Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Carpet Doesn't Have Feelings (Guest Post)

I'm excited today to share with you, my first guest poster! Donna is a wonderful friend of mine. She is a gifted writer, organizer and much more! 

Here she is....

The moment I walked into the church, I knew I had made a terrible mistake.  All of the children were dressed in black caps and gowns.  Quickly, I scanned the crowd for a familiar face…a parent or teacher I knew.  The first person I recognized was Chrissy, the mother of my daughter’s best friend.  I asked, “So, where do we go to get the cap and gown?”  She replied, “They were sent home with the kids on the last day of school…didn’t you get a bag?”  My heart sank.  So, that was what was in the bag!  I never bothered to look.  I assumed it was just some stuff the school was sending home, like artwork and craft projects my daughter had made.  I felt like shouting out, “For Pete’s sake!  Who ever heard of preschoolers wearing caps and gowns for graduation?”  When I told my husband, he gave me one of those looks that seemed to suggest I should go find the nearest rock and crawl under it.   I felt terrible!  I felt like the worst Mom in the world.

In my mind, I began to run through options.  Run home and get the bag…no, there’s not enough time to get there and back.  Ask the teacher if they have a spare…no, there are no other gowns available.  That is when Emma, my four-year-old daughter, told me she would rather sit in the back of the room than participate in her own graduation.  My heart broke.  This was supposed to be a special day for her.  This was supposed to be the day she celebrated her accomplishments alongside her classmates and we celebrated with her.  This was supposed to be a happy day…a happy memory…and I had ruined it.

I was so ashamed.  Obviously, it wasn’t Emma’s fault that we didn’t have her cap and gown.  There was no one to blame but me.  To make matters worse, I was the only parent in the room that had let my child down.   That's when I realized that I was never going to be the perfect parent, no matter how hard I tried.  That day was just another painful reminder that I wasn't even close.

We all have our own definition of a perfect parent.  My definition of a perfect mother goes something like this:  always loving and encouraging; always around to help with homework; always preparing delicious, healthy meals for her family; always home to pray and tuck her children into bed at night; always calm and even tempered; always willing to sacrifice her own needs and wants for the sake of her husband and children; always keeping the house clean and orderly; and always on top of things like remembering to bring a cap and gown to a graduation.

Of course, no such parents exist. And if they come close, I have learned that it is sometimes at great cost to themselves and their families. Parents who strive for perfection often, ironically, do their children more harm than good. "Parents who cannot tolerate their imperfections often cannot tolerate their children's either," says H. David Stein, M.D., a psychoanalyst in New York City. "As a result, kids will feel that their parents are dissatisfied with them, even if it's not stated. They pick up on subtle cues."

I read a blog post recently written by a woman with grown children.  She mentioned that a recurring theme of discussion with other mothers her age was that they all wished they had been less uptight and more spontaneous when their children were young.  In other words, they had spent too much time worrying about the stained carpets, the messes, the clothes their kids wore in public, the performance of their children in school and other activities, and the like. 

I have to admit, I use to worry about these kinds of things too.   It was as though I thought my daughter’s too-short pants would reflect negatively on me.  Now I say, “Who Cares!  If somebody judges me because of the clothes my child is wearing, they are the one with the problem. Not me.”

Think about this.  When we get to the end our lives, do you think any of us will look back and say, I wish I had spent more time cleaning the house; I wish my carpets had been cleaner; or I wish I had dressed my children in nicer clothes?  No, because none of those things matter. 

I have a picture frame on my wall at home that says, “When we think about our family and our blessings great and small, we know the things that matter most aren’t really things at all.”  So true!  The things the matter most aren’t things…they are relationships.

A dear and wise friend once told me, “The carpets don’t have feelings.”  It really made me think.  Why do I worry so much about stains on the carpet?  The carpets can be replaced.  Once damaged, my child’s self esteem isn’t so easy to repair. 

Please allow me to complete the story about my daughter’s graduation.  While I was still chastising myself for my mistake, the most amazing thing happened.  Grace, my daughter’s best friend, decided to take off her own cap and gown so Emma wouldn’t be alone…singled out…left out.  How proud Chrissy must have been in that moment.    It still warms my heart to think about it.

What had started out as a fiasco, had been transformed into a sweet memory.  The two young girls practically skipped up the center isle holding hands and giggling because they were being brave together.  They were easy to spot in the group of children at the front of the church because of their golden hair and their colorful sundresses.  They stood side-by-side on the steps near the center of the graduating class, both smiling from ear to ear.  In fact, it seemed they were the only two children actually enjoying themselves.   You see, it was a hot day and the church was overcrowded.  While the other kiddos appeared to be wilting, Emma and Grace were comfortable and cool.     

Later that night, at home, Emma tried on her cap and gown and we had our own private celebration.  One mistake…two beautiful memories.

No, I’m not a perfect parent!  I’m not a perfect anything!  But, I realize if I had been a little more perfect on that graduation day four years ago, I would have missed what I consider to be a perfect memory.  My friends, instead of focusing on making yourself, your children and your world perfect, put your heart into connecting with the people you love.  Perhaps if you stop focusing on being perfect, you can start making perfect memories.


I was both honored and humbled when my dear friend, Sam, asked me to be a guest blogger on her site.  Agreeing to write a post was easy.  Deciding what to write proved to be more difficult.  I considered sharing some advice about Home Organization or Work / Life Balance, but wanted to write something more personal…something from the heart.    I hope I have accomplished that.  If you would like to read more of my writing, please come on over and visit me at  

Thank You, Donna! This is exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I woke up today much earlier then normal because there were a million things running through my head. The house was messy....laundry is piling up...I need to take the kids swimming today....I have tons of errands to run today...the kitchen floor needs swept, bad....why can't I keep a clean house? How on earth could I call myself a good mom if I can't do all of this?! 

I need to remember that the carpet doesn't have feelings.

And buy one of these signs....

Please Excuse The Mess Children Wood Sign Wall Decor

Thank you again to Donna for a beautiful story. Make sure and stop by her blog at Living Fully Awake to read more.

I'm linking up today to these amazing blogs, make sure and check them out!
Someday Crafts, Lil Luna, Lady Behind the Curtain, Make Bake Create, Sugar and Dots, The Everyday Home, GingerSnap Crafts, Southern Lovely, HOH, Truly Lovely


  1. I love it! I shared the story of my sweet niece on my Facebook page, saying that I wish I would have heard about this when it happened. What sweet and wonderful sentiments you have shared--thank you!