So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I was pregnant with my third child and we had just walked out the door of a shop that faced a busy parking lot. My 2-year-old twin boys, who never seemed to have an off button, scattered the second we hit the fresh air. It’s almost as if they instinctively knew that big, pregnant mommy could not run after them.

In a fraction of a second I saw one of the twins run into the parking lot.

Just before he got to the road he tripped and fell. The exact moment he fell a moving car passed by his little fingers as he lay there on the parking lot, still a little stunned not by the moving car, which he was oblivious to, but by the fact that his quick escape was thwarted by his own clumsy feet. 

During all of this, I did what any loving mother would do to keep my other one from also running into the parking lot; shove him to the ground (don’t worry, his diaper padded his little bum). He just looked at me stunned and then burst into tears.

I can just imagine his little mind thinking, “I can’t believe my mom just pushed me!” Ugh, I know, I felt bad, but not as bad as I’d feel if both of them got hit by a car. My heart was pounding and I felt like I was going to throw up because of all the adrenaline running through my body. I gathered my boys, dusted them off, thanking God that all I had to see to was a couple little scrapes.

Every time we went into public with these rambunctious toddlers I dealt with these near-collision experiences. For their safety and my sanity I had to change my approach:

1.) Instead of STOP be specific: Every day someone was running away from me, not to be naughty but because of curiosity and whatever goes on in a toddler’s little mind. I’d yell STOP and they wouldn’t stop. Why? I figured out because STOP is a pretty vague word to a toddler. He’s thinking, “Stop what? Stop breathing, laughing, thinking, standing, sitting….” etc. Instead I started saying, “Stop your feet” or “Freeze like a statue.” That way they knew exactly what I wanted them to do.

2.) Make a game out of getting out of the car: Believe me, I know how much work it is to get toddlers out of a car, especially when they’re over strollers and want the freedom of walking on his/her own. (It was a sad day when I couldn’t contain them in a stroller anymore.) One always had to wait while I got the other out of the car and so I tried making standing in one place sound as fun and appealing as I could. If there were painted yellow or white lines to mark parking spaces I say: “Stick your feet on the line like glue. Oh, wow, look how sticky that is! Your feet are so stuck!” They think it’s so funny. If there aren’t lines I say, “The street is lava (or an ocean or quicksand)! Oh no, put your hand on the side of the van so you don’t float away!” It works every time and I still do this with my twins who are six and my daughter who is 3.

3.) Parking lot practice: My kids didn’t do all this at first, we had to practice. If I had time, I’d take them to an empty parking lot to practice standing on the lines or touching the van. If they chose to run, I’d put them back in the car seat and say, “Oh, no we’ve lost the privilege to stand out in the parking lot like a big girl/boy.” Every time they’d run off, I’d buckle them back in. It only took a few tries for them to get the point and get sick of being put back in the car.

You can use these simple phrases and adjust them to your situation where it’s easy for kids to run off. Like the bathrooms, for example, you could use the stall doors as something they need to be touching at all times. Or the shopping carts. Or, like me, now all my kiddos are mobile on two or three wheels using bikes and scooters, I yell “BRAKE!” if I need them to stop, still avoiding the vague word “STOP!”

Parking lot woes are no joke and can be incredibly unsafe and terrifying. My mom-motto is “If I can’t change my kids behavior, they’re probably not understanding what I’m asking of them, OR, I have to change my behavior in response to theirs.”

Nicole Hastings

Nicole is a is a widowed mom to three children. With a background in journalism and a sudden need to “figure out what to do,” she turned to writing about her experience with a husband with cancer, caregiving and widowed parenting and overcoming the aloneness of all of the above. She believes the art of storytelling brings people out of the dark into the light together to share in joy, humor, suffering and pain in life. She hopes that by sharing her story with transparency and heart will bring others hope and empower them to share their own stories.
 
Facebook: @JustAMomNicoleHastings

These Are the Sick Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom kissing head of sick toddler

I’m still in the trenches of toddlerhood, and yet, I already know I will look back on my daughter’s preschool years with affection for what it is: sweet, fun, curious, and undeniably precious. What I won’t miss about this stage is that it’s germy. SO germy. The preschool years bring endless crud into our home. Crud that is heartbreaking when your beloved child’s body is working hard to fight it off, but that also works its way into other bodies. The adults in the home who have jobs and responsibilities, run the entire household and have just endured the emotional...

Keep Reading

I’m Giving My Kids the Summer Fun I Never Had

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys playing in the waves on the beach, color photo

I love that my kids hate school. Stay with me here . . . Yes, I absolutely love that year after year, my boys cannot wait to ditch school for summer break, that they endlessly bemoan the academic year and cannot wait for June.  I love it because it is normal. I love it because it means they enjoy being at home and implies that I make summers fun for them, or, rather, allow summers to be fun for them. I love it because I always dreaded summers when I was growing up. Dreaded them with knots in my stomach...

Keep Reading

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime