That Time I Messed Up at Church

3 year old Kaitlyn

Yeah. I make mistakes too. I really goofed on Sunday.

I know it makes a lot of you feel really good when you hear about me messing up, so I thought I would share.

As a sidebar, that is kind of disconcerting that there are hundreds of people hoping I fail at something…lol. I get it. You all want to see humanity. So here it is.

We were at church. Our church starts at 1 PM–you know, right about the time Kaitlyn should be going down for a nap.

She was tired because we had been camping that weekend. When Kaitlyn is tired, like most kids, she is not so amiable.

At about 2:00 PM, Kaitlyn wanted some of McKenna’s pretzels. Well, McKenna also takes an afternoon nap that she misses during church. But McKenna is as chipper as can be if you give her food.

I was going to be teaching a lesson during the last hour of church and my husband would have McKenna all to himself, and I didn’t want to make it hard on him by letting Kaitlyn eat all of McKenna’s pretzels.

I told Kaitlyn she could have two pretzels.

“Five!” she replied.

“Kaitlyn, you may have two, one, or none.”



“Five” (each time the word five is said, imagine her little body convulsing for emphasis).



Okay, there is no reasoning with a tired three year old girl.

And at this point, I started to realize it hadn’t been a good idea to push the “two” idea, but the line had been drawn and I didn’t want to give in to a tantrum.

I pulled out two and gave them to her. She ate them. She then requested two more.

“No Kaitlyn. I told you that you could have two.”

Well, some crying started. I told her to stop. I held her and rocked her, but there was no stopping.

I asked her if she wanted to go in the hall. She said no. The hall is no fun for my kids. But the crying did not stop.

Finally, I picked her up, at which point she started to cry louder and say, “I don’t want to go potty! I don’t want to go potty!”

Why? I am not sure. Don’t ask me to read the mind of an emotional, tired, three year old girl. I guess she didn’t want to go potty. Which actually told me that she must need to go potty.

So I took her to the bathroom where she went potty. Of course by this point, it was about 2:08ish. The meeting ends at 2:10 and then she gets to head to nursery.

And that is officially the worst tantrum a child of mine has had a church. And to think it was my Kaitlyn who did it.

So, where did I go wrong?

Mistake #1: I didn’t take in my surroundings well. This episode started with about 10 minutes left in the meeting. She couldn’t have possibly eaten all of the pretzels in that amount of time. McKenna had other snacks available.

Mistake #2: Under normal circumstances, Kaitlyn would have been fine with two pretzels. Thrilled? No, but not tantrum-driven, either. I didn’t account for her over-tiredness.

Mistake #3: Once I got to Sunday School after dropping Kaitlyn off at nursery, my amused husband informed me that McKenna doesn’t really even like pretzels anyway and usually only eats a few. There was an entire baggie full of them. I should have turned to him from the beginning and asked him how many Kaitlyn could have. You have to realize a pretzel is one of Kaitlyn’s top five favorite foods on earth. It is up there with pasta, cereal, corn, and chocolate. Oh yeah, and after church my amused husband informed me that McKenna never ate one pretzel that day. Ugh.

If I had it to do over again, I would probably pull out a handful of pretzels to give to Kaitlyn and avoid the whole situation. You live and learn, right? I am hoping Kaitlyn analyzed the situation herself and thought of some things to do differently next time.

People at my church all were quite amused (although two of my friends really didn’t notice, which I was quite disappointed with because I had just endured the worst tantrum ever. And did I mention that to get out I had to trip over people on my way out of the pew? And I was sitting on the second row? I was literally front and center. Of course, one friend had just had cheese crackers sneezed all over her and the other has six kids under 8 and is pregnant, and in her words was quite self-absorbed at that time 🙂 ).

Those who noticed had a nice laugh and continued that laugh through Sunday School. At least I have a nice understanding group of people, right? They were all just happy it wasn’t their kid.

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5 thoughts on “That Time I Messed Up at Church”

  1. Thank you for being humble enough to share a "real moment" with us, because we have ALL been there! I love your self-analysis too, always looking for ways to improve the process. I often find myself in the midst of a "humbling moment" when I start thinking I have it all together! 🙂 My perfection complex still needs taming.

  2. This is a great story! Thanks for sharing. We have church at 1:30 right now and it really makes for some interesting Sundays!

  3. I am 100% certain after reading through your detailed description of that tantrum it was way, way worse to you than it was to everyone else. And, yes, I'm glad you goofed. I really don't think many people want you to fail. It's just that if you never mess up, then when the rest of us experience "goofs" we feel we must be doing BW wrong, because if we were doing it right, then our kids would be like yours, and yours come across as almost perfect. I'm not sure if that make sense. Basically, we get this teeny, tiny window into your life. I realize now that you probably have ups and downs like every human being, it's just that we don't get to hear about them. We only get the positive awesomeness that is this blog, but that can be very intimidating to try to live up to. PS-When I say we, I mean I. I'm only speaking for myself, And I think you are incredible and awesome and I only tell myself your kids must not be perfect to help myself feel better, when in fact deep down in my mind I'm pretty sure they are perfect. Really.

  4. Thank you for sharing your real life story with us. I really appreciate these examples because they give me tangible strategies that I can learn and apply to my own life. So thank you.


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