Running Out of Time (Have I Told Them Everything?)

  Photo Credit:  Daiga Ellaby

Photo Credit: Daiga Ellaby

My friend had a stroke (she's my age) and I'm not sure if it's that or the fact that it's spring and I've discovered all three of my children can now officially hold their own bubbles without immediately spilling the entire container wholesale, but these grubby, sticky kids are practically in college next year and I'm just wondering--have we told them everything? 

Other than that time mommy got pulled over for speeding, my children remember nothing.

What Do They Remember? 

They forget everything. If you ask our three-and-a-half-year-old to look for his shoes, he will walk into the next room, stand for a beat, and then walk back and tell us he's hungry. Goldfish literally can hold onto a memory longer.

My husband and I tell my children a lot of things, during the course of a day. Things like: flushthetoiletwashyourhandsstopjumpingonthecouch, stoptouchingthewallgetthatoutofyourmouth, pickupyourshoesfindyourshoeswhereareyourshoesputyourshoesonputyourfootinthisshoenowWHEREAREYOUMOTHEREFFINGSHOES (just kidding on that last one), closethedoorclosethedoorclosethedoor, stopslammingthedooryouregoingtocrushyourbrothersfingers, washyourhairgetoutoftheshoweryouhavetwomoreminutesbeforeIturnthewateroff, noyoucan'tgooutside, noyoucan'twatchanothershow, noyoucan'thavecandy, nonononononononono, hurrynowletsgonowhurryhurryhurryhurry 

I figure that if we've told them to FLUSHTHETOILET once, we've told them three hundred times. Yet, I'ved learned to walk by their bathroom several times a day to flush the toilet because otherwise it never gets flushed.

Daily Routines

My route looks like this: bathroom to flush the toilet, kitchen table to PUTTHELIDSBACKONTHEMARKERS, and the living room couch to PUTTHEAPPLECORESINTHETRASH. Repeat. Clearly, we haven't told them to flush the toilet enough. And if three hundred repeated instructions aren't enough for them to remember an eternally inconsequential little flick of the wrist, are we telling them the important things in life often enough? 

Are we telling our daughter that she's an Esther who moves the heart of God with her beauty? Are we telling her she's going to be a Rahab with bravery that is clutch? 

Are we telling our oldest son that he's a preparer of the way? A healer? A hope-giver?

Are we telling our youngest son that he's a man after God's own heart? A repairer of the breach? A restorer of streets to dwell in? 

Are we telling them they are God's glory? Living stones? Kingdom-building, giant-slaying, life-giving children of the day? 

Our kids are at that age now when other people are starting to tell them to be kind and to stop running with scissors, so the burden is less on us to make sure they reach adulthood without being run over by a car or dying of some weird flu they picked up when they licked the cart at Walmart. But I don't feel better about this, I feel more anxious.

Pie Helps

If you drew up a pie chart and ticked off the percentage of time we spent telling them not to pick their noses and the percentage of time we spent telling them the things that really mattered--I'd just eat the pie. 

Mrs. Burke, my son's first grade teacher, has been a teacher a long time, and she can tell my son that his handwriting is getting better and that he cannot go back and get his lunch because he should have remembered it but she cannot tell him that he's gold inside because she doesn't know.

She might think nice things about him and see him in a light that we can't but she doesn't know. We know. We are his parents, and we know. We know he's gold. Nobody knows like we know.

My children are living in this tiny sliver of their lives where their dad and I are the loudest voices in their ears. People tell you if you blink you'll miss it and I haven't slept in the last seven years but I did try to take that one nap that one time and now--the sand is almost gone. My last bite of my sliver is about to get eaten. The curtains are falling. 

But We Know

Any ol' (super helpful) stranger can tell our kids to brush their hair before they leave the house, but nobody can tell them how they're world-changers like we can tell them, because when we tell them it becomes true. It's like a prophecy that has to come true because we're their parents and what we say about them comes true. When other people say it, they're agreeing with us or they're agreeing with what they've already seen in our children, but we can say it before it even exists. We speak it into existence for them. Because we know, and nobody knows like we know. 

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What A Wrinkle in Time Taught Me About Women, Work, and Motherhood (2018 Review)

  Artwork created by Jena Holliday.

Artwork created by Jena Holliday.

This January, an influential pastor and theologian posted a nearly nine minute explanation on why women shouldn’t teach at seminaries. Such luminous opposites as Beth Moore and Rachel Held Evans pounded out pointed rebuttals, but there you have it--this is the world we’re going to church in, being women in, doing our work in, and raising our daughters in.


This is the world we’re raising our sons in: a world that believes women don’t belong.


Nevermind that the creator himself assigned work (the same work, mind you) to the newly-made couple in the garden of Eden. Nevermind that this blatant disregard for a woman's value--in the name of holiness--has created atmospheres where abuse reigns.

A Wrinkle in Time Review 2018

There's a Better Story For Us

Fifty-six years ago, a woman named Madeleine L'Engle crafted a story set half on earth, half on other worlds. It was not her first novel and it was rejected 26 times before finally accepted with much reservation. You might call it the ultimate comeback kid, as it’s gone on to win the Newbery Medal. More than ten million copies are now in print.

Can a science fiction story about a girl, written for young adults in the 1960’s, still inspire us?

Can it restore our hope?

Can it fan the flame of our faith, and remind us that women, mothering, and work are not separate, but vitally and importantly intertwined?

Can it give us fresh understanding about the importance of women, and the importance of our work?

I think it can.

What Questions Do We Ask Our Children?

Ava DuVernay’s film adaption of A Wrinkle in Time is set to release any day now and judging by the trailers, it will be a fantastic event. The novel is a brief, straightly told account of thirteen-year-old Meg’s adventure across time to save her father (and then brother).

Since good science fiction, in my mind, marks itself as being just a good adventure with science (and AWIT is good science fiction), I was shocked when I saw DuVernay’s translation of L’Engles' work, and realized the absurdity of what the author asks us to believe.


Stars turned into humans? A pulsing brain with tremendous control? Beauty beyond comprehension? It felt so natural, in the book. Of course there is life on other planets. Of course God is present here, too. Of course beauty and evil and art and hate are concepts that exist outside of earth’s atmosphere.


In Walking on Water, L’Engle writes, “Generally what is more important than getting watertight answers is learning to ask the right questions.”


Like Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (and many others), Meg’s story teaches us to suspend our need for answers: 

can I be happy in the space between knowing and not knowing? Can I make my home in the infinite stretch of the unknown? Can I be at home in God, who is beyond my knowing?

A Wrinkle in Time Review 2018

The Unlikely Hero

It’s not just faith in the infinite Good that is stretched; we’re also asked to believe in Meg. By all accounts, there’s not much to believe in--or look it. She’s “outrageously plain,” her “dreamboat eyes” hidden behind thick glasses, without which she’s blind as a bat.


She’s stubborn and intractable. Where everyone else in the story is secure in what they offer, Meg--like so many of us--doesn’t know if she has something to offer. She can count her faults but she can’t count her virtues; they come up short.


That’s what’s so compelling about Meg: we find ourselves in her naked vulnerability. When we count our virtues and come up short, also, it's freeing to find we're not alone. The same questions Meg grapples with, we spend lifetimes trying to answer: do we have something to offer this family--this world?

Do we have something in us that matters, inherently, no matter how indescribable?

In the end, it’s this Meg, this thirteen-year-old who has nothing to give, who saves her brother.

the girl is the hero quote

The Heart of the Thing

Maybe the whole arc of L’Engle’s story is about Meg finding the strength to be the hero. Isn’t that what we need, as women? To find the faith to believe in our inherent worth; to stop seeing the cross as simply a revelation of our depravity, but also a declaration about the value of our life


L’Engle's glorious hero isn’t the scientists with the education, it isn’t the all-seeing spiritual guides, it isn’t the brilliant boy, or the wise boy; it's the girl. It's the girl! The girl is the hero! I see my gangly, awkward self in Meg and I am convinced that I can be a glorious hero, too! 

We Matter

I see myself in Mrs. Murray, too--the beautiful scientist (not that part) who has a lab off her kitchen, and warms the family’s dinner stew on her equipment while she finishes her experiment. In later books, she goes on to win a Nobel Prize. She’s a little like L’Engle, herself, who banged out book drafts at her kitchen table while keeping an eye on dinner. She’s a little like me, typing away on a laptop at the kitchen counter while doling out snacks. Gosh, but we matter.


A Wrinkle in Time

There’s Aunt Beast to see myself in, too, and Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which. If we are to raise strong daughters, if we are to raise strong sons, if we are to be strong women and do good work, we need more Megs, who save their fathers and brothers because of their weaknesses (and not in spite of them).


We need more Mrs. Murrarys, more Aunt Beasts who display marvelous compassion to unknown visitors, more Mrs W’s who choose to be undeniably themselves and enter the fray unabashedly. We need more Madeleines, who undertake the hard work to tell the true story. These female characters, diverse and beautiful, were deeply integral to the story’s outcome. So are you--so am I. Deeply integral to this story’s outcome. We matter.

Jena Holliday, on the artwork she created for this article:  "I thought it would be powerful to show Meg looking up while all sorts of everyday women and girls from all different walks stand around her with a hand on each other and a hand on her. They're standing in a cosmic space, like Meg is forging ahead as a heroine and we all join in that in our own walks."

Grab your limited edition print of Jena's AWIT piece here


This piece was written by Sarah Guerrero, writer and mom of three (plus one). You can learn more about her here, and download her humorous & inspiring collection of essays on motherhood here

What A Wrinkle in Time Taught Me About Women, Work, and Motherhood

Artwork commissioned for this article was created by Jena Holliday. Jena is a mother of two and an artist. She celebrates the motherhood of women of color through her work. If you’d like to see more of her art, you can visit her Instagram account here. If you’d like to see her shop, you can find it here.


What a Wrinkle in Time Taught Me About Women, Work, and Motherhood (2018 Review)

31 Things I've Learned in 31 years (more or less)


I turned 31...recently. I'm not sure what's scarier about being in my thirties: the fact that it's really not that bad or the fact that I really don't care how bad it is. I suppose part of me is still loyal to twenty-one-year-old-Sarah, who would have been appalled at the state of my belly-hiding mumus-I-mean-swimsuits. But that baby Sarah hadn't pushed three children out of her vagina like a superhero SO WHAT DOES SHE KNOW?

What Was I Saying? 

Just like I remember the ten most important grocery items that I forgot to add to my cart as soon as I complete my online grocery shopping order, I will remember things I forgot on this list as soon as I hit publish. Also, there are probably a lot of things that I should've learned by now, like how to unclog a toilet (sorry, honey).

You have undoubtedly learned some great lessons, too, in however many years you've been on this planet, so share this post with YOUR top lessons--feel free to match your age, too, or just pick your favorites.

Women Are SMART

I am asking you to share unashamedly for two reasons: 1) more eyeballs on Stand for Mom (blogging ain't cheap, yo, click my affiliate links and buy some nail polish) and 2) women are really smart (see #22) and wouldn't it be cool if a bunch of us were sharing our collective wisdom all in one place? WOULDN'T THAT BE A LOT OF WISDOM? 

This Is the Best Stuff I Know: 

1. A late start is a perfect way to start.  

2. "Because it makes me happy" is a good reason for doing something. 

3. Getting stronger in one place makes me want to get stronger in another place.

4. A walk around the block is better than coffee (JUST KIDDING but it’s close).

5. God moves both more slowly and more quickly than I expect him to.

6. Using a bad word isn’t a sin. Not forgiving somebody is.

7. Umami is a thing and it’s wonderful.

8. Anybody who promises to make you rich in six months IS LYING TO YOUR FACE and however old you are you are TOO OLD FOR THAT.

9. If you don’t have a good mom, you can be a good mom. That’s what freedom means.

10. My marriage belongs to ME. My husband impacts its quality and has a say in whether or not it continues, but ultimately it’s my relationship and my own happiness that I’m nourishing or sabotaging.

11. Unexpressed anger kills me slowly from the inside. I have to choose to express it, feel it wholly, and then release it.

12. My vulnerability gives somebody else permission to be vulnerable.

13. I like my kids a lot more when I get regular breaks from them.

14. I will clear everything for a friend date.

15. It is both humbling and gratifying to meet somebody a world away who has the same dreams and hopes that you do.

16. Feminism is beautiful but I have to pair it with forgiveness or I just walk around angry all the time and then the patriarchy wins.

17. Take your own polish in the perfect shade of pink (or this delicious ultra violet) and the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat (the black bottle) to the nail salon. A polish only is about $7 and sit under the light for 10-15 minutes. Your manicure will last a week and it took you all of twenty minutes and about $7. You’re welcome. Tip your manicurist.

18. Don’t buy something if you can’t afford to replace it.

19. Shame is at the root of a lot of things.

20. My life’s calling is freedom, but the actual point of freedom isn’t to be able to do more stuff (though that happens and it’s awesome), it’s to feel God’s love more.

21. Success is being loved by God and loving him.

22. Women are f*cking incredible. (and here and here)

23. My job isn’t to be my kids’ everything; it’s to point them to the Everything.

24. You never regret taking the photos. You always regret not being in the photos.

25. Lube is clutch.

26. Man does not live by bread alone but she DOES live by bread.

27. If you pray for the same person every time you brush your teeth, in one year you’ll have prayed for that person over 300 times. You can also do this when you get into the car, take a shower, or any other thing you do regularly.

28. If you deliberately start taking your angry feelings when you’re doing the dishes and turn them into prayers thanking God for dishes to feed your children off of, one day you’ll find yourself randomly praising God while you do the dishes.

29. Doing less for my kids allows me to do more with them later.

30. The wonderful thing about privilege is that it’s a platform and you can pull other people up onto it so their voices can be heard, too.  

31.  Queso is cheaper than therapy.

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I So Chill (my feelings map on Valentine's Day)

valentine's day when you're a mom

OMG can Valentine's Day just be over already?

I used to be so chill. I used to pride myself on being so chill. All those other girls, with their crazy eyes and their crazy expectations and all their general cray--not me. I chill. People compliment me on my chill. Ex-boyfriends compared my chill to all their past girlfriends' lack of chill. My husband comes home from hunting weekends and is like, baby, you're so chill and I love you.

But Then...

I realized all my anger issues were because of repressed feelings, and Hallmark--that cat knows what he's doing--and IDK, maybe I just want people to buy me stuff. Or maybe it's that I'm a mom now and there's never a day that's just about me but IS BREAKFAST IN BED TOO MUCH TO ASK? I know nobody is old enough to turn on the stove but POUR ME A BOWL OF CEREAL OR SOMETHING.

These Are the Important Ones

Anyways, I'm still chill. Until I'm not. And then I'm really, really, really not chill. I'm chill till about 8pm on February 14th, or December 5 (my birthday), or February 26 (our anniversary--which I do honestly forget every year) AND THEN I'M REALLY, SUPER NOT CHILL.

This Is All Your Fault

I blame this on Netflix and its incessant parade of chick flicks this time of year. I blame this on that Olympics figure skating couple who is obvs madly in love with each other. I blame this on Jane Austen. I blame this on my kids for taking all money so I can't buy a bunch of stuff online to make me feel better. I do not blame this on my husband (see how chill I am?) because it's not fair to expect someone to know what to do with crazy when it only shows up three times a year from 8:02pm to 10:55pm. And every month when I get my period.

Here's my precise schedule for this week:

my feelings on valentine's day #momhumor #meme #lovehumor #galentinesday

February 12: Oh, I see another holiday is coming for those silly people who allow themselves to be duped by the obvious commercialism of fake holidays.

February 13: People are posting about their special days online, but I know that what really matters is what happens the other 364 days of the year.

February 14, 8am: I feel like maybe I would like a present today. I check our online bank account and feel sad. I decide not to buy myself a present.

10am: I fantasize about my husband stopping by the house with a limo and plane tickets to France. I throw a load of my underwear in the wash just so I have something clean to wear on the plane.

4pm: I realize we're eating Sonic for dinner.

5pm: I'm totally fine and busy celebrating all the women who are getting flowers right now and checking in with all the women who are NOT getting flowers right now. In addition to the combo with a Route 44 drink at Sonic, I order the mozzarella sticks.

6pm: Somebody else gets engaged on Instagram and it's precious. I'm so happy for them.

7pm: Husband calls to say he'll be working late. It's fine. I'm fine.

7:30pm: I remember our first Valentine's Day together and I mentally compare that day to today. Totes the same, even if nobody is wearing anything cute and one of us looks a lot frumpier and there are kids throwing fits about bath time. Still so chill.

7:45pm I take a misery scroll through Instagram, skipping the posts about how happy and rational people communicate expectations clearly prior to big holidays and the posts about how great relationships aren't about candlelit dinners and fancy evenings (obviously they are and these people are LYING, but I'm just mildly pointing this out to myself in a chill way).

8:00pm Change into the sweatpants with the snot stains and stare sadly at myself in the mirror. Start to sniff and suspect nobody is buying me flowers because I eat a lot of extra long chili cheese coneys from Sonic. WHY I EAT SO MANY EXTRA LONG CHILI CHEESE CONEYS FROM SONIC?

8:02pm It's gone. All chill is gone.

8:07pm So is my secret chocolate stash.

10pm: A lot of other things have been eaten now, but the sad place in my heart is still there. Now I'm shopping Instagram. I buy a magnetic face mask, Kylie's lip kit, and a unicorn mug.

11:55pm: I lay in bed, surrounded by the crumbs of my defeat (literally--cake is crumbly). I think about all the single people not having sex tonight and I feel like it's our duty to have sex tonight, but...I ate a lot of things.

6am: I wake up with a chocolate hangover and realize I'm going to have to return everything I bought last night. Wonder if I can cancel the orders before they're sent?

Valentine's Day, here's the door. Show yourself out.