The Prom Mom

If you read my blog called “Confessions of a  No Prom Mom” around this time last year, you know I was slightly lamenting over my oldest daughter’s decision to not attend her senior prom. I know it’s their prom and not mine, but I wanted to have the experience and memory of my kids attending their senior prom just like I did. Thankfully, my youngest daughter Fahrelle, who was a junior in high school at that time, committed to attending her prom the following year. I had been waiting anxiously to have a mother-daughter prom experience. The shopping, the dress selection, hair, make up, shoes, pictures…..awww…all the makings of a perfect experience for a girly girl like me. I was finally going to get my fill! Fahrelle made good on her PROMise this past Saturday.

 Although I couldn’t wait for her prom time to come, I was soon ready to see it go. In fact, I was becoming the “so over this prom thing mom”. What happened to all my prom excitement???? It dwindled in the process of planning all the details. Ironically, I enjoy planning, but this time….ehhhh not so much. The stores were overcrowded with moms and daughters just like us, going from store to store looking at limited selections or overwhelmingly large selections of prom gowns, dealing with sometimes rude (or maybe just overworked) retail assistants, standing in line waiting for a dressing room to open up, trying to find a great dress for a great price, yada, yada, yada. Then there was the online internet hunt for a dress. Wait, did I mention Fahrelle and I often clash over fashion choices? That only prolonged the process.

Our first prom dress shopping outing.

Our first prom dress shopping outing at Serendipity in White Plains, MD. All the dresses we loved were by Maggie Sottero for Flirt Prom.

To my daughter’s credit, she did a lot of work for several weeks, researching online for hours to find a prom dress and then texting me photos of the dresses. She used this texting method in an effort to keep the prom dress search rolling on her own as I was consumed with travel and my son’s basketball games. I picked apart every dress she texted me, thinking “will it look the same in person as it does on the computer?”, “is the online company reputable” and the fearful thought “we gotta nail it because these dresses are non refundable”. She scrutinized the dresses I texted her as well, only her responses were very brief (just like a teenager), “mom, that’s ugly”, “uh unnnn”, and “nope”. We did this for weeks until we ultimately got burned out. Finally, we went back to the stores, and then back online again. By this time, prom day was fast approaching and I had called off her attending the prom at least once (or maybe twice). We worked through all our frustrations, got back on board, rushed to get the dress we selected (which happened to be one of the first dresses we liked on our first shopping outing. We allowed our fear of commitment and the hope that something better and less expensive would come along to keep us on the hunt.) That store could no longer order the dress, so I ordered from an online store. It was scheduled to arrive via UPS just a few days before the prom and it DID. I was praying I could get the needed alterations done in time. *Wipes sweat from brow*. There was no room for error. Everything had to work right the first time!

The moment the prom dress arrived. Somebody cue the HAPPY song!

The moment the prom dress arrived just THREE days before prom. Somebody cue the HAPPY song!

And then there was the very important DATE factor. With no boyfriend as the obvious choice for a prom date, the selection process for the guy to escort our daughter to the prom was just as grueling, if not more grueling, than finding the dress. Hey, not just anybody gets to take our girl out for the evening. We needed a background check, credit report, birth certificate, etc. Just kidding. Fortunately, she was pickier than we were! The prom date conversations were hilarious, as we vetted the next president of the United States, uhhh… I mean her potential prom date. Nevertheless, as the dress ordeal came together, so did the prom escort ordeal. We got a parent and daughter approved young man to share this once in a lifetime occasion with her.

Fahrelle receiving her corsage from her prom escort, Christian.

Fahrelle receiving her corsage from her prom escort, Christian.

Prom day had a little drama of its own. My daughter experienced chemical burns on her arms and back from the hair removal product we used on her for the first time. (NOTE to you and reminder to me: NEVER experiment with your appearance on the day of a major event). That put a kink in our schedule that adversely affected the arrival time at the hair salon, which affected our arrival time to the makeup studio. Thankfully, our hairstylist and make up artist were so accommodating. Everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING), worked out just fine!

Makeup of Kelley Woods. Perfection! (Photo by Kelley Woods)

Makeup of Kelley Woods. Perfection! (Photo by Kelley Woods)

As I sit at the finish line and reflect back on this prom process, I cannot help but think of all the things in life we get so excited about the “IDEA” of experiencing. We have some fantasy-like thoughts about what our wedding day will be like, our marriage, our dream job, buying our first home, etc. All we can see is all the good, all the joy, all the fun times that will be wrapped into that experience. We approach it with such naivety, just as I did with this prom experience. But then, once I got into the thick of things, the shopping wasn’t as effortless as I had imagined in my head, the days out scouting for the perfect dress were longer than I liked, I invested more money upfront than I originally intended, and I felt like throwing in the towel a time or two. In essence, it took COMMITMENT to walk out the prom process, and COMMITMENT usually involves you COMMITTING more along the way than you ever intended to COMMIT when you started out. Commitment costs, but commitment pays.


Isn't she lovely?

Isn’t she lovely?

This past Saturday, we got to see the reward of our commitment. Our daughter was beautifully dressed for her senior prom with the perfect prom date by her side, and all the agony of the process was a thing of the past. Then God blessed us with so many beautiful surprises along the way as we walked out our commitment. We did not have to pay a dime for a few of the prom expenses we had planned to pay for. Although the process was agonizing, in the end it was all worth it! And guess what? Whatever process you are committed to will be worth it as well. That vision you had at the beginning wasn’t all wrong. There will be good. Lots of good. And truthfully, if you saw the struggle upfront, maybe you would not have committed to go throughout the process. Keep that vision, no matter how impossible it may seem to accomplish. It will propel you forward. Focusing on it will keep you standing firm when the negative distractions come that make you feel like giving up. It’s worth fighting for. The PROMise will come and it will be worth it!

I love to hear from you! Did this post encourage you at all? Have you ever seen the benefits of not quitting during the process? Do you love prom stuff like I do? Thanks in advance for taking the time to share.






Photographer and family friend DeAunte of PicsNMotion Studios having a talk with them about posing.


Hair by Adia Day of Vogue III, Waldorf, MD.

Our family (minus one).

Our family (minus one).

Honored to have friends gather to for the prom send off.

Honored to have friends gather together for the prom send off.


Fahrelle attended prom with a group of friends.

Fahrelle attended prom with a group of friends.

Fire the MAID, Hire the COACH- Making the SHIFT

I confess I was sort of late learning to ride a bike. I was so girly, I didn’t want to fall off a bike and scar my legs (don’t judge me). By the time I got the courage to learn how to ride a one speed bike, most of my cousins I wanted to ride with had moved on to the ten speed bike.

It was bigger and better, yet a little more complicated. The ten speed bike came with gears that I could shift to adjust the bike, making for a much easier ride up or down a hill. That feature alone made the ten speed bike better than the one speed bike. If you have ever had to walk alongside your one speed bike instead of riding it while going up a hill, you know exactly what I mean!

Moms, can you imagine life in one speed? I can. I did one speed for a while, but the journey got hard. Living life in one speed wasn’t intentional. It was subtle—very subtle. I imagine I was like most moms. My husband and I brought that beautiful bouncing baby girl home from the hospital and I went into action—feeding, changing diapers, bathing, changing clothes, combing hair, doing laundry, packing baby bags, and on and on and on. I did it day after day, month after month, year after year, and I neglected to shift. It just became natural for me to do it all, even after I had my second child. I was too exhausted as the mom of two young girls, only 18 months apart (yeah, almost twins). I did manage to make some minor adjustments along the way, but I can’t say I had actually shifted gears. I didn’t even realize I was supposed to shift gears. The realization came when my 7-year-old niece came to stay at our home for the weekend. She was about the same age as my girls, but she was extremely independent. She took showers (not 30 minute baths with the perfect water temperature, bubbles, and toys). She had selected and packed her own clothes, managed her own hair fairly decently, and much more. I was SHOCKED! It had never occurred to me that my girls were at the age where they could do more for themselves. Somewhere along the way, between the hustle and bustle of life, and the longing to just get things taken care of, I had become like a maid, an unpaid maid I should add.

That day I did what any good mom would do- I FIRED the MAID, and HIRED the COACH! This revelation did not mean I would no longer serve my kids, it just meant I would start training them as well. I honor and respect the position of a maid, and in no way am I putting it down, but in the life of a mom, the maid must be a seasonal position. You must know when to shift gears and start coaching instead. A maid does everything for you. A coach trains, instructs, and prepares you. Prepares you for what? They PREPARE you to WIN the upcoming game (of life). Once the game begins, the coach isn’t allowed to get in the game and play for the player. At best, the coach can give guidance from the sidelines. A great coach uses practice time to show the player what to do, watches them do it, and then gives them any needed correction or further guidance until they can successfully do it on their own. The coach is satisfied from seeing the player use the preparation he or she taught them, and score big during the game! Just like game day comes for the player, the day will come where your child will be on their own, putting all your instruction into action. Prepare them NOW to WIN when that time comes. But keep in mind, WINNING TAKES TRAINING!

That ten speed bike I mentioned earlier is much like the life of a mom. As our children grow, we have to make the necessary adjustments for a much easier ride. I have seen it time and time again, you know, that burned out feeling you get when you don’t shift gears. That is because LIFE IS NOT MEANT TO BE LIVED IN ONE GEAR. Most of the time when the moms I know get burned out I ask them what are their responsibilities and what are their kid’s responsibilities around the house. I have usually found it’s the mom doing it ALL! Some moms do it all because they got in one speed and stayed there. Due to a lack of knowledge, they missed the shift. Other moms do it all because they don’t want to teach and train. They figure it will save them time and frustration just to do it themselves. That way they know it will be done right. Then there are some moms who have a need to be needed by their child. They attach what they DO for the child with their VALUE to the child, so they joyfully do it all. Moms, please know you are an invaluable treasure simply because of who you ARE, not only because of what you DO for your child. You are valuable just because you are their mom. Remember, when you do it all, you rob your child of the benefit of being responsible and knowing HOW to do things. If the President and First Lady of the United States make their daughters have responsibilities in the White house, why can’t our kids have some responsibilities in our house? Let’s evaluate where we are now so we can make the SHIFT!

Evaluate What – Make a written list of what your household responsibilities are. The best way to get a complete list is to write down every household related thing you do over the next seven days. Seeing it in writing will give you much more clarity than just thinking about your responsibilities in your head. If you’re exhausted just looking at the list, you probably need to shift!

Evaluate Why– Look at each task on your list and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Is it because your kids are infants? Is it because your kids are too busy (this busy kid thing will be in an upcoming blog)? Do you pity your kids, and think giving them responsibilities is unfair? Be HONEST with yourself. There may be some good reasons. There may also be some not so good reasons. It’s okay, that’s why you are doing this evaluation.

Evaluate Who & When– Who can do what you are doing? When can they start? This is about establishing age appropriate duties for your kids. If your toddler can take toys out the toy chest, they can also put toys back in the toy chest. Have you ever observed all the duties a child has at their school? Even the kindergartener has to empty their own lunch tray. Why can’t they empty their dinner plate at home? Can your 7-year-old access the cabinets? Have them help put away clean dishes. Maybe they can put canned goods neatly in the pantry. Are you still waking your kids up every morning? Why not get them their own alarm clock without a snooze button? Are you still telling them when to get in and out the shower? Put a timer in there; let them set it to 10 minutes before they get in the shower; when it goes off, they have to get out the shower. Can your child fold towels, move clothes from the washer to the dryer? Do they know their colors? If so, get a dark, white, and bright-colored laundry baskets and have them sort the clothes accordingly. Teach them to make their bed correctly, instead of you doing it for them. You get my point, right coach? Show them how, do it with them, watch them do it, make corrections as needed, and then let them have it. You will always OVERSEE everything and hold them accountable, but you don’t have to DO everything.

SUPERMOM Tip– Making the necessary shifts can help you not to burnout quickly. It’s not about making lazy moms, but making responsible kids! Coach your kids on how to do things for themselves. When game time comes, they will be ready, and you will be proud to watch them WIN!

What are your thoughts? Have you been the maid for too long? Do you plan to implement these steps? I enjoy your feedback and comments.