Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey

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How to Reach Your Child’s Heart Part 2 (Parenting Lessons from Inc Magazine)

I’m looking at parallel thoughts inspired by Inc Magazines article 10 Habits of Remarkably Charismatic People.  Find part 1 here.


Remember that your kids are valuable because they are made in the image of God, not because of their performance.

In our families, we can become so consumed with good grades, proper behavior, or how our kids reflect on us, that we can fail to love and accept our children just as they are.  They are far more important than straight A’s or making the football team.  Do they know this?


Do we praise our children when they do right?  Do we share their success with others?  I don’t mean we should brag obnoxiously, but our children should know we are proud of them.

Use positive words.

Do our kids hear us complain about what it’s like to be a mom?  Do we constantly talk about the sleepless nights and discipline troubles?  Or do they hear us talk with joy about what we do?  Yes, it can be hard.  But it is also one of the most amazing and rewarding jobs in the world.  Do we talk this way around our children?

Don’t be critical.

Don’t have a critical spirit toward other people.  If your children hear you constantly criticizing others, they will lose trust in you as they realize that it’s just a matter of time before that criticism is turned on them.

Be quick to make things right.

Tell your kids when you mess up.  They already know.  Seek their forgiveness.  Nothing is more attractive than humility.

When it comes right down to it, becoming “charismatic” in the context of our families this is simply following the golden rule: treating our children the way we want to be treated.

How are you treating your kids today?


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How to Win Your Child’s Heart Part 1 (Parenting Lessons from Inc Magazine)

Our kids want to feel valued and accepted.

They want to know they are some of the most important people in our lives.

Do we always communicate this in a way they understand?

Inc Magazine recently published a great article called 10 Habits of Remarkably Charismatic People, which basically outlined how to make others feel valued.

Charismatic people are just people who make others feel significant, special, wanted, loved.  That’s attractive.  Some people might use these principles selfishly (faking an interest in others so they’ll be liked or gain a business edge), but as moms, we can genuinely employ this universal wisdom to help our children feel loved, and in turn to open their hearts to us as we become attractive to them.

I thought about these 10 principles and realized that there are similar ones that apply to parenting. Here’s what I came up with.

Listen, don’t lecture.

Having a conversation with a kid takes a lot of time.  It is so tempting to cut them off and just give advice, but this won’t win them over.  I find that when my girls are upset, sometimes I have to hold them, let them cry, and listen to their hearts for about half an hour before they actually find the words to express the real problem.  I would miss that if I jumped right into into fix-it mode or advice mode.

Don’t just hear what you want to hear.

Moms, we need to truly listen to our children and seek to relate to them.  Don’t brush off their thoughts and feelings even if they seem silly to you.  Remember what it was like when you were a kid?  Share that!  Let your children know that you “get” them!

Give them your full attention.

Turn off the computer, put away your phone, stop scanning while you half-listen.  Look them in the eye and focus on them.

Serve selflessly even if you don’t feel rewarded or appreciated.

Mothering can feel like a thankless task sometimes.  I confess, I have been guilty at times of saying something like, “I went to all the effort of (repainting your room, cooking your favorite food, throwing you a party)—and this is the thanks I get?”  I know, not my finest mom moments.  But true sacrificial mothering doesn’t look for something in return.  It just serves like Jesus.

Don’t lord your position over your children.

“Because I’m the mom, that’s why!”  Who hasn’t said that—or at least thought it?  We mamas shouldn’t lord our authority over our children.  There was a time in my life when I thought good mothering was strict and adversarial.  That authoritarian attitude drove a huge wedge in my relationship with my children.  When I started exercising my parental authority in a gentle, sacrificial way, I saw my children’s hearts open to me.


Look for Part 2 tomorrow.


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Weekend Reading

picture by Lee Lufkin Kaula

I can’t promise that this will be a regular feature, but I love it when bloggers link to other people on the weekend.  Here are a few reads I’ve found encouraging lately.

Remembering Insecurity  from Debra at As I See it Now.  I have read and loved Debra’s blog for years.  She is such a voice of down to earth wisdom and grace.

10 Steps to Having a Quiet Time (Not) by Alyssa at Resolved2Worship.  Again, grace-filled.  Alyssa has 8 kids (and she is my age, eek!) and totally gets that Mama quiet times won’t look like a quiet time “should” but that it’s about relationship.  So encouraging.

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A Woman’s Place by Ed Stetzer, Plus Eye Candy from Madelief

Anyone who knows me knows I’m very traditional in my views on gender roles and the power of a woman’s work at home.  That said, I do notice that often, complimentarian women put a human interpretation of their “role” over everything else, including relationships.  I so appreciated Ed Stetzer’s thoughts on this topic.  I always appreciate Ed’s graciousness and this time is no exception.

These pictures of Dutch gardener Madelief’s garden house made me smile.  I was going to put a teaser here, but I noticed that she prefers that her amazing photos not be shared without permission, so I’ll just encourage you to take a peek…You won’t be disappointed.

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Grace Based Parenting, Chapter by Chapter

Virginia Knowles of Come, Weary Moms is going through the book Grace Based Parenting chapter by chapter and writing her thoughts.

I remember when I first heard about this book and my knee-jerk reaction was that grace-based parenting must mean boundary-less, permissive parenting devoid of rules or expectations of obedience. Coming from my default position of parenting that focused highly on behavior (under the guise of “training”), which was actually more about winning and controlling than discipleship, I made a lot of assumptions about a way of raising children that included the word “grace.” I’m nothing if not stubborn, and it took me many years to realize that my way, the way of the “child-training experts” I had followed most of my life, created adversarial relationships with my children alongside superficial obedience, and that this formula-based method didn’t begin to address the unique challenges of some of my kids (despite the condescending assurances of the experts that the challenges were entirely my fault).

And to tell you the truth, that’s still where I am in a lot of ways. I’m not writing as someone who has perfectly obedient children or who has figured this parenting thing out. I admit humbly that I’m no model mom (although it might look that way on days when things are going extra well). Thanks to our unique circumstances, I find that the training, teaching, and discipleship aspects of parenting are an immense challenge, more like walking through deep sand every day than running with confidence down a neatly paved path! This part of being a mom is a million times harder than I anticipated, especially once I realized I couldn’t “formula” my way to a model Christian home.

You see, these are the influences that shaped my view of parenting my whole life. Parenting was simple in this paradigm. If you train and discipline your kids properly and consistently, they will be godly and well-behaved. Poorly behaved children are the result of bad parenting, no exceptions. Well, a child with profound, visible special needs might get a pass, but that was about it.

So imagine my surprise when the formulas didn’t work. To say I was disillusioned is an understatement.

Formulas work often enough that they can be convincing. A couple of my children would be poster children for a formula method. If I leaned on that method, I’d really have no reason to depend on the Spirit or my relationship with them, because a few episodes of consistent discipline and they would conform to my wishes for years, if not for life. They’re just made that way. In fact, I have to be careful that I don’t create situations where they feel responsible to keep me happy, to make up for any misbehavior of their siblings by being “extra good”, or to become smug little Pharisees, thanks to their pleasant, pleaser personalities.

I feel like I’m rambling, but I say all this to point out why I eventually bought Grace Based Parenting. Learning to parent by God’s grace, as he parents us, led by the Spirit instead of behaviorist “experts” is a constant journey of mind-renewal. I daily have to let God change my thinking, the way I interact with my little ones, the way I teach and train them. I am learning to communicate and build real relationships with them. I say this humbly. I mess up daily. I hope I get it right eventually, at least right enough to not make a total disaster of everything. If I do it will be only God, not me.

Does this mean a rejection of “child training” or discipline? Not at all. What these elements look like and how they play out in our family is something I’m constantly learning and growing in. Meanwhile, I look to God, accept his grace over my past and present failures as a mom, and seek with all my heart to extend that same grace to my little ones.

Please join me as I enjoy Virginia’s thoughts and read along, adding my own. Thoughts on Chapter One to come soon.

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Housekeeping as Art


Yesterday, Virginia Knowles of Come Weary Moms shared an excerpt from her ebook.  This bit was about keeping the house clean.  Virginia is an older mom with 10 children, so I imagine she knows what she is talking about.  I started reading her blog just because of the title, which I stumbled across on a day when I truly did feel very weary in my mothering.  I’m thankful for Titus 2 women who share their insights with us newbies graciously and without legalism. (BTW, her ebook is available free–I will be downloading it so I can read more from this wise lady!)

Here’s a snippet from the post that I loved:

“View cleaning up as a form of art.  Imagine how beautiful your home will be if you stay on top of it all.  Picture clear counters, glistening appliances, neatly folded laundry in the drawers, smooth carpets, and shiny tile.”

Happy cleaning, ladies!


Ten on Tuesday 3-29-11


Copying Payton again!


1.  Yesterday got off to a stellar start.  I was up at the crack of dawn and had half my work done by the time the kids got up.  Today, not so much.  But it wasn’t too bad.  I got up at 6:30, which is not terrible considering that 3 of our 5 kids woke up several times during the night.  I’m glad I went to bed on time.  Getting up at a decent time (even better, on time) makes a million per cent difference in how our day goes.


2.  I got Kevin Lehman’s book Have a New Kid by Friday.  The most important thing I got out of it was to tell your kids something just once.  I confess that I have been a nagging mom.  It’s miserable for everyone!  If you don’t have a problem constantly nagging and reminding your kids, then good for you.  I used to think I would never be THAT mom.  I had a lot of experience with children (younger siblings, kids I babysat, siblings of friends from large families) but still, God gave me a kid(s) that blew all my parenting ideas, theories, and yes, “convictions” out of the water.  The best part about not nagging is the extra hours (yes, HOURS) that I have since I’m not spending that time reminding, scolding, and lecturing.  Gosh, that sounds terrible doesn’t it?  No Mother of the Year here.  There is so much I could say about this, but maybe I’ll give it its own post when I feel like I have more experience.  I’ll just add: Old habits die hard.  I open my mouth and then close it a lot.  Sometimes a reminder slips out.  But overall our house is a whole lot more peaceful.


3.  I took a few minutes over the past few days to make new covers for some throw pillows.  I don’t have time to craft or decorate, really.  But I decided to try a couple quicky creations.  I started with pre-made items (cloth napkins are my new favorite crafting medium) so I could take advantage of hems and selvages that were already there.  To me, the most tedious and time consuming parts of sewing are measuring and hemming.  I’m all about straight lines, winging it, raw edges, and pre-hemmed pieces.  Gone are the days where I painstakingly sewed long ties and spent hours turning them right-side-out.  Give me some ribbon!


4.  I ran out of dark chocolate over the weekend.  It was terrible.  I realized just how addicted I am to chocolate.


5.  I prefer silence to music.  I love music, but with all the racket we have in our house, adding music drives me insane.  Surely I’m not the only one?


6.  I think I finally know how to upload photos from my new camera.  Hopefully real pictures will be coming soon.  Not to mention that I can now email photos to grandparents.


7.  I grew up with a 1930’s lifestyle in the 90’s.  It’s a long story.  I’m so far behind technologically that I’ll never catch up.  It’s frustrating that it’s such a big deal to just learn to upload pictures!  Gaaaaah!!!!!


8.  If you are interested in missions, check out the Livesay Haiti blog.  I love that Tara and Troy are so real.  My 10-year-old is their biggest fan.


9.  Speaking of, I made my girl her own Google Reader so she can subscribe to blogs that are fun and encouraging for her.  I keep close tabs on what she is reading, and we use Net Nanny for added protection, but this has been a great way for her to read good blogs.


10.  I loved loved loved this post: Order and Routine: Making Straight Paths for Peace.  The writer has a child with FAS, but I’m thinking this would be encouraging for any parent with a child who tends to throw the family into chaos.  (Isn’t that all of us at one time or another?)  Wisdom.  Check it out.

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Large Family Laundry Roundup

God must be inspiring mom bloggers to address the laundry topic these days just for me, since I’m absolutely drowning in it.

Start here:

Mount Washmore by Virginia of Come, Weary Moms

Mega Laundry Solutions by Debbie of Cheaper by the Baker’s Dozen (with her own roundup of laundry posts written by others)

How We Do Laundry by Hannah of Cultivating Home

Great, great ideas!