The Ugly Parenting Fail by Julie Arduini

I don’t know about you, but I tend to take holidays as a moment to reflect. Mother’s Day was no exception. There are so many amazing memories from our wedding prayer that included my husband’s children, to playing Rock Band with the youngest two. Over twenty years of recollections.

Like it or not, there’s also a look back at the mistakes. Meals no one would eat, frustrating times where I yelled. And recently, the realization I handed our daughter an ugly habit.

She called me out for shying away from the camera because I lamented I wasn’t attractive enough to be captured for memory.


Apparently I’ve been so vain about it over the years that when our church set up a Mother’s Day photo booth it wasn’t me that complained, it was her. She was against her picture, repeating the same words I didn’t realize I’d projected on her.

I hate that I’ve done this. After all, the two of us are writing a series for tweens, teens, and women of all ages about surrendering negative thoughts. Our first message was about believing we’re ugly and letting go of that lie. Yet anytime a camera comes around, I tend to disappear, believing every Arduini is photogenic but me. I look at an image and I find the flaws—the extra pounds, pale skin, glasses, bags under my eyes, bad hair day. Yet if anyone says that about themselves, I hurt because I see the truth. I find the kind smile and bright eyes. The hair I wish I could pull off. The cute clothes. Ugh. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I didn’t realize how deep my issue was until a friend called me out on it even before my daughter did. I started paying attention to my self-talk and couldn’t believe where I’ve found myself. My husband and I were videotaped as part of a testimony to accompany the “Breakthrough” series our pastor is leading at church. On the day they scheduled the taping, the only day that would work, I drove 300 miles from my mom’s straight to church. As a “CurlyGirl,” I had been co-washing, but was due for a shampoo. Turns out there was none in the bathroom I was using, and I had not packed any. All through taping I said I needed a disclaimer. I was obsessed with how I would appear on camera.

The reality? The story we shared was emotional and full of God’s glory. The last thing people were paying attention to was my hair. But I spent so much time worrying and apologizing for it.

I mentor girls and my message is the last thing I want to pass on to them. They are God’s crowning achievement. Beautiful. Beloved. He crafted freckles. The gray I’m letting come in to see how it looks is precious in His sight.

One of my mentors told me years ago that looking like Barbie might have advantages, but there are disadvantages as well. When they speak, few take them seriously. I’ve seen it. I’ve done it. I even shared the same message that a perky, blonde with blue eyes shared, and the audience reaction differed. The audience didn’t trust her, they didn’t find her relatable because of her looks. The audience received my message, the same one, because I looked more like them. They trusted me.

I knew as soon as I heard about that photo booth that I needed to get in line. When our daughter protested, I spent time sharing all the traits she has inside and out that set her apart. How captivating I find her. How God created her and when we complain about our looks, we’re telling Him He makes junk.

So if you struggle with your outer beauty, if you hide when a camera comes out, I hope my learning experience helps you. I need to embrace the truth about who I truly am and stop letting fear of rejection keep me from capturing beautiful moments.

We all need to.


If you know a female of any age, Hannah and I hope you’ll join our movement to surrender the “stinkin’ thinkin’.” We are beautiful, amazing, and brilliant. Please consider You’re Beautiful and You’re Amazing for your reading pleasure.

About juliearduini

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the new contemporary romance series SURRENDERING HEARTS (Anchored Hearts, Repairing Hearts, +four more.) Her other romance series is SURRENDERING TIME (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged.) She also co-wrote a YA series with her daughter, SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ (You’re Beautiful, You’re Amazing, You’re Brilliant.) Her stand-alone romances include MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN and RESTORING CHRISTMAS. Julie maintains a blog at and participates in the team blog Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at
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8 Responses to The Ugly Parenting Fail by Julie Arduini

  1. This is a really great post! Gives me a lot to think about. I know I struggle with similar setbacks. But I am working on it. Thanks for sharing your heart. And by the way, the photo came out beautifully! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • juliearduini says:

      Bridget, thank you for the encouragement! It’s funny how we sabotage ourselves. When we shun ourselves, it’s such a slap in the face to God. I’m working on this, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for saying this, Julie. I do that same thing and make Mel erase most pictures he takes of me as I get older. I promised to try to do better. Try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • juliearduini says:

      Sadly, I’ve been like this for a long time. The few pictures that are out there when I was younger, I remember protesting because I wasn’t a certain size or I had freckles. Now I wish I were that size, and I love the freckles I have. I love that our daughter has them. But the mid-life look is such an adjustment. But I don’t want to project my toxic thinking on her, and hate that I have. Let’s do this!


  3. Mama Equis says:

    Wow, yes! I think that negative self-talk is such a hinderance for women. I am often beating myself up for not living up to high standards, of beauty and of accomplishment—even for not appearing natural enough through the day-to-day. I appreciate this message so much as I have a baby girl and it would hurt me to hear any of the negative talk as she grew up. This is a great lesson that I will take with me.
    You have a beautiful family!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Who Do We Look Up To by Julie Arduini | Christians Read

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