins.)
My husband, three sons, and I stood army-stance, hands-on-hips, staring at our van.
All of the doors were flung open and the insides of the car split out onto the ground. Three sets of ice skates, fishing rods, a tackle box, reusable grocery bags, four soccer chairs, a basketball, crumbled middle school papers, and squished cups.
Let me back up.
A few minutes ago, we’d been backing out of our driveway.
One happy family and a dog ready to spend an epic day fishing at a new lake. Our youngest son called from the back, “There’s a tick on my window.” In my kids-must-learn-to-be-inde
Hit breaks. Return to our driveway. Unload car. We vacuumed it out like a 1980’s Ghostbusters movie reenactment.
However, let me rewind some more.
Earlier that morning, a different son sat in a living room chair.
“Mom, I found a tick on my leg!” he called out to me. “Okay, what’d you do with it?” He shrugged, “Threw it across the room.”
Hit breaks. Grab vacuum. And with crazy-mom eyes, suck all possible tick life out of every corner.
Virus pandemic. Murder hornets coming our way. A house and car full of ticks. The first week of May, in the year 2020. Yup, that seems about right.
Back to the car…
We finally felt certain the tick was gone, so piled back in and drove to our fishing spot. Breeze shifted by, the sun glistened against the water, and our Goldendoodle fell in the lake. She came back to dry ground with mud up to her chest and an air of pure joy. Of course, this would happen. We’d just cleaned our car – polishing and shining align the stars for events such as these.
The fish must’ve sensed our lack-of-luck and refused to bite. The deeply intertwined mud in our puppy-girl’s hair taunted us as it dried and threatened to become permanent. It just wasn’t fun. So, we cut our fishing trip short, maneuvered our messy dog into our pristine car and highway-ed home. We led our Goldendoodle around the back of the house, straight to the basement shower where we scrubbed and combed and repeated forever.
Our Saturday was meant to be full of family fun.
We were supposed to spend leisurely time at the lake, then take a walk, and finish our afternoon lingering over a meal. Chores were to be ignored – we’d planned accordingly. Instead, we cleaned the living room, detailed the car, and bathed our dog – for hours.
Yet, later that night, as we munched popcorn in front of a movie, one kid declared with enthusiasm that cut through my exhaustion, “Today was fun.”
Today. Was. Fun.
Ticks. More ticks. And a muddy dog. No sandy beach. No roller coasters. No expensive gifts. No perfect moments.
Just our ordinary life and that was good enough. Even deemed fun.
Do you know what our kids really want from us?
They just want us. Our time. Our attention. Our imperfect selves making them help us with cleaning the house, car, and dog.
Plain. Normal. Boring, even.
One of our tweens and teens’ deepest longings is simply this: to be part of a family. Even one with ticks.
And I’m grateful for my imperfect day – just to be reminded of that.
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens
Your brain bounces between your day at work, what time(s) your kids need to be at practice, your teen’s missing school assignments, that you haven’t called your mom lately, the load of the laundry to be switched, “What’s for dinner?” and “Why are 3 of my brain-tabs frozen?”
You are raising tweens and teens – the unique parenting phase where everything gets easier…and harder.
We’re finally believing all those “they grow so fast” comments. This is your last hurray with kids in your home and you want to love every minute.
You’re taking a second look at your career, your hobbies, how to share your gifts and talents.
Parenting grows your faith and then makes you wonder where your faith is.
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Read the complete “funny mom story” series
Laugh through motherhood with me by reading the complete “funny mom story” series:
Funny Mom Story: Disastrous Day Turned Parenting Win (Part 1)
Funny Parenting Stories: Raising Tweens and Tweens is the Best (Part 2)
Funny Stories about Parenting: Laugh Your Way Through Raising Tweens & Teens (Part 3)
Parenting Humor: When You Just Gotta Laugh (Part 4)
Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.