Failing, and it’s kind of fun!

Parenting is tough. The job is around the clock. It brings unexpected twists and turns. It tries your every last nerves, and challenges you to put others first while being a role model who stays on your toes. We want to be tough and have boundaries, while also being fair….but not too nice because we don’t want to be their best friend either. Like Goldilocks, it’s gotta be just right. That can be hard and definitely tiring……

….Which is why I’m ‘failing’ a little bit. Typically, I reflect on good practices, good choices, and ‘winning’ at life. However, this summer has been filled with a little more wiggle room, a lot more sleep, even more laziness, and some bending of good choices! Yesterday while leaving Starbucks, I realized this when Anna was slurping down a decaf- caramel Frappuccino for the first time.

Image result for caramel frappuccino

We go to Starbucks periodically, and we have a for years starting this bad habit early. Often, she opts for a chai tea (yes, she has always loved unusual 40-year-old women things)! Yesterday, however, I opened a whole new door when I explained that she could indeed get the sugar-laden, but insanely delicious Frappuccino made with decaf. She loves coffee flavored things and she absolutely freaked over this drink, finishing it before we even arrived at home for me to take a picture.

When we were leaving Starbucks, Anna and I with our overpriced, super unhealthy drinks in hand, she grabbed my hand and said, “You’re the best mom ever.” Bad choices= happy kids.

It made me think about other bad choices I’ve made as a parent, bad habits we accept. Take for example that Anna got her first pedicure before she even entered kindergarten. Now, I know this is ridiculous. I was in high school or maybe even college before I got my first pedicure yet here I was taking cute, little girly Anna to pick out her polish when she was a tiny squirt. She loved it then and now I basically don’t go without her!……another parenting fail.

Then, there’s Brody and food. (And, Bo is just as responsible for this fail as much or maybe more). The kid is picky, like super-duper picky. Yes, we know that you should not feed your children different foods than the adults. Yes, we have read that they’ll eat when they’re hungry. Yes, we know that white pasta isn’t a healthy carb yet we have been failing at this habit for years. The kid simply never has and never will just eat because he gets hungry enough. He’s skinny and food just isn’t important to him ( don’t understand how he’s our child!). So what have we done? Catered to him.

King Brody gets something different to eat about 75% of the time, which is progress because it used to be 100% of the time. And while my rational brain knows this is simply not the best habit, we have made this choice because he eats. Much like when he was a baby and we cuddled him every night, in our bed or laps never putting him down because he would scream. We kept him happy. And what does he still do now? He’s a cuddler! (not a fail)

Then, there’s the Fortnite obsession that even this mama gave into this spring after much deliberation. Now this full-on addiction has infiltrated our house and my 45-year-old husband plays daily too! He verifies that it’s addictive (duh) but also very strategic. And while I worried most about the violence at first, it’s really the amount of time that concerns me most. There’s always another loooong round. But, wow do boys love this social game!

Image result for fortnite obsession

Now this fail has actually provided some really good leverage and motivation at our house. I’ve conditioned Brody to have to do his 2 chores and reading before he can start Fortnite. So, he’s read a lot this summer! I’d still be waiting at bedtime if it weren’t for Fortnite. In fact, he loves those new skins so much that for the first time in his life, he has asked to do poop-duty when it’s not his week to earn money. So maybe these fails aren’t really so bad.

When thinking about our parenting fails, it makes me realize that we all fail sometimes. Sometimes, it’s a parenting fail. Sometimes, it’s a personal fail. But, it makes us realize that we are human. It also makes me think that ‘failing’ is kind of fun too, and we do all need some fun in our life! I want to be healthy as much as the next person, but maybe some of these unhealthy, ‘bad’ choices aren’t so bad either. Or, maybe like me, you need to loosen up a little! Like parenting, life is a balancing act. Allow yourself to ‘fail’ a little in order to win.

Let them drink the Frappuccino, play some Fortnite, sneak a little Coke, and stay up a little past bedtime because before we know it, they’ll be grown and making their own choices! Have fun within reason. Allow for imperfection. And, maybe even enjoy ‘failing’ or simply making some poor choices every now and then!







You are what you eat….

If you are what you eat, I am a caramel macchiato. That was my treat this afternoon, and it’s buy one get one free for the next couple days! …(so good!) But, seriously, how bad is that!? I’d feel a little guilty if I did this every day. But, every once in a while, we all need a treat. I’m all about my treats. But, I’m also about balance.

If I eat my fruits and veggies, exercise, and get enough sleep, then I think I deserve a little Starbucks now and then! Today’s thought is what our kids are eating, though.

As a counselor, I spend a lot of time in the lunchroom. I often times take a moment to casually chat, check in on, and scan the kids. This week, I spent time both at breakfast and at lunch with students. And, what I’m seeing the kids eat for school lunch is just lousy. It’s actually more than lousy; it’s harmful. Our pre-packaged cafeteria food options in Knox county are horrible.

I remember being at a low-income school when they introduced free breakfast in classrooms for every student. WOW, I thought. This will be great because now kids will be fed, energized, and ready to learn! When the program was implemented, I was disappointed to see the free food the kids could choose from. Breakfast options might be choosing between a sausage biscuit (the healthier option) vs. Coco puff cereal. Sometimes, there was yogurt as an option but usually Fruit loops with chocolate milk was the breakfast of Champions. Why not have Cheerios and not the sugar-laden cereals? This is an image that came up in Google for American school lunches. Where is this being served? Not here…not even close. It’s colorful, well-balanced, and real food. It looks amazing!


But, most often, kids are eating frozen french toast sticks, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, or waffles. And, don’t forget the chocolate milk or frozen juice from concentrate. Now, that alone wouldn’t be horrible, minus the sugar crash they experience mid-morning, if they weren’t also given horrendous choices at lunch too.

Last week, I watched my girls’ group file in for lunch, half of which bought their school lunch. Many went straight to eating their ice cream and all girls who had school lunches had ice cream. Why? Because they ran out of syrup so instead, they got a free ice cream. So, let me recap. For their lunch, they had waffles, hash browns, and ice cream. Most trays were filled with white or beige foods only. (Chicken and waffles with syrup is a common school lunch). ice cream.png

Then today, I stopped to check in a kindergarten student who struggles to focus and retain information. He was chowing down on his cotton candy ice cream at the lunch table. His prepackaged pb&j Uncrustable was still in it’s plastic wrapper, as were his Cheezit’s and string cheese (also sealed in plastic). He said he was going to eat the cheezits, though. How is this nutritional!?

Many kids won’t have a choice. They are on free or reduced lunch and if given the chance, like most kids, will eat the ice cream. Ice cream is offered every day as a money-maker. Who needs ice cream at lunch every day!? Cookies often come with the meal. And, with strawberry and chocolate milk offered, who would choose white milk!? We are addicted to sugar in this country.

I include myself in this addition but I refuse to fill my children with empty calories and bad habits. This is unacceptable but many parents just don’t know. And, while fresh caesar salads, carrots, and fruit are also often offered, I witness most kids eating their beige, or plastic wrapped foods first. The main entree’s are not healthy with common meats including breaded chicken tenders, hamburgers (or something that’s supposed to be a burger), chick and waffles, chicken patty sandwiches on white buns, and hot dogs. We can’t let this be their choice. With childhood obesity, childhood diabetes, rising incidents of cancer, and attention and hyperactivity issues, we should take a step back and look at the basics.

To often sleep, diet, and exercise are overlooked. We should all advocate for our children. I realize all parents can’t or won’t pack their children’s lunches, controlling some of what they eat, but we can care. We can tell our children what they should be eating. We should teach why good nutrition is important. We should talk to our Board of Education about caring about our children’s health. And, diet is an important part of health and development. In a country that can afford to, we should be doing better America!


p.s. I have had great idea of creating healthy, ready-to-eat meals for kids. I just need an investor! No more Lunchables!!


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