Amy's Humble Musings

Life in rough draft — by Amy Scott.

Like junior high, we hope the bad parts get forgotten.

with 28 comments

Ten years ago, I was a fitness maniac.

I’m being serious. I ran three miles every day, and then I spent another half hour lifting weights until I cried. And afterward? I would drink a spinach protein shake for lunch. I know, I know. Nobody believes me when I tell that story now. Everything jiggles when I walk nowadays, and not in a good way. So I understand their suspicion. Plus, everyone knows I won’t eat spinach anymore unless it has a glob of fried cheese on it. But trust me, I’m much more tolerable this way.

It’s just that the local gym offered childcare. The care included doing crafts with the kids– the kind of crafts from a woman’s magazine with glitter and glue and finger paint. A smiling staff equipped with a plastic knife to scrape the Play-doh out of the carpet? Sold!

Going to the gym was a perfect arrangement for our family during the preschool years. My husband worked long hours and traveled a lot. Exercising gave me the air I needed before spending the rest of the day breathing life back into three very small, needy children. This is what pulled me out of a deep postpartum depression, and as a bonus, my homeschooled children got to carry a fruity snack in a real lunchbox. It was a win-win.

I don’t think I ever saw that situation as a “problem” with a need for a smart, handy solution. When you’re in the middle of a crisis, you don’t always realize what’s going on. It’s easier to diagnose other people’s situations; solving your own problems is trickier and not nearly as entertaining as listening to the Dr. Laura program on xm in the afternoons. (Sue me.)

Sometimes I think back on those early days with nostolgia. It’s not just because I could walk up a flight of stairs without holding onto the handrails and getting winded. It’s because I saw myself as I was – tired and barely hanging on – and then I did something about it, something other than my usual complaining and excuse making. Making the decision to change my life was actually a pretty smart thing to do, even if it was a road I followed only because there was a dangling carrot disguised as preschool crafts.

I’m cognizant of these problem /solution scenerios because my oldest is a teenager, and my second oldest is about to take over the world if Goldman Sachs will let her. Now, I don’t see the teenage years as a problem, per se. I just mean that I foresee many more situations that need solving, paths that need choosing, and decisions that need praying over. I want the “Dora promotes witchcraft” mommy wars to please come baaaaack.

I want to know: What is the perfect time limit on movies and video games? How much work will grow my sons into men but not break their spirits? How can I know when to hold a hard line and when to back off and give them space? Are teenage males biologically incapable of putting a trash liner in the trash can? I just want to know.

I’ve noticed there’s not a secret, magic formula for getting it right. Sometimes we make decisions, and by surprise or sheer genius, we get it right. And then other times, we forge ahead in another direction, and egads, we realize that was not the right thing to do at all. (God, please bless all the firstborn children.) Praise Heaven for U-turns and forgiveness from the people you hurt along the way. Because I’m counting on it.

But, man, oh man. Someone please. Just give me a child who doesn’t need expensive therapy when it’s all over. Just one.

Written by Amy Scott

February 14th, 2012 at 1:17 pm

28 Responses to 'Like junior high, we hope the bad parts get forgotten.'

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  1. Amy, I enjoy your humor, appreciate your transparency, and reminisce over your questions that I asked myself so many years ago.
    I am aware of hurting our children along the way, but I am calmed in my soul by realizing that every mother is going to do that and every child will be better off by forgiving it because she too will need the forgiveness of her own children.
    My dad had an expression that he used from time to time. “You earn your raisin’ when you have children of your own.” It is so true. We are a cycle of learning and doing the best we can, which will go full circle in the next generation and the next. Praise the Lord for his guidance in His word and His strength in which we perservere and His calm assurance that He loves us and our children through all the successes and all the failures.
    Have a Happy Valentine’s Day. :-)))

    Janie Upchurch

    14 Feb 12 at

  2. What Janie said is so right. It was after I had my own kids and realized.. I don’t know, just realized, that’s when I was able to fully and completely forgive my mom for the mistakes she made.

    God didn’t intend that we would be perfect people. He planned that Jesus would be our Savior before He even laid the foundations of the earth, not as Plan B after Adam and Eve fell. So clearly, grace and forgiveness are an important, integral part of His plan for us… and not just receiving His, but giving and receiving grace and forgiveness to and from each other.

    So I am trying to forgive my husband and his boss for planning yet another business trip over Valentine’s Day. I said, “It’s OK. You can make it up to me. We can spend next Valentine’s Day on an island in the Florida Keys.”

    I may have to do some forgiving next year, too, then. Oh well, heaven knows I need more forgiveness than any of them.

    The amazing thing is that, by the grace of God, sometimes your kids end up knowing things you totally don’t remember teaching them, and they’ll say something like, “Well, you always said…” followed by some incredibly wise saying that you do not (do not) remember saying. And you just have to thank Jesus.

    Ruth

    14 Feb 12 at

  3. As we prepare to “launch” #2 of 7, I can testify to the Lord’s Faithfulness in filling in the gaps, restoring the broken places, and giving us the Wisdom we so desperately need as moms. I am AMAZED at what He has done through the years of faltering steps we have taken in this parenting journey. Our three oldest are looking like Jesus, and that gives me so much Hope for the four that are still home for school. Hang on! You, too, will be amazed!

    I Live in an Antbed

    14 Feb 12 at

  4. Amy, thank you for your transparency. I feel this way sometimes and my oldest is only nine! Janie and Ruth were so helpful too. Your blog is a real blessing to me.

    Carrie

    14 Feb 12 at

  5. I want to know: What is the perfect time limit on movies and video games? How much work will grow my sons into men but not break their spirits? How can I know when to hold a hard line and when to back off and give them space? Are teenage males biologically incapable of putting a trash liner in after they were nagged into taking out the trash? I just want to know.

    There’s no perfect time limit for videos, etc. Just make sure it’s less time than the time spent reading good books. Tell your sons that the more they work physically, the more muscles they will develop, and muscles developed at a young age stay with them for a very long time. (Plus, the ladies like ‘em,, but maybe you don’t want to mention that.) Teenage males are incapable of all sorts of things they are expected to do, but the good news is that they mature into amazing young men, great husbands, and wonderful dads. Just hang on for the ride.

    There is hope, Amy. One step at a time, one day at a time. At least you don’t have to keep drinking spinach shakes. :D

    I spend my days wondering if I’ll EVER have order here. So far, no. If it isn’t muddy footprints from the dogs, it’s muddy footprints from the grandkids. And I cannot tell you how many times I’ve repeated “Take your boots off at the door.”

    The best thing about heaven, for me, is that I’ll be caught up. Finally.

    Janet

    14 Feb 12 at

  6. Like the other commenters, I found myself much more forgiving and understanding when it came to my own parents after I had kids of my own.

    I’ve noticed there’s not a secret, magic formula for getting it right.

    I have one who’ll be 18 this summer and like you I wonder how much I’ve screwed her up. She seems so focused, well-adjusted and grounded. IOW, not like me, LOL.

    I’ve figured out that all I can do is pray, do my best, and trust the Lord with the rest. That’s really all any of us can do.

    Terry

    14 Feb 12 at

  7. Oh, I have often found myself intrigued with people who are/were fitness maniacs, though I know that has nothing to do with what you’ve shared. How does one get to be a fitness maniac?

    I’ve lost 40 pounds since the time you and I got together, and I am semi-diligent to keep it off (mainly for my husband more than anything), but I cannot get maniacal about it. It is so not fun, LOL.

    I find that tendency curious, as shortness of breath and sore muscles aren’t really my thing. Not to mention my love of all things cheesy and chocolate, but not necessarily together.

    Terry

    14 Feb 12 at

  8. How does one get to be a fitness maniac?

    To be clear, I never liked it. It was simply a matter of self-discipline. There are people who like that stuff, but after a year and a half, I never got used to it.

    Amy Scott

    14 Feb 12 at

  9. Hmm. I think maybe I need to price gym options. I could see myself turning into a fitness nut in exchange for a few hours a week of somebody else being in charge of whether they’re eating playdough or unrolling toilet paper. (Obviously, I am still in the little years!)

    natalie

    14 Feb 12 at

  10. The one who won’t need therapy? Your Charles, and my Caleb. Their rose-colored I can do all things because life is FUN glasses will keep them out of therapy…..but probably not out of the urgent care.

    love you, still here,
    stacey

    Stacey McLeod

    14 Feb 12 at

  11. I was trying to explain today to my five year old (going on eleven) why she couldn’t have a two piece swimsuit without explaining to her the real reasons why.

    And of course the one she was most drawn to was the wildest rainbow-colored tie-dyed one on the table at Costco.

    Yeah, the teenage years already concern me! LOL! :-)

    Sallie

    14 Feb 12 at

  12. Oh Amy, I am so there with you. Bless all the firstborn children of the world. I am one of them and I feel for my son so much. Everything is such a learning curve.

    MamaHen

    14 Feb 12 at

  13. My oldest son is now 29 years old. The thing that he remembers about his teenage years and our relationship is that I once drove 120 miles (round trip) on a Saturday morning to get CO2 for his paintball gun. My advice, go big when you can. They really appreciate it later.

    Sandra English

    14 Feb 12 at

  14. Sallie,
    Why not just tell her the reason? (Just curious.)
    Jess

    Jess

    14 Feb 12 at

  15. Jess –

    Part of it is I’m still working out in my own mind what is acceptable and what is personal preference. This has more to do with the fabric than the modesty issue. Caroline and I are very different in what we like. I’m classic and preppy. She is of the bent the more color, pattern and bling the better. So I despise rainbow colored tie-dye. She loves it. So why do I despise it and is it enough to tell her no? Is rainbow colored tie-dye a mountain I want to die on? Fortunately she’s young enough I can usually direct her to something that is colorful enough for her and tame enough for me. I suspect this will get more challenging as she gets older.

    Re: the modesty issue… It’s trying to balance providing enough information to make my point but not so much information that I go places we don’t need to go yet. :-)

    Sallie

    14 Feb 12 at

  16. No profound insights from here. Just a thank you for the laugh. Love your writing!

    Christina

    14 Feb 12 at

  17. Good, good post.
    As far as I know, we’ve been forgiven. Sigh of relief. I wasn’t sure it would turn out so. We were so… never mind.
    Yes, Janie and Ruth said it very well also.

    valentine’s day here was spent popping pills and blowing noses. very romantic.

    Lois

    14 Feb 12 at

  18. It makes my husband cringe and spit blood, but I say my goal in parenting is for my children to need less therapy than I’ve needed. Of course I’m joking (mostly) but you know that the best humor is based in reality and there are SOME DAYS! Oh THOSE DAYS when crazy is very real and present. Everything is a fine line. {sigh}

    I’m betting on grace and what I call the Jonah Principle: God will get you where you need to be, when you need to be there. I’m banking on it for my kiddos too.

    It’s been a few years since I’ve been health and buff too. Although I really, really enjoyed the spinach in my chicken pot pie tonight.

    Janel

    14 Feb 12 at

  19. Yes on Gym/Childcare.
    Yes on fear of pushing teen son too hard or not hard enough.

    Yes on it all.

    Yes.

    This made me cry. It’s like you wrote everything I feel.

    I don’t know the answers, I just pray a lot and try to limit future therapy bills. :)

    <3

    Alli Worthington

    15 Feb 12 at

  20. Okay, cheeky swimsuit comment aside…

    I frequently remind myself God had plans for my life that my parents could not comprehend. And yet here I am today. God worked with willing but imperfect parents and a willing but imperfect child/young adult. I can see His hand all over my life.

    It is the same for my child. God gave me this particular child at this particular time. I have every confidence He was wonderful plans for her life. I want His plans for her life. I know she belongs to Him and I’m just a steward of her life until she is ready to launch on her own. If He can create her as the unique person she is, then He can work through willing parents to get her where He wants her.

    I have every confidence God knows our frames as parents. If we are willing and seeking Him, we have nothing to fear. He’ll lead us even when we don’t realize He is doing so.

    Sallie

    15 Feb 12 at

  21. I needed this post Amy. I spent much time w/ my first born in a locking horns and trying to lift her from the despair that she was in over feeling so hopeless last night. I have such a hard time addressing her strong will and being firm w/ the gentleness necessary. She can be so stubborn and when she is that way, she feels like she is the worst kid in the world. I hate that she gets to that point. I want her broken before God, but to know that there is hope in Christ and that she is not beyond His Grace. It’s hard to be the child always in trouble, but that said – she is the one causing the trouble 80% of the time. Sometimes she just seems so hopeless over the weight of her sin. She knows to go to the Cross, but she just wants escape from her struggles. Sometimes she’s so overwhelmed she wants Heaven now and that scares me.

    I can be so impatient with her, so harsh b/c my initial gentle attempts fail and I just want her to get in line. It’s good to know that we are not the only Christian family with struggles. That I’m not the only homeschooling mother who feels like she’s not getting it right. Just like it comforts my oldest to know that foolishness binds all children and it takes time to unleash their hearts. That perhaps her little sisters and brothers are more compliant, but she is not alone in her sinfulness.

    Jo

    15 Feb 12 at

  22. [...] Jo on Like junior high, we hope the bad parts get forgotten.Sallie on Like junior high, we hope the bad parts get forgotten.Alli Worthington on Like junior [...]

  23. With our eldest, we have entered the Land of the Teen. I was a teen once, I should have a handle on how to handle, guide, steer down the right path that young man overflowing with testosterone. My husband should remember how it was for him to be just 13 and on the precipice of manhood. Shouldn’t we? And, yes, to be able to do it without years of therapy…

    Tressa

    15 Feb 12 at

  24. [...] as we’ve gone through a couple of different viruses and a trip out of town. But Amy writing Like junior high, we hope the bad parts are forgotten spurred me on to write my own thoughts [...]

  25. i call it muddling through. and a whole lot of God.

  26. Okay.

    I will be the first one with a broken “X” chromosome to chime in.

    As the father of five sons, ages 17, 16, 16, 12 and 12, I must agree that there must be some sort of genetic roadblock to doing the simple things that obviously need doing – putting a bin liner in the trash can or replacing that empty cardboard tube with one handily loaded with toilet paper. They just don’t see it!

    Anyway, as parents, we have been charged by God to raise up these little bundles of angst and frustration into God-fearing adults – “Raise them up in the way that they should go, and they will not depart from it”, to me, doesn’t mean that they won’t stray from the path we lay out, but will, in the long run (God’s perspective, after all) be on the path when it counts.

    My wife and I have sturggled in the past year or so with the oldest, and he is not yet seeing that he is off in the weeds, but we have everpresent hope, and faith that the values he has heard and seen from us his entire life will blossom and take hold and make him the man that God sees him as.

    Keep faithful!

    Steve O

    15 Feb 12 at

  27. We made it through the teen years with our now 21 year old. Our second will be 13 in March. It is hard parenting and it does get harder at times. But I love it. Amy, just wait until they are late teens and early 20′s. I have cried hard tears at how merciful God has been in our raising our oldest. She has such a sweet spirit and honestly, I know if it would have been one of our other children then we make have broke that sweetness that we need to have with our children. It is wonderful to have long conversations with your adult children. I so look forward to this season with my other children – as well as cherish the time we have right now. I think God blesses our earnest efforts in raising the children that He has loaned us. God knows I am praying often to lead these children in the right direction. He knows I am want their best for them. I think my children know that I am trying my best too. It helps that I sometimes tell them stories from my husband and my childhoods. We were two broken people looking to do the right thing unto the LORD.

    As far as exercise – I used to hate it but now I hate it if I miss my daily exercise. Sometimes you just need a few minutes to reflect – even if it is crying because my muscles hurt so much!

    Ouida Gabriel

    Ouida Gabriel

    15 Feb 12 at

  28. Are teenage males biologically incapable of putting a trash liner in the trash can?

    No. I actually saw such an individual do said feat once. Back in … well, I can’t remember what decade it was.

    Jay

    3 Mar 12 at

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