A happy ending

When was the last time you sat down and wrote a list of the things you do well as a mom? I made one of mine, the same day I made my tongue-in-cheek-wanna-be-list-of-semi-failures-and-full-regrets. And I surprised myself by again making fifteen items without difficulty. To tell you the truth this list is harder to share than the list of things I don’t do well.

  • I plan great birthday parties and make their cakes to order.
  • My children come easily to me with their little questions, fears, and problems.
  • I tease my children and tickle them and joke with them. We laugh a lot.
  • I introduce them to the amazing world of literature, and they are captivated.
  • I establish fun traditions: pizza Saturday nights, pancakes and popcorn on Sundays, holiday treats.
  • I apologize.
  • I sing.

If you can, I’d love to hear from you. What do you most enjoy as a mom? What do you do well? Some of you will be more uncomfortable with this exercise than with the “unreachables” list I recommended first… But if you are not up to sharing publicly, may I suggest you do it still, on your own? You will be surprised.

When I was all done, I made a final list—

Parenting Essentials I Never Want to Live Without

Love: My children are precious to me. I treat them with care.

Commitment: I’m not leaving this place. These are my people.

Joy: I do not enjoy every aspect of mothering, but I work to incorporate happiness into my life and my children’s.

Discipline: I do not allow my children to live without consequences.

Forgiveness: This is how we make sense of our many mistakes. Jesus is the Redeemer!

Shared Time and Interest: We invest in each other’s lives and enjoy time together.

Character: Together, we are being shaped into the image of Jesus.

Thanks for listening. Thanks for blessing me with your words. And before I stop talking on the subject, I want to give a shout-out to the many women from whom I am slowly learning motherhood. First of all, to my own Good Mom, and to my mother-in-law, and to my many wonderful sisters and sisters-in-law—some who do not have children yet but all of whom are beautiful examples of mother-love… And to my friends, some of the most capable and committed mothers I know… And to my single or childless friends. I know who you are. You too are mothers—joining forces to nurture the young lives around you. Many of you signed up on purpose for a life wrapped up in small ones who call other women “Mommy.” You are amazing, and my children are the richer for having you.


And no, I haven’t forgotten the question I asked you. What do you do well? What do you enjoy most as a mom?

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9 years ago

I enjoyed reading over your shoulder here. I affirm that you have written truthfully and modestly about yourself.

I have actually done this exercise myself in the past. In fact, I have to repeat it every so often to keep some perspective.

A few things that I like and do well with as a mom are:

– I love to have fun with my kids and planning fun surprises. We laugh often and it’s usually heartfelt

-it’s easy for me to be flexible and spontaneous.

-I can’t stay mad for longer than 10 minutes

-messes are ok with me if we’re either learning or being creative together

-I let my kids comb my hair. 🙂

My husband and I like to think about our strengths and weaknesses in parenting and then see ourselves as a team. It helps me not to sweat my weaknesses quite so much when I know that he brings his strengths into our family to compensate for my greatest weakness and vise versa. (this does not mean that I shouldn’t be growing into a more balanced parent)

p.s. maybe this comment should come to an end now, eh?

9 years ago

I am spontaneous–sounds better than disorganized. 🙂
I am grace-oriented and tender with them.
I enjoy being with my children.
We also let our children choose their birthday supper and cake. Thankfully, they’re not too picky when the bike looks less than perfect. 🙂
hmm. I’d have to think awhile to come up with more. I thank you for these posts on mothering. They were balanced and encouraging.

9 years ago

What a good thing to do sometimes. I’m going to make myself a list, but off the top of my head….
1. I read good, true books to them. Books that I think might be over their heads, but they love them. I also read all the childhood books constantly!! (Can you tell, we all love to read!)
2. I respect their Daddy very, very much, and we are very in love! (15 years on Thurs.!)
3. I play with them, especially wild outdoor games like “Wolf”.
4. I involve them in whatever I am doing, and take time for their many projects that slow me down!
5. I try to just smile at them a lot.
6. I try to give them many compliments.
7. I work hard at communication.
8. I teach them to work, and do their best. My daughters thank me for teaching them to clean, and keep it clean.
9. Like you, I apologize. A lot, swallowing my pride.

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