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Epic fail moments in parenting are good.

between you and me

Do you ever have epic fail moments in parenting? Of course you do. I don’t even know why I asked. We all do. We’re human. Gosh, if I’m honest, I fail someone every single day, and that someone is almost always someone in my family.

Recently, as in two days ago, I dropped lydia off at gymnastics. She moved up a level, so I delivered her to her new coach and then told her I’d be there to pick her up when she finished. I had to grab a son from basketball practice and take him home to start homework, and I needed to start dinner and fold a couple loads of laundry.
Multi-tasking at it’s best.

An hour and a half later, I arrived at the gymnastics center and ran into grab her only to find her standing by herself up against a wall. As soon as I said her name, she turned and hugged me and the tears came falling. I squatted down to her eye level and saw her medal hanging around her neck. The story of my epic fail moment began to pour from her mouth.

There was a performance for her group. She had to learn a brand new routine in her first class with this new level and then perform it in front of a bunch of people. She pulled it off and held herself together until she saw me.

She was scared and she felt alone, and unfortunately, those feelings are trigger points for her. They’re part of her story. In those moments, it’s easy for her to forget that we love her and cherish her.

We sat in my car and cried together for fifteen minutes and then I called her dad and cried some more. Within minutes, we were home and in a few more short minutes her dad walked in from work carrying balloons and flowers and her favorite candy. All for her. Melted her heart and mine.

I spent extra time with her that night and after I got her all safely tucked in, it hit me. I was triggered, too, except from my own story. I’ve been devouring Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, and something I read this week rattled me down deep. It’s crazy when a book lines up with what God is showing you in his word and those line up with what your counselor is saying. So, I’ll share this piece of my heart with you…in hopes that God will reach down deep in you and minister to your heart the way he has ministered to mine this week.

Disappointment can become like second skin when you’ve experienced it consistently enough to learn to count on it. Learning to live with disappointment is what produces the “expert disaster planner” in all of us. Somewhere along the way we begin to practice feeling it and living with it so that in some wild won’t hurt so bad each and every time it comes our way. The problem is…it doesn’t work. You can’t practice living with it enough that it doesn’t hit hard every time you experience it. Instead, you end up foreboding JOY in your life.

I’ve kind of always known this, but this week I realized in a powerful way that I’ve been striving really hard, too hard, to make sure I never leave my kids with that feeling of disappointment. I’m not talking about saying no to a request at a store for candy or a favorite game. You know that, right? I’m talking about leaving them with a disappointed feeling in their hearts over who I am or what I’ve done that has potentially failed them.

I’m so grateful for good friends who remind me of God’s truth. This week a friend reminded me that it’s good for our kids and for us when we have what we feel like are “epic failure moments” as parents. These moments become opportunities for us to teach our kids {and remind ourselves} that Jesus is the only one who never disappoints.

Honestly? When I read her text, I repented for trying to be a savior to my kids and I asked Jesus to continue sorting out this brokenness in me regarding disappointment.

The Kingdom of God is one giant paradox where God uses all of our mistakes and all of those “epic failures” to bring our children to himself. He is able. He is the ONLY one who never disappoints.

Praying for you…

Lori H - Nodding my head as usual, Tara. You express things so much better than I do. Thanks for being brave enough to keep it real while sharing your heart. I think some day, Lydia will look back and remember disappointments and hurts through the warm filter of her parents’ loving response and support. Epic win :)

michele - So grateful that Jesus does not every keep up or never runs out on us!! It’s honor to walk this path of parenting and life with you even when we both have epic fails!!

Jackie - Thank you for sharing this…I think it’s something we all need to be reminded of–we will never be perfect parents; life is full of disappointments. Somehow I think the most important part of moments like these is how we handle them when they happen, and you and Andy did it beautifully. You pointed her to Jesus, our true satisfier, and you let her know how much you love her. And as she looks back, that is what she is going to remember. :)

Shannon - Thank you so much for this post. My heart did break a little, but your family handled it beautifully. I just told my husband last week, pain is such a familiar feeling for me. I can almost get tied down with it. Constantly trying to keep my children from looking up and having that devastated look in their eyes. But… Once again you are correct… We can’t carry pain and disappointment with us like a comfy blanket shielding our hearts. We have to give it to The Lord, because only then can we stop and smell the roses and be joyous and thankful for all our blessings. Thank you for reminding me…

paige - yes. that’s what i’ve been working through myself. i have her book and her recent one as well as i had a friend highly recommend them.
you guys are great parents!

Kelly Cach - Ooooh!!! My heart sank FOR you! I could easily cry right now. I dropped my Gabe off at our college indoor tennis courts one time when he was 7 for tennis lessons….only they didn’t have them that day. The center wasn’t even open that day. I came back an hour later to find him sitting on a bench watching construction workers dig holes just a few feet from him. I CRIED!!!!!

Lemonade Makin' Mama - You know what’s crazy? I just finished turning in my February articles for the radio station I’m blogging for a few minutes ago and the last article I was working on was feeling like a failure and the way we talk to ourselves- how we extend grace to our friends over their perceived failings and yet we are so harsh when we talk to ourselves. I know its not exactly what you’re blogging about but we’re kind of on a similar page and it just made me giggle. I love what you said and it strikes me as true that we should realize that yes we’re going to fail them like our parents failed us in areas but that only serves to draw them closer to His perfection. Goodness…

Megan - Yes, we have all been there surely. I know I have been there as a mama, but it also makes me realize that I was there as a child too. I have been on both sides. But what I needed as a child, was just what you did for Lydia…a parent who knelt down close and cried with me and said they were sorry. The best we can do, is be there for them when we are imperfect, because we will be. We can help them understand what being human is like, and how to say “I’m so sorry.” Man, I hope my kids learn that from me. Once again, thanks for being real and sharing your heart. You’re a great mama.

Flower Patch Farmgirl - Yes, yes, we’re all nodding along with this one. We feel your Mama pain because we’ve known the SAME pain.

You’re so right – this is ultimately a good thing. We’re no body’s savior.

Thanks for being so true to yourself. It’s why we love you. :)

tiffini - you hit home with me when you said .. savior to our children
THAT has been a lifelong lesson for me
always being the one to rescue they don’t have to deal with negative emotions..but how debilitating!
that is how I was my grandma
and it has crippled me in so many ways
and it is true that it is those “epic failure” moments that we can be taught how to work through those times in a healthy way
girl…I hear YOU:)
love you MUCH!!

tiffini - geesh!
did it leave my comment?

amanda olive - I totally echo what Jackie said up there… I love the way you handled your “fail” once you saw it for what it was. You didn’t sweep it under the rug or pretend it didn’t matter. You guys made her feel loved anyway and pointed her to a Father that doesn’t disappoint. Thanks for sharing!

Cara Yeh - This was so good for me to read today! Thank yo for sharing.

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