The day my daughter WON the locker battle (Win a $250 Gift Card!!!!)

Okay, can we talk? And by we I mean me because this is my blog so that means I talk until the comments section where you can decide whether you want to say something nice like “heyyy, this post is totally awesome” or something doucehbaggy like “wahhhh, I lost my funny bone and now I just sit behind my computer screen and virtually rain on people’s parades all day,” even though really our parade is still happily marching along and we’re laughing at annoying but entertaining trolls like you. But I digress.

Anyways, shoot, what was I going to talk about? Oh yeah, the first day of school. Wait, not even the first day. The day before the first day of school. The day they call meet-the-teacher day.

So yesterday I went to Zoey’s meet-the-teacher day and since we’ve already met her totally badass first grade teacher who’s gonna teach her amazing stuff all year which automatically makes me love him to death, I didn’t think there were going to be any surprises. Ennnh, like usual I was wrong.

See, I’m the mom who usually doesn’t know what the heck is going on. Like the first day of school sneaks up on me even though I’ve known about it for months. This morning I was running around the kitchen shouting, “AGGHHHHHH, I have to pack a school lunch and AGGGHHH I totally forgot where the heck her new backpack is and NOOOOO you cannot wear flip-flops to school” and like a million other things unprepared parents say.

And while I’m running around like a total whackjob, all I can picture are those totally perfect moms calmly getting their kids ready for school at the same time, with their outfits are all laid out the night before, and their breakfasts all cooked and organicky without hardened frosting or marshmallows, and everyone is civilized and sits in their chairs and eats the most important meal of the day together, and then afterwards the girls stand there perfectly still and quiet while their mom brushes their hair because A. It’s not a tangled rat’s nest and B. Their mom is not taking out her misplaced anger on her kid’s scalp. Uhhh, not that I ever do that.

So anyways, Zoey and I go to meet her teacher and then we go to see her locker. Hey, look at that, it’s a locker. Cool. Let’s go. But wait, what is going on in the locker next to Zoey’s. What the heck? Noooooooo. THIS wasn’t on the school supply list. Yup, there’s a mom next to me who has a giant bag full of stuff that she is quietly hanging up in her kid’s locker. Ruh-roh, big parent fail on my part. Because somehow I missed the memo that you’re supposed to hire an interior decorator to deck out the inside of your ugly metal locker. See?


Ummmm, yes, to answer your question, that is a REAL chandelier. As in, holy crap it actually lights up. And OMG, she’s hung up wallpaper on the “walls.” And my favorite of all, yes, there is carpeting. Which totally makes sense because it would be completely uncivilized to walk with bare feet on that cold metal floor. Wait a sec, who walks INSIDE their locker anyways?!!!

I have one word for you. WTF?

Hellllooooo, people we’re in the FIRST grade!!! Do we seriously need to hire the Property Brothers to come redo our lockers? And nope, in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t just one person doing this. MULTIPLE moms were decking their kids’ lockers out like they were on HGTV.

Anyways, at first Zoey looked at the decorated lockers and was like “That’s neat,” but then all of the sudden it occurred to her that I hadn’t brought a ginormous bag of crap to magically transform her boring metal box into a glamorous living room that could be featured on the cover of Architectural Digest.

ZOEY: Can I get a chandelier for my locker?

Uhhhh, lemme think about that. I’m gonna say, hmmmm, let’s see, NO. No based on principle. And no based on my wallet. And there is no way we are driving around the whole world tonight from store to store looking for a miniscule battery-operated chandelier.

ZOEY: Please.

Not pleeeeeease. Not pretty please with sugar on top. Not I love you Mommy, pleeeease. Just a sweet little please in her tiny little girl voice. Impossible to turn down.

ME: Fine, we can go see if Target has anything to decorate your locker. But only because I have other stuff I have to get there too.

And guess what, at 7PM the night before school, Target had already been stripped clean of pretty much every school supply you can think of. Imagine that! So I bought about a million dollars worth of other stuff because it’s impossible not to, and Zoey sulked all the way home. And I felt like doggie poo because apparently I was the worst mom on earth for not remembering that lockers need fancy overhead lighting.

Until we got home where Zoey did something pretty darn amazing. I mean if Target doesn’t have something I need, I just drive a little further to Walmart. Or I go online. But not my daughter. Instead she got creative and got out the pipe cleaners and art supplies and worked her little butt off.


And after many tries she MADE herself a locker chandelier. She even dug through our toy box and found this scary raven’s claw holding a red crystal ball that lights up and she clipped it to the bottom of the pipe cleaners so her chandelier would actually work. See?!!


And here’s the most awesome thing of all. I had nothing to do with it. NOTHING.

ME: What are you doing?

ZOEY: Making a chandelier.

ME: Want some help?

ZOEY: No thanks.

And then this morning on the first day of school she walked proudly with her head held high showing off her totally awesome one-of-a-kind homemade chandelier to anyone who asked what the heck she was holding. And believe me, LOTS of people did. And even though she still thinks her friend’s locker looks fiercer (her words not mine), I’m like NO WAY HOZAY. Zoey, my dear, your locker is the best one of all. Without a doubt.

And just when I thought I was the worst parent on earth for not going all HGTV on her locker, I realized that NOT decorating her locker was the best thing I could have done for her. Hells yeah, I’m a good mom after all.

Okay, if you thought that was awesome, wait til you hear this. You can win a prize pack including a $250 Visa gift card from my awesome friends at Minute Maid!!! Wahooooo!!!! And you can use all that money to deck out your kid’s locker!! Bwahahahaha, just kidding. If you win the gift card, you can use it on whatever the heck you want. It’s all a part of Minute Maid’s totally awesome  “Doin’ Good” campaign. Because parents are doing a better job than they think!

Just write in the comments section on the Baby Sideburns Facebook page and tell us about someone who does a totally kickass job at parenting. It could be a story about yourself or your spouse or a sibling or a friend or a locker-decorating crazy person. And I’ll randomly pick a winner next week and reply to them. Yippeeeee, free money!! In case you’re a lawyer and like to read boring stuff, here are the official rules. May the best parent win!! Not that parenting is a competition. Because it’s not. Because we’re all awesome.

If you like this post, please don’t forget to LIKE IT and SUBSCRIBE to this page. Thank you!!

This prize was provided by The Coca-Cola Company. The Coca-Cola Company and Fast Horse is not a sponsor, administrator or connected in any other way with this program.

There are 60 comments for this article
  1. nyankton at 10:12 am

    That is a great post. Isn’t it ridiculous how much pressure we put on ourselves as moms. Our kids usually learn more and grow without us doing it for them. She is way creative. How cool. I hope my kiddo can roll like that 🙂

  2. MadisonMama at 10:18 am

    When I was a kid, my mom used to make ‘menus’ for breakfast and we got to ‘pick’ what we wanted to have that morning before school. It didn’t happen all the time, but when it did happen, we thought it was pretty cool! I think that made my mom pretty rad and extremely well planned for a stressful time in the morning. Rad parenting moment? I think so!

  3. Nicole at 10:33 am

    Sometime our biggest blessing with our kids come because of our ‘bad’ parenting choices. Zoey Rocks!!!

  4. kelsey_tish at 10:33 am

    I can’t believe how my check pressure their are on mom’s to do this kind of thing… I love to craft but doing all that work to a locker that’s going to smell in a week… nuh uh!

    My fellow working momma knocks it out of the park, every d**n time. My goal in life is to be half the mom she is, she’s amazing. And the best part, she finds time for herself, rock on momma!

  5. Katharine at 10:39 am

    I have a dear friend who bone schools her for, count em’, four kids. She has a calendar going of every activity, event, sing a long, reading, or festival going on that she. So take her kids too. Need to know what’s going on at any given day! She knows. She knows how much, where, where to park, and best time of day. I can never compete with that but I’m infinitely glad she shares her wisdoms with lazy moms like me!

    • Katharine at 10:40 am

      Sigh… Home schools… Not bone schools. Auto correct fail!

  6. kristin nobs at 10:40 am

    As always you crack me up! We haven’t started school and I can already see this happening…I have a soon to be first grade daughter too. My 8th grade son did not prepare me for all the girl AND girl MOMMA drama that goes on so I feel like parenting a girl is a whole different demon. Oops, meant picnic. Anyway, I will not succumb to the HGTV locker scenario. I do solemnly swear!

  7. Heidi Daily at 10:41 am

    Earlier this year, my husband actually surprised me at how kickass he is at this parenting thing. He is always so doubtful of his own skills, and doesn’t usually take care of our two kids too much on his own. April 1st I went into the hospital to have surgery, and a three day hospital stay turned into 15 days! He stayed with me in the hospital for the first 3 days, while my mom and sister took care of our kids, but then he wanted to be home for Easter with the kids who were 2 and 4 at the time. For the rest of the time I was in the hospital he stayed and took care of the kids, and cleaned the house, brought the kids to visit me, and facetimed with me while they were home so I could still be a part of everything. For man who has always worked hard to provide for us financially so I can stay home with the kids, he has never been very domestic, but really showed just how much he can do during that time!

  8. Nicole at 10:42 am

    I actually got emotional reading this, I love it! I know how hard it can be keeping up with all the “in” things, being a single mom of 2 and trying to juggle a minimum wage job, bills, spending time and money on my kids but every year when their birthday parties consist of cake, ice cream & one gift, they tell me they had the best birthday ever!

  9. holly at 10:43 am

    I am a cool Mom because after I finish getting our son ready for school with supplies and such…I help others get theirs ready.

  10. Marnie at 10:44 am

    Love this post and love that she made her own locker bling! I can’t think of just one outstanding parent or one outstanding moment right now because parents pretty much all rock in their owns ways. We do indeed need to just appreciate each others unique awesomeness and not make it a competition!

  11. Jennifer at 10:48 am

    There are too many awesome parents out there to pick just one, but I wanted to share this little nugget. I’m on a listserve of moms in the Boston area. A woman just posted saying she is looking to find a reading and math tutor — for her FOUR YEAR OLD. Chill out, people.

  12. gary at 10:54 am

    so awesome. i would be proud as could be if my daughter rallied like this. and yeah, that tiny, sweet “please” is the death of me.

  13. Amy - Ya-Ya at 10:56 am

    Good Job Z! Love the chandelier and the creative thinking. Based on my current situation (ie: living in a hotel for months after ice ravaged my house and we are waiting for it to be fixed) my 7 year old granddaughter and I have had to find even more creative solutions to having fun and being crafty. Most recently we used a couple of Papa Gino’s take out boxes to make a stove for her Barbies…because, duh, the Barbies wont fit in her dollhouse we are renovating and they were apparently “bored”. Came out cute and basically cost nothing…and the Barbies seem to like it. I love that Z thinks that way and same with passing this gene along to my gd…she comes to me all the time with ideas to make “something” from “nothing” and I LOVE that. Does not take big $$ to have big FUN…I will post a pic on the FB page of our little stove.

  14. Candi Lewelling at 10:56 am

    I’m confused. How is the winner chosen in June of 2015? Are they psychic? Did I win? Will submit anecdote in a bit!

  15. Catherine at 10:57 am

    I have to give credit to my Mom. I think she did a pretty amazing job, if I don’t say so myself.

    I have never met someone with so much patience. My sister and I were complete terrors and my Mom never lost her cool, almost never yelled.
    My Mom was “that mom” the one everyone talked to, the one who got called Mom by your friends. If one of my friends needed advice, they went to her. I could talk to her about anything, and I still do.

    She wasn’t perfect, she can’t cook, isn’t much of a cleaner, but the amount of love and patience she has is envious. I hope my kids feel the same way about me, as I do about her.

  16. Tracy H at 11:03 am

    Although I take away something awesome from each mom I come in contact with… the nugget that I’d like to share – is the parent that keeps the family unit together (makes meals, eats dinner together, interacts with their kid, etc). Most importantly they teach their kids about disappointment, resourcefulness, consequences and empathy. Society seems to be pushing this responsibility off on other people and then they get mad when their kid doesn’t carry these traits/ skills. So, I get excited when I see a parent going above and beyond to make sure their kid is exposed to these basic things.

  17. Christine at 11:03 am

    I don’t do anything or if the norm. Heck our elementary school doesn’t have lockers. But just spending the day with my girls and then at the end of the day getting a, “mom, that was the best day ever ” comment is FN priceless!

  18. Diane Groom at 11:11 am

    My husband is an absolutely awesome parent in my opinion. He took off from work to be with our girls while I was jetted off to Hawaii by my cousin for my birthday. Her gift to me.

  19. Katie at 11:12 am

    my sister is a pretty great mom! She’s a single mom, and works her b**t off so her kids can have the things they’d like to have! Kudos to her and her patients!

  20. Nicole at 11:13 am

    My friend Nicole is rocking it as a first time mom. She even took her baby camping – something I was not brave enough to attempt when my daughter was that young!

  21. Cheryl Gustafson at 11:24 am

    Wow! I can’t believe those mom’s go through all that trouble to decorate their kids lockers! My nephew starts school this year, now I’m scared! Lol

  22. Audra Jolliffe at 11:36 am

    I actually think that YOU are a kick a*s mom! I don’t sweat the small stuff either (well I try not to)…it’s a good lesson for us and our kids as there will ALWAYS be moms who do more. Not that it’s right or wrong, it’s just different! (I’m the kind of mom who goes APE S**T over making a cool birthday cake for my kids..that’s my thing. I made a 6 foot light saber cake one year-seriously need to get my head checked.)

  23. sarah at 12:23 pm

    I’m a total kick a*s parent. I’ve kept them alive for 6.5 and 3 years. They’re in much better condition than NY houseplants! 🙂

  24. Terrae Pautz at 12:24 pm

    My mom did and still does a kick a*s job of parenting (and grandparenting) and I’m 43! My dad died in a car accident before I was born and she and I were the ultimate team just getting through life! She is my best friend!!

  25. nonsequiturchica at 12:29 pm

    My mom is amazing and I would like to be half the mom she is. She is still rocking as a partner in a law firm that she started with my dad but basically did everything when we were growing up. Now that we are out of the house she is still baking bread, cleaning, sending handwritten cards, etc. She is also a fantastic grandmother as well!

  26. Kristen W at 12:32 pm

    I was all, “whoa that locker is amazing but totally unnecessary” and THEN I REALIZED THAT MY KID IS THE SAME AGE AS ZOEY and ERMAGERRRRRD. Keep killin’ it – I’m taking notes over here lol

  27. Jen at 12:38 pm

    Awesome post! Just what I needed as I brave Target (and Walmart, and Staples, etc) after our teacher assignments come out tomorrow! Because each teacher has their own list…so I couldn’t shop earlier in the summer. Ahhh the pressure. But the awesome parent I wanted to comment on is actually my husband! He is a teacher, and previous summers he was coaching sports all summer. This summer he quit and was home with the kiddos all summer–and they are all better for it. He plays with them in different ways than I would, and thinks of totally different things to do. I think they have been to every park in the area!

  28. Jessica at 1:03 pm

    This totally made me laugh, then cry and then laugh again. I am a working single mommy of a 15 month old and boy do I question myself on a daily basis. What I love about this post and literally everything that you have to write about weekly is that we are all crappy yet amazing parents (I mean that in the best way possible). No one has all the answers but we work it out in some magical way. Motherhood has transformed my life in more ways than I could possibly imagine. I often look at other moms who seem to have it all put together with envy and way too often do I neglect to pat myself on the back. I was chosen to be a mom and walk the journey with one of the coolest kids around and although there are days I want to give up, I know that I was meant for this. Your writing gives me more encouragement, comfort and laughter so thank you! Definitely looking up to you.

  29. Dana at 1:17 pm

    Wtf?!?! Mini chandelier? What is going on? Why do they have lockers in 1st grade anyways. I didn’t have one till 6th grade. Harumph! And good for you and Zoey. Her chandelier is totes awesome!!

  30. Martha Harter at 1:41 pm

    We, too, keep a never ending supply of stuff for our daughter to get creative with! Love when they can figure out how to solve a dilemma on their own!

  31. lisa at 1:45 pm

    I love this. And well basically everything you write! Way to go Zoey!!!!! What’s crazy is that I don’t ever remember being rushed in the mornings as a kid. I don’t remember anything as a matter of fact. So the fact that I can’t remember getting ready for school (I know I WENT to school though!) I think is s solid high five for my mom!

  32. Lindsay D at 1:48 pm

    The first day of school I walked both kids in, but the second day I went through the drive thru drop off. Big brother 2nd grader held hands with little sister Kindergartener into the school and made sure she found her seat before going to eat breakfast (I was told this after school, and big sister was very thankful!). Rad parenting moment for showing the world that my 8 year old doesn’t think its “uncool” to walk with little 5 year old sister into school! Love them!

  33. Jamie at 2:05 pm

    Love it! Great job not doing a thing…LOL! She’s going to be a well adjusted adult.

  34. Sara Tipton at 3:33 pm

    Me. I’m doing an awesome job. I’m very pregnant with twins and still functioning, chasing after a two-year old and working full time as a nurse. Plus, my husband just had surgery so he’s incapacitated. Yup. Me. I rock. All whilst big as a house.

    • Sara Tipton at 3:34 pm

      And apparently I still suffer from preggo brain since I posted this here and not on FB. Oh well…

  35. Jo Lloyd at 3:35 pm

    My mom was the best mom ever because she managed to raise 3 kids on minimum wage and support us by going to our band events etc. and always found a way to get us class rings, yearbooks and that big band trip to Disney. You rock mom. Miss you.

  36. greenapples at 3:46 pm

    I actually saw all that wacky stuff in Target the other day, and I was like wtf is a locker rug? I was completely nonplussed. I was kind of awed by the chandelier, but thought it was pretty tacky. Other than that, I will probably buy all the other crap I see in there….the wallpaper, dry erase board, magnets and bin, but……my daughter is going into the 2nd grade, and I have yet to see a locker. I guess I’d better be ready to go buy all this crap, if when she comes home from her first day of school in two weeks, she tells me she has a locker. F—! And so it begins……

  37. Shannon at 3:46 pm

    Quick question why the heck do first graders need lockers in the first place!!! Lmao

  38. Chris at 4:27 pm

    My best tool as a mom is sometimes saying no and not feeling bad about it. Just because someone else has or does something doesn’t mean we do I am raising my daughter to be a leader not a follower and not worrying about clothes or lockers. Our 3 rules for school are have fun, learn something and make friends!

  39. Crimson at 5:19 pm

    My mom would always try to make our meals fun by giving them eyeballs and making them look like critters. I remember one time she cooked rice in something red, maybe tomato soup or something like that, and then she formed it into a ball in the center of our plate. And she added green peppers for legs and I forget what she used for eyes, but at the end of it I had this big red bug staring at me from my plate and I couldn’t eat it. But I give her A for effort on that one.

    Another thing she loved to do (and still does, to this day) is put ridiculous s**t in my purse all the time. Like, I would go to school (and now work) and try to reach for something in my purse, and instead pull out random objects like a potato, a full sized onion, a gigantic bolt that looked like it belonged on a railroad track–you name it, she put it in my purse. And I would always wonder why it weighed 50lbs until I found all this junk in there. At the end of the day I’d go home and give her s**t for it and she’d laugh like it was the funniest thing ever.

    That’s my momma.

  40. Sam Dillon at 6:02 pm

    I just love reading your posts. This is my first time commenting, but I think you rock! Oh and way to go Zoey!! Your chandelier is way better than the other kids! 🙂

  41. jlibs at 6:49 pm

    This totally rocks and I’m 1000% with you on the whole WHY are you decorating a first grade locker? That’s absolutely insane!! (Though I wish I had thought of the carpet thing when I was in school ages ago cause that is kinda cool). Seriously though my husband is going to be this way guarantee since he turns into jungle gym for climbing/poking/smacking/biting or whatever else my little nugget wants to do at the moment.

  42. Colleen at 8:34 pm

    My mom would have peed her pants laughing at me if I had asked for a chandelier for my locker.

  43. Rebecca Marion at 8:49 pm

    My sister in law who can do all sorts of crafty things that I can’t even think up. I have a love/hate relationship because mt daughter is always Aunt Kara is soo cooool.meaning why aren’t you sooo coool

  44. Trish at 11:05 pm

    My sister does a kick a*s job of parenting her rug rats. She has a closet o’ crafty crap that would make Martha Stewart bow down in envy. Her girls adore her for her light heartedness, ability to turn anything into a party or celebration, and my kid asks me “Why can’t you be more like Aunt Katie?”

    She’s got a sense of humor that puts Amy Schumer to shame but manages to make this raising other humans thing effortless (don’t worry she calls me plenty of times to ask if she can take a vacation day from parenting).

  45. Dollhia at 6:54 am

    I’m not one of those unlimited wallet moms either so for me I consider my best parenting moments as creating memories. I spent my summer taking the kids to the beach and exploring local state parks. Being a single mom isn’t easy for a budget so I want my kids to look back at fun moments together rather than things I bought them. Great memory for your daughter!

  46. sarah at 7:48 am

    We don’t have lockers here. Not even in high school anymore.

  47. Kristi at 10:44 am

    I wish we lived in the same town so my six year old daughter and Zoey could be friends! She’s kooky, creative and silly just like her! Also, 1st graders get lockers?? Is that a midwest thing?

  48. Dawn at 10:58 am

    I nominate my best friend as most kick a*s parent and she doesn’t even have any human kids of her own. Here is why…..She did me a huge favor yesterday and agreed to meet my 7 year old daughter at the bus stop and walk her home while I was at my office. She’s never done this before so I was nervous. The kids arrived and one little boy was confused because no one was there to pick him up. So my awesome friend said “It’s okay, walk with us. We’ll take you home and find your mom.” When they got to his house, the front door was open. She had the kids stay on the front porch while she went into this stranger’s house yelling “Hello! Hello!” No answer. Climbs the stairs yelling out – no answer. Still yelling out as she looks in the bedroom and finds a lady on the bed not moving & looking dead. Continues to yell some more and FINALLY the woman lets out a big snore, jumps up, freaks out that she missed the bus and apologizes a million times and freaks out some more. My BF texted all of this info to me while I was work and I couldn’t help thinking – better you than me! I was pretty impressed at how she handled the whole “there might be a murderer in the house” situation and kept her sh@#!% together for the sake of the kids – who weren’t even hers. Will she ever babysit for me again? A gift card might be just the thing to convince her.

  49. Amber Baker at 1:10 am

    My mom is a pretty awesome mom. Even after working full time, she comes over to help me fold laundry or babysit my 4 kids, so I can get some me time. That’s pretty awesome.

  50. Niki at 2:21 pm

    a friend who gives her children a menu the night before and then serves them breakfast in bed. Yeah not happening over here. The food would get dumped all over the bed and the floor and then I’d have another f’in mess to clean up.

  51. Amy at 1:42 pm

    I totally love your blog. You’re real, you keep it real, and your just..flat out awesome. As for someone who rocks at parenting, I would say my cousin Karla. I mean, she has 3 girls, all teenagers, that LOVE HER and respect her as a mom and a friend. She’s super involved in their school, in their lives, and supports their decisions. Right now, I have a tweenager that I can barely tolerate, but at least we agree on the fact that we hate One Direction and Justin Bieber is the son of Satan. Anywho…yeah, My cousin Karla is pretty awesome.

  52. Kristin at 10:09 pm

    Hello! You and your hubby crack me up, I love your hashtags. Recently a friend of mine told me that when her kids gets hurt she tells them they have to be extra quiet so she can find where they hurt themselves. Tears stop instantly. I’m totally stealing this when my kids are older.

  53. Rochelle Hamel at 6:50 pm

    Dear Karen:
    HOLY CRAP! I just read your book and laughed so hard my stomach hurts! I’m a grandmother of 2 and by babyest (I know,not a word) child is 26 next week! Thank you for the most enjoyable afternoon I’ve had for a while!!

  54. Jackie at 9:16 pm

    THIS TIMES FIVE MILLION! The only time I decorated my locker (it was only the slightly bigger than a mailbox) was when I was 14 and taped up a few collages of Seventeen magazine and pictures of the MTV VJ Simon Rex.

    Your daughter is totally sweet and everything you’d want in a child. Down to Earth, resilient, creative and a normal amount of coping skills. Something I have a feeling the “locker princesses” of the world lack.

  55. Julia Fijal at 9:20 pm

    I personally love decorating my locker, and I don’t think that’s it’s “extra” as some people may claim. Sure, it’s not necessary, but it allows students to personalize their own space, and express themselves through it. And whilst that may seem like a small thing, it can be make a huge difference in how school feels. At least then whenever the students open their lockers to put their stuff in or pack up to go home, they feel even an inkling of joy when they see their decorated locker. Totally worth it, in my opinion.

    • Julia Fijal at 9:21 pm

      I apologize for the typo, I meant “that it’s” and not “that’s it’s”