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. I. Love. This. I can’t tell you how often I read parenting blogs and feel so discouraged, wishing I were more talented/patient/organized. I just have to tell myself (often) what I heard a wise man say once: you can’t compare your weaknesses to someone else’s strengths.
    My confession: dessert dinners. Sometimes my kids end up eating cookies for dinner. It’s like that Bill Cosby bit, when he talks about feeding his kids chocolate cake for breakfast: it has eggs, milk, grains in it — that’s balanced, right?
    Heather´s latest post: Mama K’s Peanut Butter Squares

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I’m with you on the potty training…and I’m also terrible at washing sheets! I won’t even tell you how long I let them go! :/
    Krissa´s latest post: Avoid Unsafe Flu Shots with Pepper Juice

  3. Catherine Vos says:

    We are all so very human.
    1. I frequently leave my little 3 year old in wet pants as i notice, then get distracted and forget to change him.
    2. I choose laziness, disorganisation and stressy mama far too often instead of getting organised ahead of time.
    3. I let my 21 month old get bowled by a kid on a swing while i was breastfeeding my 6 month old son at the park because i had ‘hoped’ she remembered not to go near.
    There are many more moments that make me cringe when I remember. I have been grateful at times that children don’t remember the early years!

  4. I could have written this entry myself lol. I have 4 kids. My oldest didnt potty train till he was 3, and like you said, he just did it. My 2nd was also 3, though I have the staff at his pre school to thank for it lol. My 3rd, my daughter, is currently still in diapers. Who ever said that girls were easier to train are full of it. She does have the interest, just not the commitment.

    My daughter is also THAT CHILD. She doesnt bite, but she walks into a room, finds the kid closest to her age, and shows them whos boss, knocking them down. I take it that she has little dog mentality. She may be little, but she is going to establish that “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” and in charge here lol. Its really frustrating and rather embarrassing when the other mother is glaring at you from across the McDonald’s play place.

  5. Love it! So good to laugh a bit – thank you. :)
    Sara´s latest post: Our Own Pigs

  6. I love you, thank you. I needed that today :)

  7. Oh man how timely! My husband and I were reviewing a few recent episodes in our household and how sometimes awful we are as parents lol. Our recent gaffes include trying to teach our son to be respectful to his grandma (he is sometimes rude to her, I think testing her limits) but in doing so end up getting mad at him. Same with his potty accidents—I know we’re supposed to be matter-of-fact with poop accidents but man, it is just too disgusting that it’s easy to get upset with him about it. Total parenting award busters right there lol.
    Nina´s latest post: How to stay positive when times are tough

  8. I just loved this post Kara 😉 I am so struggling with the potty thing with my second child right now :( She just refuses and I like you need to wait it out because she is so darn stubborn! Our library fees were so bad one year that we gave up going for a year and a half 😉 My daughter destroyed and lost more books. Thanks for this humorous and honest look at life. Enjoy the weekend and that laundry :)

  9. “The nudist” LOL I put clothes on her and I swear I turn around one minute later and she’s waltzing around nude with nothing but boots on. I only hope she gives it up before preschool.
    Heather´s latest post: Getting my veggies

  10. Thank you so much for this post! I definitely have those days where I feel like a failure as a parent. And all the other moms always look like they have it all together. It’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one who has humbling parenting moments!
    Cindy @ OnePartSunshine´s latest post: Good Deed #7 – Sign Up for a Winter CSA Share

  11. Oohhh how I love this post and how “normal” it makes me feel!!!
    I have some of the same issues, pottying, behavior issues, laundry, but my biggest parenting embarrassment of the week? I am so bad at bathing my toddler! Until I forced him tonight, it had been 6 days since his last bath! Yipes! That is hard to write. Please don’t judge.
    Debbye´s latest post: Is Your Baby or Toddler Napping Too Much?

    • 6 days, nothing in pioneer times, I bet he was fine! When I realize I can’t remember when we last bathed, it must be time!

  12. Love these! I am sure my families collective library fines are over $100 right now. Sometimes I think it would be less expensive to just buy the books but I don’t want a collection of books I don’t love either. I clearly remember when my son was in the da** it stage. He used it very appropriately for a swear word…yikes!

  13. Omg these are hilarious and you are stinking adorable! Today while it was near white out conditions my son was upset we couldn’t go to the local children’s museum. He was playing (a rare break from the tv today) and i was in another room and wasnt sure what he said, seems it was fart…but since I Asked he came in to the room I was in and said, was this the word you thought I said “f/@$ i cant go to the f’!$#%! Treehouse museum because of the f$&@}># snow” um yeah…that’s the word i thought you said, don’t say that again. Although it was hard not to laugh and be impressed he used it right, right?! We’bpve both been in pajamas the entire day. I dress himin clothes during the week at night because we have to get up and out early so he LOVES when he can wear PJs…we even go out in them, well, him not me.

  14. I laughed so hard at “aw sh*t” that my husband asked me if I was going to be ok! This post was so good.

  15. LOVE this! thank you!!
    Hillary´s latest post: Nature Inspires Wonder

  16. Well, my laundry pile is one basket bigger and I’m going to ignore it until this afternoon. I have one more left to potty train. I’m not looking forward to it. I would willingly pay somebody else to do it. As long as cleaning the bathroom is included in the price. **sigh** It’s so very nice to know our wacky life is more the norm than the exception.
    Modern Mia Gardening´s latest post: The Towers of Potatoes Are Planted!

  17. Well, my almost 5 year old still struggles with potty training. I won’t give any more details…it’s embarrassing.

    And I only brush my kids teeth once a day.

    And the other day I got so tired of hearing “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy….” that I yelled out “Mommy’s dead”…..oops!

    • OMG..I’m actually rolling on the floor laughing right now!!!
      I’m relieved to know that there are other’s out there going through the same thing

    • Also laughing so hard! I am so glad to know I’m not the only mommy with frustrating moments.

    • Thank you for sharing that one:) I’ve said similar and waffled between shame and defiance on it. Always nice to know I’m not the only one running out of patience!

    • i have said “she ran away” when the kids start the mommy, mommy, mommy thing, but i literally laughed out loud at that one! I once told my 3-year-old that i was gonna change my name to a swear word so she couldn’t say it anymore. I have 4 kids and i’m 25… it gets old. Fast.

  18. Thanks so much for sharing! There are so many humbling moments as parents, it’s hard to choose just a couple to share here!! But here goes:
    1. My daughter set her own time table with potty training, and now that she’s nearly four, I think we’re in the clear. My fingers are crossed as I type this.
    2. I have a hot temper, and probably yell too much and too quickly. I’ve been doing much better with this lately, but just this past Saturday, I lost my cool when my daughter was mid-tantrum. Grr. Every day is a new day to try to do better, right?
    Improving Krys´s latest post: Preparing for a beast of a race

  19. Kara, we’ve often joked that we’ll someday have a nice plaque at the library, “This room funded thanks to the generous donation (in fines) of the Clachar household!”
    I cringe when I think about the kind of mess my house was when the kids were little. Or that I sometimes had the kids watch a little too much TV when I was busy.
    But all laughter aside, the point of being excellent parents is not that you’ve mastered it – but that you aspire to master it. Or at least do a very good job. And as I’ve learned in many areas of my life, failures are not failures when they become learning experiences or stepping stones that help us move forward.
    I grew up in a household where kids were clearly secondary of concern. Where my parents really didn’t know me – or care to spend the time to know me. My children have absolutely no question that my husband and I put them as the priority. We are close, familiar with each other due to quantity AND quality time. If you’ve got your priorities straight, that’s what counts. A few wet diapers will be forgotten in the long scheme of things.
    Sarah @ Fit Family Together´s latest post: Snowshoe And Enjoy The Deep Snow!

  20. Well, I feel better now!

    Ok, here’s mine. My 4 year old still eats baby food – peas and spinach. He refuses to eat and fresh fruit or vegetable, so I let him eat all the baby peas, baby spinach and fruit juice he wants. He needs the nutrients.

  21. Yep, I have The Nudist. She’s a little better now that she’s almost 3. We’ve at least FINALLY established that it’s not ok to be totally naked in public, she at least has to have undies on.
    But she is lickety-split FAST at stripping. Once, about a year ago, I stopped to look at the library shelves for about 20 seconds I swear, and then turned around to see a pile of clothing and her naked bum disappearing down the aisle. I tried to re-dress her fast, which caused a screaming fit, so I ended up running out of the library with a naked, screaming child under my arm. 😛
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s latest post: Book Review: The Missing Rose

    • I am dying. Absolutely dying. Why?

      Because I’m a mom of not one, but TWO nudists.

      And I’m a librarian. It’s better to see cute little naked bums running through the library screaming, “I AM PINKALICIOUS!!! I AM PINKALICIOUS!” than a naked hobo’s bum, right? 😉

  22. Well, I started my day off right reading this. I can relate to all of it, except for the library fines because I refuse to take my four kids to the library until they have the cognition to understand what “quiet” means. I appreciate hearing about other moms’ struggles. Makes me feel like less of a failure! Thanks for the chuckle :-)

  23. I am so glad you stink at potty training, too. It’s my Achilles heel of motherhood. I have a five year old who still throws a fit when I say, “I need you to try to go poop.” Really? Five? He’ll say, “No, Mom. I’m fine, okay? I don’t need to poop. If I do, I’ll just run to the potty really fast. See? Just a little bit of poop in my underwear. I’m fine.” My two year old literally laughs at me when I suggest she try potty training.
    Kelly´s latest post: 5 Reasons You Should Read Anna Karenina

  24. I regularly leave my 15mo old in his crib (happily playing and chatting) in the morning so long that he’s often soaked from the waist down by the time I go get him. Meanwhile his big sister (the wildly defiant and argumentative nudist-pincher) has been sitting in bed next to me watching another episode of Dora while I sleep some more!

  25. Oh my. I’m laughing, I’m crying, and I’m certainly commiserating.
    Today was A DAY. Like, “I should’ve told my husband I had a migraine and made him stay home with me to supervise.”

    I ended up losing it after some stress (car and job related for Hubb-o) got to me at supper time, as my 3 year old is clenching her butt cheeks as tightly as possible to prevent herself from pooping…causing the poop to still squeeze out. As we’re supposed to be leaving to get Daddy since his car is in the shop. Only….we get downstairs, and my 5.5 year old starts jamming and yanking on a car door handle (that’s been repaired once already from him breaking it), yelling, “The door won’t open! The door won’t open!”

    I completely lost it…started yelling and screaming like a lunatic, threatening to prevent the snow from falling tonight, no homemade doughnuts on Tuesday for the inevitable snow day, I will end the world if you do that again, yada yada yada.

    Then, the night got even better! After we got Daddy, picked up his car, and started home, I rearended someone. As I am pulling over to a safer spot to talk to the person (who turned out to be a friend of a friend…gah!), my 5.5 year old very solemnly says, “Momma…you weren’t paying attention.”


    Thank God for Jesus and wine. And Tuesday.

  26. Elisabeth says:

    This was so great, thank you for sharing! My kids potty trained themselves with only a hint of bribery…they went #2 in the toilet while visiting family but went back to #2 in the pull ups when we got home…so we had to cave there ugh. My kids are also annoying enought to call my MIL “toilet” everytime they talk to her **sigh** embarrassment! It’s always nice to know that we mom’s aren’t alone out there lol

  27. I’m dying laughing over here about that ring around the rosie thing! I’m also super happy that your laundry pile looks like mine! Mine is permanently like that and my dishes are piled high. My parenting shortcomings permeate every area. I haven’t done a good job showing my toddler how to lower his voice in the library so we get a lot of stares…..
    Mel@ThDizzyMom´s latest post: Five Minute Friday: Remember

  28. Nana Apple says:

    After reading all the amusing comments, the only thing I can say is that I’m so glad all that is behind me. One day you will be old (not premautely) andI think you will see that your kids survived and somehow you did too. Hang in there.

  29. This is amazing! Oh, the joys of motherhood. Thanks for the laughs!

    And my laundry pile permanently looks worse than that, so I’ve decided to just embrace it.
    Megan´s latest post: Toddler antics

  30. Too funny – as someone who has faced that library fine before and who’s laundry pile is taking over i appreciate the honesty!! Its always good to know youre not the only one!


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