How to Roll forward after a Bad parenting decision

Posted on June 24, 2015

How to roll forward after a bad parenting decision

by Joy

So we’ve all made bad parenting decisions in our lives.
Some small, some big.
I made one this week.
new.ibelieveinjoy.comI was enjoying the San Diego weather when a woman approached me and invited my daughter and our whole family to a night at Skateworld.

“Skateworld?” I asked- “you mean a roller skate rink?”

“Yes. You are all invited, & it will be so fun!”

Before she could finish the sentence my brain flashed back to a 7th grade childhood party at Skateworld. I instantly saw the disco ball dancing around the patterned floor and could hear the announcer chime up, “and now we will have a couples skate- grab a partner and come out to the skate floor!”

My palms got as sweaty as they did in 7th grade. Would I get asked to couples skate?!! My stomach got butterflies and the nastalgic moment was nearly perfect when-

I was jolted back to reality as my 2 year old screamed,


“I gotta go potty!!!!!”

I wiped the sweat off my palms and pinched myself- yes it’s true, I’m married with 3 kids and definitely not in 7th grade. 🙂
But yet….

I wondered….

Would the disco ball still be spinning there?

I RSVP’d us all for yes.
Party of 5.
What could go wrong, right?

Enter. Skateworld.

The “sweaty gym sock smell” I had somehow forgotten.

Has 30 years really changed my perception so much?

I remembered that girlhood giddy feeling when I rented my skates with bright laces that matched my neon hair scrunchie and now all I could think was-

“is this actually sanitary?”

And …. Aren’t there foot diseases that can be spread through this? And … Is this boy renting the skates even old enough to drive here?

I collected myself and politely asked for 5 pairs of roller skates for our family ages 2 years on up. The adorable toddler skates were in perfect condition – that should have been my first clue. But no. I didn’t get the memo that this might be a bad idea….

Once we made it past the skate rental counter I then faced my next reality.

I am no longer in 7th grade. I have no idea what the style is right now for middle schoolers but I am not it. I picked my jaw off the floor and told myself- just smile & blend in.

But- something about the fact that my family of 5 was the ONLY group wearing helmets was a dead give away. I had everyone put them on before coming inside, I mean, the parenting motto is “if it rolls wear a helmet, right?!”

Hmmmm…. once I got inside the rink and realized everyone was staring at us  my memory was jogged and I realized- that I never remembered wearing a helmet at Skateworld as a kid- ever! But…. LOL it was way too late to recover from that choice.

Play it cool Joy.
Be confident.
Don’t cave to peer pressure.
Just smile and be yourself.
Hmmm…. Maybe I was back in middle school.

I calmed down and decided I would focus on the positive. After all, life is the memories we make right?

Well, I will NEVER forget my husbands face when we laced up everyone’s skates thinking this would be the greatest night ever- and then had an internal scream that amounted to “what in the world are we doing????!!!!!!!” Because the instant the skates were put on we realized- this was a bad, bad, bad, idea!

Our 2 year old’s legs both flew in different directions when we put the skates on- she screamed and refused to attempt skating again. I returned her perfect condition toddler skates to the skate rental boy who laughed and blew an arrogant pink Bubble Yum bubble scoffingly at me. I felt awkwardly embarrassed and I wasn’t even pimply faced with braces anymore. Could I actually be stuck in a middle school time warp?

No biggie, I simply needed to reassess the situation. To Stay Focused. Make a checklist. Skates returned. Check. Toddler still alive. Check. Now I will just hold my toddlers hand before she runs away while I’m on these skating wheels.

BUT I reached down to grab her hand and lost my balance and THWAAAAAAAK – now I was on Skateworld’s floor. I sat there for a moment bewildered that age, gravity, and a postpartum muffin top could really affect my 7th grade nostalgic skate queen abilities.

Was I old now?

I collected myself up off the floor and looked up just in time to see my precious husband with our kids – each was scrambling to hold onto him while their “skate-laden feet” wheeled wildly out of control- one grabbing his left leg, one clutching his right leg, and one reaching at his neck- but all screaming for dear life.

That all too familiar “terror / confusion feeling” set in as we- as parents- realized once again that we were totally outnumbered!

But now we were outnumbered & on wheels-
Tell me again why no one else here wears helmets?- My thought was interrupted as a man skated by and THWAAAAAAKKKK looses his balance and all I see are his skates above his head and his back flat on the floor. 

And then I heard it….the phrase that changed my life….through grimaced teeth and a nervous. shocked. exasperated. tone-

“Joy!! This was a bad parenting decision!!!”

My husband said that to me, in all seriousness and I could not help but step back from reality and see him there with the kids’ wheeled feet slipping everywhere – him as their only balance- and I took a mental picture that was worth more than the overpriced sweaty roller skate rental fee ever would be.

What a memory.


I laughed deeper and truer than I have laughed in years.

A weight was lifted off my shoulders and I gave in- to letting go.

It was the best memory I’ve made in a long time. And yet it came from a “really bad parenting decision…”

The rest of the night rolled out ok.

The highlight was watching my husband be a Dad- a centripetal force when faced with the chaos of clattering, spinning, and unplanned life.

The low point was when my 2 year old again screamed,

“I gotta go potty!”

and I attempted to run her to the toilet but forgot I was in roller skates and gravity won. I really don’t remember falling this much at Skateworld in 7th grade.

Anyways… the point of this post is that I learned a really good lesson this week.

Sometimes the art of skating through life isn’t about doing everything perfect, proper, and using best form.

Sometimes it’s all about how we get back up and roll after making unintentional bad parenting choices that leave us speechless at our own ridiculousness and yet… rolling forward with joy despite ourselves.

Oh, And yes….
That disco light was still spinning.

And yes…
I did get asked to couples skate- with my forever partner-  and we are, at this real time nostalgic moment, thank God, still spinning around the perpetual slippery rink called life.

(Neon scrunchie no longer included)

Roll forward in your rink of opportunity today, Sometimes the falls can teach us more than our triple axles, and we can make some pretty beautiful memories in the mess.

Have a GREAT DAY! 

What was your “Bad Parenting Decision” that ended up being a lasting memory? Tell me about it below- I love hearing your stories! ~ Joy

Author Joy Brownlee. Written and Photography copyrights
to Joy Brownlee @ for the photos bearing Joy's watermark.

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