Topic | How can I BE this mother?

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  • Katrina in AK

    No matter how old we grow, we are all motivated by a person who is “for” us – someone who unequivocally believes we can succeed and who encourages us every step of the way.  Let’s be that person for our children. (Emphasis mine.)
         -Sonya Shafer, in Smooth and Easy Days

    I love this quote of Sonya’s – it’s even in my copywork for the year, but “she” is elusive to me.  I tend to be the punitive, disapproving mother, and not the loving cheerleader that I would rather be (and would rather have in my corner, as well).  How can I cultivate the habits of encouragement, and seeing the best in my children?

    I know we don’t have perfect days, all the time, but I’d love to hear from those who are further along in this than I am.


    Thanks for sharing the quote, I hadn’t remembered it and I love it!

    If it is any comfort to anyone, I have found that my oldest, adult children all seem to have memory loss over my many failings as a young parent.  Satan is the great accuser, and some of my memories of my nastiness still cause me to writhe in shame, but God is gracious and seems to have given my children memories of me being kind and patient.  

    Sometimes when I am tempted to be the grumpy, impatient mom, I imagine that someone else is in the room — someone who I look up to and would hope to think well of me — insert the name of a person here.  I think that if so-and-so were with me I would control my temper and my tongue and be the parent I want everyone to think I am.  That makes me realize that I CAN have self-control (if other people are watching) and then I realize that God is always watching and who would I want to impress more than God??  Perhaps that sounds convoluted, but the process helps me.



    Your remark reminds me of some wisdom offered to me by a slightly older-than-me mother and friend.  When I asked her how she handles criticism and discouragement from others, she replied, “I have to remember that I do what I do for an audience of One.”  Thanks for reminding me to remember this!


    I love that quote too. The other ladies made good points… yes, self-control is in fact possible! Good reminder. And the part about playing to an audience of One… priceless.

    I agree, I want my children to remember me as their number one fan. Always believing the best of them.

    I think another thing that helps me to be that mom is remembering to put myself in my child’s shoes. If I can start out the day praying that God will keep my heart tender and help me to see life through my child’s eyes… ah, what a difference that makes. Or, slightly different is to pray that God will help me to see my child as He sees my child. He is so compassionate and when I see as He sees, the world looks like a different place.

    Good discussion. I know I need reminding of this. Thanks 🙂


    Something that helps me is reminding myself to take a deep breath and LOOK at my child. Really look at them. Many times when I see their little face, anxious, wondering what mommy will say do about this latest disaster, it helps me to calm down. When I really look at their eyes brimming with tears over the broken toy, the math paper soaked with juice, or the tattling little sister I feel a twist of compassion for their young and immature actions. It’s not easy to be little and be expected to always know what is right. It helps me to have a calm discussion, dole out appropriate but not harsh discipline, and to have a chance to train them because they have not closed their heart to me.

    I would love to say I always do this, but sometimes I’m in a tirade before I think – but then I catch a glimpse of their face and remember to look. It usually cools me off fast and I can say sorry for exploding, let’s discuss why Mommy is upset. Sometimes I look and I see an overtired child. They need sleep. Overwrought children who have had too much activity. They need quiet time alone. Sometimes I look and see stubbornness and defiance I need to deal with.

    I also try to make sure I am looking in the good times. Did I catch that expectant look as my oldest displayed his latest crazy Lego creation? I admire it. I take a picture of it and send it to Grandma. I tell my husband about it when he gets home. I try to become a part of my children’s interests and admire what they do. I put up some money to buy a craft supply, a book, a piece for a collection…whatever matters to them.

    I just try to be looking, observing my children. It helps me tremendously



    Tara that’s beautiful… love that. Really LOOK at them. I know you’ve got to be right because that is what I want myself, for someone to truly see me and love me anyway. What you said really resonates with me.

    Katrina in AK

    Thank you, thank you for the precious reminder that I do serve an audience of One.  Putting myself in their shoes and REALLY looking at them – and praying for help to do this, as well – will be great ways to “lay down the rails” of a new habit for me.  I am blessed by all of you.


    Tara-My heart just broke!  So many times I fail to do what you suggested!  The times I do, though, it really does help!  What great wisdom and insight on this thread!

    blue j

    I am short on time, so I didn’t read all of the responses.  However, two or so years ago I began to pray this prayer:

    Dear Father, please help me to be the woman I need to be to serve You with my whole heart.  Please help me to be the wife my husband needs so that he is free to become the man You desire him to be.  Please help me to be the mother my children need so that they are free to become the people You desire them to be. 

    I do add more to it – asking for wisdom for dh in his work, etc. and praying for each of my children by name, but that is the basic prayer right there.  And, though this is not a hands-on, “real” help in that it’s not telling you to study the Bible daily, count to 10 when getting irritated, if you find yourself yelling stop & start over in a calm voice, etc, it has made the biggest difference in me.  I don’t mean to say that those other suggestions aren’t helpful, because they very much are.  Sometime I find, though, that I pray last rather than first.  And with that prayer, I have found that since I am acknowledging that ***I*** am the one that needs to change, I am deliberately setting aside roadblocks, does that make sense? It’s not that God can’t change me, but rather that I am co-operative in the process.

    The interesting thing about this prayer is that I have also seen growth and changes in my husband and children in areas that used to annoy the dickens out of me.  So not only have I grown, but so have they.  I still have my bad days, just like everyone else, but this has helped so much.




    This is a great thread..I’m looking forward to hearing more on this.

    Bumb 🙂



    Reflecting on blue j’s comment…  I have been reading CM Volume 2.  In Ch. 6 in the section marked “First Approaches to God,” CM references the fact that most mothers lift up their hearts to God many times throughout the day on behalf of their children.  Really?  I was not doing this.  Now I am trying. I am thinking of the verse in 1 Thessalonians that says “Pray without ceasing.” (5:17 ?)  Charlotte Mason knew women who did this.  I want to be THAT kind of mother. 


    Thanks to all who have contributed.

    @Tara, I have been really trying this look at my child’s in the face when I am feeling so upset at one of them. I didn’t do so well today, but what a great reminder. I do often think “God made this precious child just as he/she is. I need to love him/her as God loves me.”

    I seem to have lost some of my heart in the matter if that makes sense. It is like I am feeling so defeated lately and I know that is not from God. I need to pray more “without ceasing” as Jennifer reminded us.

    @Blue J, love that prayer. So simple and yet so profound. Thanks for sharing.

    I too look forward to more wisdom here.


    I also need to pray without ceasing.  What an excellent reminder.  I have gotten better about being not so crabby/grumpy etc.  with my children, but it is an ever constant struggle. 

    I grew up with a very critical mother who could never seem to find anything nice to say or if she did I don’t remember it (sorry to those of you who said your children don’t remember the yelling/criticizing;but that is almost all I remember).  I vowed to not be like that, and I struggle with it daily.  I do need to pray more but lately the thing that runs through my mind is this;  this is a season of time where my kids are at home with me and learning with me and who better to teach them how to act?  They will not always be home with me and in a few short years will be moving out and on and upward with their lives.  Will I look back and say “I hated it when they spilt their milk all over the table”?  Does it matter?  Will it matter then?  What will matter is the time you took to help them and explain to them how to do it differently or better.  Rather than yelling or criticizing. 

    Here is a poem I found:


    If a child lives with criticism 

    He learns to condemn.

    If a child liveswith hostility

    He learns to fight.

    If a child lives wtih ridicule

    He learns to be shy.

    If a child lives wtih shame

    He learns to feel guilty.

    If a child lives wtih tolerence

    He learns to be patient.

    If a child lives with encouragement

    He learns confidence

    If a child lives wtih praise

    He learns to appreciate.

    If a child lives wtih fairness

    He learns justice.

    If a child lives with approval

    He learns to like himself.

    If a child lives with acceptance and friendship

    He learns how to find love in the world.


    I also love the prayer Blue J, I hope you don’t mind if I use it.

    This is a great post from SCM about this very topic…

    Kate Mom of 1

    What a great thread! This is so what I needed to hear….I think I tend to forget my DD is still a little girl. A little girl who has been through a lot. She’s strong and independent and harbours her emotions…but the bottom line is she’s eight and I need to remember that she isn’t an adult yet, nor do I want her to be. But, at the same time, she’s not three anymore either, and I need to respect and understand the stage she’s at. 

    I LOVE the audience of One idea. I wish I’d heard that as a new mother. And I love that prayer…I need to remember to pray without ceasing…Today I’m just worrying without ceasing. Yikes! 


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