Before I had children, I had a Good Mom list. It read something like this:
- When I become a mother, I will not ignore my children.
- When I become a mother, I will not physically harm my children.
- When I become a mother, I will not scream or yell.
- When I become a mother, I will never humiliate my child.
It was all the things I promised I’d never do to my children.
When I ask this same question at every parenting conference, moms add their wishes to the list. Here are a few:
- I won’t force my children to be something they are not
- I won’t tell my children that they are lazy or stupid.
- I won’t lose it!
Most of these are things that they had to deal with as they grew up.
It’s their personal promise that they won’t do them to their own kids.
While all of these are good things, a Good Mom list isn’t very functional. When your five-year-old has a meltdown in WalMart or your preteen screams, “I hate you”, you can whip out your Good Mom list all that you want.
You can even stand in the aisle of the grocery store chanting, “I will not, I will not, I will not,” while your child kicks you in your shins, turns red in the face, and threatens to hold his breath.
At that moment, a Good Mom list isn’t much help.
You need to know what to do.
Instead of a Good Mom list, let’s create a list of things we can do.
So, let’s begin by tossing out that Good Mom list. Instead, take a sheet of paper and write your family name across the top.
Answer these questions:
- What makes our family unique?
- What is one positive way to describe our family?
- What are the areas that need a little work?
- Am I willing for those changes to begin first in me?
After you answer these questions, ask your children to share their thoughts.
Don’t make it heavy or pressure-packed. Just ask as you sit around the table.
Really listen. Don’t try to defend yourself or to change your child’s answer.
Just hear what they have to say.
This is the beginning of a workable plan that fits your family.
Hey mom, can I tell you something? As you begin to address this, guilt or shame or regret might try to slip in.
You might start to think, “Why didn’t I do this sooner? Why do I struggle as a mom?
You are the exactly right choice for this child.
Our God equips us, and when we start to change in any area, we don’t do it alone.
I’m so proud of the fact that you are asking these questions.
You are stretching in your faith and as a mom. How amazing is that?
We’ll go deeper tomorrow!
Read Chapter Twelve in The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future.
Do the above assignment.
Prayerfully invite your Heavenly Father into the process.
I am guilty of the yell/ignoring. Howver, I do not yell often, but the mere fact that I am typing this post as my 2 1/2 year old is ripping cushions off of the couch is a testament to the ignoring.
I must be off to entertain him— great post and blog!
Boy did this hit the nail on the head. I have been going through of rough couple of weeks parenting and have felt like the worst/yelly/snippy mom ever. Thank you so much for your encouraging words and help!!!!!
Your welcome, Erin!
do you have this type of encouragement for single moms with three teens in the house? I am very bad about yelling and being disrespectful and saying hurtful things to my teens…newly reborn…and since I still fall back and make mistakes, my teens keep using the “you still do it!” punchcard. What can I say to that? They are right and I admit that, but I also apologize to them and feel remorse where they don’t seem to care. This is an awsome site…thanks!!!
I do, Sue. You can find it in two books: The Mom I Want to Be and especially in my book, Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parent Needs to Know. Both include work sheets at the end of each chapter, as well as tangible practical steps moms can take. I sent you a private email. Let me know if you have additional questions after you read it.