This Is Mom’s Brain. This Is Mom’s Brain on the First Day of School.

how moms survive the first day of school via @lizzylit


7:57 am Drop off child number one, child number two, and finally, child number three. Walk out of the classroom, sending one last I-love-you-and-you-can-do-this smile across the room to your child. She huddles there, small behind her gigantic desk, blinking at you with brave, sad eyes, and gives you the world’s tiniest wave.

Still 7:57 Stand outside the classroom door holding your toddler, eyes stinging, pretending to check your phone, feeling weird and unfinished somehow…like maybe you didn’t fill out all the forms, or you forgot to pack something, or you didn’t give a good enough pep talk. Remind yourself that you cannot go back in the classroom, no matter what. No! You can’t! Your kid would either a) melt down, or b) never live down the humiliation, or c) both. But you can’t shake the feeling that you’ve forgotten something important. Left something behind.

Still 7:57 Make yourself walk back to your minivan. Pretend you have something in your eye. Wonder how the kids are doing.

7:59 Unlock your van and strap your toddler in the carseat. Realize what you left behind. It’s your heart, and it’s sitting quietly, doing “morning work” at three little desks in cinderblock classrooms.

8:00 Sit in your car and scroll through the pictures you took. Send the cute ones to grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Wonder how the kids are doing. Post pictures to Facebook.

8:06 Drive home. Call your mother. Regale her with a full description of the morning. Wonder together how the kids are doing.

8:12 Walk back in to a quiet house. Suddenly feel light and giddy, dizzy with freedom. Do a little happy dance. You’re free! You can do whatever you want! (Actually you can’t, since you work like six jobs and have a toddler at home, but still.) Mentally catalogue a list of 536 things you are going to accomplish today.

8:12:30 Spot the kitchen table still covered in breakfast dishes. The table looks so lonely, and the house feels so empty, that you feel your eyes start to burn all over again. Wonder how the kids are doing.

8:12:40 Decide you are not motivated to do 536 things after all. You will be lucky to accomplish one. You are too . . . feelingsy.

8:13 Have a horrible moment of panic: Did you actually give all the kids their lunch boxes in the mad dash out the door? The first grader was holding hers in her hand…did she put it down on the ground when she sat down to put on her shoes? (Secretly hope she did leave it behind, so you have an excuse to go back up to the school and check on her.)

8:14 Scour the house for lunch boxes. No lunch boxes. Congratulate yourself on doing something right. Wonder how the kids are doing.

8:21 Have another moment of panic. Did you forget the toddler at the school? Nope. She’s in the other room, enjoying the rare treat of having the entire play room to herself. You hear what may or may not be the sound of breaking Legos. Your son will be really upset if she got into his Legos. Wonder what your son is doing now.

8:23 Stare at the dishes. You should really do the breakfast dishes.

how moms survive the first day of school via @lizzylit

8:24 Turn your back on the dishes. Get on Facebook. Grow misty-eyed at all of your friends’ first-day pictures. Feel vaguely guilty that you didn’t pull off fancy calligraphy and other Pinterest-worthy adornments for your first-day pictures. You were lucky just to have everyone fed and dressed and out on the front steps early enough to take a picture. Panic for a moment, wondering if your children all had shoes on in their picture. Click back to your picture and sigh with relief. They did. They all put on their shoes…but the first grader had a big smear of toothpaste on her face.

9:17 Force yourself away from Facebook. Feel the dirty dishes staring you down. Start washing dishes.

9:28 Spend long minutes scrubbing fossilized oatmeal off the table. With every scrub, wonder how the kids are doing.

9:39 Remember you have a toddler. Put the toddler down for a nap.

9:56 Turn toward the laundry room. Shuffle in to face eighteen loads of laundry. Suddenly realize how exhausted you are, since you woke up every twenty minutes all night long, running through the to-do-before-school list. Stand there debating. Laundry or nap, laundry or nap—how are the kids doing?—laundry or nap?

9:59 Your eyes refuse to stay open. Decide, reluctantly, on a nap.

10:03 Stumble into your bedroom and snuggle into your unmade bed. Close your eyes. Think, “This is amazing! I could never do this if the kids were home. So really, I should be happy they’re at school! I wonder how they’re doing. I wonder howwww…” Drift into dreams, in which you float around the school supply aisle at Target, hunting deals.

10:14 Bolt upright, wide awake, heart pounding. Did you remind your first grader that the bus route number changed? What if she gets on the wrong bus? What if—? Think back over every word you said. Yes. You told her. But will she remember? Tell yourself you’re being ridiculous and paranoid and obsessive. Order yourself to get some rest. Make yourself close your eyes.

10:23 Your eyes fly open again. Was it a stupid move to put a note in your son’s lunch box? Is he already too old for that? You didn’t draw a heart, or use the word love, or even sign “Mom” on it, but still…was the note a mistake? Will his friends see it and make fun of him? Have you just ruined his reputation, his third-grade year, and his life?

10:26 Give up on a nap. Shuffle, bleary-eyed, back to the laundry room. Put in a load of darks.

10:31 Microwave a cup of this morning’s coffee. Wonder how the kids are doing.

10:34 Try to pay bills or return emails or catch up on overdue work stuff or do something involving actual brain cells. Give up. Your brain is useless today.



Text your mother.

Change a diaper.

Worry about whether your son has survived the note in the lunchbox yet.

Pray he forgives you.

Fold laundry.

Feed the toddler.

Text your mother.

Laundry, diaper, pray, repeat.

Laundry, diaper, pray, repeat.

2:03 Make the kids a sugary snack you would never let them eat on a normal day.

2:13 Begin praying desperately that your children all get on the right bus. Wish you had gone to pick them up. Berate yourself for being a horrible, negligent mother for not picking them up in the car on the first day. Remind yourself that the line would be three hours long, and they have to get used to riding the bus eventually, so it’s better to start things off in their normal routine. Feel guilty anyway. Pray harder. Text your mom and ask her to pray, too.

2:32 Walk to the bus stop fifteen minutes early, even though you know the bus will run late today. Feel better about yourself when the neighbor shows up hyper early, too. Trade war stories of how you survived the day.

2:56 Hug three smiling children when they get off the bus. Nod and grin and try to understand three excited voices all shouting over each other at once. Have no idea what they are saying, or what actually happened today, but it sounds like happy words. Your son does not mention his life being ruined by your lunch box note, so you don’t bring it up. Breathe a prayer of thanks—day one, a success.

3:02 Feed the children sugar. Enjoy their gleeful shouts of how you’re the best mom in the universe because you gave them sugar.

3:12 While the kids bounce off the walls, tearing the semi-clean house apart, try not to cry when you see the pile of paperwork—at least three days’ worth—they’ve brought home for you, and that they insist must be turned in tomorrow OR ELSE. Wish you had not raised such hyper-responsible children.

4:36 Answer your mother’s call and tell her everything you managed to translate from the too-excited-to-finish-any-complete-sentences reports the kids gave you about their day.

5:24 Begin the mad scramble of dinner and dishes and baths and bookbag-packing and tomorrow’s-clothes-picking and getting everyone in bed at a sort of reasonable hour for a school night.

10:27 Collapse in bed, mentally calculating the cost of the school supplies you still need to buy. Debate the merits of taking on a seventh job to pay for it all.

10:34 Start to drift off. Wonder if it will always feel this way, like you’re living only half inside your body, while the rest of you is wherever your kids are. Wonder if you will spend the rest of your life wondering, worrying, and praying.

10:46 Hear your phone ding with an incoming text message. It’s from your mother: “Hi. Just wondering how you’re doing.”

first day of school jitters

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13 “Back-to-School” Scriptures for Kids

If your family is like ours, right now you’re scrambling to fill out a gazillion back-to-school forms—just as you realize that every kid’s shoes are too tight and their jeans are too short—plus you need to buy $978 worth of pencils and glue sticks. In between fears that you’ll need a second mortgage to help you pay for it all, and wondering why oh why we can’t just fill out the forms online one time for the whole family, you’re scratching your head and wondering what happened to summer.

But our kids need more than just glue sticks and non-holey jeans to get them prepared for the new year. Our children need confidence, peace, and a sense of God’s love and guiding hand as they start this new year in their life. Kids have so many questions and worries as school starts: Will I get the teacher I wanted? Will this year be really hard? Will my friends still be my friends? 

Here are 13 Back-to-School Scriptures for Kids and Teens to help our families get spiritually prepared for school. I’m planning to read one or two of these scriptures every morning with my kids over the next few weeks. Armed with glue sticks, new jeans, and these back-to-school Bible verses, our kids are sure to have a great start to the year!


When you’re afraid, or lonely, or wondering if God is with you at school

1. “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” –Proverbs 15:3

2. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:9

3. “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” –1 Peter 5:7

4. “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” –Matthew 6:25–34, HCSB

back to school Bible verses to read with kids and teens

5. “The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” –Psalm 121:5–8

6. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you.” –Isaiah 43:1–2, 4

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Remembering to do the right thing at school

7. “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.” –Proverbs 1:8–10

8. “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” –Proverbs 3:1–4

9. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” –Proverbs 1:5–8

10. “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” –2 Timothy 2:22–24

How to interact with your friends

11. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” –1 Timothy 4:12

12. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” –Proverbs 15:1

13. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” –Colossians 4:5–6

The Thompson Crazies wish you and your family a great start to the school year!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

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Don’t Forget Your “Easy” Kid

how to talk to quiet kids

Do you have an “easy kid”?

I hate to use that phrase, and yet there’s truth to it. You know the one I’m talking about: Pleasant. Easygoing. Content. Not demanding. Maybe a little on the quiet side. We enjoy them—especially if they are surrounded by more demanding siblings—but sometimes they get pushed aside by the other kids. We don’t mean to let it happen, of course—it’s just that the other kids take up so much space, and the “easy kids” seem happy to give it to them.

I usually put all of our kids to bed at the same time, but the other night it ended up going in stages, one kid at a time. So I got to give my “easy kid” some extra attention at bedtime. I was reminded of how much he enjoys—and needs—those moments alone in the spotlight. (And I enjoy times alone with him, too!) He may not push his way forward, clamoring for my attention the way his sisters do, and yet he’s back there, quietly being pleasant but still needing his mom in his own humble way.

That night was a good reminder for me: Don’t let the loud, insistent kids drown out the quiet, easygoing ones. Because they all need attention, they all need to be heard, and they all need doting and snuggling and time of their very own. Let’s not take our “easy kids” for granted.

Easy kid v2

When Kids Know God Better than We Do

helping children know God @lizzylit


“God paint trees, Mommy.”

My two-year-old beams up at me, pointing a chubby finger at the thick trees shading our front lawn.

Her word choice surprises a laugh out of me. “You know what? You’re right! God did paint those trees.”

I swirl the word paint around inside, exploring the delightful image of God the great Artist, paintbrush in hand, painting trees—a touch of green, a knot in wood, a crooked limb.

But my daughter is not done expounding. Her finger sweeps the yard. “God paint wow-ee.”

“Yes, and the flowers too.” A fragment of scripture flits across my mind: Lift up your eyes . . . who created all these?

Again the little finger searches, points. “God paint grass. Pink grass.”

I laugh, not bothering to correct her colors when she’s in the middle of a theological epiphany. “Oh yes, God painted the grass!”

She tips her honey-and-sunshine curls back, squinting up. “God paint sky. Clouds. Sun. Moon.” She casts me a smug grin as if to say, Aren’t you impressed that I know so many “sky” words?

“Oh, yes, you’re right. God painted all of those things,” I say. “Aren’t they beautiful?” I glance up at puffy clouds drifting on a sea of blue. The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Hazel eyes dancing, my daughter flings her hands out wide, the grand finale: “God paint me!”

I am struck speechless. I catch her up in my arms and bury my face in her sweet baby-soap smell.

She pushes me back and insists: “God paint me! Mommy tummy!” Pudgy fists pressed against my chest, round eyes locked on mine, she awaits my response.

At last I find my voice. “Oh, yes, darling, God painted you in Mommy’s tummy.”

She snuggles in and squeezes tight.

Even now her words echo inside me, a gorgeous refrain: God painted me. Such profound insight, from one so young, so fresh from heaven. God made us, yes, but more than that: he painted us.

I can just picture it: The great Artist takes up his paintbrush, selects his canvas, lays out his paints—a thousand hues of possibility—and ponders: What to create today? Oh, I know! Humming happily to himself, he dips his brush in paint and begins with just a single stroke: conception. Another stroke, a pause for inspiration—she’s taking shape now. A dab here, a curve there. He stops, debating: What color eyes to give? He mixes shades—a hint of green, a streak of caramel, a few golden flecks—there. Just right. He chuckles to himself, picturing those perfect eyes lit with wonder the first time they see a rainbow, a dandelion, a puppy. Now for the hair. He thinks for a moment, tapping his brush against his lip. I’ll borrow a little curl from her grandfather, a touch of auburn from her great-great-grandmother, a cowlick from her mother . . . oh, yes. Beautiful. On and on he paints—fingers, toes, crooked nose (because as any great artist knows, it’s the imperfections that make it perfect)—and when he is finished, he steps back, eyes shining. Even more beautiful than I imagined, he thinks. Oh, yes. This is good. She is very, very good. In the corner, he signs his name.


For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

(Psalm 139:13–16)

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helping kids know God @lizzylit

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Before you leave, don’t forget to sign up for my monthly parenting newsletter. Recent newsletter topics have included 5 Ways to Help Siblings Become Friends and 6 Simple Ways to Teach Kids to Walk with God. As a welcome gift, you’ll receive a free download: 7 Two-Minute Devotions to Do Around the Breakfast Table with Kids!

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