When Your Best Parenting Isn’t Enough … But It’s OK.

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It’s the incredulous tone of her voice that catches me, makes me stop talking and start listening.

I’ve just admitted to my mentor, E, that the more I read about and see other 3-year-olds, the more I am convinced Libbie’s idiosyncrasies and bad behaviors are just her being 3, not my own fault.

E kind of stared at me and asked, “You didn’t really think that, did you?”


Libbie Loo

Well, yes. I often wonder if I could have done something different, something better, something more that would have made Libbie an angelic child, obedient to a fault. I feel like I’ve failed her as a mom each time she ignores an instruction or hits in response to something she doesn’t like.

Does everyone not feel like that? E seems to think the answer is no. And she is wise.

It’s then that I relate the story of The Mom Who Saved My Sanity Sunday.

Welcome to Moe's!
source: mhaithaca

Sunday after church we went to Moe’s for lunch. If you don’t know, Moe’s is a restaurant known for burritos, where you wait in line to get to the counter and then instruct those behind the glass on how to fashion your burrito or nachos or tacos.

We probably waited 20 minutes before we even approached the counter. Behind us in line was a mother with her two kids, also an older girl and younger boy. They were around 8 and 5. While we waited, the kids flirted with eye contact and giggles. We made a little chit-chat.

By the time we reached the counter, David was done. He did not want to be held or put down. He wanted to wail. Over his cries, I gave my order. Surely he’d be happy once he was sitting down and eating.

But he wasn’t. Sunday, we were THOSE people. The ones with a baby screaming bloody murder in a restaurant, who are trying every song and dance they can think of to calm the child down to no avail. David was simply inconsolable. After five or ten minutes of dirty looks and intolerable wailing, we packed up our food and dashed to the car.

But as I was leaving, obviously ruffled and near tears, the woman who had been behind us in line looked me straight in the eye and told me, “You are doing a great job. It gets easier.”

Such simple words, but they meant the world to me. It was a pertinent reminder that my kid’s behavior does not always reflect my parenting–sometimes they are simply acting their age, or are overtired, or just in a funk.

Thank you, Lady in Moe’s. You sincerely touched my heart and made my day better. Instead of fretting over how many people’s lunches we had ruined, I took a deep breath, loaded kids in the car, and thought, “I am doing a great job. It gets easier.”

11 thoughts on “When Your Best Parenting Isn’t Enough … But It’s OK.

  1. Thank You, I needed that reminder myself. Also, I needed the reminder to be the one not just sitting there and understanding, but to put forth the effort to speak up. To tell that other mother that Yes, we’ve all been there and it passes.

  2. I needed to hear this as well. I really worry that my inability to effectively discipline my strong-willed 3 year old is setting her up for a lifetime of trouble. Truth is, she’s just being three. (I hope.)

    Well, the fact that she’s currently saying the F-word may be my fault, or my husband’s, but the hitting and screaming are probably not.

  3. Some days the kids cannot handle eating out. As for all the glaring looks, I use my tunnel vision when I am out and about with my kids so I don’t notice those things.

    Only the great moms wonder if they are doing a good job!

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