Choosing My Battles

 


If there is one lesson I have learned over the past 9+ years of being a mom, it’s that I need to choose my battles, and choose them wisely. Today I want to share about my silly six-year-old and how we are learning to find each other in the middle.

There are some things in life that are important to me, but there are lots of things that are very important to the super spunky and energetic girl who calls me mama. For example: being able to wear mismatched socks, creating beautiful & “super cool” outfits, and having free rein to let her wild hair go untamed as much as possible.

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How To Create Amazing Spring Break Memories

We are on official spring break count down mode. It goes something like 10 days, 240 hours, or 14,400 minutes, not that we are counting. This is our first ever “official” spring break. In the previous 3 years of homeschooling we (I) have chosen to bypass a spring break so we could wrap up our school year sooner. However, now that I am schooling two children instead of one, and with the addition of long division, I think a break is a must. 

When I think about our very first spring break I have naively high hopes. Today I want to share with you my plans to create some amazing spring break memories. 

How to create amazing spring break memories.

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Interruptions Are Your Work, How Four Words Changed My Attitude About Mothering

I was sitting in church like any other Sunday morning when the pastor began to tell a story. He spoke of a college professor and the sign that hung over his doorway. The sign was there to remind him to keep his attitude in check every time that someone walked through the door. It read…

Interruptions Are Your Work!

He went on to speak of how as Christians, we should embrace this mindset. Interruptions are our work. We are constantly given chances to do or to serve but how many times do we grumble or complain when they come at “the wrong times”. It was an oh so truthful and oh so powerful point. After the sermon concluded I couldn’t shake those four words and for the past two weeks they have weighed heavy on my heart.

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Thoughts About Red Pens

I started using red pens to grade the girls school work this year. I bought them impulsively on a quick supply trip the day before we started our homeschool year. I had always avoided using them before, but for some reason I thought they might help to make things easier, especially with two students. The first day of class while grading Marissa’s math I pulled out a pen and put a red X by an answer she had missed.

Then I just sat there and stared at it.
I hate red pens.

I have always hated red pens. It began when I was a kindergartener who was sent home with a red sad face drawn on her paper. I cried in the car of the school parking lot and begged my mom to go inside and make the teacher change it. Something inside me cringed over the failure the red pen highlighted.

As I added more red X’s on Marissa’s paper, memories and thoughts flooded my brain. I wondered how she would feel about my red pen. Would she eye roll the marks it left, groan at the sight of them, would she ever hide it from me when I left the room, and cry over her schoolwork?

Then my thoughts went deeper…
I began to wonder how marks left by a red pen would make her feel about herself.

How a red pen reminded me of the power of words
The world is full of red pens and people who use them recklessly. Countless times every single day we are given the chance to leave our mark. We can label failures, criticize choices, or put giant x’s across the things we don’t like about someone. We can shake confidence, make someone doubt self-worth, and beat them down with our words, attitudes, and actions.The mark we leave on the lives of others is overwhelming.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
Proverbs 18:21 The Message

This, this is something I struggle with. Some days frustrations get the best of me and without thinking I find myself spinning out of control. Saying things I can’t take back, leaving marks that won’t erase and causing pain that is so familiar to me, in the life of another. Often my girls fall victim to the momster I become.

I want my words to speak life. 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Proverbs 31:26

These verses are the prayers and the meditation of my heart.
It is an ongoing, every moment battle to be aware of the life or death that is coming from my mouth.
But it is one worth fighting for.

What comes from your mouth when you speak?
Life or death?

What marks are you leaving?
Ones that build up or ones that destroy?

What is one step you can take to change?
Today make your mouth a fountain of life.

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Do you struggle with mom anger? 
I want to encourage you to check out this book, Count to Nine: Nine Liberating Steps for Mom Frustration and Anger. It has been a life changing tool for me and I know so many of you would greatly benefit too.

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5 Simple Ways To Be a Better Mom, Today

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while…

I’m not really one to give parenting advice and honestly I still question if I am at a place in life where I should. I’ve been doing this mom thing for 8 years now and in those 8 years things have been in a constant state of change. I was a full-time working mom, a part-time working mom, a stay at home mom and now a home school mom. My point in listing all the “labels” I’ve worn is that I feel like I can relate to SO many moms.

But, no matter what kind of mom you are one thing never changes. 
Being a mom is hard.

Today I want to share with you 5 simple things I have been implementing in my life to help me be a better mom. My hope is that not only will these help you be a better mom, but that your children would be positively affected by you being more intentional too. Some things may be new, some I am sure you have heard of, but hopefully they will all serve as good reminders.

5 Simple ways to be a better mom, today!

1 // Use your ears & your eyes
There are a few things I have been guilty of and this is a big one. Not looking at my kids when they talk to me or tuning them out while I’m working on other things until their voice reaches a certain level of desperation. Both of these disappoint me, why do I do this? By using my eyes and my ears to be more attentive to my kids I am sending them the message that they are the most important thing and 99% of the time they are. 

2 // Be their fan, not their critic
Always offer praise over criticism. Few things are more crushing to a child than them showing you something and you immediately pointing out its flaws. I know we can’t always let mistakes go unnoticed, but try to be sensitive about giving criticism. When it can’t be avoided I always try to say 3 good things before I say anything bad. 

3 // Say yes more
A couple of years ago I realized how selfishly I was using the word no. I had become the Newman family fun police.If anything was going to cause extra work or require me to change my plans I was quick to answer with a snappy no. Thankfully I realized this and have worked hard to consider the motives behind my answers. I say yes A LOT more now days. 

4 // Talk about everything and nothing
Do you ever forget that behind all of those crazy emotions that flare up your kids are totally sensible people?! I sure do and sometimes I forget that they need to talk too. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions and find out how they feel. From the big things in life to the little things. The sooner you start talking to your kids the better. 

5 // Utilize a mommy time out 
Sometimes my kids aren’t the only ones who need a time out. There has been more than one occasion that I have sent my kids to their rooms to play for 10 minutes so I could put myself in a “time out”. Breathe, pray, cry, text or call a friend. Whatever I need to do to calm down. The least thing I want to do is to take my bad attitude out on my kids.

What is one thing you do to be a better mom?

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