13 Jan 2014

Your un-fine stories are welcome here

We had a very challenging year with one of my kids last year.


And by “challenging” I mean that I spent many parts of last year wanting to quit. And crying. And trying really, really hard to remember that I was the parent and that it wasn’t OK to resort to name calling and locking myself in my room.

It was the kind of year that makes you want to eat your weight in McDonald’s hot fudge sundaes.

The kind of year that makes you want to quit motherhood. Particularly when your kid seems to feel like that would be no great loss and expresses often that they wish they could go join another family.

And you wish the same thing. Often.

I’m guessing you can relate. I’m guessing there was an area of your life that made you want to quit all. the. things. last year. And maybe last Monday. Or yesterday?

We’ve worked so hard. Very hard. All of us. And went backwards a lot. And then started going forwards a bit. And last week I realized that it had been at least a month since anyone – kid or adult – had felt the need for a full on, fall on the floor, rant.

And on that day, on the very day I was starting to feel like maybe I could face another year with this kid, I got a call from the school that there were all these other areas that said kid had fallen behind on. Because, well, in order to survive the very hard things, some of the less hard things had fallen by the wayside.

It was a blow. I felt embarrassed. And I said sorry; admitted that we’d dropped the ball.

And there was a moment I felt like we were back at square one.

But when I walked into church on Sunday and a friend asked how we were doing – I told her.

I told her exactly what the teacher had said and what the voice in my head had added and you know what?

She listened. She could relate. And she gave me both encouragement and perspective.

Five years ago I wouldn’t have told her the truth.

Five years ago I would have told her we were “just fine.”

But I’ve learned since then that “just fine” can sometimes be a self-inflicted wound.

“Just fine” is the end of the conversation and a missed opportunity.

“Just fine” leaves me boxed in with all my doubt and insecurity.

“Just fine” is deeply lonely.

I quit being “just fine” three years ago.

Click over here to keep reading why —-I’m sharing the story on (in)courage today.



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    I gave up last week too and came…undone!

  2. 2

    Yep. Parenting isn’t for sissies! Being real with it and sharing the struggles helps us realize that very truth. Thanks for keeping it real, Lisa Jo. Keep up the God work.

  3. 3

    I stopped too, going into our fourth year of being real about the pain of being married, parenting and personally growing.
    Thank you for posting this today:) This takes real courage!

  4. 4

    Yep, I stopped being just fine about six months ago and WOW how freeing that has been for me.
    Thank you.

  5. 5

    I’m keeping it real too. Not the whole truth with everyone…but with some trusted friends who build me up. We cry. We laugh. Sometimes we need to borrow some hope when ours in running on empty. Shame is so powerful but can be broken off so easily with a grace-filled friend! Thanks for this post LisaJo. Reminds me that God has blessed me with some awesome friends! I appreciate your honesty!

  6. 6

    I am not there yet. Everything is just fine still. This is how I grew up, this is all I know – to keep it inside, or at least inside the home.
    But, to you all, since you can’t see me and I can’t see you….. I HATE being a mom sometimes. I HATE being a wife sometimes. This is not fun, it is so hard, so frustrating, so tiring.
    I have 3 boys under the age of 6. My 4 year old is God’s way of teaching me all things that I am not good at: patience, loving under stress, patience, patience, patience! I don’t like him very much some days, and it breaks my heart so much to feel this way. Talking to him doesn’t work nor does yelling, whispering or ignoring. He beats me up emotionally to the point that I fight back with words no mom should say to their beloved child, yet it boils out of me after 12 constant hours of being with him and him not happy with anything.
    Thanks for listening….

    • 7

      Thanks for sharing I can relate to some of this. I found a really good book for me was Raising Great Kids by Cloud and Townsend. It helped me to get a different view point, from the child’s perspective of learning boundaries and words to use to be empathetic with the child but help them to move beyond. I hadn’t had this role modeled to me. :)

    • 8

      Thanks for sharing I can relate to some of this. I found a really good book for me was Raising Great Kids by Cloud and Townsend. It helped me to get a different view point, from the child’s perspective of learning boundaries and words to use to be empathetic with the child but help them to move beyond. I hadn’t had this role modeled to me in my family. :)

  7. 9

    Some kids need a lot of time to get going. My grandson was and still is one of these kids. We spent lots of time explaining things and on reading and maths and extra books to help him keep in line with the rest of his buddies. In time, through fifty explanations, he finally got it. Then it was forty-five, then forty, thirty-five. But this takes years.
    You see the results of this kind of care you give to your kids. The glisten in their eyes, that sparkle and resemble the LIGHT of Christ’s LOVE for us.
    In times like these, when the rough and tough comes through, only LOVE will be found.
    You are a good mother. Keep up the good work. Motherhood is a full twenty-four hour commitment. The journey is hard and rough and tough. But the reward at the other end, after years of give give give give and then give give give give …. is this not a resemblance of what JESUS has done for us on the cross.
    You are a good mother. Your reward is great. It will show in your child one day, a long time from now and then you will say, O thank YOU LORD JESUS for such a wonderful child.
    Chin up. We’ve all had the same heartache and tears and trembling.

  8. 10
    AineMistig says:

    Well, I would LOVE to do this, but that’s the weekend I’m supposed to have surgery, ha! That should create a story for next year.

    As for that moment you feel like you’re making it up the hill only to step on a patch of hidden mud to find yourself slipping straight onto your face? My friend gave me this comfort when it happened to me: “Your child may have done that, he may have made that choice, but he isn’t THAT CHOICE. Maybe that other person doesn’t know that. Maybe they don’t see that. But you do. And he needs you to remember for both of you that, yes, he made a bad choice, but he’s not THAT choice. He’s more than that choice. That choice is something he did, not who he is.”

    And isn’t that the truth for all of us in Christ Jesus?

  9. 11

    We had a day like this just a short while ago with one of our own. Rant. Expletives. Criticisms. Wishes to go live elsewhere. We too, felt deflated, discouraged, sad. We stayed present in the moment and told our son that we intended to do so. That we intended to remain with him through it all. That we would not give up on him. It was hard to stay and be present – both emotionally and physically. It was difficult to hear his angry derogatory words. We knew we must remain.

    Eventually after much time had passed, a sense of calm and exhaustion overcame him. We spoke together calmly. Clarified expectations. Reassured and re-confirmed our commitment to him.

    A greater sense of peace resulted.

    For now… until the next storm.

    Don’t give up, Lisa-Jo. We’re right here with you, my friend.

  10. 12

    Hang in there! One day you will be able to look back and see the progress you were making when it seemed like you were only going backwards. When in the middle of turbulence, it seems like forever. One day you will wake up and your little ones will be out on there own. I kind of felt like I graduated as each of my children did. When the last one graduated from Univ. and moved into his own home, my husband and I celebrated the end of the chapter of life ~ Childrearing. God hand picked you for the children you have. Lean on Him to guide you. Blessings!

  11. 13

    So guilty of giving the “fine” pat answer and I long to be more okay with not being fine and saying it out loud at church. Of all places we should feel most at home – with our like minded Christ following family.

  12. 14

    I read this with a heavy heart, with a guilty heart…I can totally relate to feeling stuff no mother should feel but we do and this post made it so real and felt relieved that I am not the only one. I think moms go thru this everyday and the guilt that comes with it, it’s sometimes overwhelming. Thank you for creating this relief. I’m a divorced mother of 2 boys, 18 & 14 with a now blended family, 2 little ones (4 & 5)came along with my boyfriend. That in itself is a challenge we take on everyday as the big ones adjust to the little ones and viceversa. All the limits of patience and understanding have been tested. Reminders of unconditional love are called upon everyday. At first it was so easy to just blurt out “we’re fine” to the “how’s everyone doing?”. Having someone sympathize with you or relate to what you’re going through is such a feeling. Parenting can be so rewarding and filled with proud moments but it also brings you to your knees and make you doubt all that you know or thought you knew. It’s easy to have people talk about how great of a parent one is but there’s this stigma about temporary fails at parenting that we rather smile and pretend everything is ok…Thank you so much for this!!!

  13. 15

    thank you for writing. i can’t even tell you how much of a lifeline you throw out to me with this blog, on those days when my head has gone underwater and i’m desperate for air. you have NO. IDEA. and oh how I thank GOD that you write and share and open up and spill your guts because i live there, too. with my guts all over the place. and i find hope knowing i am not the only one and that it’s not so bad to FEEL my feelings, and to be able to grasp the TRUTH regardless.

  14. 16

    Oh my goodness. I love this post. I have been sitting around the last few months wondering where the intersection of honesty and writing and the public collide. How do you be honest without your dirty laundry airing? How do you let people know you are “un-fine?” People don’t do it. Masks and facades seem to be most people or totally inappropriate sharing the other. This was beautiful to read and graceful. Here is my un-fine story I wrote last month, winced, and posted it. I am still not sure if it is too much but it is real and people have been okay with me being unfine.



  1. […] You’re Un-Fine Stories Are Welcome Here by Lisa-Jo Baker […]

Hide me
Free eBook for Blog Subscribers!
Just enter your email & you'll receive a welcome email with a link to download the eBook. Easy Peasy!
Show me