Are you splitting hairs over someone’s bad habits?

Ask yourself:

Is this more about me (fear, maybe), rather than their behavior?

Allow me to be your case study today. Here’s my story…


I’ve been tough on my daughter the past few weeks. Today I breathe guilt. It’s her 17th birthday.


Don’t grown musicians (men) write lyrics about girls who are seventeen? This is my baby girl!

Baby-literally. She’s the last in line. Girl-literally. She is our only. She’s the girl. I wake up today and we have one more year until this baby girl is an adult woman.

I fight and flail inwardly. Over my dead body! She’s got too much to learn. She’s a walking explosion of messes and lazy habits. Daily the bomb goes off in her bedroom, bathroom, and now that she’s discovered how to make avocado toast, the kitchen too! Everywhere this baby girl walks she leaves a trail.

But that’s only when she’s home. Out with her friends more hours than not, she is. Where are you going now? Her legs are too beautiful walking bare. Her hair too whimsical to flow. Oh, God, and your brothers… they’re already gone… My heart panics. The clock ticks so loud.

Time, will you shut the hell up!!

The day is too near. There is not enough time. She’s just a girl! I’ve been a mother for twenty-two years. I’ve woken up 8,030 days with a child on my mind. I’ll be damned if the last one leaves not knowing how to clean her shit up!

Get back here and pick up your crap!

Get back here and look at me talking to you!

Get back here…


She’s home late again tonight. Another school night, for God’s sake! She comes into the bedroom. My reading glasses are halfway down my nose. Book closed. Pissed is written in night cream on my naked, sagging cheeks.

She pleads, “I’m sorry, Mom. My friends and I had a crying fest after youth group. They needed me. I prayed with them and it was good.”

“You’re late. It’s a school night. Did you empty the dishwasher?”

“Why are you mad at me again? This whole week I come home and you’re mad about something else. Why don’t you trust me!? I was praying with my friends.”

“I’m not mad. Goodnight.”

As she leaves, her flowing, whimsical locks billow freshness in her wake. My silent heart chases after her, adding all the thoughts I didn’t speak out loud.

I’m not mad, baby girl. I’m scared. Two years. That’s all we got.

Messes. Towels. School lunches. Chaos. Singing. Doors opening. Closing. Feet on steps. Mom, where are my high waist-ed jeans? Mom, what shoes should I wear with this outfit? Mom? Mom? Mom?…

Baby girl, it’s going too fast.

Baby girl, I’m sorry that I didn’t do more.

Baby girl, can I read you another bedtime story?

Baby girl, I trust you. I just don’t trust others. I don’t trust drivers. I learned not to trust myself at seventeen. I still don’t.

Baby girl, I see you. Radiant. Joyful. Brimming with promise. Don’t let anyone slaughter who I see before me this day. Not even me. You are Jesus’ girl. Full of future. Blossoms. Powerful, lustrous tomorrows.

Baby girl, all these messes will get cleaned up. It’s not you. I’m sorry.

Baby girl, I’m not mad. I’m scared.

Keep praying, baby girl. Keep praying. Happy Birthday! I love you…


Are you splitting hairs over someone’s bad habits?

Process the frustration. What are your emotions telling you? Maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s fear.