Dear Mom

They call my name four hundred times a day. “Mom? Mom?! MOM! MOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!!” They need help with this, correction for that, reminders for everything and they want to eat all the time.

I get weary.

I get impatient.

I get frustrated.

I get tired.

And yet, I love them so very much that even though I threaten to go on strike and throw in the towel, I know that I never will. But do they know that?

I’m beginning a new series this week called Dear Mom Mondays. This is a chance for us to come alongside one another and spur each other on to greater love, greater patience, greater depth of motherhood. I would love for you to join me in this longing of my heart to be the best Mom that I can be.

Not the perfect Mom. I will still get frustrated. I will still get tired. I will still lose my patience. I will still look at the destroyed kitchen in utter disbelief because didn’t I JUST clean it?!

But when my children are grown and have left the house, when they look back on these early memories, what will stand out the most? Will it be my short temper, or my desire to love quickly? When they write me letters in twenty years, what words will follow “Dear Mom?”

This week, my focus in motherhood is to start at step 1 – Take Care of my Heart.


Motherhood can be very discouraging. There are days when I just really don’t like my children. They are rude and disrespectful and mean and argumentative and by the time bed time rolls around I’m so battle weary that I dream of some sort of escape.

Then one of them wanders out of their bedroom for one last kiss and hug and whispers “I love you” in my ear and I melt and decide they’re not so bad after all.

If I’m guarding and protecting my heart, I find I am much more patient with my children throughout the day. One of the first and most important ways I can do that is to get more sleep. I have a nasty habit of staying up way too late doing a whole lot of nothin’. I like to convince myself that I’m doing productive things, but messing around on Facebook and Twitter, reading blogs and watching TV are hardly productive things.

Lately, I’ve been trying to stay up late and wake up early, which means by 2:00 every afternoon I am a crabby, exhausted mess prone to react to my children in frustration and anger. Simply going to bed at 10:00 would do wonders for my patience and would probably make me more productive in the day time hours as well.

The second part of taking care of my heart involves simply starting my day off with scripture and prayer. For me, this is the best way to not only begin my day, but it’s also the best way for me to love my children well. If I begin the day by bathing them in prayer, my heart tends to be so much softer to their needs throughout the day.

So when they freak out over something small and silly, I can respond to the wails with love rather than with a deep sigh and a roll of the eyes.


Praying for our children makes their childish behaviors less of a nuisance.


This is my heart and my desire this week. Everything I do will build upon this very important piece of the motherhood puzzle. If I am taking care of my heart in these two very simple but impactful ways, then I can begin to work on other areas in mothering that need improving.

So what about you? What areas of motherhood are a struggle for you and how can we be an encouragement as you work to improve in those areas? 

Join me next week for Dear Mom Mondays as we continue to tackle the frustrations and joys of mothering in order to spur one another on to greater love and grace with our children.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

The kiss of death for any relationship.  Can I see a show of hands, ladies?  How many of you actually used this cliche line when breaking a poor boy’s heart.  Relentless, we ladies are.  But I’m not here to talk about relationships.  I snagged my man a long time ago and have never once even considered breaking things off.  I know a good catch when I find one and me? I got a good catch.

I’m talking about parenting.  You know…’cause I’m a Mom Blog (Capital ‘M’ Capital ‘B’).   About 6 weeks ago I sat down with a friend to discuss the ins and outs of homeschooling.  Have I mentioned we’re considering that for next year?  I haven’t?  Ah…that’s another post for another day.  But, yes, we are.  I began considering it before we knew we were going to move and now I’m considering it because we’re going to move.  I’ll explain more later.

As I soaked in this veteran homeschool mom’s wisdom (her oldest just graduated high school) I relayed to her my fears.  My biggest fear was what if I can’t do it? What if it ruins my relationship with my child to be with him all day long?  What if a wall of bitterness comes between us?  What if I fail?

I didn’t like her answer.  I mean, I did.  But I didn’t.  *sigh*  I’m not making much sense, am I?

“I’ve found,” she said in her sweet and gentle way, “that whenever I am having personality conflicts with one of my kids, it’s usually my heart issue that needs to be dealt with.”

BAM! Right to the gut.  You mean I have to take responsibility for my own actions?  Parenting doesn’t give me a free BecauseISaidSo pass?!  No body mentioned this to me when I left the hospital with my bundles of joy, by the way.  There was no sign on the way out that read, “WARNING: Parenting is hard work and more than likely when you lose your patience it will be your fault and not the child’s.”

But the thing is, I know she’s right.  I’ve known that a long time, but I haven’t really sat and simmered with that understanding.  When I lose my temper with my kids, 9 times out of 10 the problem is mine.  In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll give you an example.

Yesterday I took the kids on a bit of a Tour de St. Louis.  We hit up the City Garden, the St. Louis Science Center and the Loop all in the span of about six hours.  And it required a lot of in and out of the (smokin’ hot) minivan.  I don’t know about your kids, but something happens to mine when they step inside a van.  Whatever it is is definately not hot.  The second they sit in their seats, it’s starts.

“Mom! Landon’s copying me!”

“Mom, Sloan called me a dodo-head!”

“Mom! Tia stuck her tongue out at me!”

“Mom! I’m being bullied!”

And on and on it goes until I’m blue in the face.  My grandmother, when her kids were making her crazy like this, used to get in their faces and say, “My name’s not Mom anymore.  It’s horses butt and you’re not allowed to say that so you can’t call me anymore.”  Can I tell you how tempted I’ve been to pull that line out of my back pocket?  I think her sister had a little bit of a spicer version of that line that she used on her kids…

So, riding in the car?  Not so fun.  Sloan tends to take the brunt of the pestering because he gives the biggest reaction.  Lee and I are constantly telling him to ignore them and let us be the parents.  He has a tendency to…ahem…step in and take matters into his own hands.  This usually winds up with him in trouble.  He’s slowly learning that lesson.

So yesterday we spent some time driving and by the third time in the van everyone was a little frayed.  We had been having a lot of fun and everyone had behaved marvelously, until they got in the van and it started immediately.

And I snapped.  I turned into that mom.  The one that looks all wild and huffy.  I pulled over on the side of the road and let loose – bad mommy style.  As I drove down the street again, oppression set into my chest.  I glanced in the rearview mirror at my kids faces.  They were quiet, Sloan had tears in his eyes and I felt terrible.

It wasn’t them.  It was me.  I was tired and a little fried from a long morning.  Tia and Landon had been merciless in their pestering of Sloan and he had snapped, but he was tired too.  And he’s only 7.  I’m old enough to supposedly know how to control myself.  So I pulled the car over again.  I asked them to forgive me for losing my temper and hugs went around to all.

Then we sang “Kumbaya.”  It was beautiful.

When I lose my patience with my kids, it’s my fault.  Because the kids are just acting like…kids.  Generally I lose my patience when I haven’t taken the time to really deal with an issue.  I brush it aside until it escalates out of control then I look at the kids like it’s their fault.  But if I would just take the time to deal with things instantly, we wouldn’t have the escalation. All it requires on my part is a little bit of time, energy and focus.  Lazy parenting is not allowed.

It’s not them…it’s me.  Can anyone else relate to this?