The Friday Five: 5 humbling parenting moments (a.k.a not my Mother of the Year award acceptance speech)


Sometimes in this strange, wonderful phenomenon of sharing called blogging, it can be all too easy to put another person up on a pedestal, to assume they are leading a nearly perfect life because of the snapshot that we see – the carefully chosen words, the edited Pinterest worthy photos.

While I choose to focus on the light and the joy and the happiness here at Simple Kids, I do strive to keep it real.  I write honestly about my struggles and my short comings.

But just in case some of you sweet, misguided souls think that my family and I are perfect, I hope to happily and humbly burst your bubble today.

In the spirit of humility, reality, and true tales from life in the trenches, for today’s Friday Five I offer 5 of my most humbling parenting moments.

After all, if I can’t laugh at myself, well, then I’d probably spend a lot more time crying.


1. The $98 library fine.

Yes, friends, you read that number correctly.  Nearly $100 in late fees and lost materials accumulated over nearly two years delivered to us in one embarrassing library visit a few weeks ago.  Gulp.  And you thought I was so organized.

Our small town librarian is super sweet, not the kind to give you the stink eye at all. But, I swear there was that record scratch sound when the amount was announced and the whole library looked at us with a mix of horror and pity (Okay, not really. But it sure felt like it). Amplified by my eleven year old saying, “whoa, mama!”

Jillian would like everyone to know that this is why she has her own library card.


2. I stink at potty training.

Folks who find out I have a blog about parenting often ask me for potty training advice. Friends, I have no advice to give. When and IF my kids make it out of diapers, it is due to their own ingenuity and intelligence and not that of their mother, I can assure you.

One of my children was not fully potty trained (as in no interest whatsoever in being out of diapers, thankyouverymuch) until … well, until they were old enough that it made people uncomfortable to see them in a diaper.

My oldest potty trained herself at 22 months (while we were on a cross country road trip, no less). I naively took that to mean that I knew what I was doing.  However, it must have just been her personality because with each child, potty learning is taking longer and longer to accomplish successfully.

Becoming a proficient potty user happens when each of my children is ready, and not a moment before then (despite my efforts, bribes, and character endorsed potty seats).

At this rate, Amelia will be out of diapers sometime around her 12th birthday.

“If at first you succeed – try to hide your astonishment.” – Los Angeles Times Syndicate


3. The “Biter”

I find myself, once again, the mother of that toddler.  You know the one.  The kid you speak about in hushed tones during play group and try to steer your tender-fleshed children away from at family get-togethers.

The Biter.

No doubt this is karma paying me back for all the times I commented on the public behavior of a child or trash talked someone’s parenting before I become a mom myself.  (We try to shadow her and we take this behavior seriously, we really do, but she’s a quick little piranha.)

Parents of The Hitter, The Pooper, The Screamer, The Nudist, and The Pincher, I sympathetically join your ranks in the play group shame circle.

momyearKids That’s a homemade “cutie mark” and not the anarchy symbol on Lucy’s cheek. (I hope)

4. Why Christopher and I get nervous when we hear Lucy playing Ring-around-the Rosie.

Overheard at our house recently,

“Ring around the rosies,

pocket full of posies,

aw sh*t aw sh*t,

we all fall down.”

Unfortunately, upon further questioning it came to light this was not a charming mispronunciation, as I had hoped, but was in fact the proper use of the swear word.

Mother of the year award committee, I expect you’ll be passing me by for 2013.

5. While I write these words, this is what the laundry pile behind me looks like:


And I fully intend to keep on ignoring it until the weekend.

“Laughter shared is laughter multiplied.  I love to laugh, and I love those I can laugh with.” – Beth Wilson Saavedra

Okay, I’ve laid out my humiliations here. Does anyone else have something to share? Preferably about your own parenting and not, ahem, mine. (Pretty please?)

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at

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  1. Thank you for this, Kara! Oh, how I can relate! I am also the parent of one of “those” kids – a 4.5-year-old who still hits, bites and generally hurts his friends. I fear his entering school this fall. But glad to know I am not alone. :-)

  2. LoooooL
    Oh boy….I just have one little boy and I can relate to everyone and then some more of your points.
    Enjoy while it lasts..!

  3. So, so funny about the Ring around the Rosie. Just had to explain to my husband why I’m laughing s hard an so loud…good stuff…

  4. Hilarious! I got a good laugh out of this. I definitely had to eat some words that I had said about parenting until I became a parent. And even then, my first child made me think I knew what I was doing in things like sleeping through the night, etc… 2nd and 3rd…not so much 😉
    Johanna @ My Home Tableau´s latest post: Motherhood: Grace and Work

  5. #4 has me rolling this morning!
    Southern Gal´s latest post: The Judgement

  6. I can really relate to every word that’s in here! Oh, how difficult it is to be a mom. I’m amazed how us moms can still nail all of these stuff even if it seems impossible to do. Anyway, very good article you have here. I enjoyed reading it a lot. :)

  7. Love it, Kara! I too thoroughly sucked at potty training. My kids were almost elderly by the time they were out of diapers. I was ok with it, mostly, up until the moment I felt someone judging.
    Robin from Frugal Family Times´s latest post: Our Menu Plan: February 17th to 23rd

  8. I have a $98 library fine, too! I’ve been avoiding that place like the plague, but I think it’s just about time to face the music.

  9. Oh rats, you just reminded me to check my library due date – it was yesterday!!

  10. 1. 4 year old still in diapers. 2. Accidentally slammed my daughters hand in the door 3. Second grader refuses to shower more than once a week, hates to brush her hair and likes to wear the same outfit to school. ugh! It drives me insane. 4. I had to stop volunteering with my daughters Daisy troop because I was overwhelmed. 5. My son watches too much TV.

  11. Thanks! You made me feel normal.
    My mom of the year moment came when I missed the afternoon bus, not 1x but 3or 4 times in as many months. The first time, my kindergartner was crying, hiding behind a tree. True the bus driver should not have let him off, but I should have been on time.

  12. $98??? OUCH.
    I’m dying laughing at #4. :)
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s latest post: My Daughter Wants a Blog for Her Birthday

  13. Ha! I just paid $98 in late fines for my card at the library… PLUS $45 for my sons, AND $35 for my daughters. {my other daughter only had a $3.15 late fee which I paid as well}. All just for late books/CDs. Which is ridiculous because the books weren’t missing and I drive past the library a minimum of 4 times EVERY day.

  14. Your post had me laughing out loud as I get ready to start my day with our three littles. Thanks for the lift. Such an encouragement as I stare down my own laundry pile! It has to be reproducing somehow, right?! I could swear it wasn’t that big when I went to bed last night!

  15. Thank you for sharing this! It is very comforting to know that one of my absolute favorite bloggers is human like the rest of us. I am SO with you on potty training. I told myself I wouldn’t stress out over potty training my second, now 3 1/2 but I think I was naively hoping that she would figure it out quicker than her brother. She still insists that diapers are awesome and she could not care less about stickers or underwear or any other bribe I might think of.
    Jen E @ mommablogsalot´s latest post: The art of waking up slow.

  16. Totally get the potty training thing. My 3.5 year old woke me up this morning by standing beside the bed…”Mommy, I pooped.” Sigh.

  17. hahahahaha this really did make me laugh. AND know that we could totally be friends. I have paid an Over-$100 Fine at least 3 times. My husband has politely requested that we cease & desist from using the library. I have forgotten about major school happenings enough that whenever I am on top of it (“C’mon guys, get your Dr Seuss costumes on!!”) they ask me to call our neighbor to make SURE that I’ve gotten the day right.

    This was just an awesome post. :)

  18. I promise you that every time I have ever questioned the parenting skills of anyone, it has later bit me in the butt in the form of my own children doing the same thing. Including a time when I was not a parent or maybe just a new parent and a friend’s 14 month old was not walking yet. Of course then, Lilla did not walk until 18 months. Yeah, a bit of humble pie I tell you. Definitely learned not to judge over the many, many, many years of such delights.
    Amy’s blah, blah, blog´s latest post: An American Christmas

  19. This. Post. Rocks!!
    Marcy :: A Simple Life´s latest post: { pretty, happy, funny, real }

  20. Jen@anothergranolamom says:

    When I pay huge library fines, I just remind myself that buying all the books we use for homeschool would be sooooo much worse. As a parent, I try to keep myself from saying “My child would never…” Because if I do, he will….tomorrow :-)

  21. I have had materials I’ve found that were 6 months to a year late that I’ve returned to the library. Each time they clear my account except for an $18 service fee that I have paid repeatedly. I love the library but we’ve had to stop using it because of that. I am going to attempt it again and put notes everywhere I can see to keep track of it! My daughter is 6 so she often has verbal diarrhea, telling the most embarrassing stories to people – like when we were trick or treating years ago and she had to go to the bathroom but we weren’t close to home so she went on the sidewalk. Yep, that’s often her conversation starter! We’ve had a lot of talks about things that we only discuss in our family and things that we can tell in conversation. Thanks for showing up that you aren’t perfect either! We are all still amazing moms though! 😀
    LivingCreatingBelieving´s latest post: Tuesday Links!

  22. Hilarious. And I can relate to it all.
    In a moment of complete exhaustion I left my son in a cab once. I guess that’s what happens when you have 3 kids under 2 years old. At least that’s the excuse I’m sticking with.
    I also had biters but luckily since my kids were all more or less the same age we kept it in the family. See, there is a plus side to multiples.
    I could go on and on with these stories. But even though they are our moments of “failure” I find they make life more interesting. And make great stories down the road!

  23. Love this, hilarious!

  24. I had my 12 year old tell me whoa mommy that laundry pile is as tall as daddy on Monday! Then later that night my 3 year old son told us to shut the door when he took a shower because he needed his privacy. He then began singing:
    Wash the p3n!s
    Wash the p3n!s
    Wash the p3n!s
    Til it’s clean. .to the tune of
    Over and over again. Oy

  25. Love it!! I am the mom with “those” kids too! I did have a biter, but he has switched to hitting now. Lucky me. I also have a 3.5 year old who is not interested in the potty. We have even gone the naked route to see if that helps him, but he will go get a diaper and scream for me to put it on so he can go poop. I rush to put it on, because with my older son – we were new to the underwear world when he took his shorts off and pooped on a friend’s carpet. Even though she was a great as friend, I was beyond embarrassed. We exited the play date immediately, but not before I cleaned her carpet and offered to have a professional come in behind me. As for bad words, when my oldest was learning to say fork, he nicely said f*ck instead. So I gladly join your ranks at mom of the year.
    If a mother didn’t have these glorious stories to tell, parenting wouldn’t be as much fun(in hindsight).

  26. Ok… this is just hilarious… I thought of a post like this this morning but I way-out-ran my se7en + 1 points and I hadn’t even warmed up!!! My failings tend to offend my kids more than the librarian… and I am hoping those razor sharp minds of theirs will start to have senior moments really soon… because the things my kids are going to say about their mother at family reunions… I wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall!!!
    se7en´s latest post: Se7en + 1 Things My Homeschool Kids Don’t Know About Their Teacher…

  27. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us. You’ve put a smile on my face this morning!

  28. Love this post.
    I too have had painful library fines. Our small-town library doesn’t fine over $5 so when I got the $45 fine from the big-town library, it was quite a shock. We don’t go there anymore…
    My best mom-of-the-year story… I work one day a week as a nurse and pull my fair share of holidays. My husband’s family had Thanksgiving last year at our apt while I was working and I came home that evening to the aftermath. They were all gone but the dishes were defnitely not… once I cleaned my way to the bedroom, I found the missing barstool in my closet and every bit of the “clothing” from my role as a wife (normally stored on a high shelf) laying on the bedroom floor.
    My sister-in-law still delights, at each and every family gathering, to tell how my nieces modeled all of it for them…

  29. We are lucky. Our library has 0 fines for jouvenile items. Otherwise being one day late on a stack of picture books would do us in. I like to think of late fees as a donation for more books though. 😉

  30. The ring around the rosie…APPRORPIATELY???…that, my friend, is awesome. I mean, it’s not awesome, but it totally is.
    jeannett´s latest post: InstaFriday

  31. Michele Villano says:

    I’m going to be chuckling over Ring Around The Rosie for a while! Ha Ha!

  32. Kara, this made me laugh out loud. So wonderful. I also suck at potty training (my middle child was older than FOUR!!!) And laundry is my arch nemesis. I warn the kids frequently that if the pile eats them, they are ON THEIR OWN, and I hope they brought snacks, since it could be weeks before I dig them out. :-)
    Heather Gaither´s latest post: Tackling the Big “When” of Introducing Baby Food

  33. Love!!
    steadymom´s latest post: first things first

  34. When my daughter was 2 her preschool teacher approached me to tell me how she was saying “oh sh*t” a lot, but only when she was playing in the play kitchen. Apparently she thought it was some sort of cooking term. “oh sh*t the coffee, oh sh*t the rice” were the examples she gave me! No one to blame for that one but me!
    As for the library, my husband asked me to stop using it–we spend less buying books than I was spending in late fines. :(

  35. You are awesome for putting this out there! Nothing quite like “airing your dirty laundry” literally lol None of us are perfect and we can all feel a tad better about ourselves and our mothering “skills” if we are exposed to the truth like this more often! Thanks for sharing :) And if I was at home I would take a picture of my garage to make you feel better about your laundry pile. My garage is the “skeleton in my closet” that nobody sees or knows about!!! I could be on hoarders 😉

  36. I also had a biter/hitter. He’s doing a little better, and now he throws things! My humbling thing is that I move veryfast (often rushing), and I have lost track of the amout of times I have bumped into him, or bumped him with my purse (it’s a really big purse). It should get better when he gets taller and enters my peripheral vision, or when I stop running around!

  37. My baby is barely three months old, but there has been moments. The first times I couldn’t stop her crying because I didn’t know what she wanted or these nights where you’re up and realize how much of a commitment this is!
    Maryam Rafa´s latest post: Spinach, Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

  38. Thank you. Both for making me laugh and making me feel “normal”.

  39. Loved this post … Loved the honesty!! Potty training is a serious challenge in our household as well.

  40. I am stifling my laughter as my daughter is not napping, but playing upstairs. Fantastic list!
    Becky´s latest post: Ranger Rick Treehouse App Review

  41. From: Mother of Screamer
    To: Mother of Biter
    Thank you for your candor!!

    (Screamer did finally potty train 2 months before she turned four. But she still screams. Scolding her, with pointer finger out, I told her that four-yr-olds do NOT scream and throw tantrums. She used her most controlled voice to make a request: “Mama, please don’t give me the finger!”)

  42. My children are grown – yes, they survived and both, eventually, got out of diapers and before kindergarten – a miracle! I never got a mother of the year award either – but take comfort in knowing that your list and my list (from all those years ago) are nearly identical (the use of profanity was used while building blocks – only difference)! Now, I get a large-charge out of watching my youngest go through it all again with HER baby – my grandson is following in his mother, and aunts, footprints. I love it and it’s total fun watching it while being one step removed!

  43. if at first you succeed–try to hide your astonishment

    Love that! That is how I feel when I get something right!!

    Ha ha ha you are awesome.
    vanessa´s latest post: Valentines Day in Costa Rica

  44. Just this morning (in the preschool bathroom) I had to check my almost 5 year olds butt to make sure it was ‘clean.’. He had proclaimed, while hanging up his coat, my butt is itchy!

  45. My middle child is The Biter, The Nudist, and The Hitter, all rolled into one. I spent months dressing him in the parking lot before we went into the grocery store. And he still went barefoot almost all the time. I figured he had pants on, I had satisfied the bare requirements for grocery shopping.

  46. Oh Kara, this makes me so happy :) I stink at pottty training, have a tounge that sometimes needs taming and had a biter/pooer/kicker. Sometimes I think my short comings are more than my triumphs. Laughter is good medicine right!?

  47. I am not a morning person, so my kids are always up before me. I was awoken this morning when my not-yet-potty-trained 3 yo exclaimed (after 2 days of not going), “Mommy, I pooped in the potty! And I wiped my bum!” With her pants around her ankles, after climbing a flight of stairs. And uh, a not quite wiped bum. 😛 I certainly was awake after that!

  48. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE this!!!

  49. Three trips to emergency in the past four months! I am surely at the head of the queue for Mum of the Year!
    Christie´s latest post: You Are Your Child’s Strongest Advocate… Whatever Their Age

  50. Hooooray for this!! I can’t tell you how often I’ll see parenting blogs and feel discouraged, wishing I was as talented/patient/organized as they are. But as a wise man said, you can’t compare your everyday life to someone else’s highlight reel.
    One of my confessions: dessert dinners. Sometimes my kids eat cookies for dinner. It’s like that bit by Bill Cosby, when he gave his kids chocolate cake for breakfast: it has eggs, milk, grains in it…

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