I wonder sometimes if the details matter. If you’re working an algebra equation or measuring sugar for a brownie recipe the answer is simple. Details are crucial. 

I’ve learned the hard way with these. Maybe you have, too?

But when it comes to details in life, the little things unseen to most eyes, those are the details I question.

My 4-year-old turned 5 last week. If you read this column you are likely saying, “Yes, Leslie, we know she turned 5. That is a detail you’ve told us all about on more than one occasion.”

I can’t help it. My baby girl is a very important detail in my life. I know you can relate. 

But back to her birthday.

I wanted everything to be perfect. All moms do. We spent two days preparing for her big bash. We cleaned the floors and planned the cake. My husband bought water games and ice cream and a brand new pink scooter with light up wheels. I found matching straws to go with the matching streamers and the matching plates and napkins. Everything had a place. All the details were executed. We were set for ten, Pre-K kids to fill our backyard with laughter at 3:30 pm sharp.

But at 3:30 pm sharp, one tiny detail threw off our routine:  Mother Nature. Just as kids started to arrive, the rain hit. Our backyard water bash turned soggy, quickly. 

Here’s the thing about 4-year-olds. They don’t care if the straws match the plates or if the floors they are standing on sparkle – but they do care about a water party. And a promised slip-and-slide. And a pool full of cold water. And water balloons. These things need sun, not lightning, in order to participate.

I panicked. My husband was calm. I knew there was a reason I married this guy. He likes details. 

He went into emergency mode and started a quick game of Simon Says in our basement which, thankfully, didn’t have to last long as the rain stopped almost as quickly as it began. But by the time the kids made their way to the backyard, our pool (that we hadn’t filled with water for several years) was fading fast. A few unknown holes made the water escape quickly.

We missed that detail, too.

And here’s where my questioning comes in.

The details that I thought were so very important, (the floors, the Cinderella cake I spent hours perfecting, the snacks, and the pool full of gushing water) didn’t matter much to those sweet kids. They thought the slip-in-slide was “awesome” (true quote from one pretty cute little boy) and that dilapidated pool made a perfect spot to re-fill the “super fun” water guns. They didn’t care what flavor of ice cream topped their cake, they just wanted ice cream. They didn’t care that their feet were sticking to my kitchen floors due to a few spots of spilled lemonade, they just wanted lemonade. 

They had a blast, even if every detail didn’t go as planned.

That’s why I wonder. How much time do we spend each day worrying and planning and scared about the details in life we aren’t meeting. Are they really that important? Does the grass have to be perfectly trimmed? Or the flowers planted just so? How about your car or your home or your body? How much time do you and I waste trying to get each detail perfectly perfect?

Do people really care? Should you? 

I don’t know.

Here’s what I do know. My 5-year-old had a great birthday party. Her smiles and laughter solidified my joy. But the icing on top of that slighted tilted Cinderella cake came when I heard these words from my sweet girl’s mouth. 

“Mama, this has been the best week, ever!”

We nailed it. In the eyes of a brand new 5-year-old, we nailed it. That’s a detail I hope to always get right.

Her View From Home 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading