It’s true. All of it, I confess. I went before the judge made my plea:
Judge: Do you understand the charges against you?
Me: Yes, ma’am
Judge: What do you plead?
Me: No Contest
Charges against me?! I now, officially, have a criminal record.
All the illegal stuff I did in my youth. The drinking and driving. The fake ID’s the drugs, the stealing….and NOW, as a mother of five….NOW, as I wife….NOW, as a someone who loves me some Jesus…NOW I am an official criminal.
And it’s not even a cool story. Everyone is expecting a cool story from me. But I got nothing for you…
It’s just as simple as this:
When Cody was sick, I sent in parent notes instead of doctor’s notes.
So because the school didn’t have their preferred excuse, me and my fourteen year old son had charges brought against us. And we had a court appointed time in the Municipal building with a judge. And we wasted a whole lotta tax payer’s dollars. To be told:
You are on probation until October 27th. Cody don’t have any unexcused absences, and Mom, make sure you monitor his attendance.
Yup. That happened… giving me a criminal record
I get there are kids who don’t go to school but these Texans take this truancy thing super seriously.
As I watched these other moms, I wondered how difficult it was for them to be there. How many of them had to take off work? How many of them have cried over their wayward child? How many have dreaded that phone call from the school saying their child wasn’t at there, and every tear was a different worry about something being horribly wrong?
My BIGGEST fear going into this whole court ordeal was that I didn’t want anyone to think I was a bad mom. I wasn’t afraid of jail, after all I’ve seen ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. But people thinking I’m a bad mom would be worse than death. In fact, the whole BIKINI DISCUSSION really boils down to this–moms wanting to make the right decision. We want to all say it’s for the sole benefit of our child, but, really, is it? I think as moms we want to impress other moms. We want to make the more noble decision. We want our kids to come out of their messed up childhood with flying colors. And if they don’t, then maybe we didn’t give them enough attention. Maybe we let them wear a bikini…maybe we turned in the wrong kind of note.
At one time, maybe those moms felt the insecurity of being sub-par. But as I looked around the courtroom, most of them were courtroom veterans. One mom told the prosecutor she just didn’t know what to do anymore, and she has a younger daughter who hated school, and life, just like the older one who was ready to drop out and get her GED. One mom hired an attorney. The other moms could care less about their criminal record, they just needed someone to help them figure out how to help their children.
How petty of us to be concerned about what other people think of our mothering?! In mothering we extend each other the least amount of grace. Even when we are sympathetic to that mom who has a struggling, rebellious child, we have those secret questions wondering to ourselves,… never out loud….where that mom went wrong.
If a child is doing well, we assume he has a great mom. If a child is failing, then it’s for sure the moms fault.
This entire situation taught me a few things:
- I didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose me .
- We judge ourselves so harshly, and sometimes even hope to come across another mom that is worse at parenting than us, just to make us feel better.
- Moms of truly hurting kids don’t give a crap about how you parent. They are way too absorbed in their own troubles to care about your failures.
- We are all humans in need of grace and mercy.
- Truancy judges are bound to be bored out of their minds.
How do you handle your parenting failures? Do you give yourself grace or feel like you’ve messed up your child forever? What have been your eye opening experiences?
I really want to know…. Comment and SHARE!
LG|LP – Tiff