Why the World Will Never See Me as a Good Parent

She wanted her way.

I said no.

Sound familiar? It’s a regular occurrence in our house.

“You are the meanest mom!”

What? Your image of our family is shattered? Yeah, mine too.

I used to cringe when my kids said this.

Now, I just nod my head and remind myself that I must be doing something right. And most of you are too. But the world won’t always see it that way.

It’s in our children’s nature (as it is in ours) to be selfish. We want what we want and why didn’t we get it five minutes ago? I’m not picking on my kids. They are human, completely normal. So much like me.

But our culture is all about self-gratification. It’s made comfort and ease and excess the goal.

I try to say yes when I can, but let’s be honest, some answers need to be no.

This probably won’t shock you, but this isn’t popular in our world. We live in a culture that thinks they put kids first by telling them yes. It’s common, normal, applauded to be yes parents. And we are creating a generation of children who always get what they want. They have their own ipads at 3, cell phones at 7, are over-scheduled at 8, wear $150 shoes at 9 and have more freedom than they can handle at 11 and are “dating” at 12.

Parents in our society have bought into the myth that if they give their kids everything they want, they will be happy. Plus, it’s just a lot easier than saying no. No takes courage. It takes strength (especially if God’s blessed you with strong-willed children). Ahem.

The world will never see me as good parent. 

My husband and I are trying to raise our kids counter-cultural.

I say trying because we don’t have this figured out and we are learning how not to do things. But we walk against the flow, on purpose. We refuse to do what our culture demands and we say no a lot to cultural norms.We try hard to be consistent, offering grace and understanding along the way.

And we screw up every day.

Before you feel sorry for my kids, we also provide them with love and affection, meet every physical need and many, many of their wants. We splurge occasionally (which I think is absolutely necessary) and we invite our kids to talk to us about anything, as long as they can do it respectfully.

I know there are many families that do the same thing and I hope we can encourage each other. But society as a whole, will not understand your choices.

Choosing to live counter-cultural isn’t easy.  The world will never see you as a good parent. You will be misunderstood, even pitied. And your children might (probably will) resist in some areas. Living a counter-cultural life means you won’t fit in. It means your kids won’t be like everyone else. Most days my kids are okay with this, but honestly, some days it’s hard for all of us. We continually ask our kids to trust us as we try to follow God, but we know there are some things they will never understand or like.

Which gets me back to being the meanest mom ever.

And honestly, I’m okay with that.

I know I’m not alone in this, so be encouraged all you mean moms!

one :: limit screen time (set a time limit each day, or only allow it on the weekends, have a “no technology day” –whatever works for you).

two :: resist overspending– your kids are watching, don’t pass down bad spending habits and contribute to what the bulk of our society is doing. And if you do overspend, attack your debt.

three :: don’t be afraid to say no– even if society and every other parent on the block is doing it, don’t jump on the bandwagon unless it’s right for your family. Be intentional with your choices.

four :: give your kids jobs– create a sense of hard work, pride and ownership by encouraging them to work for what they want. Don’t just buy them everything.

five :: determine what your kids really need-there’s a lot of pressure as parents to give our kids the best of everything. Give your kids what God says they need. Love them unconditionally, offer grace like it’s offered to you. Laugh every day and be grateful.

six :: live by example-the Bible clearly states that we are to look different from the world we live in. If we are buying into the American Dream (bigger is better), are we setting an example for our kids? Kids often replicate parents. Give them something good to follow.

seven :: encourage alternatives– don’t just say no. Challenge your kids to creatively express themselves. Example:  I loved seeing this recently: instead of spending $100 on a homecoming football mum, a group of kids gave the money to charity and wore a t-shirt that said so.

eight :: expect more from your kids than culture demands– society says kids need stuff and all teens are lazy.  Let’s prove them wrong and challenge our children to be hard workers.

nine :: let them own mistakes– don’t fix everything. Teach your children responsibility by letting them fail sometimes. Be consistent.

ten :: splurge– surprise your kids every once in awhile by breaking one of the above rules.

WFMW: Egg Substitutes

I’m the kind of cook that gets half-way thru a recipe and realizes she doesn’t have all the ingredients.

I usually improvise.

Oh, you should be me. It’s an adventure let me tell you.

I think it was divine providence that a professional baker lives next door to me. She’s shared more than one egg. Which is sort of why I googled “egg substitutes” because even I have some baking pride.

Did you know you can use the one of following so substitute eggs in a recipe?

  • 1/2 banana, mashed (medium size) + 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 TBS applesauce
  • 3 TBS mayonnaise (*contains eggs so not suitable for allergy or vegan accomodation)

Most eggcellent!

E-Book Coming in April: That Works For Me! Tried and True Tips from Works For Me Wednesday

You Might Be a Mom. . .{Giveaway}

UPDATED with winners:  Comments 303 and 72 were randomly selected; congrats to Rachel & Lori.

If you’ve ever caught vomit with your hands.

If you’ve ever considered a trip to Target alone a mini-vacation.

If you’ve ever told a group of adults you need to go potty.

If you’ve ever hidden in the bathroom to talk on the phone.

If you’ve ever had a funeral for a cricket or pulled a soggy lizard from the washing machine.

If you’ve ever used your own spit to clean a face or adjust a wild cowlick.

If you’ve ever thanked God for Magic Erasers.

If you’ve ever hidden chocolate in the house.

If you’ve ever lied to children.

If you’ve ever shaken a pile of crumbs from your purse.

If you wouldn’t trade your unpaid job for all the money in the world.

If you’re not a mom, you certainly had one

And she (you) deserves to be celebrated! Mother’s Day will be here before you know it. Mothers are beautiful and they deserve a bit of beauty.

Today, in honor of the women who make the world go round, The Vintage Pearl is offering two $50 gift certificates!

Take a look around and tell me what you’d give a mom (yourself included) in your life. And for fun, fill in the ____.

You might be a mom if . . .

This giveaway ends Thursday.

This Really Happened

I really scored this piece of awesome for $20 bucks at a garage sale this weekend. It’s from Pottery Barn Kids. Only I bought it from a lady moving to Canada. I love it when people move to Canada.

Pottery Barn doesn’t sell it any longer. Good thing, none of us could have afforded it.

The manager of a local movie theater really lost the key to the um, door to the theater and sent the line of 20 people away who were waiting to see the first showing of Hunger Games on Saturday morning.

Sometimes I’m really able to convince my children that work is fun.

really did go back to the same theatre the next day and get free popcorn and coke for my troubles. It was a well done movie, but I also think it’s disturbing. But it should be, right? My two cents.

This wooden box is really hanging inside the door of a country Baptist church where my kids had their piano recital this weekend:

The little sign reads: “In case of the disappearance of True Christians, there are instructions located in the above box to help those who are left behind.

And it really brought up interesting conversation with my kiddos!

And just like that, the weekend is really over.

What Kids Need Most

The longer I’m a mom, the more convinced I am my kids need half of what I give them. I’m good at offering loads of advice, putting up boundaries and plenty of expectations.

Our world has convinced us they need more stuff, if we could just give them more and more. They need the best schools, activities to fill every hour, the best chance in life to be successful. And mainly, we need to help them conform to the world in the way they dress and act. Be safe, be like everyone else.

Don’t stand out or up. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t be different.


I think they need far less from us. Kids need us to:

1. Listen

By nature, parents are fixers. We make calls, rule our to do lists and get things done. But often, our kids just need us to stop what we’re doing and listen.

2. Provide Security

The world-school, society, even church put demands on our children. Our kids need a secure place they can be themselves, where they can let their hair down and still be loved and accepted–just the way they are.

3. Offer Affirmation

Kids need to be built up. Criticize less, affirm more. They are dreamers. They want the outlandish. The jump in the puddles on purpose! Sometimes we just need to encourage that wild adventure, the bravery to stand,  the courage to go against the flow. Be their biggest cheerleader!

4. Be present

Most importantly, they just need us to be there.

“Memo to Moms: Relax! Research shows that not every little thing you do impacts how your kids will turn out—just being there for them makes the biggest impact of all.” -Sharon Begley

It doesn’t cost a lot to be a good parent. They won’t remember the brand names or most of the friends they are trying to impress.

I fail. A lot. But I’m not aiming for what the world tells me my kids need. I’m shooting to give them these four things.

They will remember memories with you.

So, go make some!


She is just a child, an orphan, a victim of abuse.

She was sent to the city from a rural village to work.

She didn’t know she was pregnant. How can a child know the evil things done to her can produce life?

When her body couldn’t hold her secret any longer, her employee noticed and wanted to get rid of her.

Mercy House was notified and we began the process of recruitment, less than two weeks ago.

But she went into labor and her baby was born on Sunday, at 33 weeks. She and the baby were sent back to the employer’s just 3 hours later with a diaper and a change of clothes for the baby. No medicine, no vaccinations, no instructions for this poor child and her premature baby.

Mercy House was notified of the birth three days later.

Maureen wept at what she discovered: a deathly ill 3 pound baby girl who was being fed water by a frightened, exhausted child-mother who didn’t know what else to do. They were both filthy and when the employer gladly gave them up, Maureen took them home.

Our housemother bathed them and helped the baby girl to nurse and then Maureen took them to the hospital.

Beautiful Edith

The doctor confirmed how sick and close to death her baby was and hospitalized precious Hawi (which means favor in Swahili) with jaundice, dehydration, and a problem with her bowels, and our young mom is being treated with a pretty severe infection.

Most American preemies might not survive such a traumatic birth and first days of life. We believe God rescued these sweet children!

Would you pray for our newest Mercy House members: Edith and Hawi? They have been thru so much…

But God is never late.

*there’s much more to Edith’s story…I hope one day she can tell it. We just wanted to give you a glimpse into how so many in poverty live.

Ten Fun Ways to Keep Easter About Jesus

Easter is about Jesus.

eas·ter/ˈēstər/ meaning “the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ.”

It is a day to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.

I’m not against fun or chocolate covered eggs, I just like meaningful things to remain, well, meaningful. I want my family to celebrate Him. Sure, we can add in the fun, but I don’t want the fun to be all there is.

Call me a radical zealot.

Thank you.

Here are ten ways to keep Easter About Jesus and have fun:

  1. Read The Parable of the Lily and plant (or force) a lily bulb
  2. Create this easy, beautiful watercolor Cross Art
  3. Plant an Easter Garden
  4. Dye/hunt eggs. Share the reasons behind the traditions
  5. Make Resurrection Eggs. Read Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs
    along with it.
  6. Bake Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday
  7. Fill Easter baskets with something meaningful (a new Bible, a cross necklace, eggs with Scripture)
  8. Make Resurrection Rolls for Easter morning breakfast
  9. Share your Easter meal with someone who might spend it alone or take a basket to a child in a hospital
  10. Have a family devotion together and talk about the meaning of Easter (this is a good one)

I think Easter is fun when it’s celebrated for all the right reasons!

What would you add?

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