s’mores at sunset {letting go of guilt}

Last week my sis and her twin girls were in town with my mom and all the ‘big kids’ did zoo camp. I say ‘big kids’ because although David is the oldest, he’s also the smallest, and the one who needs the most help during activities.

One evening I wanted to watch the sunset at Montana de Oro and roast marshmallows with using sternos. My mom decided to stay behind and relax–and she offered to keep David if we wanted. I felt so torn! I love having him with us and he loves the beach, but it’s also challenging to help him across the sand and I have to watch him every second. In the end I decided to only take the ‘big kids’ and keep it simple. We loaded up in the van and drove the few miles to Montana de Oro.

It was a gorgeous sunset–truly magical. And the s’mores were so yummy. Using sternos makes it so easy! If you haven’t used sternos before, they are meant to be used to keep chaffing dishes warm for catered events or large gatherings. They’re available in most grocery or party stores. You simply light the gel and it creates a toxic free flame. Be sure to read all the instructions to use them safely.

We had such a fun evening and I did my best to let go of the mom guilt. It’s easy for me to let it eat away at me. It’s such a waste of time and energy. David had a relaxing evening with grandma and the ‘big kids’ frolicked in the sunset. Life is imperfect. Life is beautiful.

Are you struggling with guilt lately? How do you fight against it?


  1. Looks lovely! Notice how the Hershey bars never MELT now?? I hadn’t tried s’mores for years and was shocked that they now have so much wax in them, they don’t melt with the heat of the marshmellow. Sad. Sure not like it was when I was a kid. But still fun, huh.

    1. @Lynn, we use the Belgian milk chocolate from Trader Joe’s for smores. I think it’s fair trade too! Just used that for smores on our camping trip. Tastes so much better & actually melts some!

  2. Lisa, Oh my gosh, I just found your blog. We used to live in Paso Robles (we’ve lived in Colorado 8 years now)! It was fun to hear about Montana de Oro again. Love the jewelry on the Dayspring website. God Bless you in your journey.

  3. I am fairly new to your blog, but have followed The Pleated Poppy for a long time and found your blog through her. I was inspired by your story and your jewelry, and on July 12 when you offered the tenderheart earrings with a purchase, I decided it was time to order! I have since ordered a second time and convinced my friend and business owner Peggy Stevens of The Apple Cart to place an order of your jewelry for her shop at the LA gift show. So when I did not receive the tenderheart earrings, I contact your online shop and was informed I did not put the code word in the proper spot, thus sorry, no earrings. I am very disappointed in your customer service, especially for a new customer. Mea culpa for not knowing where to put the code word. It has left me feeling bad about the entire experience.

    1. Whoa! I am so sorry! Will you email me at lisa at lisa leonard dot com and we’ll set this straight. xx

  4. I only know you from your blog but you should never feel guilty. All I see from your photos is a boy who is sooooo loved. Remember he traveled to Europe with you last month. Your doing great.

  5. Totally get it-my older special needs son takes a huge amount of energy and attention that my younger son (who for all intents and purpises is really the older one now at age 11) often doesn’t get. It definitely is a balance and though he is SO good with his brother, I know those times without are appreciated.

  6. It is hard having the guilt. But sometimes you do differently special things with your kids separately. I am sure you have lots of special time with David and it is good for kids to be able to spend or on one time with the grandparents who love them. Sometimes one kid needs lots more attention (special needs or a baby/toddler) than another. So it is great to spend one on one time with the kid who is more independent.

  7. I am going away for three whole days (two nights) – without husband and Junior. It’s the first time in several years. I am torn between guilt at going – and excitement at three days off the routines. They carry us through, but they can also leave you feeling that life is somewhere out there, lived by other people. That’s not true, either, but sometimes it can feel that way.

    So, speaking to myself as well as to you: embrace the offers of childcare, remember how much you are doing all the rest of the time – and soak up both the time apart and the time together. Thanks for continuing to be real about it all.

  8. I feel guilty every day when I leave for work and the baby stays with my mom. (I’m still calling her baby…she’ll be three next month….)

    I spend a lot of time praying that God will knock me over the head with a brick to make sure I’m not missing out on what He REALLY wants me to be doing….

  9. Mom guilt is awful and apparently never goes away. I feel it every day when I drop my kids off at daycare or with my mother as I head to work. However I know they are well taken care of and are having fun so I should consider it a win-win. But I dont on most days, like today when I cried leaving my 14 month old son. I love reading your blog and getting inspiration and validation from you that imperfect is okay. Thank you!

  10. Totally. I have a almost 10 year old, 7 1/2 year old and TWO year old. I often feel SO guilty that we can’t always do the activities, trips, craft projects that I crave to do (and so on) because we have the always active two year old! I am still realizing that daily I have to give that guilt to God. Most of the time we just modify what we do together as a family. We have pizza and movie night at home. We craft when he is asleep. Instead of taking a much wanted trip to CA … we drove two hours to Eufuala, OK. And we also do some one on one dates with the big kids. Life is about adjustments. Life is also about trusting God and the paths we are on. You are SUCH an encouragement to me as I walk through this mama path. Much love.

  11. That looks like a great night you all had.Great Pics as well
    Love the black and white ones, They just look so dramatic! The good point that came out of your night is that everyone had a good time which makes it a win win for everyone. I must admit I do feel guilty quite a lot with not spending as much time with my two boys aged 2&5 as I’m always working on my business and the only way for me to deal with it is to burn off all that pent up frustration is to exercise!

  12. As I’ve said before, I have a son with special needs as well and I know just where your coming from with this post. Its hard to make time for mom and not feel the guilt like you’ve left one out but I think that it’s needed now and then if were to do that Mom Job so well. I think that he probably enjoyed him self just as much with grandma ! Hugs, Lisa

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