I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfections. She starts out by telling a story of making a list of do’s and do not’s…I get the feeling I live under the “do-not” list a lot in my parenting. This morning alone, I yelled at my kids at least three times before 9am.

It’s funny how the most mundane phrases like, “I’m hungry.”  â€œThat’s mine.” “No.” can become the things that rattle my bones, cause knots to rise in my shoulders, make me turn into that other woman I hate—ugly mommy.

This is a common theme on this blog, my struggles as a mom, and I’m beyond expecting to achieve the status of Mother Superior meets Mary Poppins meets Pinterest. I know I’ll continue to make mistakes, make impatient choices, make regrets. 

But, after this morning, I had to do something. 

I made my own list of what it would look like if I was mothering out of wholeheartedness, rather than shame:

Wholeheartedness
Shame-heartedness
Thankfulness—this includes sharing aloud what I am thankful for to and about my children
Complaining—internally or externally
Whimsy and “Rolling with Punches”— especially when kids don’t nap, schedule doesn’t go my way, budget is tight, etc.
Expecting Perfection—angry when not up to standards
Laughter
General grumpiness or lack of encouragement
Faithful and Patient—in the moment and for life’s bigger waits
Faithlessness—doubt, lack of hopeful expectation for others and for myself
Filling my life with more of the Holy Spirit
Filling my heart with distraction
My children feeling safe, secure, confident in both my love and God’s unwavering love for them.
My children wondering what mommy’s mood will be.
This is the banner I’ll wave before the Lord;  it’s my prayer for this week of mothering—for you and for me.

Under, over, and around the chart is the verse I always come back to as a wife and mom:
“Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.—Romans 12:10”
You can tell it’s worn out. 
Oh God, help me to be genuine in my affection for my family, to delight in honoring them, encouraging them, and building them up.  

I chatted with the boys after this am’s explosions and apologized for my bad attitude. They did the same.

Say what you will about the psychological ramifications of rewarding good behavior; in the spirit of positive discipline, in the spirit of getting back into a good routine after vacation, we made a reward chart together. They get stickers for attitudes of helpfulness, obedience, sharing with each other, kindness. After a few days, they’ll receive some type of reward.

I decided to add myself to the chart. (My oldest loved that idea.) I’ve given myself a Good Mommy Chart before…but this is different—I need some discipline this time. Some positive reinforcement. So, I’ve decided to reward myself with the new Harry Connick Jr. cd at the end. I’ll let you know if I earn all my stickers.



As Ann Voskamp says, a mother’s labor and delivery never ends and you never stop having to remember to breathe.”

Frankly, I’m tired of laboring. I want to begin giving birth.

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